Part of keeping your dog healthy involves giving it enough exercise. The intensity and duration of the exercise will vary from breed to breed, but all dogs should get aerobic exercise (enough to make them pant) a minimum of three times a week. Here are some exercise ideas.
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The classic method of exercise is to go for a walk. You can use a flexi-leash to adjust the distance your dog is allowed to go. If you live in a city, you might want a regular leash so you can keep your dog closer to you. Don’t let your dog invade another dog’s space, walk in someone else’s yard, or run into the street. Walk at a brisk pace.
Running with your dog can be even more beneficial, but don’t overdo it. Make sure your dog is in good shape before you jog too far. You can also run your dog alongside your bicycle. Make sure to use a “Springer” so that the bike won’t tip over if the dog lunches for something. Keep your distances short at first. An alternative is to let the dog run in a fenced yard, where he can choose his own pace and stop to sniff at his leisure.
Take your dog to a dog park and play fetch or Frisbee. If you want to increase your dog’s workout, hit a tennis ball with a racquet or throw the ball uphill. If you throw a Frisbee, use a soft, dog-approved Frisbee and keep your throws low. Many dogs have injured themselves jumping too high. This activity may be too stressful for puppies and some breeds of dog.
Speaking of jumping, most dogs love this form of exercise. You can design your own jumps using cardboard boxes. Start with low jumps and work your way up, no higher than the dog’s elbow. All jumping should be done off-leash. If your dog won’t jump, the jump may be too high or he may have a physical condition that should be checked by a vet.
There are other exercises that are better suited for dogs with particular characteristics or conditions. Swimming, for example, is especially good for dogs with joint problems. Make sure you take your dog to a place where it is safe and legal for him to swim. Canine exercise balls are terrific for big dogs like labs. Consult your vet or a dog training manual for more specific exercises for your dog.