Exercise is often a touchy topic for many people and even pet owners, somehow we feel offended or ashamed at the prospect of it. This however shouldn’t be the case, especially not for your pets…
Exercise is a blessing and should be seen as one. I know from personal experience that my dog is overjoyed at any inclination towards the prospect of exercise, whether it be grabbing the leash or just putting on shoes. This being said I also know that trying to find time in a busy day, or figuring out ideas to keep the chap busy can be quite draining.
Below are a few ideas and tips and ideas to keep your fur-kids entertained both physically and mentally:
Some things never change! For many years gone by the dog has spent countless hours fetching random objects and bringing them back to their owners. This is a great tool to teach your dog basic commands and have great fun doing so. For those with dogs that have longer legs and more energy than the rest a Frisbee might be more appropriate, allowing for longer chasing sessions per throw. Frisbee’s can take some getting used to so I would advise starting with a softer one, or the Rogz Soft Flying Frisbee with mouth grip.
Tug of war
Tug of war is a great work out for both owner and dog, using more energy than you would think. This game is also useful for teaching your dog boundaries with regards to biting and some general manners as well as helping your pup through its teething stages.
For those of you with sniffer dogs this is a must try. Basically the game involves hiding little treats around the house while your dog waits in a designated spot until you give the command. For those starting it would be advisable to use more simple hiding places and stronger smelling treats to get them understanding the game and then slowly making it harder once they have grasped the concept.
Pretty self-explanatory for the most part, some dogs are natural swimmers while others may never really grow to enjoy it. Some useful things to note: most dogs will require some enticing, this is generally easiest by starting in a splash pool or shallow dam where they can walk in and test the depth at their own pace; if your dog has recurrent ear issues swimming may exacerbate the problem and should probably be avoided or controlled; water is a great low resistance exercise if used well.
Food dispensing toys This can be quite a fun one for both owner and pet. Enjoy giving your pet a bit of a mental exercise and seeing them reason out this confusing food-dropping object.
Walking, hiking, jogging etc.
There is no real substitute for a good old walk or run. Keep things exciting by mixing up routes, giving some off leash time to explore a park, meet up with some other friendly pooches or just varying your speed. If you are looking to get some exercise of your own or get some time outdoors with family or friends then this is a great choice.
Hide and seek
Much the same as the nose work game but this time you are the prize! This game requires either a dog who has learnt to wait until command is given or a friend who is willing to distract the dog until adequate hiding is found. Hiding spots should be in proportion to your dog’s understanding of the game and previous expertise.
Overall there are many little activities that we can do to keep things interesting for both parties. Learn to enjoy your faithful friend again and make time for things like these.
As a general guideline: a puppy should be exercised for 5 minutes per month of age, twice a day.
3 month old puppy- 15 min twice a day.
6 month old puppy- 30 min twice a day
A general rule when using toys, ropes or any loose object is to make it available when playing and remove it once finished.
This decreases the risk of ingesting objects and unnecessary emergencies, while also allowing the play times to be even more exciting. Just like kids pets get board when the toys are available all the time.
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