An important part of a healthy lifestyle for any dog is lots of fresh air and activity. Dogs love exercise and play, and it is important that they receive a structured activity schedule with plenty of interaction with both their owners and, if possible, with other dogs. Activity for dogs can entail anything from regular walks to play time with a selection go appropriate toys.
Without regular activity dogs can start to suffer in a number of ways that can result in ill health and behavioural problems. These include:
· Behavioural problems through boredom
· Weight gain / obesity
· Arthritis or heart problems through excess weight
In addition to these problems, the lack on interaction with his owners can make a dog become isolated, and as a result of this additional problems such as aggression can occur. It is amazing how many problems can result from a lack of exercise and activity, which is why it is so important to maintain a regular activity programme.
One of the best ways to provide your dog with enjoyable and fun activity is to get involved yourself. This will help you bond with your dog as well as providing you both with fun and exercise. You could take him for a run in the park, play Frisbee in the garden or even let him have a dip in the paddling pool. Getting him involved in a game of football with the whole family can be great fun, and if you have a friend with a dog that is a similar age why no invite them along?
Another type of activity that you should encourage your dog to get involved in is playing with toys. You must be careful to buy good quality dog toys that aren’t going to fall apart otherwise your dog could choke. A chewing, squeaking or tug-of-war toy will keep your dog busy for hours, and can help to stimulate the mind and the body.
Socialising is crucial to your dog’s upbringing, and he should b e taught to be around and play with other dogs. This sort of socialisation can also help your dog to take part in regular activity and play time with the other dogs. You could even arrange to meet up with friends and go for a run or a stroll each day with your dogs coming along for company and exercise.
There are some factors that you should be aware of when arranging exercise for your dog. Firstly, don’t push your dog too hard. Encourage him to exercise and enjoy physical activity each day but don’t expect him to keep going until you decide he’s had enough. Your dog will decide for himself when he’s had enough, so you shouldn’t push him to keep going against his will. Also, if your dog has been unwell or has suffered a recent injury, you should consult your vet with regards to suitable levels and types of exercise to ensure that you don’t exacerbate his injury/illness. And, finally, remember that short-haired dogs are very sensitive to extreme weather, hot or cold. With this in mind, don’t make your dog undertake strenuous activity and exercise in very hot or very cold weather.
Like everything else, such as diet and treats, exercise should be taken in moderation. A regular, well structured activity schedule will help to give your dog more energy, a real zest for life, plenty of fresh air, strengthened muscles and stimulation of body and mind.
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