Fitness is a broad term that means something different for every dog, but basically it is a measure of health and overall well-being. There are a few things that you can do to keep your dog healthy mind and body no matter their activity level.
Dog Training –
Training is very engaging for a dog. With commands like sit, stay and lie down, you are challenging their minds and their bodies. Your dog will look to you for cues and respond to praise or treats when given and learn to associate the command with the action. Once you are past the basics, add new commands from time to time to keep things fresh. Need help with training? Check out our Group Training Classes or consider private lessons or Board & Train options here at Cascade Kennels.
If your dog is high energy, they might find more training interesting, channeling their energy in a way that is fun for them. This next level of training is often referred to as Dog Sports. Dog sports are physically and mentally challenging and excellent ways to achieve overall fitness. Some examples of Dog Sports are: Agility, Dock Jumping, Disc Catching, Hunting, Tracking, Herding and Nosework/Scent. There are opportunities for your dog to compete in most dog sports. Competing can be fun and rewarding for both the dog and the owner.
Intelligence Training –
Another way to work on their fitness is to challenge your dog’s critical thinking skills. By using puzzle toys, the dog gets rewarded for figuring out how to get to the treat. There are toys that have sliding doors and flaps to conceal the treats and balls that you put the treats inside of and the dog rolls it around to get the treats to fall out. Even the old game of “which cup is it under” can be a very engaging nosework challenge that keeps the brain active.
How much exercise do dogs need? Experts recommend 30-60 minutes of activity a day for dogs, which is also happens to be the amount recommended for humans. You and your dog can be work out buddies! Seriously though, make a commitment to keep your dog active with daily walks and you can stay active at the same time.
High energy dogs will need a more heart pumping workout. Activities like trail running, fetch, running up stairs, and obstacle courses should fit the bill. Activities that increase core strength and stamina are great for physical fitness.
Quality Diet –
Good food is a foundational element for achieving and maintaining fitness. Make sure your dog has the nutrients it needs to stay active by feeding the best food that you can afford to. Remember, their food provides them with energy to be active and nutrition to rest and recover so they can do it all again tomorrow.
Take Them On Adventures –
Since part of fitness is “overall well being”, think about taking your dog with you for car rides, into dog-friendly stores and restaurants. They will experience so many new smells, pats from strange people and enjoy the time spent with you too.
With these tips to help your dog stay fit and live their best life, you’ll probably see benefits as well!