So what are the best forms of exercise for dogs? There are a lot of things you can do that are fun and beneficial for both human and dog! It is important to let dogs finish growing (between 2 - 3 years of age) before starting intensive exercise routines (such as running, bicycling or sledding with your dog) to prevent any damage to growing joints.
It is equally important to build your dogs endurance and provide exercise that is appropriate for their current fitness level.
Adding some obedience training in your daily walks can improve the quality of the experience. Ask your dog to sit at the street before crossing, to down on the sidelines as another dog passes, or to heel for several minutes at random intervals. Including rewards (toy, food, praise) for success will satisfy your dog's desire to do things that make you both happy!
Off leash hiking for dogs who have a good foundation in obedience (recall, sit, down, stay, etc) is even more rewarding and enjoyable.
Dogs make excellent running partners, just make sure you build your dog up to your distance and duration slowly to prevent injury! You'll have to be cautious of what they are running on as well, since dogs need to build their resistance to running on various surfaces. Remember, your dog doesn't wear shoes like you do! Be cautious of hot pavement, too!
Two ball is a fast-paced game for high energy dogs, and it involves throwing one ball and throwing a second ball immediately when you dog returns to you with the first ball.
Much like with running, your dog should be physically mature and of sound orthopedics and health prior to becoming a bike ride companion. This kind of intensive exercise is suitable only for dogs that are fully physically developed.
While dogs are athletic creatures, you should be wary of very cold water and potentially dangerous currents and undertows. Dogs with short (or even lack of) coats may not do well swimming in frigid lake water.
Just like us, dogs need physical AND mental stimulation to be happy and healthy!
Can you think of anymore good activities to do with your dog? Tell us about them in the comments section!
Need some ideas for rainy days when you can't get out with your dog? Here is an article about mental stimulation indoors!
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