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How to Exercise Your Dog

6 Jun 2024

Just as with humans, exercise is critical in ensuring a dog’s health. Exercise promotes cardiovascular wellness, healthy weight maintenance, and joint function. Other benefits include allowing a dog to perform natural behaviours, bond with its owner, and ultimately enjoy itself. It is hard to overemphasise how important exercise is, and we strongly believe that it is a must for happy and healthy dogs.

In the UK, daily walks are the most common way to exercise a dog. These are an excellent starting point and allow a dog to build positive associations with their owner, develop a good routine, and perform natural behaviours while gaining cardiovascular benefit. Generally taking place in the morning and evening, they set a dog up for a good day and can help it settle before bedtime as well as allowing it to defecate outside of the home. Surprisingly, exercise is a secondary benefit of the traditional on-leash walk with its main value lying in the sensory stimulation it offers. Scent is a dog’s strongest sense, and given the relative sterility of modern homes time spent outside is always valuable. The ideal walk will allow a dog to sniff and explore freely providing a blend of physical and mental stimulation.

Free running dogs is another good way to exercise them. As opposed to conventional on-leash walks, this is more driven by an individual dog’s interests or desires than its handlers. Free running will generally be a higher intensity form of exercise, and is particularly suitable for more energetic and working dogs. For safety reasons, it is best only conducted in an enclosed space such as a paddock or field, or once your dog has been trained to have fully reliable recall.

Games are also valuable, and have good potential to help dogs meet their regular exercise needs. Fetch, chasing games, and flirt poles are all equivalent to what humans would consider as HIIT (high intensity interval training), and are very time efficient. Given that these games engage with a dog’s natural prey drive, they are as mentally stimulating as they are physically.

For more information about exercising your dog in a fun and healthy way, please email our training team on [email protected].

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