Guest Blog: Laurie C. Williams, Founder of Pup 'N Iron, on the Importance of Doggie Exercise

Everyone knows dogs need exercise, but how do we know how much our dog needs? Just like humans, that depends on a dog’s age, breed, size, overall temperament and fitness level. From a physiological standpoint, the proper amount of daily exercise is a key factor in a dog’s overall health and well being. When a dog’s exercise needs go unmet, it can result in unwanted behaviors such as excessive barking and destructiveness.

Exercise Tips for Dogs

Photo by Jim Poor Photography

Photo by Jim Poor Photography

  • Always make sure your dog is in good health before starting an exercise regimen.  If your dog hasn’t had their yearly checkup, visit your veterinarian first.
  • A little exercise is better than none. Even if you don’t have the time to devote 30-60 minutes daily at one stretch, provide as little as 5-10 minutes of rigorous exercise for your dog, like retrieving a ball, calling them up and down hills or stairs or even playing hide-and-seek.
  • Not a runner?  Hire one!  With the school year approaching, grab a neighborhood cross country student runner to take your dog on a daily run for you.
  • Attend training classes with your dog.  Mental stimulation can tire out your pup just as much as physical activity.
  • Take up a dog sport. Not only can dog sports, like agility, dock diving and flyball, help burn calories, they are also great for building teamwork and relationships.
  • Conduct your exercise session before sunrise or after sunset when the weather is cooler.  It’s safer, and your dog will have more stamina and endurance if they aren’t overheated.
  • Always keep a constant supply of water for your dog with you while exercising.  This will help keep their body temperature down.
  • Consider swimming! Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for any species. If you can’t find a nearby body of water, there are indoor facilities with swimming pools for dogs.
  • Dog parks and/or dog daycare centers are excellent options if your dog is well socialized and gets along with dogs of all different sizes and ages.

When we consider the fact that most dogs were bred specifically to work beside man for hours at a time, we owe it to our canine companions to quench this innate need . A well exercised dog not only will be healthier, but will be much easier to live with and a pleasure to be around.

Laurie C. Williams is a canine education specialist, dog behavior counselor and trainer with over 30 years of experience. Laurie is the owner and Director of Training and Behavior Counseling at Pup ‘N Iron Canine Fitness & Learning Center in Fredericksburg, VA. Laurie appeared on the 2008 CBS summer reality show Greatest American Dog with her then seven-year-old Maltese, Andrew.  A nationally published writer and blogger, Laurie’s work has appeared in The Whole Dog Journal, Fitness, Good Housekeeping, Shape, and 9-1-1 magazines and The APDT Chronicle of the Dog. Follow her and Pup ‘N Iron on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!