It is essential to maintain a regular exercise routine for your pet to keep them fit and healthy. Whether your dog is young or old, they should stay as active as possible. Your dog's breed, age, and energy levels will determine how intense the exercise should be, and it's important to ensure that they don't sustain injuries or exhaustion by overdoing it.
Taking your dog for a walk may be the most common way to incorporate activity into every day, but there are many ways to make their exercise more fun.
Here are 10 fun ways to exercise your pet.
1. Play fetch and chase games
Whether you have a large enough yard or you head to a nice open, dog-friendly park, your dog will love playing fetch and chase games with you. This is an excellent way for your pup to get plenty of exercise, especially in larger spaces. Throwing a ball or frisbee as far as you can and watch as your dog thoroughly enjoys retrieving it!
2. Create an obstacle course
Obstacle courses are a fun way to make exercise even more fun for dogs, and can be used for training, too. There are many options for creating obstacles, such as jumping through hoops, weaving between objects like stools, and jumping over and ducking under poles.
3. Play tug of war
Playing tug-of-war is an excellent way to bond with your dog while giving them a great workout. Using their muscles and jaws, dogs love to play at keeping hold of a toy or rope. If they have trouble letting the toy or rope go, have some treats handy to train them to release it on command.
4. Take a hike
If you enjoy nice long walks, consider taking your dog on a hike. So long as you stick to an appropriate difficulty level for both of your fitness levels and take a source of water with you, hiking is a fun way to get out into nature together.
5. Use treat-dispensing toys
Ultimately, exercising our minds is just as important as exercising our bodies, and the same is true for dogs. Using treat-dispensing toys is a great way to stimulate your dog's mind and body, potentially keeping them occupied for some time. Encouraging your dog to playfully work for their food is also an excellent way to slow down their eating. It may take a few times for your pup to get used to the idea, and it helps to start with the easiest level of access to the treats or food, but soon enough, they should become engaged and enjoy it.
6. Visit a dog park
So long as your dog is well-socialized with other dogs, then visiting a dog park can be super fun for them. Maintaining good socialization skills between your pet and other dogs is also important. If you experience any challenges with your dog interacting with other animals, it may be best to consult with an animal behaviorist.
7. Play hide-and-seek
Dogs may not understand the concept of hide-and-seek on their own, but if you incorporate some treats, they'll soon get the hang of it! Training your dog to find hidden treats (or even yourself) is a great way to incorporate physical and mental stimulation, especially on rainy days. Dogs naturally love hunting and tracking, so training them to play scavenger hunting is so much fun.
8. Enroll in an agility class
Agility or conditioning classes are a fun, challenging way for humans and animals to bond while stimulating their minds and improving training, too. Dogs and owners can learn new commands as the pup runs through a variety of exercises that will enhance their muscle, joint, and ligament health and agility.
9. Go for a swim
So long as your dog is a fan of water, taking them for a swim is a wonderful way to spend the day and burn some energy off - it's also a great option for exercising while staying cool on a hot day.
If you are introducing your dog to water for the first time, you might want to invest in a life vest for peace of mind and to give them some added confidence. If they seem unsure, give them lots of praise and use treats to encourage them to be brave. However, be patient with them, as they will otherwise pick up on the pressure, which could make their transition into swimming a little problematic if they are nervous.
10. Focus on training
During a training session, exercise is automatically part of the process, and teaching your dog new commands and tricks can be a lot of fun. If you and your dog are new to training, start with some basic commands like sit and stay. Once you've both got the hang of it, there are many fun tricks to try together, such as roll over, sit up and beg, high 5, etc.
Exercise can always be fun
So long as you keep it safe and appropriate for the dog's health and fitness level, exercise can always be fun, stimulating, and a great bonding experience for both you and your pet.
Keeping it varied can also help to ensure that your dog gets regular exercise and that you also get plenty of enjoyment from it, making your relationship even stronger.