Proper exercise is an important component in a every dog's routine. Through exercise, dogs are able to release any pent up energy they may have. Through exercise and activities dogs also learn new things about objects, life and the world around them.
It is very important that we discuss exercise in terms of physical exercise as well as mental exercise for dogs. A properly satisfied dog will have an adequate amount of each. An adequate daily dose of exercise will make sure that your dog grows up to be a healthy, balanced and stable dog.
Physical Exercises for dogs
Any physical exercise you subject your dog to must be suitable for your dog. Puppies need short bursts of exercise while adult dogs are able to withstand tougher physical tasks. As dogs age older, they would need progressively less and less physical exertion. The most common physical exercises for dogs are walking, running, playing fetch and swimming.
- Walking - Walking is the least demanding exercise your dog can do. A walk is in most cases enough to satisfy older dogs or ones with injuries.
- Running - Running is more physically demanding on the dog and usually it is high energy dos and larger, more active breeds that would benefit the most from a run.
- Fetch - Fetch is a classic game that almost every dog owners has played with his or her dog. You can practically play fetch with any dog or any age, any size and any activity. Reason being that you can gauge yourself as to how far away and how often you throw the ball. Fetch is a very useful game that you can use to strengthen your bond with the dog.
- Swimming - Swimming is the best exercise you can give to your dog. This is especially so for larger breeds like Great Danes and other heavy dogs. The buoyancy of the water will relief the dogs legs from the constant weight that they bear on them. While swimming the dogs would be performing physical activity but with less strain on the body. Swimming is so beneficial for dogs that it is the recommended exercise for dogs recovering from injuries. Some physiotherapists involve swimming in their rehabilitation programs.
- Breed Specific Exercises - Walking, Running, Fetch and Swimming are more like generic physical exercises for dogs. Some strong working dog breeds would require specific activities in order to satisfy them. For example, huskies and malamutes are working dogs bred to pull sledges. Such dogs would be happiest when they serve their purpose.
Mental Exercises for dogs
When we think of dog exercise we tend to think of it in physical terms and overlook the mental requirement. Dogs do not only need physical exercise but also mental exercises.
- Training - The most basic exercise to stimulate your dog's brain is obedience training. You can start training at a very young age and it is a great means of bonding and building trust with your dog.
- Teach new tricks - This is a very convenient way to stimulate your dog's brain while at the same time teaching him new thins. Not only will this boost your dog's mental capacity but will make him look cuter when guests are over 🙂
- Clicker training - Clicker training is in itself a whole discussion. However it is a very convenient tool to mentally stimulate your dog mind and teach new things
- Food puzzles - Food puzzles are basically puzzles where you hide treats for your dog to take out as he explores the toy. Food puzzles are a very convenient way to stimulate your dog's brain for longer periods especially if you are not around.
- Socializing - Dogs thrive on social interactions just like humans do. Most dogs truly enjoy playing and interacting with their own kind. Find a local dog park or group of friends to allow your dog to socialize.
Dogs need both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Some physical exercises may be suited better for younger and more energetic dogs. Every dog needs different levels of physical and mental exercise. Regardless of a dog's age, it is extremely important to provide adequate and appropriate physical exercises.
We must not overlook the importance of mentally stimulating our dogs. Through mental stimulation we can teach our dogs a lot of new things and also bond with them in the process.
It is only through a combination of physical and mental stimulation that you can make sure that your dog grows into a happy, balanced and well behaved dog.