Dogs are known to have accompanied humans since the dawn of history.
They are, after all, workers by nature and spend most of their time scavenging and hunting for food, defending their territory, caring for their puppies and playing with one other.
However, the majority of companion dogs we see nowadays are treated as spoiled couch potatoes at home. It’s important that all dogs—no matter how big or small—get their daily exercise!
Unless you want your dog to end up overweight, moody, and unhealthy, it is recommended that you exercise them daily, no matter what.
Thankfully, there are many ways to exercise your dog both outdoors and indoors.
If you get bored with a certain activity, you can try to switch it up once in a while.
We recommend these dog exercises to get your dog out of the house and improve your pet’s health!
Walking Your Dog
This may seem obvious – but is often overlooked by dog owners.
Walking your dog is the easiest way to give your dog regular exercise, and is a great way of getting some daily exercise in for the owner too!
Did you know that you can walk double the steps you would in a week by simply walking your dog every day? Dogs help us humans stay active!
What’s great about on-leash walks is that it also gives your dog interesting sights and smells.
If you vary the routes you take from time to time, you can give them new sights and smells to enjoy, keeping walks exciting and new.
The average walk time for your dog should be around 30 minutes.
If you have an old or an unhealthy dog, you can start by walking them for as short as 10 minutes, and then gradually increasing the duration of the walk each day until they get used to it.
For younger, more active dogs, however, walks alone aren’t enough, and it is recommended you exercise them in other ways in addition to regular walks.
Running With Your Dog
If you want to turn it up a notch, running with your dog is, once again, great exercise for both you and your pet.
You can get all your cardio in while getting your dog active, too!
Consider your dog as the personal trainer at the gym that forces you to work out.
Just make sure not to make a habit of pulling your dog’s leash, as it can damage their throats.
If they suddenly stop, your dog is either sniffing something, enjoying the scenery around them, or could simply be tired.
Do not overestimate the physical capacities of your dog and be careful not to force them to run too far or for too long!
If your dog has a lot of pounds to shed, finding an agility class or group can be a good idea.
Dog agility is a competitive sport that can use up excessive energy because it involves lots of whizzing around and jumping.
Not only is it an intense workout for your dog, but it can also give them the opportunity to learn new tricks and develop obedience, coordination, and confidence.
Most dogs are natural swimmers, so the majority don’t require any training to move in water.
There are some dogs, however, who aren’t as comfortable in water—but fret not, because they can still be trained and still be able to enjoy a swim!
Teaching your dog how to swim is more effective if they’ve been exposed to the water since they were a puppy.
It’s best to start off in shallow water, like a pool, where it’s easier to watch over your dog.
Just make sure you dry your dog’s ears after a swim to avoid the risk of an ear infection.
If you choose to let your dog swim at the beach, make sure wipe its paws to get rid of sand and salt water that could end up irritating them.
A simple game of fetch is easy!
You don’t have to travel far to play with them; the nearest park or even the comfort of your own home will do.
A toy or a branch will suffice, and—hoping that your dog brings the object back to you every time—you’d be giving your dog some exercise with minimum effort on your end.
You could spend some time doing some dog training so that they give you back the object once they catch it, by calling its name and giving them a treat each time so that it remembers to do so.
Running Up And Down The Stairs
If you have a flight of stairs at home and you’re unable to leave the house, making your dog run up and down is a great way to tire them out.
Adding steps to any workout raises its difficulty, so this can be considered as a more challenging version of a run.
Moreover, doing this is also similar to a game of fetch—you must stand at the top end of the staircase and throw a toy downstairs for your dog to catch it.
Then, call your dog’s name so it runs back up the stairs to bring it back to you!
The way an automatic dog ball-thrower works is that your dog can then retrieve the ball once it’s been thrown, and then place them back in the ball container for it to be re-thrown again after a few seconds.
We know this sounds like the ultimate device for the laziest dog-owners, but hear us out—this device is actually really useful for the elderly, the disabled, and those with muscular weaknesses.
However, you don’t have to be any of those to own a ball-throwing machine: in some days, we owners can get too busy or too tired to play with our dogs—and that’s okay, too. This machine can give your dog some exercise for you!
Playdates With Other Dogs
Do you have any friends who own dogs, too?
Then set a playdate!
If you put your dog in a room with other dogs, they tend to create their own games and play amongst themselves.
This gives your dog a lot of time to be active, while you sit and have a chat with your buddy.
That is, of course, if both dogs actually like each other and they don’t try to maul each other.
Otherwise, perhaps it’s best to separate them and find another dog to befriend.
Teach Your Dog A New Skill
Mental stimulation plays a huge role in a dog’s health.
Exercising your dog’s brain is equally as important as exercising their muscles.
Try to think of fun tricks to teach your dog, like high-fiving on command, and different command signals like such.
Training your dog mentally is a good way to both cure their boredom and keeps them less frustrated, improving as it improves their overall mood.
Working For Treats
As previously mentioned, dogs are natural hunters.
Hiding treats in little boxes around the house and having your dog find it is a good way for them to exercise themselves both mentally and physically.
You can make them push objects around to be able to get their treats, and before you know it, they’ll be tired (but also very satisfied)!
How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
Compared to toy breeds (Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Malteses), smush-nosed breeds (French bulldogs, Pugs, and Shih Tzus), and giant breeds (Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs), dogs belonging in the hunting or herding breed such as Labrador retrievers, hounds, collies and shepherds will require much more exercise.
Either way, no matter the breed, dogs who don’t get enough mental stimulation and physical exercise tend to develop a destructive behaviour, which can easily be resolved go away with regular exercise.
So, if you want to avoid turning your dog becoming unhealthy, bored and moody, always make sure to give them the daily exercise that they need—between 30 minutes to 2 hours a day.
Yes, even the older, less active dogs, or dogs who suffer from any condition that causes them to slow down, still need their daily exercise in some form or another.
Not making them work out every day would ultimately make them feel worse.
As they say—a tired dog is a happy dog!