Exercising Your Dog: Body and Mind!
Have you ever been bored in your life? When a person is bored, they usually find something to relieve that boredom, whether that be surfing the internet, meeting a friend for a drink, watching a movie, going for a jog, or even taking a nap. When we’re bored, we want do what we can to eliminate that boredom, as it could make people anxious, jittery, annoyed, and sometimes even depressed.
Take a look at your dog. Do you think they are bored? How does one detect boredom in their dog? I’ve had many owners ask if dogs are even capable of getting bored. Truth is, dogs can get easily bored, and many dogs do because they lack not only physical exercise, but also mental stimulation.
General exercise is always best for a dog, no matter their size or breed. With some dogs, you might have to restrict their exercise levels in comparison to others (i.e.: a Pug is not going to get the same amount of exercise as a German Shepherd). A dog that might be older or dealing with physical ailments, such as arthritis or a weak heart, probably should not be on a heavy cardio regimen. But no matter what your dog’s physical activity levels are, there can always be some type of mental exercise occurring. This is not necessarily to supplement for lack of physical exercise — mental stimulation is something all dogs should experience daily, as it can help reduce boredom, stress, anxiety, and other behavior problems.
If you think that letting your dog out in the backyard to just run in circles is exercise, think again. If you think that just getting your dog to shake a paw or sit on command is the only mental stimulation your dog needs, consider giving your dog and yourself more fun challenges. While your dog’s heart might be pumping as he runs all over the yard, why not add some mental engagement into it? Why not instead of your dog aimlessly running around in circles, throw a ball or a toy so they can fetch or find it? Or even trickier, try challenging your dog by commanding them to lie down in the middle of their excitement? This is a great way for your dog to learn how to listen to you, even when they are highly distracted! When you increase your dog’s mental activity, you’re increasing their overall concentration and retention. It also helps them focus more on you and your command, whenever you may need their attention. And you bet it will tire them out! Mental exercise can be just as exhausting and rewarding as a run through a park or a full day at doggy daycare!
Our Raleigh based dog behavior training is a great way to bring more mental stimulation in your dogs life. Not only are you addressing pesky bad habits or serious behavior issues, you’re also giving your dog a job. Your dog will be mentally alert and likely to succeed in any type of situation and environment. Mental stimulation can help prevent behavior issues from arising in the first place. As mentioned earlier, people can become depressed or annoyed when they have nothing to do. It’s the same with dogs, and dogs can act our of anxiety or aggression when lacking mental stimulation. Don’t wait for your dog to tear up your house or bite your neighbor before you train them and give them mental exercise…get started immediately!
If you need training or tips on how to mentally stimulate your dog, give us a call at 919-427-4775, and we’ll figure out a regimen that both you and your dog can work in and succeed in!