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The PupJoy Post

Fresh Exercise Ideas With Your Dog

Just like humans, dogs are highly intelligent, sentient beings. When boredom strikes, our playful pooches will find a way to entertain themselves — sometimes in mischievous and even destructive ways.

Bored dogs can cause some serious damage if they’re not adequately stimulated both mentally and physically. For young dogs and high-energy breeds, a daily, 30-minute walk isn’t nearly enough exercise to tire out their minds and bodies. Some of the largest and most active breeds require as much as three hours of exercise per day!

Regular exercise is mutually beneficial for hounds and humans alike. Studies show that pet parents have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular and musculoskeletal conditions, including heart disease, high cholesterol, and arthritis, to name a few.

While regular walks provide much-needed routine and structure for your cuddly canine, it’s important to switch things up now and then to keep your pal on their paws. Remember, spontaneity is the spice of life! Feeling uninspired with your daily dog walk? Read on for some fresh ideas for exercising with your dog.


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Spice up the daily walk with some weights

If you’re looking to build endurance or just challenge your canine kiddo, consider adding a little extra weight to the walk using a fitted vest or backpack. For medium and large breeds with greater endurance, weighted walks are an excellent way to up the ante and give your pal a more strenuous workout.

Before purchasing the items you’ll need to consult with your veterinarian to confirm your dog is healthy enough for this activity. Breeds prone to developing joint conditions, such as arthritis and degenerative joint disease, have a higher risk of injuring themselves on a weighted walk.

As always, when starting any new activity, introduce your dog slowly and ensure the weights are no more than 12% of your dog’s body weight. A weighted walk should take about half the time of a normal walk. For example, a 15-minute weighted walk is equivalent to a 30-minute walk.

If your pup shows any signs of exhaustion — slowing down or excessive panting or drooling — remove the weight immediately and give your buddy a water break.


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Stop and smell the roses

While out walking the dog, have you ever found yourself feeling impatient each time your pup pulls the leash or stops to sniff something? If so, you could learn a thing or two from your four-legged friend!

According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, our stress levels have skyrocketed to new heights. We’re constantly worrying about work, money, our futures and families — so naturally, we’re always looking for ways to reduce stress and anxiety and boost happiness and health.

Yet, in our haste to get back home to finish up the chores and cook dinner after a long day at work, we don’t realize the answer to (some of) our problems is sniffing and panting right in front of us.

Unlike many of us stressed-out humans, our mutts have mastered mindfulness. Dogs are constantly alert, fully present and attuned to their surroundings, using all their senses to immerse themselves in the world around them.

The next time you’re out walking the dog, follow in your pup’s paw prints and channel your inner zen. No, you don’t have to literally stop and smell the roses — though we’re sure your fur-baby will! — but do make an effort to be fully present for the duration of your walk.

The key to mindfulness is to observe your thoughts as they materialize, instead of trying to empty your mind completely. Notice how your body feels and pay attention to your breath. When your mind wanders, redirect your attention to what’s happening right here and now. You might be pleasantly surprised at how relaxed you feel after just a few moments!

Take your commitment to mindfulness a step further by trying “doga”. Including your canine in your yoga flow provides an excellent mental challenge for your pup as well as a physical workout. Plus, training your dog to enjoy this exercise will strengthen the bond you share — so roll out the yoga mat and do the downward dog!



Don’t leave Lassie lonely

Let’s face it: there will be days when you’re too tired after work or simply won’t have time to walk Sparky. However, staying consistent with your pup’s walk schedule is vital for preventing boredom — and the bad behaviors that come with it.

On busy days when walking the dog is “impawssible”, consider booking a walk through a local dog walking service. On-demand dog walking services are sort of like an Uber for dogs, making it easier than ever to maintain your pup’s exercise regimen.

What are your favorite exercises to do with your dog? Tried any of these activities? Share your experience in the comments! (Bonus points for cute dog pics!)