How much do you know about physical activities for dogs? Sure, you might know that exercising and staying active keeps your dog in good shape, but did you know that the same benefits apply to all dogs of all ages? In fact, keeping your dog physically active will benefit both of you in ways you probably didn’t even realize were possible. For instance, did you know that regular exercise can help keep your dog from developing certain diseases later in life, like diabetes or heart disease? Well it’s true!
The first physical activity your dog will love is a game of fetch, and you can play with just about any kind of ball, from a plastic Wiffle ball to a tennis ball. Using an actual stick (like one from outside) is also fine; he’ll think it’s pretty cool. Fetch provides hours of entertainment, especially if you can get multiple dogs involved at once.
Dogs love to play, and playing games with your dog is a great way to interact and get your pup moving. Try hide-and-seek: Take turns hiding treats or toys, making sure to throw in an easy find once in a while so he doesn’t lose interest. Since dogs don’t see objects or space as we do, they may not understand that a toy behind them has disappeared from view. They may just think it went to another room.
3) Obstacle Courses
An obstacle course (also called an agility course) is a outdoor activity that can provide your dog with a ton of fun and give you some exercise, too. You might not think of physical activities for dogs as something that two people can do together, but they are a great way to bond with your pet. There are even plenty of smaller dogs who can participate in most obstacle courses because they aren’t as tall or strong enough to climb over larger hurdles.
4) Tug of War
The ancient game of tug-of-war was meant to test a team’s strength and unity, but it’s just as good at testing your bond with your dog. Just make sure you have an even number of participants; you don’t want to injure anyone in between rounds. To begin, assign one end of a rope to each team member. Then simply pull on that rope. Hard! Until there’s a winner.
5) Retrieving Items from Water
It’s natural for dogs to love water, but it can also be dangerous. That’s why most dog owners teach their pets how to fetch things from water. You can train your pet to bring objects you throw into lakes or ponds back to shore by creating a game out of it; with any luck, your dog will pick up on what you want and start retrieving items on his own. Be mindful, though: not all animals respond well to training techniques, so try them at your own risk.
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6) Playing Frisbee
Playing Frisbee is a great physical activity for dogs because it’s fun and allows them to stretch their legs. Dogs love being able to run, but it’s important to keep them on a leash when you’re playing because they can easily forget where they are and start chasing things. Chasing animals or people can be scary, but mostly, it can get your dog into trouble with animal control or lead to an accident if they run out into a busy street.
When it comes to physical activities for dogs, running is one of most natural and fun ways to keep your dog in shape. Not only will it burn calories, but your pup can also build endurance and improve his coordination. In fact, when given enough time to adjust to a new exercise routine, your pooch may even enjoy it more than you do!
8) Climbing Stairs
If you have a dog that’s used to going up and down stairs, make things a little more challenging by putting your pet on a leash (and supervising closely) as you climb some or all of them. This can help get a little exercise into your dog’s day, while strengthening his muscles and bones.
9) Pulling a Sled/Truck
Dogs love to pull things. Since they’re so much smaller than us, they don’t have many options; pulling a sled or truck is one of them. Plus, it gives you a workout while your dog can just hang out in back and enjoy himself.
10) Jumping Rope/Over Bumps
Did you know that you can exercise your dog simply by jumping rope? Start by jumping over flat surfaces or small bumps, and gradually increase to taller bumps until you’re able to jump on top of your dog! Be careful not to hit him in his underbelly; unless he’s very light, he probably won’t enjoy being used as a trampoline.
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