Exercise, the key to a happy dog? Well in a certain respect exercise plays a vital role in keeping our dogs fit, healthy and happy! But on the flip side how do you tell exactly how much exercise your dog requires?
Every breed has certain traits attributed to it but not every individual is exactly the same. Although each breed of dogs falls under a certain group that will give you a reasonable idea of what their basic personality and energy requirement will be, you will have to spend the time observing your dog and base your training and exercise regiment around what they themselves require.
I often hear people use the phrase “a tired dog is a happy dog”, and although I see where someone is coming from it is not always that easy. A tired dog can exhibit some pretty grouchy and unwanted behaviours, just like us, each dog will deal with exhaustion in different ways, some may sleep, and some may be irritable.
How many times have you taken your dog out and played, and ran, and played until you where sure they would be more than satisfied? How many times have you had to do just a little bit more to get the same results the next time?
One of the things people don’t take into consideration when they are “tiring” out there companion is that each time you use straight exercise to “tire” your dog out their endurance gets just slightly better and they will need more and more of the same to do the job the next time around.
How many times have you taken your companion out and ran them until you where sure they would collapse in a heap and sleep the afternoon away once you were home, only to have the dog up and bouncing again within an hour? What kind of stress does that put on our dogs systems? When do they get a chance to recharge and allow their bodies the chance to regroup? Which in turn will keep their immune system happy and their brains rested and healthy.
The other problem I see with people who feel that exercise is the only way to tire there dog out is that often their companion never learns any self settling skills. They are the dogs that can never sit still and do not understand the concept of quietly laying down and chewing a bone or napping. Not every dog is born knowing how to calm themselves and relax and often we try so hard to exercise them that we teach our dogs that the only things they should be doing is moving.
So take a moment and really watch your dog, do they seemed relaxed and content after exercise or wired, tired, or grouchy? Take the time to try some different levels of exercise and see what different results you get.
Also take the time to teach your dog that being still and calm is just as important. Take a couple minutes every day and work with your dogs mind instead of their body, teach them some obedience, or a trick, show them that laying down and chewing that bone is just as enjoyable as chasing a tennis ball.