We spent the 4th of July weekend at Lake Anna and had a terrific time. The dogs swam and fished and retrieved, and then swam some more. Here’s a picture of Tango, finally tired! It only took him three days to get to that point! (Actually, he was bushed every night and stayed awake only long enough to eat his dinner before sacking out.)
Many of us have hectic lives, which leaves us with little time to get our dogs the amount of exercise they need. Which leaves lots of dogs still wanting and needing a lot more interaction and exercise than they get.
Very often, behavior problems aren’t really behavior problems, but more “lack of exercise problems.” I see at least one client a month who wouldn’t need my services if their dog got the proper amount of exercise. The behavior isn’t really the problem, but rather a symptom of too little exercise.
Here are a few ways to get your dog more exercise:
- Increase either the duration or intensity of your dog’s exercise – go longer or go harder. (Check with your vet first, of course and be mindful of the weather – don’t want any dogs with heat exhaustion!)
- Expose your dog to a new activity. Maybe take your dog hiking or swimming. Teach your dog how to retrieve. Teach your dog physical tricks (how to crawl, roll over, walk on his hind legs, beg, spin, etc.)
- Find an appropriate doggie playmate with a fenced yard in which to run. Good for both your dog and the doggie friend!
You can also provide some environmental enrichment in the way of homemade food-stuffed toys. For instance, take the cap off a 1- or 2-liter clean bottle and put some treats inside. Then give it to your dog and let him figure out how to get the treats out. (Always supervise your dog and take it away if it’s looking scraggly or worn out.) Stuff several Kongs with your dog’s breakfast or dinner (and freeze with some peanut butter or yogurt for an extra challenge!).
Post your comments and ideas for ways you’ve entertained and exercised your dog!