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The Importance of Exercising Your Dog  

Exercise in Dog Training

Dr. Dennis Fetko, nationally known dog behaviorist and trainer states, "Dogs need exercise like they need air, food and water."

Dr. Ian Dunbar, internationally recognized dog behaviorist states,"A tired dog is a good dog. Dogs also need mental exercise... Fidoneeds to go sniff a new bush once in a while."

The first part of Cesar Millan's three step program for dog rehabilitation is  exercise, followed by disipline, then affection. In that order.


Irish Setter sleeping

Not all methods of exercise are appropriate for all dogs or all owners. Check with your veterinarian and use common sense regarding exercising your dog.

Try to exercise your dog during the most cool time of day. Mornings and evenings are the best in the hot summer months.

If you are active during the heat of the day always watch for signs of heat exhaustion and fatigue. Some signs to watch for are your dog appears to stagger or walk in a drunk fashion. Or seems slow and lagging.

Always carry plenty of water for drinking and enough to wet your entire dog.

Release your dog for play.

Ways to Give Your Dog Physical/Mental Exercise

  1. Walking
  2. Obedience exercises
  3. Retrieving
  4. Playing with other dogs
  5. Swimming
  6. Round robin recalls (multiple people calling dog)
  7. Hide and seek (with people or toys)
  8. Jogging
  9. Running with a bicycle
  10. Hiking, backpacking
  11. Hunting
  12. Herding
  13. Agility
  14. Flyball
  15. Tug of war (*see note)
  16. Wrestling (*see note)
  17. Get your bone exercise
  18. Go to your place exercise
  19. Creative toys (food cubes, Kong filled with food)
  20. Breed related work (i.e., hunting, herding, etc.)

*Note: When rough-housing or playing competitive games with your dog, you must end the session with calming behaviors EVERY time. That means you give an "out" command, take the toy from the dog and massage or calmly pet the dog until he is in a relaxed state.

Austrialian Shepherd jumping herdle with dumbbell.

Important note...

Dog playing with ball.

Remember, most dogs do not exercise themselves, no matter how much space they have. The average dog sleeps about 18 hours per day unless there is something more interesting to do.

To have a calmer, better behaved dog, you must actively structure and supervise ways for the dog to work off excess energy.

Most dogs need you to push them physically. Engage your dog and challange them with different activities. You will soon discover what activites your dog like the most.

Every dog is different in what type of play they prefer. 

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