Exercise Your Dog - Mentally and Physically
If you have a dog, you know how much fun they always want to have. Dogs view fun in different ways. A working dog and a pet dog can have similarities yet many differences as well. Both mental and physical stimulation are important for all dogs though.
A dog that has plenty of mental and physical stimulation is happier, healthier, and better behaved as well. If you have a well exercised dog they are less likely to chew things up like the couch or your shoes.
A walk on a leash with your dog is a great way to help them get some of that physical exercise. By allowing them to sniff during the walk, that gives them some mental stimulation as well. Many people don't consider a leashed walk an aerobic exercise and definitely recommend swimming, fetch, or simply running as better choices for aerobic exercise for your dog.
- Fetching a ball or frisbee
- Playing tug
- Off-Leash Hikes or other adventures
- Playing with other dogs
One of my favorite ways to work out a dogs brain is using KONGS or the West Paw toppl. I fill these with dog safe food or treats and then I freeze them for a longer workout time. I'll even use the food I feed my dogs (for the ones not fed kibble) so they workout their brain while also getting their meal. If you do feed kibble, there are also plenty of toys out there where you can add the food to so your dog has to work to get the kibble out. One that I can recommend you try out for kibble fed dogs is the Pet Zone IQ Treat Ball. These are great options to have your dog spend their morning learning and figuring out how to get their food and then the next part of their day recovering from it.
All the Toys
Toys create engagement with your dog. Most dogs have a specific type of toy they really enjoy and they may seem to really enjoy one until you introduce a different one that they may show they enjoy more. Trying out a few different toy options will help you decide what toy your dog truly loves the most.
I believe that the best toys for your dog serve a purpose. Simply they make themselves interesting in some way, whether that's a toy that squeaks, creates a a challenge, delivers food, or something else exciting.
Create a Plan
One of the best ways to make sure the needs of your dog is met is by creating a plan. If you have other people in the family who can help, that's great but I know not everyone has that ability for extra help with family in the household. Think about the routine your dog has or the routine you want your dog to have and how you can make it happen.
You might need to enlist the help of a family member, a pet sitter, or a dog daycare. If you are in the Crestview area reach out to A&J Pet Services.
Possible Activities List of Ideas
- Leash Walks (custom leashes)
- Treat Ball (for mealtime)
- Dog Daycare
- Stuffed KONGS
- Bully Sticks
- Playing Tug
- Other: _______
- Wake up and take your dog to go potty. Fill an enrichment toy with around half their food (KONG, toppl, treat ball). While your dog works at this, use this time to get dressed or cook breakfast.
- Spend about 10 minutes teaching your dog a new trick or working on some obedience that needs some perfecting (sit, down, bow, shake, roll over). Need ideas of dog training games your dog will love? Reach out to me or Infinity K9 Training.
- Break for around 30 seconds to clean up and enjoy some tug of war or fetch with your dog. Change it up so it's not the same game every single day. This helps relieve any stress they have from training.
- Give your dog about a 30 second break while you clean up and then take them for a nice 10 minute walk around the neighborhood. This allows adequate time for them to go potty and calm down from the adrenaline from playing.
- Offer your dog a frozen KONG or other chew toy on their dog bed or in their crate. This gives them time to focus their energy to be put in a calm state. It can also benefit you in the way they might forget you are about to leave for work.
This plan take around 30-35 minutes but also allows you to give your dog to have fun with break between activities.
Take notes of what works best for your dog and what they enjoy the most. You can set a reminder to do this even on the days you don't work. Another thing I tend to do is set a timer for 10 minutes so I don't do one thing for too long and run the risk of being late anywhere (although my dog is the best excuse for being late even if others don't agree).