What do you mean my dog is fat?!
Last week we focused on one of the big causes of poor health for our dogs, terrible food. I gave as much guidance as possible (considering this is a big topic), basically advising against popular brands of supermarket kibble (dead food with empty calories) and suggesting we expand our thinking to include as much whole unprocessed food and a wide variety of food to keep those doggie intestines well exercised and working hard. Which leads perfectly to the next key indicator of poor health-little or
Once again we are a busy, overscheduled society, constantly on the go and preoccupied. How to make time for a very time consuming and yet very beneficial practice-exercising our dogs?! Not easy and I confess that I can also be very lax when the weather gets as hot and humid as it has been this summer. So we need a plan and it needs to be flexible and doable.
For young dogs (up to a year of age) playing with other dogs of similar size and age is tremendous exercise. My Gwen is 11 months now and I am lucky that she has several siblings living nearby who come and play with her often. It tires them out and I keep a sharp eye if the play becomes too rough. It is very important to remember young dogs are not fully developed for a long time (in my breed not until 18 months), and we need to protect those immature joints, so no rough play with older bigger dogs. The same goes for ball throwing (I call it the lazy way out). They race back and forth at full speed twisting and turning and pounding their bodies-really never a great way to exercise them, especially for immature dogs.
Once again I do not recommend dog parks as size and rough play come with this venue.
Just plain getting out for a walk can be terrific for you and your dog. Wood walking with a trained dog (meaning she stays around and will come when called) is wonderful for both of you in so many ways, it is quiet and peaceful and nature is healing and restorative (and your dog can run and trot and gallop and use its body fully unencumbered by leashes and you). Once again the caveat is you put the time and energy into making sure your dog will stay near and listen to you while off leash.
If off leash wood walking is a no go then walking with a drop line is also a good compromise. Go to the hardware store and buy 20-30 feet of clothesline and attach a snap bolt-attach it to the collar and let your dog drag it behind. Voila! You can step on it or pick it up when needed and you have the benefit of better control while your dog gets to run.
Still more exercise tips next time.