Keep Fit for Canines A tired dog is a happy dog – and a happy owner! By Shelly Korobanik
ust as in humans, poor physical condition touches every facet of your dog’s life, not just physically but also mentally. When dogs are deprived of adequate physical activity and mental stimulation, the boredom and pent-up energy has to go somewhere, and more often than not, it is manifested in undesired behaviours such as aggression, digging, jumping, and barking. Bottom line: the outcome is usually not a good one. Big, small, young or old, all dogs thrive when physically and mentally challenged, but they are completely dependent on their human guardians to provide the activities to meet their needs. So how can you ensure your pooch is kept mentally and physically fit? Here are some simple ways: •
Start early! Establish a routine when your dog is a puppy, and adjust the routine to match your dog’s needs and abilities as they progress through their adult and senior years.
Workout with the best training partner ever - your pooch!
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Enjoy the great outdoors! Grab the leash and get out for a walk, hike or run with your dog at least twice a day for 30 minutes.
Take up some new dog sport activities, such as cani-cross, weight pulling or agility, which will not only challenge your pooch physically, but also mentally test them while learning a new sport.
Challenge your dog mentally. Dogs need to learn, think and problem solve, so don’t stop training after you’ve completed obedience. Getting involved in trick training, tracking, scent detection and other activities will not only provide mental stimulation for your pooch, but also strengthen the partnership you have with your dog.
Give your dog a job! All dogs, particularly working breeds, thrive when given a task. It can be as simply as putting a backpack on them when you take them out for a walk or teaching them to carry the newspaper for you. If you have the time, consider applying for a dog therapy program – not only will your dog have a job but
18 Pets ‘14 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine