Dogs have a lot of energy that needs to be expended. Otherwise, it can result in behavioral issues and even health conditions.
Exercises such as walks, hikes and jogs provide a low-impact workout that is great for all breeds and sizes. Games like fetch, tug-of-war and playing with a flirt stick can also help to get your pup’s blood pumping.
Tug-of-war is a physical exercise that will work your dog’s muscles and help to burn off extra energy. It’s also a fun way to challenge yourself and your dog. This game has been around since ancient times and was a part of the Olympic Games between 1900 and 1920.
While some may believe that tug of war is a game of pet parents and dogs versus each other, this game is an excellent bonding exercise. It doesn’t promote problem behaviors when it is done correctly. The key is to ensure your dog has an appropriate tug toy, establish ground rules of play, and incorporate training techniques to support obedience commands, impulse control, and building confidence.
It’s also important to remember that tugging is a natural canine behavior that returns to its hunter roots. When they chase and shake their toys, it’s similar to how their ancestors used those tools to catch prey. This innate canine behavior is also highly rewarding, so dogs love it. Tug-of-war is an effective way to release pent-up energy, even when it’s raining, and trips to the dog park aren’t possible.
Playing hide and seek is an excellent way to engage your pup’s sniffing, searching, and problem-solving instincts. Start by placing a treat around the house in easy-to-find spots like on top of a sofa or under a rug, then give your dog the cue to “find it.” Once they’ve mastered that, you can make the game more challenging and have them stay stationary while you move the treats to different places in the room.
You can also use a dog ‘hunting’ toy that requires your dog to follow its nose to find the treat, strengthening its problem-solving skills, attention, and focus. This training also helps your pup track commands without distractions, a good skill in an emergency, such as walking them through a crowd.
Another way to get your dog’s legs moving is by playing a game of tug-of-war. This is a great way to get your and your pet’s blood pumping, but remember that it can strain their neck and back muscles, so be careful! If you’re uncomfortable with tug-of-war, try a more gentle exercise for dogs, such as playing fetch, going on walks, or jogging with your dog.
Like people, dogs need regular exercise to keep them fit and healthy. Exercise not only helps reduce the risk of common health conditions, but it also keeps dogs mentally sharp and emotionally balanced. Whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor activity, plenty of exercises can be done with your dog to get them moving.
One of the most basic strength training exercises is a squat. This exercise targets the lower body, including the quads, glutes and hamstrings. It can be done with or without weights, depending on your preference.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent to squat. Slowly squat down until your hip joint is lower than your knees. Then, push through your heels and return to the starting position. Add a barbell and use a bench or chair to help balance for a more challenging version of this exercise.
Single-leg squats are another great variation of this exercise. They strengthen the core, improve balance, and activate weaker, neglected muscles. To perform a single-leg squat, place a barbell on a rack with a suitable amount of weight for your current ability level. Stand under the barbell with your feet about shoulder-width apart and grab it with a wide grip.
Your dog’s natural energy must be expended, or it can lead to anxiety, inappropriate chewing and licking, digging, barking and other destructive behaviors. Exercise helps to expel this energy and provides various health benefits for your furry friend.
A tunnel walk is a great lower-body workout for dogs. This requires your dog to step into a narrow tunnel and walk into it. It may take some training for your pet to do this, but luring them with treats and walking into the tunnel a few times can help.
You can do a tunnel walk with your dog on the sidewalk, a trail, at an indoor mall or another safe place to navigate. It’s also a fun way to explore the area around your home, and it can give you and your dog something to do when it’s raining or too hot to go outside.