The year begins, and with it comes the pressure of resolutions and good intentions. The most common, that of doing sports regularly. It does not matter if you have been putting it off for years, this week in Dog training we are going to give you an extra motivation: share an exercise routine with your dog.
Now that the holidays have passed, and that normality has settled back into our lives, it is time to give you the keys to give your dog the exercise routine he needs, and to share it with him. Don’t forget that joint activities have a very positive impact on communication and trust with your dog.
How can you exercise with your dog?
As you already know, dogs need to exercise and go outside regularly. It is not just a matter of hygiene and to relieve yourself. It is also a way for you to explore, socialize, and strengthen your relationship with him. With proper physical activity you will be calmer, sleep better, and will not develop anxious behaviours.
Don’t forget that obesity and inactivity are detrimental to your well-being. Dogs must be in good physical shape, and need activities that allow them to express their motivations as an animal: running, smelling or digging. And when choosing activities you have to take into account factors such as age, your physical structure and your tastes.
You cannot do the same activities with a puppy as with an adult or older dog. Avoid jumping and jerking with puppies until they have completed their physical development. And at the other extreme, older dogs also need to do activities tailored to their physical abilities. Swimming, quiet walks, and nose exercises are good options.
The physical structure
The canine variety is very large, and each one has limitations. There are small dogs, large dogs, giant dogs, dogs with flat snouts, short legs and long backs, to give some examples.
Activities should be tailored to the type of dog you have. Giant dogs must bear more weight, so their joints must be cared for. Flat-nosed dogs, like Bulldogs, cannot breathe well, and it is not good to shake them too much. And short-legged, long-backed dogs, like Tekkel, should avoid jumping to avoid damaging their backs.
You cannot practice the same activities all year round. On the contrary, it is convenient to choose the most convenient ones according to the temperature. Swimming can be a very good choice when the temperature is very high, and running or cycling are more suitable in cold weather.
Exercise tips with your dog
In addition to daily walks, going to a forest or to the beach is always a good idea. They are open spaces and environments very different from those of routine. You will learn to deal with them, you will be able to play more freely and socialize more naturally.
In the city, look for the best places to walk, and, if you can, more open spaces such as parks. If you also extend the daily walks and do different routes, your dog will know the area better and will feel safer.
Running or cycling
Before you start running with your dog make sure you can walk together. If your dog is one of those who pull on the leash, your pace and balance may be affected. And for you to go together, it is advisable to stop.
Knowing your dog can also give you important clues, such as identifying the stimuli and potential threats it perceives. Make sure you hold the strap securely as they tend to be faster than us.
If running or cycling are exercises you will do with your dog, consider getting a harness. Your comfort will be much greater, since a necklace can overwhelm you when breathing increases your rhythm.
Play ball or pull a rope
As obvious as it sounds, play is key to dogs’ mental and behavioral health. And we often forget how important fun is.
Many dogs love to play ball or pull a rope. They are good games as long as the dog is not obsessed with them. Don’t settle for them. Do different activities with your dog, and whenever you play ball or pull a rope, do it in a controlled way, with rules that combine play and obedience.
Of course, adapt your creativity to the characteristics, breed, age and personality of your dog.
Agree: city spaces can narrow options. Find out about the shared areas designated by your council, so you can take advantage of open spaces. And above all, do not forget to comply with the rules of civic ordinances to avoid fines.
Some more tips
- Don’t force it . Your dog has the option of not practicing the activity if he doesn’t feel like it.
- Give him rest . You have to be able to stop, take a breath and rest whenever you want during the activity.
- Train your dog . Increase intensity and duration progressively . You will improve their endurance and fitness.
- Pre-heating . Very important if you are going to do an intense activity.
- Regularity . Doing activities regularly helps avoid injury, stiffness and encourages fitness.
- Don’t wait until your dog is exhausted to finish the activity.
- Give him time between activities to recover . You can always massage it to relax your muscles.
- Choose activities that he likes .
- Always choose comfortable and appropriate material for the activity. For example, if you are going to run, a harness is better than a collar.