Exercising Your Dog

Dogs, like people, need daily exercise to stay healthy and live to their breed specific age expectancy. It is important to provide guided interaction with a dog to develop strong muscles, obedience, and socialization skills. Exercising your dog can be as simple as walking him twice a day for 10-15 minutes around the neighborhood. Walking gives him the chance to ?read the news? with his nose, as it lets him find out who lives in his immediate vicinity. Also, he is able to meet other pets, which will reinforce socialization. Changing the route every few days will help maintain his brain activity and help him find his way home if he ever slips away from you. Most veterinarians recommend 15-20 minutes of additional aerobic play on a daily basis. Good heart rate raising activities include playing ball, tug of war, and chase. Whether the dog plays with the owner or other dogs, this is also important to help develop muscle and bone strength. Running an obstacle course with the dog also develops strategy and obedience skills. A good exercise program also gives your dog something to anticipate on a daily basis and that can help reduce destructive behavior from boredom, stress, and inactivity. Chew toys are great to stave off boredom for dogs that must remain outside or alone all day. Rawhide, dried pig ears, and rope work well for this purpose and are relatively inexpensive. What?s more, chew toys will help keep indoor dogs from chewing on walls, furniture, and shoes. Depending on the specific breed of the dog, such as Labs, swimming can also be an excellent exercise regimen. Most dogs love water and most know how to ?dog paddle? as it?s a basic survival instinct. Taking a dog to the lake or beach can be a day filled with fun and laughter, with great exercise for both of you. The two main things to remember about canine exercise are: to provide plenty of water during and after the exercise period and not to exercise during the hottest part of the day. Dehydration and heat stroke can be deadly for both you and your pet. Exercising with your dog will help both of you stay healthy, active, and alert. If you can?t make time for yourself, make time to help your dog. This special bonding time will provide valuable benefits that will please both the dog and owner.

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