Exercise your Dog!
We hear it all the time, “workout, eat right...and get your exercise!” Well, the same holds true for our canine friends. Of course, we all know the importance of our dog eating sensibly, but we’ll save that discussion for a later date. For now, lets focus on the importance of exercising your dog regularly and how they would rather not be lying on the couch all day. Imagine for a moment what life would be like if your dog was living in “the wild”. Obviously, our hip, Urban Canines have evolved, but once upon a time these doggies were not so domesticated. Most likely much of the day would be spent looking for food and water. The rest of the day might be spent staying clear of other predators and part of that time would likely involve a little bit of fun playtime with their pack-mates. Sounds like a lot of exercise to me, and not a lot of sitting on a bed or in a cage!
Ok, so fast forward to 2011 with our best buddy who likes to rest on that couch all day while we are away at work. Granted, we know we are not talking about a wild dog here, but your couch potato pooch is still in a lot of ways that same (wild) animal of yesteryear. Our dogs love to search and wander, and many love to be chased by other “predators” at the doggie park…and I can tell you that my Dobie Sheba loves to chase/track and retrieve her ball like it is her job. Sorta how our canine predecessors might act if they were rounding up some food for their pups. And playtime is still every bit as fun and exciting as it was back in the day. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know any dog that will argue with the search and destroy game of licking every ounce of peanut butter out of the inside of a kong, but this peanut buttery game should not be used as a substitute for their much needed physical exercise.
There are also many benefits to YOU the pet owner in giving your dog a little extra exercise each day. Especially for the dog owner that is completely frustrated with your obnoxious canine…you will be surprised at how calm and well behaved your dog can become when they are well exercised. Take them out for a long morning stroll; it will be good for both of you. Does your dog desire a little more physical stimulation than brisk walking? Teach them to fetch and you will be amazed at how much fun they can have and what a great way for them to get their cardiovascular workout. And at absolutely no cardiovascular advantage to you! Get them off the couch and you will be amazed at how much calmer they can be. Of course, for best results, obedience training should also be part of your daily program, but we can discuss that one on another day as well.
The point is, find a way to let your dog stretch their legs. They really need it and totally want to do it, trust me! If you have a home with a doggie door, and yard (with squirrels to chase), great. I know most of us city dwellers don’t have such a convenience, so we need to find other ways to properly care for our pets and get them their daily exercise. It just so happens we can help! Urban Canine is a dog walking service that specializes in safe and responsible exercising. Give us a call so we can discuss your dogs individual exercising needs. We can help, and the cost is very reasonable.
Go healthy Dogs!
Do not allow your dog to free feed!
This tip may seem obvious to some of you, but others may not be aware the benefits. The main reason to control your dog's feeding schedule is to make it clear that you are the provider. If your pet is allowed to nibble throughout the day, he will think the food is there for the taking. Your dog must understand that eating is a privilege that should not to be taken for granted.
Another important reason to control your dogs feeding schedule, is to know exactly how much he is eating. We are responsible for maintaining a healthy weight in our dogs. The back of an IAMS food bag has a pretty accurate chart of how much your dog should eat based on his size.
You may also want to feed him twice a day and give him something to look forward to during the day. Be sure to make him sit and pause before releasing him to the food dish. If he does not start eating immediately, you must remove the food from his reach. He should not be allowed to eat until his next meal. He will eventually figure out that he must take advantage of all feeding opportunities. Remember that your pet is a natural survivor, and he will not starve. Also, do not feel the need to “doctor-up” the food to make it more appealing. He will gladly eat dry kibble if this is all he is offered.
Note: It may take a while to switch your dogs eating habits, but be patient and they will catch on.
Owner, Certified Dog Trainer