6 Tips on How to Encourage Your Dog to Exercise More
Teach Them That Exercise is Fun
Obesity is as much of a problem for pets as it is for people. Regular exercise coupled with a balanced diet is the best way to keep it at bay. It can also work to little away the extra pounds your pup has already packed on. Unfortunately, some dogs struggle to get motivated for their workouts. If that sounds familiar, try these tips to encourage exercise as part of their daily routine.
1. Address Any Pain
Arthritis and general aches can affect pets just like they do to people. Older dogs may not want to exercise because it hurts. You can't really blame them for their hesitation in that case. Instead of forcing the issue, work to alleviate their discomfort first. Talk to your veterinarian about supplements that might help improve joint function. In addition to pills, many pet owners find success in adding fish oil to food. A topical cream to ease stiffness may even be appropriate. If those don't work, you might consider taking your dog's exercise routine to the water. Just like it makes movement more comfortable for people, vets have found that many pets can move more freely underwater. Knowing you are improving your pup's quality of life can easily help justify the cost of inground pool construction.
2. Make Exercise a Game
There are so many ways you can make doggie exercise more fun and engaging. An agility class — or building a course in the backyard — or active games can help them burn off excess calories and have a great time doing it. From basic fetch to more complicated games, a quick web search should give you plenty of ideas. Flyball is one you may want to check out. It is a team sport where you and your dog can compete for speed on a course with obstacles and a fetch element. That's the ball part, which the dog must launch from a thrower and then retrieve in order to be successful.
3. Join in the Fun
Maybe competitive sports aren't your thing. You can still work out alongside your dog to help keep him motivated. Go for a walk or run together, take a hike at a park, or even hit the beach for a quick swim. Ask a few local fitness trainers if they offer exercise classes that include pets for a change of pace. With time, you'll get to see the benefits of increased exercise, too.
4. Involve the Whole Family
Kids and puppies have plenty in common. One of those things is that they can both have lots of excess energy. That's why it's a great idea to get the whole family involved in keeping your dog moving. Games like tug of war and fetch are simple enough that even little kids can handle them. Always supervise pets and children when they are together to make sure it is safe. Even the best-behaved dogs — and kids — sometimes do something unexpected or that they know is off limits.
5. Visit a Dog Park
If your dog is good with other animals, that can be used to your advantage. More neighborhoods are incorporating dog parks into their public spaces. Ask around among other dog owners to see if there is one nearby. It's a great way to let your dog meet others, burn off energy and have a great time while you get to supervise.
6. Enroll Him at a Dog Daycare
If you want a little more supervision, or if you want to give your dog an outlet for his energy while you are away from the house, it's worth investigating doggy daycare options nearby. Your pup can play with other dogs and a staff specially trained to keep them engaged and moving. Since many also offer overnight services, this can also be a good way to find a boarding facility for those times when you have to head out of town without a K-9 traveling companion.
Dogs, much like their humans, may resist efforts to exercise. It is up to you to get your pet motivated and engaged. Keeping the routine fun and pain-free, visiting new places and involving the whole family in the effort can help.