Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun: Exercises for Your Pet

From the ASPCA News Alerts:  http://www.aspca.org/News/Tri-State/Tri-State-News-Detail.aspx?NDate=20110325&NType=TriState#News3

News Alert readers know how much we love to trumpet the many benefits of adopting a dog. But did you know that your physical health can improve, too, when you share your life with a pooch? Recent studies suggest that one surefire way to get your motor running—and boost your health—is to get a canine companion who, after all, needs regular walks. Stats show dog parents walk an average of 300 minutes per week, whereas people without dogs walk only about 168 minutes.

But what if you walk till you drop and still find yourself challenged to provide enough outlets for your pet’s excess energy? Perhaps your pooch is a natural born sprinter and you’re more likely to compete in the couch potato Olympics. Never fear, ASPCA experts are here! There are a variety of ways to exercise your dog, from activities that don’t demand much energy on your part to activities that engage both of you. Our behaviorists suggest choosing activities that suit your dog’s individual personality and natural interests. Check out some more of our expert tips:

  • Emphasize brain over brawn. Exercise your dog’s brain with food puzzle toys, hunting for dinner, obedience and trick training, and chew toys instead of excessive physical exercise.
  • Focus on games that make your dog run around while you mostly stand or sit still. Games that fit the bill include fetch with balls, Frisbees or sticks, Find It, Hide-and-Seek or catching bubbles (using a special bubble-blower toy made for dogs, such as the Bubble Buddy).
  • If your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, options include taking her to a dog park, organizing play groups with friends or neighbors or signing her up for doggie daycare.
  • For extra active dogs, off-leash walking, running, hiking or bicycling in a safe, fenced-in property or off-leash park are ideal activities. Your pet can set her own pace, sniff and investigate to her heart’s content, stop when she’s tired and burst into running whenever she likes. Please be sure your dog is well-trained to reliably come when called before you give her off-leash privileges.

For more tips on exercises for your dog, please visit our Virtual Behaviorist.

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