Exercising your Dog

by | Dog Care |

Copyright BBC News UK
Exercise will keep your dog smiling!

My dog Jersey has me very well-trained. She’s spent a lot of time on my pet education, trying to be patient (she vents her frustration by a strategic pee on the newest or cleanest rug in the house) and as a result I am very attentive when it comes to her exercise needs.

Typically, she tells me she is ready to go outside because when she wakes up from a nap, she will walk over to me and sit down. If she stares at me too long and I don’t react, she stands up, shakes her whole body which jingles her collar, and then sits down again. She will repeat this routine as many times as needed. That is her cue for “I need a walk now.”

Although it’s hard to comply sometimes, especially with our bitterly cold Canadian winters, she becomes very rowdy and difficult if her exercise needs are not met, regardless of the temperature.

As a rule of thumb, many professionals recommend at least 60 minutes per day of rigorous exercise for high energy dogs. I definitely learned that the hard way with Jersey….it turns out that  walking around the block once a day resulted in her channeling all that energy into digging up my carefully planted rosebushes.  I learned that I needed to either travel faster or walk longer!  Exercise for high energy dogs typically means more than just walking.

Some behavior that your dog may exhibit if you are not exercising him or her enough include: excessive barking, destroying household items, digging and/or attempting to escape your house or yard in search of adventure.

An excellent way of exercising your dog if you are not a natural-born (or remotely inclined) runner, is by bringing your dog to a local dog park. Providing your pet has been properly socialized and is comfortable interacting with new dogs, this can be an excellent way of giving your dog exercise while you have a coffee and chat with other local dog owners.  I am always amazed how well the dog park “pack” plays together, once they have all greeted each other and sorted out the temporary hierarchy. I have seen Jersey run around, chasing other dogs or being chased, in circles for a solid 20 minutes or more. A half-hour at the dog park can do wonders both physically and mentally for your dog, especially if you have been at work and your pet has been alone all day at home.

Another great way of exercising your dog, especially in the summer months, is swimming at a dog-friendly lake or beach. Swimming is a wonderful form of exercise, and is also easier on the joints for older dogs or any dog with arthritis. Many dogs enjoy swimming or even just running through the shallow water. Be sure to research which beaches are dog-friendly beforehand, and always be courteous when sharing a beach with other people, children and pets.

If you are finding items in your household such as baseball mitts, shoes or beloved rosebushes (as in my sad case) are turning up mangled after an encounter with your pet, it may be time to re-evaluate your exercise routine and try something new!