by James Hall at seniorcarefitness.com
Active, Healthy and Happy: Finding Ways to Exercise Your Pet
If you have a high-energy dog, PAWS notes that it’s important to find ways to keep him occupied and entertained when things slow down or when the weather turns bad. Skittish breeds may act out in negative, even destructive ways when they’re bored or not getting the attention they need from their owner. It’s much like having a high-energy child who’s constantly looking for stimulation – they can be demanding and frustrated when there’s no outlet for all that energy.
Fortunately, there are many ways to help keep your pooch engaged and active. Even if your breed isn’t high-energy, you may, in fact, be stressing your animal out, so look for ways to help them. One way is exercise. Dogs love to be physically and mentally challenged, just like active kids, so look for toys and games that keep your pet playing and peppy for long stretches. It’ll be good for him and easier on you since you won’t have to spend quite so much time getting him to wind down.
Read on for some more tips from Furry Friends Therapy Dogs.
Go for the puzzles
As an owner, you’ve probably purchased your fair share of chew and squeak toys. And he’s probably gotten hours of enjoyment out of them. However, many owners, particularly those with intelligent dogs, often prefer puzzle toys, which are more involved than ones that make noise and have pleasing textures. Puzzle toys keep your pup challenged and involved for longer periods of time than other kinds of toys, because they offer the promise of a tangible reward, like a favorite treat.
They’re also effective at preventing your pet from acting out in frustration and damaging a valuable carpet or piece of furniture. A dog that tends to be hyper much of the time needs and enjoys a challenge because it addresses their need to expend energy. As long as that need is being met, he’s less likely to disobey or act out.
You’re probably used to taking your pet for walks after dinner and on the weekends. Your dog is probably used to it as well, so when the weather turns bad and walking outdoors really isn’t an option, he’s likely to get frustrated and anxious. You can help him adapt to the situation with a doggy treadmill, one of the most popular canine exercise devices on the market. Bear in mind that treadmills aren’t ideal for every dog, and it takes a little time to get the right one for your pet. If you have a small dog, a large treadmill may be frightening and physically intimidating.
A treadmill may not be the most practical solution, but most physically active pooches respond favorably to an agility course. There are many different kinds you can purchase, including poles, tunnels and standard jumping courses. Whichever you select, Daily Paws points out that your dog will benefit from the exercise and the physical challenge of agility training. It’s an activity that speaks to a dog’s natural hunting instincts. If your dog has ever gotten loose when he sees a squirrel or a cat, you know how ingrained the impulse to chase is. An agility course allows him to draw on those instincts in a positive way.
Dogs are sensitive to our moods, that has been part of the evolution of their bonding with us over the millennia, so when you’re anxious or stressed out because of work, they sense it and it could cause them to act out because of it. Having a stress-free home for you means less stress for them too. Reducing clutter and giving everything a thorough deep cleaning with pet-safe natural products is the first step in creating a more relaxing environment.
It’s important too, to make sure your home is free from anything that your active dog might injure himself with. If you work from home, you may have extra hazards like push pins and staples that you might not see but your pet will. Cables and cords can become an electric shock danger to dogs who like to chew, so keeping them secured is critical.
When you’re working to keep your dog happy and healthy, bear in mind the natural instincts that drive your pet’s behavior. You can take advantage of those instincts to your advantage, and his, with exercise that can be done indoors when it’s too cold outside. It’s well worth it to keep your furry friend happy until he’s able to spend plenty of time outside once again.