Chapter Thirty-Two

Exercise and Your Pet 

Dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame. I should have a dog as a life coach.” – Moby

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A proven benefit of owning a pet is that you get more exercise, and who doesn’t love bragging about staying fit without having a gym membership or, giving up the odd glass of vino? 

While it can be easy to procrastinate exercising our own bodies, making sure your dog registers 10,000 steps on there FitBit is actually a necessity. 

Why is Exercise Important?

A well-exercised dog is an all-around better member of the household. 

As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog makes for a less frazzled pet parent. 

The majority of canine behavioural issues stem from boredom and lack of exercise, leading to our pups creating their own fun.  

So, if you want your dog to avoid playing that game called “Destroy the House,” consider whether your dog is receiving enough walks around the block, or runs at the park. 

Exercise can help owners overcome excessive barking, begging for attention, digging, escape attempts, hyperactivity, aggression, separation anxiety, and destructive tendencies.

Another reason exercise is important is because it helps your pet maintain a healthy weight. Hmmm…

If she is more Flabrador Retriever than Labrador Retriever, fewer treats and more Jane Fonda videos will be necessary. 

Exercise can also help ward off other health issues such as arthritis, thyroid conditions, diabetes, and certain cancers by improving metabolism and increasing circulation. 

Socialisation is another responsibility of pet owners that can be performed through exercise (multitasking -why not!). 

Introducing your dog to as many new sights, smells, experiences, people, animals, etc. is the major cornerstone of socialisation that can be achieved by exploring new areas during hikes or runs. 

Introducing your pet to new forms of exercise, such as dry land sledding or bikejoring also helps fill your socialisation quota.

What Is – and Isn’t – Exercise
Exercise is any structured activity that requires your dog to engage in continual movement. 

Examples include running, walking, vigorous play sessions with humans or dogs, swimming, cycling, weight pulling, and carting, to name a few. 

Exercise is not simply allowing your dog free reign in the yard all afternoon.  All dogs, no matter size, age, or breed require a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day. 

Many breeds require quite a bit more.

Breeds that Require the Most Exercise

While each dog is an individual, there are certain breeds that typically require more exercise than others. 

These include Siberian Huskies, German Shepherds, Beagles, Labrador Retrievers, German Shorthaired Pointers, and generally any dog from the working or sporting groups. 

These breeds were originally produced for work, and still have the genetics that give them the ability to run around all day like the Energizer Bunny.


Breeds that Require the Least Exercise

On the other hand, some breeds are more similar to couch potatoes in that they require little more exercise than a brisk walk around the block. 

These dogs tend to be Bracycephalic, meaning they have flat faces and shortened noses, making strenuous exercise dangerous. 

These breeds include Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Pomeranians, and King Charles Spaniels. 

Other non-Bracychephalic breeds that are relatively low-maintenance include Basset Hounds, Great Danes, and Greyhounds. 

Mind you, a brisk walk around the block is always better than no walk at all… no matter what your Bracycephalic says!


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Pup-Update – 2 Years

A good friend of mine had to say good-bye to her 16 year old puppy this past week. For all those who’ve loved a dog, it is a feeling of loss that is sadly both inevitable and deep, working its way out like ripples on the water -affecting so many others as they learn of the loss and reflect on their own experience. As one very wise person once told me… Dogs never die, they’re buried deep in your heart. It’s their wagging tail that you feel, especially in those first few weeks beating frantically in your chest. Oh how this hurts, and this is exactly how it is for my friend right now, her beautiful boy waking often, restless with his tail pounding deep within her chest. As time moves on, we truly do set them free – free from old age, painful limbs or illness and they begin to rest, their tail wagging only on the odd occasion – a time to remember with a little less pain and maybe a smile. We all deal with loss differently, but I know all my beautiful animals are buried deep within my heart… and they’re all fast asleep. I wish my Jerry a long and carefree life, his paw on mine… our hearts as one. 

Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan

Now that we’re all off the couch and exercising our Pets, boredom should be a less frequent visitor…unless you’re a dog (lol!). Let’s look at how to bust this boredom in your pooch, next!

Watch this space – Chapter Thirty-three – Coming Soon

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