This is a question that lots of owners have. They want fit, healthy dogs and that comes down to two things: nutrition and exercise. Dogs, like people, need exercise. They need to get out of the house and be active.
Unfortunately, in America, lots of dogs don’t receive enough exercise, and can suffer both mentally and physically for it.
Mental Anguish Linked to Lack of Exercise
The old-school way of thinking believed dogs were playful as puppies, then around a year old, they got lazy and less energetic. This can lead to destructive dogs who aren't happy. The truth is that dogs are pretty active at all ages. Sitting in the house every day can lead to boredom. And boredome to destructive.
The truth is that dogs are intelligent, emotional beings needing mental stimulation. and for them, physical stimulation often = mental stimulation.
Working and hearding breeds are often the most in-need of exercise. They were breed with a purpose to work and need to get that energy out need to be physically and mentally stimulated.
Keep a hound from exploring with its nose and you’ll have a sad dog. Every breed, including mixed breeds, have activities they crave. Exercise helps them satisfy this need. Movement helps them physically, just as it does for humans. It controls weight, helps with metabolic rate while keeping disease at bay.
Walking is Key
Walking is the best exercise for dogs. There is a reason it is a great American past-time. Daily walks of 20-minutes are the minimum any owner should perform. Two walks are better, three or more and they'll talk about you like a legend at the dog park:)
Know your dog – if you have a high energy dog, you’ll need to either walk him more, or run with him to use up his energy. We especially love the Found My Animal Adjustable Rope Leash and Bait Free Thick Leash for those extra-long weekend walks.
What about dog parks and the back yard? There are many experts that believe that running around a dog park or your yard is good for exercise. It certainly can be. The flip side of the argument is that it doesn’t provide the same type mental stimulation that a long walk does. While this is debatable, the best option is to always include a walk whenever possible and mix in some wrestling at the dog park (assuming your pup is dog park friendly) for socialization and working on muscle strength. When the temperature outside drops, be sure to bundle up your pup in the appropriate gear to stay warm.
There seems to be something about moving forward, walking, that stimulates your dogs brain (especially on new neighborhoods or trails). Walking helps them release a lot of mental stress. Some believe it could be tied into the act of searching for food and shelter that is embedded in your pup’s genetic coding.
If you can walk with them, and give them access to a yard or dog park, they’ll get the best of both worlds. And certainly love you for it.