A dog should get all the exercise she needs to burn off excess energy and maintain optimal health. In most cases, the best place for a dog to be active is outside. Not only do the outdoors provide opportunities for exercise, but the sights, sounds and especially the smells keep dogs’ minds active and alert.
Unfortunately, winter can be a time when many dogs don’t get enough time outdoors. But with the warm months upon us, there’s no excuse for not getting yourself and your dog out of the house to take part in fun summer activities.
Here are some great ideas to help your dog burn off excess energy.
Buy your dog a backpack
Buying a doggy backpack for your dog doesn’t mean you’re turning it into a draft animal. (Although most dogs are happy to help transport things in a backpack because it makes them feel like contributing members of their pack.) The real benefit to a doggy backpack is that it helps some dogs calm down.
For one, a doggy backpack—assuming it’s loaded with items that give it heft—will make your dog burn extra energy during walks, thus making it more tired. A tired dog is a calm dog. Lindsay Stordahl, a writer at ThatMutt.com, suggests including obedience commands during backpack walks. Doing so works your dog’s mind, and all the extra mental focus, plus the added weight from the backpack, “a dog backpack can really help drain some energy from the dogs and provide them with some much-needed structure.”
Secondly, doggy backpacks mimic the gentle “hug” of a weighted anxiety blanket, which are designed to make dogs feel secure and thus relaxed. Depending on where you live, your dog-walk routes might bring you near traffic, which some dogs find frightening. The backpack will reduce anxious energy.
Before you get a doggy backpack, read this article to learn doggy backpack do’s and don’ts.
Take your dog swimming
Dogs that love water are in luck because swimming is good for their entire body — from cardio to muscle building — and the more exercise a dog gets, the calmer it will be. Swimming is also an activity you can do with your dog, whether you’re in a rowboat or in the water. Swimming also offers a lot of opportunities for play (fetching a tennis ball is always a winner). Finally, as TopDogHealth.com points out, swimming “allows dogs that are usually restricted to exercising on a leash the freedom to get out all their pent-up energy without feeling restrained.”
Schedule a doggie playdate
Many dogs love playing together! The benefits of doggy playdates are physical and emotional. Playing burns a lot of energy, and as we know, a tired dog is a calmer dog.
Another reason why doggy playdates are important is because dogs are social animals. Playdates give them the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and people, which improves their overall emotional wellbeing. Dogs that are emotionally healthy tend to be calmer.
If you’re interested in socializing your dog through playdates but don’t know where to start, check out this article from Pet Central. You’ll also want to make your dog’s playdates successful and safe. This article from Animal Wellness Magazine provides nine handy tips on how to do just that.
What type of activities do you do with your dog to help burn off excess energy? Please share, we’d love to know!