Monday, June 10, 2013

Have you exercised your dog today?

Dogs need exercise.  We all know this but I don't think we realize the importance not just to the dog but to us.  That time you spend in exercising which has so many benefits; you get to enjoy nature, it is good for you, you build a relationship with your dog, etc.  It also gives you a much better behaved dog in with the least amount of time and effort, so it is a win win.

I do a lot of in home work especially with puppies but I also work with older dogs.  My first question is always how much exercise does your dog get?  If you the dog is not getting regular off leash runs than that is always my first recommendation.  I realize that for some dogs, that take off this is much more challenging than for others but it still needs to happen.  Running around the back yard is exercise but not good enough.  I also find in the back yard a lot of bad behaviours get created such as digging, chewing on your deck or furniture, escaping (and once they are good at it your are done), biting at you when you are out there, etc.

When your dog is on an off leash run it is a type of relaxed exercise.  He is investigating so using his brain, smelling all sorts of wonderful things.  He is running as much as he needs to, some days my dog just wanders in front of me other days especially if he has not been fun recently he runs and plays.  He is building the bond with you he constantly is being rewarded by getting distracted and then finding you.  The sight of you becomes a reward when he finds you, how cool is that.

Most dogs who are not used to running off leash will come home and sleep soundly for at least a few hours.  This is the perfect dog asleep in your house not chewing, digging, biting, etc.  It usually takes two to three weeks of regular exercise for you to start seeing a decrease in overall energy when he is awake.  If you start this when your puppy is young he then gets into the habit of this calm behaviour is how you act in the house which is a lovely habit.  Even when life takes over and you can't get your dog out for a few days once this habit is created even when they haven't had enough exercise my dogs give me a solid week before they start to get cabin fever and honestly by then I really need the walk too.

So get out and find someplace to walk your dog off leash where it is safe.  Enjoy the walk, enjoy the peace in nature, enjoy your dog.  They will thank you for it by being better behaved.