Just like people, dogs need exercise. How much exercise depends on the dog’s breed and physical condition. Dogs bred to herd or hunt are strong breeds with great stamina requiring good, daily workouts. The more mentally alert and active your dog, the more exercise and/or playtime he’ll likely need.
Just because your dog is out exercising and having fun doesn’t mean that they don’t have to be obedient. While exercising your dog, you should use some of this time to practice your dog training.
A dog getting little or no exercise can become lazy and overweight and develop health problems; or fretful, stressed and unhappy, and resist training.
It can be dangerous to feed your dog before or after exercise. Don’t feed your dog for at least 4 hours before exercise and wait at least one hour after exercise for your dog to settle down before feeding.
Here are some important dog training tips for dog play and exercise:
When training a dog, select a breed suited to your exercise level. If you hunt, hike or run, you’ll manage a high-energy dog better than if your idea of exercise is reaching for the TV remote. If you get a dog to up your own exercise level, start slowly and don’t overdo. Walk shorter distances a few times a day before slowly upping your distance. Long walks are ideal for bigger dogs; shorter, more frequent outings suit small dogs.
Exercise, when training your puppy, should be kept to short bursts of 10 minutes. Puppy Obedience is a form of exercise for puppies because they’re concentrating on you and your commands. As your dog learns obedience and masters the training skills, more of his exercise will come in the form of playtime, walking and running.
One the best forms of exercise is simply walking your dog around your area. A 30- to 60-minute walk around the streets of your neighborhood is great exercise for both you and your dog. Your dog will also enjoy all the different smells and visual stimulation of cars, people and other animals. This is also a great time to practice getting your dog to walk with a loose lead next to you and to sit. I make my dogs sit at every kerb before we cross the road. When you’re walking it is a great time to train your dog because you are practicing everything amid distractions and in a different environment.
A restless dog will respond positively to both mental and physical activity. They want to be occupied, and if you don’t provide suitable activities, you may not be happy with their choices! Giving them a puzzle such as finding hidden treats (if the dog won’t destroy rooms seeking them) or cheeses or frozen dog food packed inside a toy like a Kong can occupy them for a good while. Bones including rawhide that take hours to gnaw are also ways to keep them healthily occupied. You can even practice your dog training in this situation by simply making your dog sit and wait until you’re ready to give him the Kong or rawhide. Always pick the Kong up and put it out of reach when your dog is finished with it to show him that you are the top dog and in control.
Games likewise keep your dog fit. Tossing a Frisbee, throwing a ball, and chasing him in the yard are great. Some dogs revel in tearing past you while you lunge to catch them. Not only will your dog get a great workout from chasing a ball or Frisbee but this is a great opportunity to practice some dog training and also show your dog that you are top dog. Dog training techniques that you can incorporate into this game are:
make your dog sit and wait before you throw the ball. When he returns the ball to you, have him sit and set the ball in your hand when you ask for it.
make your dog sit and stay while you walk away from him and then throw the ball. (This is a more advanced training trick.) Continue to make him stay after the ball has been thrown. He must wait until you say he can go. This is excellent because you’re practicing the sit and stay command while overriding his desire to chase the ball, which shows great control over your dog.
At the end of play, you must take the ball and set it out of your dog’s reach. This tells him you are top dog because you control when you play ball.
If you play chase with your dog, you can incorporate dog training at the end by relaxing your posture and demeanour and being visibly calm. When you are calm and relaxed, call your dog over, make him sit and give him a pat. This will let your dog know that playtime is over and that you are back in control.
If weather keeps you indoors, make use of your dog’s favourite toys to have fun. Dogs that like tug-of-war, for instance, can perhaps have a favourite tug toy tied to a stable metal railing to tug when you are busy. Incorporate dog training here by giving your dog permission to start tugging and when he is finished, you remove the tug toy and put it out of reach. This tells your dog the game is over and that you are top dog. A more advanced version is asking your dog to leave the tug toy while playing and then giving the command to begin tugging. If you can do this you have excellent control over your dog. (Important Note: dominant dogs or those you’ve not bonded with well may turn and bite you in this situation, so be careful when doing this exercise.)
Use common sense when weather conditions are extreme. If you don’t enjoy exertion when it’s brutally hot and humid, it’s a safe bet that your dog doesn’t either. Choose the coolest part of the day during hot weather and the warmest part of the day during cold weather, to avoid health complications.
Tiring him out doesn’t require tiring yourself. Take your dog to an area where he can safely run free and hit a tennis ball to retrieve. Ball-launching toys are a great way to train your dog to fetch. This is the ultimate exercise for a dog who enjoys this type of play, and a great opportunity to practice your dog training techniques. Walking your dog to the park and hitting a tennis ball for him to chase is so good because you can practice walking on a loose lead beside you on the way, and then you can practice sit at each kerb before you cross the road. When at the park, make him sit and stay before you hit the ball and then make him sit before he gives you the ball back. Another reason this exercise and training routine is so effective is because you begin the exercise with a warm-up walk, and progress into more intensive exercise, with the dog sprinting out after the ball and then jogging back. This can be repeated many times. Once finished, there is a warm-down walk back to your home. Be alert for signs of tiredness or exhaustion when doing this exercise, such as when the dog pants, the tongue hangs down further than usual and the rib cage moves more rapidly.
Exercising is a marvelous way to bond with your dog. A happy dog is one that is regularly exercised and has basic obedience training. And a dog that is well-exercised will invariably be better behaved. And that makes for a happy dog and a happy owner!