Getting out

Getting out, going out  for a run is important for dogs.  Not only is getting out and running important as far as the exercise aspect of it all but the experience is essential as well.  Dogs need to run; how much depends on the individual dog.  Many dog owners feel that their dog needs to run for hours and hours but they may be missing the mark.  Like athletes who become marathon runners; you can find yourself needing more and more to get that satisfied feeling.  Too much of anything can be bad, even exercise.  Dogs also need to learn to relax and be calm; sometimes too much exercise can interfere with that.

The experience of the run or outing is crucial for a happy hound.  That means that they need environmental stimulus to keep them happy.  Much like us, staring at four walls all day can make you a little crazy.  Many folks head out for their daily walk or run and leave their dog at home which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  Leash them up and take them with you; you'll have a much happier dog.  They will get their exercise, and get a good dose of socializing and stimulation.

If you have an elderly dog then of course you must cut back on distance and intensity.  Tilley goes out for a very small walk a couple of times a week now, she is 14.5 years old.  But she does play a great deal of ball and water retrieving in the yard.  By the age of 12 she had really been cut back, it is easy to tell when you need to start cutting back. It is difficult on us, guilt weighs heavy when you are required to shorten walks or eliminate them completely but it is something that we must do.  Once a walk is too much, simply sitting on a park bench can be more than enough stimulus for an oldie.

Luke went down to the canyon on the weekend with my husband and son.  He has had to cut way back on his distance; he's been getting very stiff after big runs so this was a big treat.  It had been a while since he'd been down there for a run and he was beaming.  Luke is a very competitive dog and when he saw my son take off on his mountain bike he took off after him and was out in front before long.  Of course he over did it but my husband told me that he was grinning from ear to ear.  Luke is one of those dogs who loves to run for the sake of running; it is pure joy to watch him.  Although now at 11 years of age he doesn't do nearly what he use to.

If your dog is not accustom to going the distance then start out slow and work up.  If your dog is horrible on leash, the type that drags you down the street then get a no pull harness.  Work at teaching your dog to run along side of you and no crossing over.  The cross over while you are running can be a very dangerous one so they must learn to stay on one side while on leash.   With a  little time and effort you can really enjoy being out walking or running with your dog and kill two birds with one stone doing it.