Being fit and healthy is just as important for your dog as it is for you. In today’s busy world, it’s too easy to get caught up in life and think “I’ll do that tomorrow” and then another tomorrow comes and goes. There are lots of things to do with your dog both inside and outside, and for short periods of time as well as longer, so finding a suitable time and place shouldn’t be too difficult.
Going for a walk is the most obvious thing. Walking with your dog means you’re both out enjoying things together, which can only be of benefit to you both! Why not try mixing things up with some pace changes, where safe to do so? Instead of an amble, try power walking for a few paces before really slowing it down and almost tiptoeing along. This will keep the walk unpredictable and varied whilst allowing for some connection work with your dog. Don’t focus the whole walk on this though. The walk still needs to offer lots of sniffing time for your dog as well as the chance to relieve himself without feeling like he’s in boot camp! If your dog has a good recall and enjoys playing, once you’re somewhere suitable you can let him off the lead and play games such as fetch and hide & seek. If your dog doesn’t go off the lead, using a long line will allow games of fetch whilst he’s still secure; however, it’s a bit of a giveaway for hide & seek! The exercises we’re going to cover are for home and garden but can also be used to keep walks varied as well as encouraging creative thinking from both you and your dog!
For dogs who don’t enjoy walks (and there are some out there) or if it’s too hot, cold or wet to walk, there are lots of things you can do at home. Puppy push-ups and squats are fun and effective and can be done in one or two minutes, so there’s no excuse for those out there who “don’t have time”! Puppy push-ups involve ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘sit’. Be sure your dog knows the instructions before tackling this; you mustn’t push him into a down or yank him back up to a sit. Luring into position is advised if your dog’s ‘sit’ and ‘down/lie’ aren’t strong enough on cue. Don’t do too many; a few reps of 3 or 4 is more than sufficient and gives something to build-up to over the months. After puppy push-ups you can do puppy squats, which are ‘down/lie’ into ‘stand’. Again, luring is advised if the cues are enough as we don’t recommend physical manipulation into positions. As with the push-ups, keep the reps small. You don’t want to overdo it.
Proprioception (body awareness) exercises are good fun and also offer health benefits. Teaching your dog to spin will encourage him to use, and be aware of, his body (as will static leg weaves/figures of eight around your legs). Once your dog is confident in push ups, squats, spins and/or figures of eight, you can try with different-height surfaces. The easiest is using a folded towel, which will offer a small raise. Have the dog’s front feet on the towel (or slightly raised area) and back feet on the floor to do the exercises. This will help with balance as well as offering a twist to the exercises that your dog is already confident with.
Here at Leading the Way, we can incorporate these, and more, into our home visits and walks. Please contact a member of the team for more information.
Here at Leading the Way, we offer a range of services that include (but aren’t limited to) dog walking, enrichment activities for cats and small animals and comforting home visits to spend precious time with your pets and to oversee their daily needs such as emptying litter trays, changing water bowls and feeding.
If you would like more information on any of the services that Leading the Way Pet Care provides, please contact us via please contact us via email or phone us on 0800 027 9846.