Whether you own a 5-pound Chihuahua or a 150-pound Great Pyrenees, all dogs need regular exercise to promote good health and wellness. It reduces the risk of heart disease, fatty liver disease, obesity, diabetes, and even some behavioral problems.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) exercise requirements for man’s best friend varies depending on: breed, age and overall health. With that said, most dogs require at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
With that in mind, here are some fun and rewarding activities you can do with your dog in this short amount of time.
Let’s go ahead and get the most obvious activity out of the way: fetch. Most dogs, big and small, enjoy this otherwise simple game due to the prey-chasing instinct it triggers.
Long before we domesticated them, dogs chased prey in the wild. When they see a varmint or small animal moving, their instinct is to chase it — an instinct that’s also present when playing fetch.
#2) Find It!
Get their mind working, with another fun game that you can play with your dog – find the hidden item. With roughly 300 million olfactory receptors, a dog’s sense of smell is around 10,000 times greater than ours.
You can use this to your advantage by playing a game of hide-and-seek with your dog. For instance, you can hide treats around your home, telling your dog to “Go find it.” It involves treats, so it is mostly likely something your pup will enjoy.
If you’d prefer to not use treats, consider training your dog to find something else, such as deer antlers. As a bonus, once your dog finds the antler, he can chew it as a treat (antlers are loaded in beneficial nutrients like calcium, and they promote good oral health). There are many ways to train your dog to find deer antlers.
#3) Volunteer as a Therapy Dog
If you live near a hospital, school, nursing home etc, it may be beneficial to go through the process of getting your dog certified as a therapy dog. Many patients who are sick and/or recovering from an illness want nothing more than to pet and feel the companionship of a dog.
According to NPR, interaction with pets may even reduce blood pressure and improve the prognosis of patients.
#4) Teach Your Dog to Swim (or to love swimmng)
Summer is the perfect setting to get out and swim. You can enjoy the warm weather and sunshine with your dog by teaching him to swim or to love swimming. It provides great exercise for dogs.
Whether it’s a pool or lake, start at the shallowest part and reward your dog as they swim towards you from the bank/side. After he takes those first few paddles, he’ll quickly learn the concept of swimming.
Just remember to keep things positive and don’t push your dog if he doesn’t want to swim. Some dogs are naturally adept at swimming, while others prefer the comfort of dry land.
#5) Obstacle Course
What dog doesn’t enjoy a challenging obstacle course? Ever since we first domesticated them, dogs have been eager to appease their owners.
Completing an obstacle course is just one way in which a dog can appease his owner. There’s even a special type of training used to certify a dog’s competence in completing obstacle courses: agility training.
CesarsWay offers some helpful tips on how to create your own obstacle. It covers things like tunnels, weave poles, jumps and more.
These are just a few activities that you can do with your dog. What types of activities do you tend to do with your dog? Tell us in the comments!