We asked The Finchley Dog Walker for his views on the different types of exercises for dogs. Here's what he came up with!
I guess that when you take your dog for a walk, your feet go onto automatic pilot as you tread the same pavements, your pooch sniffing the same patches of grass. We know that our pets have pent up energy, and there is a need to take them for some physical exercise, as it’s just as important for our pets, as it is for us humans. It gives a feeling of well-being and helps to maintain optimal physical health.
Most of us know that walking is what we are supposed to do with our dogs? In fact, this is what I do for a living each and every day as a professional dog walker.
However, there are many other fun activities that we can enjoy with our pets that also provide physical conditioning and break the boredom barriers and traditional concepts of what owners and dogs are supposed to do for exercise routines.
Breed Specific Exercises
Depending on the breed of your dog, most will benefit from trying out specific activities to fulfil their needs. Just as Border collies will round up sheep, and Retriever types will bring back fallen birds to you, many dogs have ingrained behaviours.
Terriers – will love sniffing out and digging for toys or treats that are hidden in the garden or around the home.
Toy dogs – these small lap dogs, like the Chihuahua, Maltese and Pekingese usually shine at agility exercises. Although small dogs, they do still need their daily exercise.
Herding breeds – Border Collies and German Shepherd dogs love nothing better than performing, especially if its winding their way through a route of obstacles.
Sporting dogs – Spaniels, Setters, Pointers and Retrievers are all athletic dogs bred to hunt out and bring back game. They flourish on plenty of daily exercise and long walks.
Non-Sporting – Dog breeds fitting into this group are the Bulldog, Dalmatian and Poodle, breeds that enjoy different forms of exercise. Poodles are very good at agility, while Bulldogs prefer more sedate walks.
Hounds – have very powerful noses. Foxhounds and Beagles alike, will relish any scent work hunting out treats that you’ve hidden.
Fun exercises for you and your dog
There are many activities you can enjoy with your pet, while exploring the great outdoors, but remember that the outing is mainly to benefit your dog, so you must stop when he wants to greet other people and dogs, and to sniff around his surroundings, even if it means you going a little slower.
Running – a brilliant exercise to strengthen muscles and increase stamina.
Dog Agility Class – a competitive sport that will let your dog expend energy and excess weight. With the ability to use new skills and develop confidence, this high energy sport incudes running and jumping exercises.
A Game of Fetch – with busy schedules, it’s sometimes difficult to fit in a daily walk or run, but a game of Fetch is easy to play in the garden or nearby park. It’s also great for those rainy days, and can be played indoors, when neither you nor your dog want to venture very far from home. Whether it’s his favourite toy, a Frisbee or a ball, your dog will love this exercise routine.
Resistance Walking - A challenge whatever the weather – its great fun sniffing and walking through a leaf filled walkway, in shallow water on the beach, on the sand or even in the snow.
Step Challenge – For any agile dog, a flight of stairs can provide fun and exercise. You walk to the top of the stairs, leaving your dog at the bottom, then call them up to you, giving a reward or some fuss, then repeat a few times, but of course stop if they appear to be short of breath.
Different breed considerations and exercise
When planning your new exercise routines, it’s always best to ask your Vet’s advice and to check for any health matters that may be intensified by exercise. Some breeds, ages and sizes of dogs may benefit from less challenging activities.
Puppies and young dogs with bone structures that are still growing, will not require as much walking as larger breeds.
Large dogs can suffer from cruciate ligament injury, hip and arthritis problems with persistent jogging.
Whippets and greyhounds are built more for sprinting short distances, rather than marathon runs.
Smaller dogs or those breeds with short legs will not need as much exercise
Dogs with flat or short noses may experience breathing difficulties when doing vigorous exercise.
No matter the age, breed or size of your pet, keeping him active, energised and busy, will allow him to live a long and enjoyable life.