All You Need to Know about Exercising Your Dog

Dogs make the best pets! They are adorable, fun, loving, and above all, reciprocate our feelings like no other animal. They keep you company day and night, miss you while you’re away and welcome you with so much love when you are back.

Dog-sweater.jpgWho wouldn’t want to adopt a dog? These are probably the exact reasons why you brought home a dog too. But have you ever thought if the dog you purchased is suited to your lifestyle?

Many people just buy a dog because they like a particular breed or fell in love with a puppy at first sight. However, one should always adopt a dog considering one’s lifestyle. That’s because dogs have needs too. And if you won’t be able to fulfill them, your beloved pet could fall sick.

Of course, dogs don’t demand much. Apart from vet visits, good food, clean water and a cozy shelter, a dog only needs petting and exercise. While you may be petting your dog enough, it might not be getting adequate exercise.

Why Do Dogs Need Exercise?

Just as exercising is beneficial to humans, it is important to animals too. As animals generally don’t have much to do, they can easily gain weight. Exercising helps in maintaining body weight, and increasing bone strength and muscle tone. Dogs also love socializing. Playing active games with your dog or taking him on walks will create a better bond between the two of you.

Moreover, dogs are very active by nature. If you don’t play with your dog or engage him in activity, the pent up energy may lead to behavioral problems. Your dog may end up digging huge holes in your backyard or it may even chew through your favorite furniture.

Most dogs have a lifespan of 10- 15 years. As a dog grows old, one needs to take greater care of its health and needs. Exercising regularly will give your pet the strength it needs to endure the later years of its life easily.

How Much Exercise Does My Dog Need?

Every dog is an individual. Exercise needs vary depending on the age, weight and the breed of the dog. Younger dogs require more exercise than older ones and sporting breeds require more exercise than lapdogs.

The amount of exercise your dog needs also depends on its temperament. As mentioned, if you find your dog behaving oddly, it could well be because it isn’t being exercised enough. For most dogs, a daily 20 minute walk is usually recommended.

Simply letting your dog out in the garden or backyard won’t be of much help. As dogs prefer human companionship, they are unlikely to exercise and run about on their own. Swimming is a great exercise for dogs that aren’t afraid of water and can swim.

How Do I Get My Dog to Exercise at Home?

If you are unable to go out much or dislike doing so, you can try many something at home. Dogs need their minds to be exercised as well. If possible, you can build a maze in a little space inside the house or backyard.

Other mind games would be hiding his favorite toy and making him look for it. You can also hide treats for him to find out by himself. You can hide a treat under his food bowl. Seeing him trying to upturn the bowl to get to the treat will amuse you.

If you have a backyard or a garden, you can play retrieving games with your dog. As he runs and jumps about to catch an object and bring it back to you, he will get enough exercise. You may wish to set up an inflatable pool for your pet if it likes to swim.

Things to Keep in Mind

Dog CustomesPets need to be taken care of so that they don’t harm themselves while exercising. Warm up and cool down exercises are as necessary for your dog as they are for you. One also needs to make sure that the pet isn’t being over-exercised.

Dogs dissipate heat by panting their tongue as they do not have sweat glands. Over-exercising not only tires out dogs but also makes it difficult for them to control their body temperature. If your dog swims, never allow it to swim unsupervised. Using a dog life jacket is recommended for even the most skilled swimmers.

Do make sure that the terrain you’re exercising your dog on isn’t too harsh. Dog paws are made of bone, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue and skin. The skin on a dog’s paws hardens over time but that doesn’t make the paws hard as steel.

Exercising your dog in the afternoon during the summer months may lead to formation of blisters, rashes and other paw-related problems. Take your dog out only in the mornings or early evenings in the hot months. Exercising on hard terrain during winters may lead to frostbite. Don’t walk your dog on roads and pavements for too long in the cold months.

If you have a concrete or pebbled terrain in your garden or backyard, consider getting a synthetic turf. This will create a soft base for your dog to play on. With an artificial turf, you won’t have to sweat it out to mow the grass or maintain the look of your garden. Your dog won’t get much dirty either.

Conclusion

Care for your dog just as you would care for yourself. Adopting a dog means making a long-term commitment to it for at least 15 years. Keeping a dog also means having to shell out a lot more money than you‘d suspect for its food, vaccination, and more. As such, one must think carefully before adopting a dog. If you don’t think you can commit to a dog for that long, you can always adopt a grown-up dog instead of a pup.

Byline:

Millie Rainer is a content strategist for Forestgrass.com. She is looking to build up her authority as a blogger – so she is excited to explore new topics. Follow her on Twitter @MillieRainer.

 


Wearable tech – can it drive down vet costs and drive up rescue dog adoptions?

Right now and in the coming months, a series of wearable devices for dogs will hit the market. This first generation of tech collars can measure and report a dog’s heart rate, respiratory rate, rest patterns, calorie burning and more. You’ll be able to see this info from your mobile phone or tablet, and even email it to your veterinarian. There are all kinds of ways this can come in handy. For example, let’s say you need to travel and leave your dog in the care of a friend or relative. You can check your mobile device at any time and see precisely how your dog is doing and know whether your best friend is being properly cared for.

smart collar

These pioneering devices (and others that will undoubtedly follow) promise to help us better understand the health and well-being of our dogs, and could potentially reduce, maybe outright avoid, some serious health issues before they surface. Over time, you can create a history of your dog’s health that can pick-up subtle signals that something is wrong before you, and possibly even your dog, know something’s up. That huge vet bill that frets so many of us could be headed off at that pass the same way early detection of human maladies can often save money, even lives.

