Daily exercise has always been an essential part of keeping a healthy lifestyle. Besides helping you maintain body fat percentage and keeping a good physique, it improves balance and coordination, builds muscles and balances out abnormal mood swings. It also prevents and manages risks of severe conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Exercising for as little as 30 minutes on most days of the week can have a significant impact on improving your overall health.
Guess what? The same rule applies to your dog too! Most people make the mistake of assuming that only active dog breeds such as the Rottweiler or the Border Collier have to exercise. The reality is that all dogs require some form of physical activity, be it a walk or a game of Catch, to be happy and healthy. Here are ways to cultivate an active lifestyle for both you and your dog:
Set up a routine
This one definitely starts with yourself. Dog owners who walk their dogs regularly have a 70% less chance of getting diabetes than people who don’t own and walk dogs. It’s up to you to identify and list out the benefits of exercising for yourself to establish a stable routine that you can then incorporate your dog into as well. It might be slightly daunting, but including your dog into your routine is more straightforward than it looks!
For starters, bring them for a walk with you. It could be a leisurely stroll along the beach or if you’re feeling more confident, perhaps a jog at the park. Either way, make sure your dog is your constant companion in this. When you’re exercising together, challenge them. Run faster and see if they can keep up; roller skate or ride a skateboard and see if they will follow.
Of course, until you build that relationship of mutual trust with your dog, it will be challenging to let it roam free outside your house. However, independence will come with experience in training them over time. Have a retractable leash with you if your dog is feeling incredibly energetic that day so it can venture out a bit further. You could also grab a ball and let your dog run and catch it while you sit and have a break at the park. Try not to assume that your dog is incapable of more exercise than yourself but make sure to also keep an eye out for where their limits are. Once you know what works for your dog, you can set up an individual routine for it alongside yours to hit those health goals!
Explore the great outdoors
When you’re confident that your dog is capable of simple, consistent physical activity, why not switch things up a bit from time to time. On days where the sun is shining and would love to explore mother nature more, be it sitting by the beach or having a picnic by a waterfall to enjoy a bit of sun, pop your dog in the backseat, turn up the A/C and head out to the nearest pet-friendly beach or national park! If you are unsure of the rules and regulations of the location you were planning to explore, please double-check with the local authorities or website for more information.
Once you arrive, you can kick back and soak up some rays of sunshine with an excellent book in hand while your dog goes for a splash in the water. Studies have shown that a minute of swimming equates to 4 minutes of running for a dog! Encouraging your dog to take a swim without you will strengthen mutual trust and their sense of independence, not to mention their muscles too.
Agility training and behavioural benefits
Suppose you feel like your dog has started to outgrow the exercise routines that you've set up and exceeded your expectations. In that case, you can continue to test your dog’s strength and abilities by signing them up for agility training. This is a great way to make physical activity more interesting and exciting for both you and your dog than perhaps your simple game of Catch. Their energy and the innate animal instinct can be curbed through this method as well.
Agility training has been known to solve behavioural problems and improve the reliability of your pet during off-leash times. It helps to push your dog physically and mentally. Most importantly, it encourages obedience in your dog and builds strong bonds as well as establishing dominance as the owner.
Active dogs are less prone to exhibiting lousy behaviour as they are regularly burning energy and preoccupied with physical activity to be plagued with boredom which is the source of behavioural problems. Your dog will also have a better sleep and improved confidence in interacting with other dogs and humans. Longevity is the key here in all this. Invite friends to bring their pets along when heading to the park for a walk so you can all keep each other motivated for the benefit of you and your dog.
An active lifestyle can be difficult to achieve if your dog is poorly behaved and not well trained. A quality, well-calibrated dog training e-collar is an excellent and safe tool. Dog Gear offers trusted electronic dog training collars, utilising warning tones to prompt your pup safely. With free Australian shipping and same-day dispatch, our products will be with you fast. Follow us on Facebook for the latest advice, updates and dog training tips.