Exercising your four legged family member!
Every time you and your whole family (which of course includes your dog) venture into the great outdoors, you do each other a power of good! Not only do you get to share all-important time together, but you also help your dog to control his weight and stay in trim. And just think how much better it makes you feel too!
Variety is the spice of life!
Whether exploring the local park or a wild mountain top, your dog loves to spend time with you and your family, particularly if you make that time really special by varying locations – allowing him to meet new playmates and follow new scents! As well as taking different routes for ‘walkies’, try to build in some playtime with games and challenges. Your best friend will be in his element!
Most puppies and young dogs in particular really benefit (and love!!) from a game of fetch. As long as they receive a reward in the form of hugs and cuddles (rather than too many treats) many dogs will gladly wear out anyones throwing arm! Careful though, whilst its really tempting, avoid throwing sticks, as the wood might splinter and hurt an over-eager dog.
Your dog’s breed will probably determine whether he’s happiest charging through streams and up to his eyes in mud, or taking a more genteel approach to exercise. Terriers love to dig, while hounds, probably prefer sharp bursts of exercise. ‘Country’ breeds particularly enjoy lots of running around and canine sports. Why not contact The Kennel Club or ask your doggie owning families to learn more about your dog's instinctive preferences.
Easy does it!
If your family friend hasn’t been used to regular exercise, its best to begin with short periods of activity at slow speeds and then gradually increasing the time, speed and distance. Its worth thinking about that whilst keeping your dog on a lead gives you control when walking or running, you may find that your dog will be better managed wearing a head-collar or harness if he is very enthusiastic or large and powerful!
Food & drink!
Very few of us would fancy a run around the park after a big hearty meal, your favourite family friend is no different. A lot of charging about on a full stomach may cause digestive upsets’ so allow an hour for dinner to go down! Exercise is thirsty work too, so make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh, clean drinking water available.
Rain or shine!
Whilst not everyone feels like it, come rain, shine, sleet or snow, your dog still needs and enjoys regular exercise. But bare in mind extremely hot or cold weather present extra challenges. Dogs feel the cold too and can suffer from frostbite just as we do. If you or your family walk your dog in the snow, wipe the paw pads to remove any snow, ice or salt that may have got caught in his fur when he’s been running around. And, come summer, do watch out for sunburn and heatstroke.