Just as we notice the difference in our mood and wellbeing if we have a lack of simple exercise and fresh air every day, the same goes for your dog too. A lack of sufficient outdoor activity can have a significant impact on dogs’ health and behaviour, leading to various problems, often through boredom and restlessness, such as destructive chewing or digging, over-excitability or rough play and frequent barking or whining. Similar to how young children can be, if our dogs don’t have an outlet for their energy and inquisitive nature then it can manifest in these undesired habits. The good news is that regular exercise, outdoor play and opportunities to explore are easy ways to keep your furry friend active, satisfied, happy and well behaved. Not only that, but this has other benefits too including helping dogs to maintain a healthy weight, ensuring they become tired and not restless in the evenings and also increasing the trust and bond between you both. We know well how our dog lights up at the prospect of going out for a walk, so it’s safe to say such activities really are the highlight of their day – why not make it yours too!
Any quality time spent with your pet is a great bonding opportunity which only increases their admiration and affection towards you; so for this reason outdoor play and exploration which involves you too is important to do regularly, instead of them simply running around outside alone. Structured play, which incorporates some sort of game or rules, is a great way to help exercise your dog and increase your relevance in their eyes through providing direction and authority in a fun and engaging context. As it involves the same leadership and obedience required for training, interactive play together can also help in this respect too.
Don’t underestimate your daily walks together – exercise through running or walking can be both physically and mentally stimulating for your dog. As naturally very curious animals, the various environmental factors allow them to process different sights and smells even on the same familiar route. However, it’s still a good idea to try and change where you go regularly (or even just the direction!) for increased stimulation and enjoyment.
Like the conscious effort we make to keep ourselves healthy and active, it’s vital that we do the same for our dogs too as part of being a responsible owner. There are endless benefits to regular outdoor exercise and play for you both, and making sure to have a daily routine which includes different types where possible is one guaranteed way to leave you with a happy, healthy and content canine.