Naturally, one of the biggest concerns when adopting a dog is cost, specifically those related to medical care. These devices however could alert owners to possible health concerns much earlier in the illness’s development and not only save lives, but reduce the cost of remedy. If owners could learn to track their pet’s personal health via wearable technology, unexpected medical bills could be, if not avoided, largely reduced. With the burden of medical costs mitigated, we’ll surely see interest from the pet-loving community surge and that’ll only mean more adoptions… and new best friends.

Whistle is on the market now, and Voyce and FitBark are close behind.

by Max Goldenson
www.moderndogadoption.org

Basic Trick Training Techniques For Dogs

Teaching your dog tricks is a fun and educational part of being a pet owner. Not only does it help you create a stronger bond with your canine, it also teaches your dog confidence, obedience, and a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, there are many ways in which the process may be spoiled. If you use the wrong technique, or make a vital mistake, you can instead teach a dog fear or aggression instead. To avoid this, you can use one (or all) of the four basic techniques covered below.

dog training

Technique #1: Use Praise, Not Punishment

Too many dog owners believe they should punish their dogs for bad behavior. This is a terrible misconception. Instead of punishing bad behavior, you should be praising good behavior. You see, using praise can teach the dog confidence, obedience, and a sense of accomplishment. They will want to do as you ask because you are showing them it makes you happy.

Punishment, on the other hand, can have the exact opposite effect. Your dog will be doing as you ask them out of fear. You do not want to teach your dog fear. In addition to permanently harming a dog’s psyche, they may also lean towards aggressive behavior, which can be dangerous.

Forget spanking, crating, or yelling at your dog when they do something wrong. When they do something good, such as master a new trick or a portion of a new trick, tell them they did a good job. Use treats, a friendly pat on the head, a scratch behind the ears, and a simple “good job!” to show them they have done well.

Technique #2: Be Consistent, But Don’t Overdo It

Training sessions must be done on a consistent schedule. Decide when you will focus on training, and stick to it. Depending on your schedule, this may be every day or slightly less often. It isn’t just about consistency, however. Dogs have attention spans much like that of children, so you will want to keep your sessions short, but not too short. Sessions which are too long will make your dog bored; Too short sessions will not allow your dog to learn anything. Fifteen minutes is generally a good amount of time to aim for.

Here are a few tips for making this technique work:

  • Never skip a training session.
  • Choose a time of the day where you are generally free, so you will be able to stick to it.
  • Use a timer so your sessions don’t inadvertently run too long.

Technique #3: Always End Training On A Good Note

Although you need to be consistent, there are times when ending a few minutes early or a few minutes late is a better idea. Why? You need to try and always end your training sessions on a good note, because, like humans, a dog’s memory works backwards. Your dog will remember the final minute or two of their training session more clearly than anything else.

The best way to execute this technique is to ensure the last five minutes of your training session are focused on something your dog is good at. If your dog has already learned to shake paws and roll over, for example, but you are currently teaching them to speak, recap the tricks they know in the last five minutes. Or, if your dog masters a new trick in the first ten minutes of training, end the session with that. Your dog will remember accomplishing a new trick and being praised for it, so they will look forward to the next session.

Technique #4: Practice Patience and Take Baby Steps

Many people get frustrated because they think their dog “isn’t listening” or “will never get it.” They believe their dog should master tricks at a rapid pace, and wonder why they aren’t. This is a big misconception. It does, in fact, take time to learn something new. Some dogs may learn quicker than others, and easily master a new trick every week. Other dogs may take a month or more to learn a new trick. This is okay, because each dog is an individual and should be treated as such.

Take it slowly, and work on keeping your frustration in check. Your dog can sense frustration and anger. It will only serve to lengthen the time it takes them to master the trick at hand, because they will be confused and distracted. Focus on a single trick, or part of a trick, until your dog has it mastered. Instead of worrying over how long it is taking them to learn, focus on how well they are learning it.

What NOT To Do

While these four trick training techniques work well, they will do you no good if you make some of the most common dog training mistakes. Avoid the following mistakes at all costs to ensure your dog quickly and effectively learns the tricks you are trying to teach.

  1. Not training your dog often enough. Create a schedule for training your dog, and stick to it, no matter what.
  2. Repeating commands. When you repeat a command five or six times before a dog eventually complies, you are actually teaching them to stall each time you ask them to do the trick. Just ask the dog once, and then move on to the next item.
  3. You rely heavily on treats, while failing to give ample praise. Eventually a dog should do tricks exclusively for love and praise. Relying too heavily on treats can make the transition harder on both you and the dog.
  4. You lack adequate confidence. If your dog senses confidence, they will be more prone to listen and do as you ask. Without confidence, they will feel as though they do not have to listen to you.
  5. You use cookie-cutter training techniques without taking the individual dog’s personality into account. Each dog, just like every person, is unique. What works for one may not work for the other, and you must take this into consideration when training.

Conclusion

Utilizing the above four basic techniques when training your dog to do tricks can help ensure the process goes smoothly. When trained properly, a strong bond can form between canine and owner. Your dog will not only walk away with a new skill set, but also with boosted confidence and a higher level of obedience.

Christopher Rollox Gemini K9 Obedience inc. http://www.geminik9.com/