jack Russell playing in the garden
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5 best dog exercise routines to keep your dog fit

By Dawn Parrish Content Writer

Updated on the

Daily exercise will not only keep your dog fit but will also improve his general health. Organise some dog exercise sessions that will channel the excess energy your pet has, to keep him happy and healthy.

 A daily jog, an energetic walk or even a playtime can all be very advantageous when it comes to improving the health of your dog. An exercise routine should keep him sprightly and fit. In addition, it will help to channel his abundant energy on a positive route. When he is taking walks or playing games he is too busy to think about destructive behaviour. Would you rather he was walking in the woods or digging up your back garden?

The benefits of dog exercise

Routine exercise will have an incredible influence on your dog’s general health and well-being. A regular work-out will bring many benefits to your pooch.  In addition to improving his muscle tone, you can expect a smaller appetite and a higher metabolism, very important for all canines to prevent obesity. A dog’s natural instinct is to hunt, retrieve, herd or dig. If these instincts aren’t met on a regular basis, your dog will be bored and behaviour issues will appear. Giving your dog regular exercise will counteract this negative behaviour. As a result, you can prevent him from chewing or digging, both destructive actions.

There are many benefits for you too when you exercise with your dog ©Pixabay

Of course, you need to be involved too

Reports confirm that around 35 percent of our pets are overweight. This can lead to an increase of many serious health issues, such as heart disease, breathing problems, diabetes and arthritis to name just a few. Owners are often stressed with home life leaving not much time to dedicate to keeping their pets fit. It appears it is certainly much easier just to throw your pooch a treat than to actually put on your walking boots and get him outside for a hike.

Safety hints before you begin your dog exercise routines

# A dog doesn’t actually sweat to cool down – he will pant, so take things easy at first

# Some dog breeds like Boston terriers or Pugs, are Brachycephalic breeds who have a more difficult time breathing so don’t overexert them during exercise

# Older dogs don’t have the same energy levels as a younger pup. Many senior dogs have respiratory problems too

# It may be obvious, but short-legged and small dogs don’t enjoy running for long distances.

# Check for signs of exhaustion and overheating. Ensure that you provide plenty of fresh, clean water for your dog.

Here are our suggestions for 5 dog exercises that you can do with your dog. Of course, there are many health benefits to you taking part too.

No 1. Interval walking

A quick walk down the road for toilet duties isn’t really classed as dog exercise. You need something that is going to stimulate him and that you will enjoy too. Constant walking for a few miles can also be quite boring so try breaking up your daily walk with other activities. Walk for a short distance, then jog for a while longer. You can also add in sideways shuffles and running backwards. Your pooch will also enjoy the fun part of this exercise, to see what you’re going to do next.

No 2. Play doggy tag

Just like the games of chase you played as a child, this is an excellent exercise to get your dog to sprint. Of course, your dog won’t understand the actions of “tagging” and who is “it” but he will certainly chase you around the garden. This dog exercise is a marvellous way to get both of your heart rates pounding.

No 3. Fetch games

playing games of fetch are so much fun©pixabay

This dog exercise is best played in a large open space, possibly at the park. Take along your dog’s favourite toy. Begin by throwing this as far as you can and let your pet chase up to it, and hopefully retrieve it too. Next time you throw it, you race alongside him too and try and get to the toy before he does. Now, if you can, seize the plaything from his grasp and repeat, once again racing him to reach it first. This will certainly get your blood pumping!

No 4. Climb the stairs together

This exercise routine is best done with your dog on a lead, or you may find yourself tripping over him. Choose a large staircase, the one at home is probably best so you don’t cause a public nuisance. Climb up and walk down the stairs with your pet beside you. Next time, vary the steps, perhaps take 2 steps each time. For a more challenging dog exercise, make your stance wider, or take the steps with a sideways action.

No 5. Dog agility exercises

dog agility dog exercises©pixabay

If you have a dog that appears to get bored very easily when exercising, consider joining a dog agility group. Canine freestyle and agility classes will give your pet a fantastic workout. Even if you cannot get to join in with others you can create your own agility course at home. Train your dog to do spins and walk backwards. Likewise, set up obstacles that he can weave around and provide something to walk underneath. Always ensure that your dog is very safe when doing any obstacle work in the garden or yard.

Take breaks when he gets bored with the dog exercises

Above all, it’s important that you keep a check on your dog and don’t allow him to become too tired. Take plenty of rest breaks and offer fresh water to drink. If it seems like he is becoming too tired with some of the more strenuous routines, revert back to a slow walk or hike which will be just as beneficial for your pet.

Offer him treats as a reward

We certainly aren’t advising that you reward your pooch every time you take him for a walk, or he does a new exercise routine. However, small treats are a great encouragement and motivation to keep him on the move. If he impresses you with his moves and he captivates you with his performance, he definitely deserves some praise.

Remember that dog exercise drills are brilliant for their mental and physical health. Likewise, if you manage to train with other canines it will build on their doggy socialisation skills. Finally, is an excellent way for you to not only be active together but also strengthen your owner and dog bond together.

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