Exercising your dog – My Top Tips by Lauren Langman
1. Visit lots of different locations
If every time you step outside of your house and only ever visit one place, wouldn’t that be truly boring? The same goes for your dog. Vary where you take your dog on a walk, visit and explore lots of locations to keep it interesting. Keep things unpredictable, as unpredictability is fun for your dog! My general rule of thumb is to never visit the same place more than twice in a week.
2. Vary the type of exercise
I mix up the type of exercise my dogs get. When we go out they aren’t always off lead, sometimes we walk on-lead. In fact, on-lead road walking is very good exercise for your dog (and you!). Being off-lead is a privilege and sometimes within an off-lead walk, I’ll pop my dogs on-lead for some of it to truly mix it up. I also love to run with my dogs attached to me via a harness and line (canicross). Variety is key!
If your dog likes to swim, this is a fantastic form of exercise. My dogs all love to dip in the water. That said, common sense prevails, never go near swollen rivers and steer clear from the sea when its rough. If your dog likes to retrieve things from the water, I like to use and would recommend discs/frisbees and fairly flat shaped objects. Balls can cause your dog to take on too much water as they have to open their mouths wide to get them.
4. Avoid walking spots that stress you (and your dog) out!
If you have visited a particular location and you’ve not had a great experience; perhaps there were too many dogs, perhaps your dog wasn’t too keen on the rambunctious nature of the other dogs. Rather than go there and get annoyed; avoid! Or go at times when you know it’ll be less busy.
5. Give your dog a break
Contrary to popular belief, your dog doesn’t need a walk every single day of the week. So long as you are mentally stimulating your dog or doing some conditioning work and/or training, a walk every day isn’t necessary. My dogs all lead busy lives, with training, competing and their individual exercise and fitness plans so they all NEED a rest day each week. This is good for their heads and their bodies.
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.