Exercising Your Dog
Whether you own a Westie, Wolfhound or a Weimaraner, keeping them fit, active, happy and contented is key to their health and wellbeing.
Thankfully today there are so many activities you can share with them, from a walk in the countryside to a more intense hike up a mountain, dog agility, the sport of canicross or even bikejor.
Whatever their breed and size all dogs need to have their minds and bodies exercised. It is so easy for them to lay around waiting to be fed, or for you to come home from work, and this can so easily lead to health problems for your dog.
Walking in the countryside
Without doubt walks are a fantastic activity for a dog and their owner. Walks let them get out of their usual surroundings and explore. It also gives you both a chance to practice the behavioural commands you have been developing together.
Make your walks varied and interesting. Remember dogs are very intelligent and taking the same route everyday becomes boring for them as well as yourself.
Also where time allows don’t be in too much of a rush. Allow your dog to have a stiff and investigate his or her surroundings. However there is a happy medium between a route march and a slow meander where your dog is in charge.
Just like humans, dogs are naturally social creatures that really benefit from spending time with other dogs. There is often nothing better than having a walk and catch up with your friends and taking the dogs along too. It may seem obvious but make sure you allow plenty of time for the dogs to become acquainted before letting them off the leash to play. Once they are familiar, let them run and have fun.
Throw and Fetch
One of the all-time favourite games for dogs and their humans is of course throw and fetch. You don’t need much for this game but there are now plenty of specially designed balls, toys and aids such as the ball launcher to help you throw it even further to really have you dog exercising to the limit.
Fast-paced and just great fun - it is of course dog agility. Dog agility is the sport where the handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off the lead and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. The handler's controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.
An agility course consists of a set of standard obstacles laid out by a judge in a design of his or her own choosing in an area of a specified size. The surface may be of grass, dirt, rubber, or special matting. Depending on the type of competition, the obstacles may be marked with numbers indicating the order in which they must be completed.
Flyball is also fast and furious and a sport where is a teams of dogs race against each other from the start to the finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring-loaded pad, they then run back to their handlers while carrying the ball.
Canicross is the sport of cross country running with dogs. Originating in Europe as off-season training for the mushing (sledding) community, it has become popular as a stand-alone sport all over Europe and especially in the UK. Canicross is closely related to bikejoring, where participants cycle with their dog and skijoring, where participants ski rather than run.
Canicross can be run with one or two dogs, always attached to the runner. The runner wears a waist belt, the dog a specifically designed harness, and the two are joined by a bungee cord or elastic line that reduces shock to both human and dog when the dog pulls.
Whatever your chosen sport or activity - remember to enjoy your time with your dog and have fun in the fresh air!
To find out more about keeping your dog happy and healthy, take a look at our pet range.