"Part 2 - Physical Exercise"
On my last blog I wrote about how important it is to exercise your dog and also how it benefits you too. So this time I would like to talk about physical exercise and finding the right balance for you and your dog and how it can help you both to keep fit and healthy. While out on a regular walk, you may not see how your route is filled with obstacles that can help build up your dog's stamina, focus and balance. For example, if you regularly walk in woodlands, you must have come across a log or two while out walking. Logs are a great workout for your dog, they can be jumped on, jumped over, walked along and even crawled under - all depending on the log's placement, that is!
If your dog isn't used to a "log workout" start off slowly and make sure you reward any behaviour that involves your dog interacting with the log and don't forget to join in yourself! Wanted behaviours such as two paws up on the log, jumping on or over and even standing on the log, should always be praised. When I'm out walking, I like to find different obstacles for the dogs to work out and have fun on, this could be a bench, a log, flat rocks, etc. All dogs are different so they will enjoy doing different stuff, so sometimes it can be a task to find a good one that's right for them.
There are many different ways to physically exercise your dog, for example my dog is a hyper Staffy that loves being the centre of attention. He's very clever when it comes to training outdoors and we have both discovered so much together. Max has never pulled on lead in his life and it was only 2 years ago I discovered a hidden talent was his pulling with focus. After a silly-random buy from a car boot sale which was a little off-road scooter, I thought it would be fun to see if Max would pull me, oh and he loved it! I've never seen a dog learn commands so fast and without rewarding with his usual treats or a ball. His reward for himself was the thrill of running fast.
Since I discovered that he loved to pull, I researched different exercises we could do together, so we ended up doing Bikejoring, Scooterjoring and Canicross.
We've enjoyed them all so much and had lots of fun doing them. After some training I entered myself and Max in for a 5K Doggy Fun Run, which for me I didn't think I could do and I thought it might be too much for Max, with the amount of dogs all crowded around. Well I was completely wrong! We did complete the run and Max was brilliant throughout, yes there were dogs trying to jump all over him but he carried on running and stayed focused.
So have fun trying to discover what your dog loves to do, take them to an agility class, fly-ball class, do exercise in the woods that's more than just a walk. Discover what they love to do and enjoy doing it with them, too! They may just surprise you!
"You and your dog's lives are meant for good cuddles and great adventures!" - Jo_DogWalker