How are you all?
While playing with your pet can feel like the most natural thing in the world, it can be easy to over-exercise your dog. Dogs often put their play time with you over their own wellbeing, so we, as responsible owners, must know their limits and which exercises are suitable and when. There are a few things to keep in mind, but here are my top tips to help you perfect that balance between healthy exercise and bonding:
1. Don’t overdo it. One of the reasons we love our dogs so much is because they seem to be forever full of love and energy. However, they need rest, too, so set time limits for exercise. This is especially true while dogs are still young, as puppies tire much faster than adult dogs. James Wellbeloved, pet nutrition experts, advise exercising puppies for 5-minutes per month of age. So, a 3-month-old puppy should not exercise for more than 15 minutes per session. As dogs get older, they can handle longer play time.
2. Let your dog call the shots. If your dog starts to look tired, is panting excessively, or is having to lie down in between play, it is time for a break. Always ensure your dog can access fresh water and shade to cool down.
3. Respect your dog’s capabilities. Bonding with your dog means balancing play with knowing what your dog is capable of doing and when. For instance, puppies are very delicate and have soft bones, teeth, and joints, so they can injure themselves if they place too much demand on them too soon. Equally, some dog breeds need more exercise than others. Adult Border Collies and German Shepherds, for example, need 2-3 hours exercise per day, while this will be too much for a Pug or French Bulldog.
4. Start training early. Dogs appreciate boundaries and look for authority as part of their bonding experience. So, the sooner you start training your dog, the closer bond you will form.
5. Stimulate the mind as well as the body. Combining mental and physical exercise will keep your dog enthusiastic and interested. Some dog toys are designed to not only exercise your dog, but to encourage them to play in creative ways. This is most effective with toys that have food tucked inside that demand your dog experiment with news ways of using the toy to access the tasty treat.
6. Play games. Hide-and-seek, chase, and kibble trails are all fun ways you can play with your dog while encouraging him or her to run around and explore their environment.
7. Have fun. Without a doubt, this is the most important tip of all. If you have fun, your dog will have fun, and you will both develop a closer relationship while enjoying healthy exercise.
Dogs respond to their owners and want nothing more than to have a close, personal relationship with you. So, don’t stress about bonding with your dog – instead, just follow their lead and enjoy your time together. Your dog will tell you when to play. You should just remember that you need to look after them, too, so start training early, watch for signs of fatigue, and know when to take a break. Why not pop down to a Dog friendly pub and let your dog experience a new fun atmosphere.
I hope these tips are helpful and help you to grow even closer with your four-legged friend.