Over the past couple of centuries, technological advancements have been such that society has gradually become more and more sedentary. This sedentary lifestyle, circumstantial or otherwise, has had an effect on our pets as well, and it is not uncommon to find that they too are in need of daily activities in order to enhance their own physical and mental health.
Dogs are borne to work, run, hunt, and play. In spite of their innate need to move and play, our dogs often find themselves sitting on the same sofa we ourselves sit on. It’s easy for all of us to become couch potatoes together.
Most of us do our best to accommodate these energy necessities, but in most cases, these quick walk outings are not enough. Here are some easy ways to make exercising with dogs more enjoyable for everyone. (As always, limit your movement, and your dogs, to your own physical restrictions and health and consult your doctor and vet for any medical needs!)
Follow your dog’s lead
Possibly the simplest way of mixing things up: next time you and your dog walk out of the door for your daily promenade, instead of leading the dog, let him or her decide where to go. Follow his nose and see where that might take you! Keep up with the pace she has set. There will be a time when sniffing around in the same pocket of space will seem to be all the dog needs, while other times, a whiff of the wind blowing nearby may have alerted him that something wonderful is brewing that must be investigated immediately. This might involve some running but your dog will love you for it.
Dogs love chasing, hunting, and running after a moving object. It might be a ball you’re throwing, but he or she will make it a life mission to catch it. Make it even more interesting? Instead of simply waiting for the dog to return it, why don’t you run after the ball yourself? The other incentive of beating you to the ball will make it an even better game, notwithstanding the fact that dogs are social animals used to hunting in packs. And who better than you, the leader of your dog pack, to run along with?
Make your dog work for its treats
Hide and seek is the name of the game here. Dogs love treats, love sniffing around, love chasing and hunting, so looking for that yummy treat that is tickling his or her ever-sensitive nose will be all she’ll ever need to set upon searching for it.
This tip relies on having one at home, but treadmills are not only great for humans to get our blood flowing, they are also a lot of fun for our dogs. I had the cutest female poodle once who loved her treadmill. I would often hear her barking from the room where the treadmill was set up, which I knew as my cue to turn it on. I often wondered if she really knew that this activity was taking her nowhere fast.
When it comes to exercise, we often think in terms of physical benefits and of course. But exercising is not just beneficial for our heart, our muscles, our joints, and our overall well-being, but just as importantly, it helps our mental state, too. Plus, exercising with our dogs enhances our bonds even further.