Exercising your Pet
A dog whose exercise needs are met may rest more calmly at home and be less fretful when left alone. The modern dog-management mantra of "A good dog is a tired dog" is gospel to many people. Exercise can improve bone and joint health. Heart and lung function can improve. Sport and working dogs need the right exercise to be able to perform well. Some exercise is better than other exercise. The best exercise channels the activity of both mind and body. The best exercise is purposeful, with a purpose that increases the dog's ability to live happily in human society. The best exercise is balanced by teaching the dog how to be calm and physically composed through regular practice of this skill. Training courses are a great way to establish the basics. Practice and use the skills you learn in class when you're out with your dog. Choose places for your outings that help you form the right belief system in your dog's mind for the temperament your dog needs to live safely with humans.
As in most other things, moderation works admirably for dogs when it comes to exercise. Dog use body language to communicate, and many dogs will get enough exercise just from spending interesting days with people and other animals they enjoy. Exercise that is healthy for both mind and body is the very best kind of exercise.
Dogs can experience heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Unlike humans, dogs do not have an efficient body-cooling system. Young dogs and old dogs have poorer temperature regulating abilities than dogs in the prime of life and the peak of physical condition. Dogs with shortened muzzles are at an enormous disadvantage in heat tolerance. Black dogs in the sun are at greatly increased risk of overheating, as are long-haired dogs whether in sun or not.
If your dog is going to be jumping, doing a lot of running, pulling a sled, or other physically intense exercise, make sure the dog receives the correct regular exercise that our human "weekend athlete" forgets to do! Don't just take the dog to a dog park to run crazy and call that adequate. This will help to prevent injuries and muscle strains.
In the House
Teach your dog how to rest calmly. It may be fine for your dog to scamper around your house-depending on the size of the dog, the size of the house, and the dog's individual tendency to crash into furniture. Some dogs are quite agile in close spaces, and others not at all. Avoid the routine of crating your dog all day, and then having the dog "explode" out of the crate for a wild-eyed exercise session. This can lead to future behavior problems. Delay exercise until a few minutes after letting the dog out of the crate. Also give a dog time to unwind after exciting exercise before you crate the dog and leave for work.
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