7 ways to exercise a dog THAT NEEDS IT!

7 ways to exercise a dog THAT NEEDS IT!


Do you have a crazy canine that never seems to run out of energy?  Welcome to the struggle, but don’t give up hope!  We have the answers you need right here to control that energy and redirect it into a positive, happy, and healthy lifestyle.



1.  Walk your dog with a backpack

                Taking your dog for regular walks is important, however sometimes it just isn’t enough to tire out your canine companion.  Walking your dog with a backpack is one of the simplest and most powerful solutions an owner can put into practice.  Not only is it easy, but it gives your dog a job to do, presents a greater physical challenge in less time, and it refocuses your dogs attention, giving them a job to do.  A general rule of thumb is about 10-12% of your dog’s body weight, however if your pooch is old, or has a disability, you may want to decrease that amount.

2.  Mental Exercise

            Keeping a dogs mind busy can be just as important as their body.  Along with simple obedience training (e.g. sit, come, stay), there are several activities that can help occupy your dogs’ attention that are both easy and fun.  “Nose work” is a good place to start.  Show your dog a treat, make them sit, and them go hide the treat.  Once your dog finds it, repeat the process, making it harder to find every time.

3.  Doggie Daycare

Dog Boarding

Dakota shaking hands

A doggie daycare is a structured environment, where you can leave your pooch in the safety of experienced people.  It’s a place where they can play all day long while you’re on the move, at work, have company over, or on vacation.  Taking your dog to doggie daycare is probably one of the best things you can do for your dog, as it satisfies several different needs, both physical, and mental.  Getting your dog in a pack, and establishing their pack mentality early on, will go light-years to raising a happy, healthy, and well balanced dog, because dogs teach each other the social skills they need to communicate with one another.

4.  Go for a Run

            Now I know we are not all jumping with joy at the prospect of strapping on those running shoes, but working out with your pet is about more than exercise.  It is about creating a trusting bond that is exemplified by understanding that you’re the leader, and he’s the follower.  When starting down this path (no pun intended), it is good to start your dog off slow.  Try walking for 5 minutes, jogging for 1, and then walking for 5.  Keep repeating until you both are ready for longer jogs.

5.  Play fetch!

Staring into the sunrise

            Fetch is a great mind and body game for many breeds of dogs.  If your dog does not know how to play fetch YOU CAN TEACH THEM!  Never underestimate the power of a pocketful of treats.  There are several versions of fetch you can play with your dog.  You can play a variation of monkey in the middle, where you have yourself and a friend throw a ball back and forth.  For more the more physically inclined owners, “Race Fetch” is another option, where instead of sitting back waiting for your dog to bring the ball back, race her to it.

6.  Go Swimming

Swim Swim Swim

Swim Swim Swim

 Swimming is fantastic exercise for humans and dogs alike.  It is low impact, making it perfect for older dogs, or dogs with arthritis or other joint problem, as well as obese dogs, and dogs recovering from an injury.  Every minute your dog spends swimming is worth four in terms of cardiovascular and muscle benefits.  If you are a capable swimmer, bring a tennis ball in the water, and play a game of race fetch, or monkey in the middle.

7.  Go for a bike ride together

         Unfortunately not all of us are physically up to the task of running or swimming with our dogs, so a great alternative is to go on a bike ride with your pet.  Bike riding is a fun and low-impact exercise for you, and your dog can run alongside you as you cycle.  There are however a few safety precautions you should take before going on a ride with your dog.  First, invest in a leash specifically designed for bike riding.  This ensures that the leash doesn’t detach from your hand if you fall.  Also, fit your dog with a harness to take the strain of the leash off his neck.  Finally a collapsible water bowl and water to prevent dehydration will ensure a fun and active ride.