Tag: exercise

Puppy Exercise: Keep Them Busy, But Don’t Overdo It.

Puppies are little (and not so little) balls of energy wrapped up in excitement.  What are the best ways to keep them active and out of trouble?  How much puppy exercise is appropriate?  Are some types of exercise better than others?  You have questions, and we have some answers.

What is a good puppy exercise?

A good puppy exercise is usually short (think 10 minutes for younger pups to 20 minutes at four months of age).  Puppies over four months may be able to exercise for longer periods of time if their breed allows.  The key is to keep the exercise session short enough to match their attention span.  Young puppies don’t have much endurance yet, because their bodies are immature.

A good puppy exercise is not overly strenuous.  Use low-impact activities.  Running is generally ok in short bursts, but endurance training should be left until your puppy is mature.  Jumping and prolonged running can injure growth plates, and dogs are not generally trained for jumping sports until they are mature.  Large and giant breeds mature more slowly, so be sure to ask your veterinarian when is the appropriate time to begin high-impact sports.  Many sport clubs will start training dogs at two years of age.

The AKC has good information on age-appropriate exercise for puppies.

A good puppy exercise is fun.  Puppies will do anything as long as it is fun!

Some play ideas to get you started

  1. Play hide and seek.  Hide treats around the house, or hide yourself and encourage your puppy to find you.
  2. Go swimming:  Water play is low impact and dogs love it.  Until your puppy can swim strongly, use a dog swim vest for safety.
  3. Play with puzzles.  Dog treat puzzles keep your puppy’s mind active and help her learn good problem solving skills.  Some treat puzzles encourage movement as well.  Your puppy might not retrieve yet, but she will probably enjoy chasing anything you feel like throwing.
  4. Learn tricks and skills.  You can teach an old dog new tricks, but young dogs learn faster.  Your puppy is soaking up knowledge at an incredible rate.  Now is the time to teach him obedience and party tricks.  Work on the recall frequently throughout the day.  Move around the house and call your puppy to you frequently.  Practice leash skills on walks.
  5. Socialize.  Dog parks and doggie day care are great places to socialize your puppy.  He’ll get a lot of exercise while he’s there, too.  Use common sense and keep your puppy out of park areas where reactive or overly boisterous and physical older dogs are playing. Some facilities offer sessions for puppies only.  For example, Bar K Dog Bar in Kansas City has a weekly puppy socialization play date on Wednesday evenings.  Puppy classes with your local pet store or trainer are great places to socialize, train, and exercise your puppy.

Join the Fit2BPawsome challenge to stay motivated.  The challenge is designed to be appropriate for all breeds and life stages.

A busy puppy is a happy puppy.  Keeping her busy with safe and healthy exercise will help her grow into a strong and confident dog.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Bar K Dog Bar is a sponsor of the Fit2BPawsome Challenge

Your Pet’s Fitness Is a Matter of Habit

Your pet’s fitness is a matter of habit, and the habit must be yours.  Your pet relies on you to make sure she gets regular exercise and eats properly.  Like any habit, exercising your pet consistently will require commitment from you.  Don’t worry.  We have some tips for making the habit stick.

Measure

You may have heard it said that goals should be measurable.  People are more likely to meet goals when they can quantify their progress.  That’s partly because we tend to over or underestimate our efforts, depending on how much we like the activity or choice.  To make monitoring work for your pet’s fitness, you need to quantify how much time you spend exercising your pet, or track your pet’s activity through some other means.

There are several excellent fitness apps and monitors on the market for dogs.  Depending on your budget, there is a monitor that will work for you.  We like Babel Bark, an inexpensive monitor and free app.  You may also log time manually, or record your mileage with your dog.  However you measure your dog’s activity, set a goal to increase it gradually.

Calendar

It’s a well-known fact that we tend to do what we make time for in a schedule.  If helping keep your pet fit is important, it’s key to schedule some time each day to make this happen.  Whether you are a morning person or a night owl, put exercise time with your pet into your daily agenda.

Get Accountable

Many people are better at sticking to habits when they are held accountable.  Making a goal public or simply having a friend act as an accountability partner can increase your chances for successfully keeping a new habit.  Similarly, being part of a group that meets in person or communicates online can help give you the accountability you need.  You may find it easier to consistently exercise your pet if you make a date with a friend and do it together.

Through the Fit2BPawsome Challenge, you will find tools to help you monitor your dog’s fitness.  You can go public and get accountable by joining the Challenge and participating in the Facebook group discussion.   Schedule daily activities with your pet and make your pet’s fitness a habit now.

Babel Bark is a sponsor of the Fit2BPawsome Challenge.

 

Bar K Running Club April 26

From the Bar K:

Every Thursday evening, we host the Bar K Running Club! This is a group run for people and dogs of all ability levels. Running with your pup is a great way for both of you to get some exercise and increase the bond between you and your dog.

We will have a couple different route options laid out for you. We’ll have water at the finish for your pup . . . and of course a beverage waiting for you as well! If any of your pups aren’t runners, you’re welcome to leave them in our fully staffed dog park and they can play with us while you get in your workout!

Bar K Running Club April 19

From the Bar K:

Every Thursday evening, we host the Bar K Running Club! This is a group run for people and dogs of all ability levels. Running with your pup is a great way for both of you to get some exercise and increase the bond between you and your dog.

We will have a couple different route options laid out for you. We’ll have water at the finish for your pup . . . and of course a beverage waiting for you as well! If any of your pups aren’t runners, you’re welcome to leave them in our fully staffed dog park and they can play with us while you get in your workout!

Bar K Running Club April 12

From the Bar K:

Every Thursday evening, we host the Bar K Running Club! This is a group run for people and dogs of all ability levels. Running with your pup is a great way for both of you to get some exercise and increase the bond between you and your dog.

We will have a couple different route options laid out for you. We’ll have water at the finish for your pup . . . and of course a beverage waiting for you as well! If any of your pups aren’t runners, you’re welcome to leave them in our fully staffed dog park and they can play with us while you get in your workout!