Exercise Tips For Your Pooch

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Exercise Tips For Your Pooch

by Beth Williams

Puppies need exercise - and a lot of it to release their boundless energy. But, exercising is just as essential for full grown dogs as it is for puppies. A lack of exercise will likely lead to problems for both you and your pup. Your pooch, frustrated with all his built up energy, may begin to exhibit destructive behavior, such as destroying furniture, devouring shoes, digging in the yard, and causing havoc in your home.

Even if you don't have time to take your puppy or dog for long, leisurely walks, you still have plenty of options that will allow him to get his exercise without taking a huge chunk out of your day. What's more, your dog will have fun, get the exercise he needs, and he'll tire himself out, leaving him happy and less likely to exhibit destructive behavior.

Option 1: Play fetch

Most dogs love to play fetch. It's an excellent way to play with your dog and to exhaust his energy. You can use a tennis ball, a Frisbee, or even one of your dog's toys.

Always praise your dog when he brings the ball (or whatever you use) and drops it in front of you. Praise is an essential component of the training process, and it's just as important during playtime.

Option 2: Go for a walk

Walking is good for both you and your dog. In addition to providing your dog with the exercise he needs, he'll be able to get out of his normal environment and interact with other animals and people.

If possible, take your dog for a walk at least twice a day for thirty minutes each time. Keep an eye on your dog when he's walking, especially if it's hot or he's older. When you notice he's beginning to tire, turn around and return home.

Option 3: Go for a run or a jog

Jogging is a great way to keep you and your pooch in shape. But, before you head out for your first jog, take your dog to the vet for a physical to ensure he is healthy enough to jog or to run.

Experts recommend not allowing puppies to go for runs until they are at least a year old. In the first year of life, puppies' bones are still developing, and the running can be hard on their bones and joints.

Alternately, if you have an older dog, consult your vet before deciding to take him on a jog or a run. Many older dogs suffer from health problems, including arthritis, so make sure your pooch is healthy enough to run. If the vet gives you the green light, don't jog or run as fast as you would with a younger dog, and take frequent breaks.

Don't just start running after you've decide to take your dog on your morning jog with you. You'll need to start your dog slowly and help him build his stamina. Start by running for short periods of time followed by long periods of walking. This way, you'll not only help your dog build his stamina, but you'll also start to learn when he's sore or hurting.

When you suspect he's sore or hurting, stop running immediately and return home. When you first start running with your dog, take him running every other day until he and his body get used to the new exercise regimen.

Heat exhaustion is another major concern with your dog. Dogs can't sweat like humans, so keep a careful eye on your dog. Consider taking a spray bottle with you, so you can cool your dog off before he becomes tired or overheated.

Option 4: Head to the dog park

Many neighborhoods are now home to dog parks, a fenced area where dogs of all ages and breeds come together to run and play. Dog parks are a great way for your dog to get to know other dogs, to play, and to expend his energy. They're also an easy way to meet other dog owners.

Most dog parks have simple rules, such as always clean up after your dog, and some even have toys, like tennis balls, that stay within the enclosed area. Generally you can choose between sitting back and watching your dog play, or playing with him. Be forewarned, however, that a game of fetch between you and your dog will likely attract a lot of the other dogs, making it a fun way for your dog to interact with others.

To find a dog park in your area, check your local phone book, pet store, or vet's office, and someone should be able to point you into the right direction.

Beth Williams is a full-time writer, published author, and co-founder of Pet PLR, the premier pet content membership Web site, found online at petplr.com Beth is also the co-owner and co-founder of Creative Inklings LC, a full service writing firm creativeinklings.org

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