The average dog needs 30 minutes of exercise daily. Most owners think of exercising their dogs as going for a walk. For a small dog, this is true. For a medium size dog or larger, a walk is simply not enough.
In order for a walk to be effective as an exercise program, the dog needs to keep almost a trot or fast walk up the entire time. A medium size dog is over 25 lbs (in my opinion). Here are a few ideas of things you can do to help your exercise program with your dog.
Hiking with your dog
Many owners love to get out and hike with their dogs. This is a great form of exercise since it usually lasts a while and involves hills and other obstacles. The important thing about hiking is to make sure your pet is in shape for it. They need to be walked daily on concrete to prepare their pads and their muscles. I like to incorporate another exercise program and add in hiking for fun on the weekends. Please make sure you dog has the appropriate gear for the hike, and of course, bring your own water, food and safety kits.
Running with your dog
Running with your dog is a great form of exercise. Keep your dog in shape, watch for heat exhaustion, and go at your pets pace. If you notice too much panting, stop. Keep up your vet visits and watch for any limping. Puppies should NOT be run – it just isn’t good for their joints. Start with a 5 minute run and SLOWLY work your way up to 30 minutes or so.
Biking with your dog
I personally LOVE to bike with my dogs. If you have a puller, this might not be a great option. Your dog NEEDS to have excellent leash manners. If he doesn’t, look into teaching him to pull you on the bike instead – or maybe in a wagon. I use a regular flat buckle collar and teach my dog to heel with the bike. I use commands like left, right and stop. I also try to go early in the morning when nobody is out – its much safer that way. I start out with a slow bike trip to keep my dog at a nice trot.
Retrieving with your dog
Retrieving with your dog is awesome exercise. Though it can be dangerous on their joints. Its important to watch for fatigue and stop when your pet needs to. Also, dont let them jump a lot for the item The best way to retrieve is to have your dog sit at your side and wait to be sent for the item. That will eliminate any unwanted jumping and turning.