Many people have the luxury of a fenced in backyard and even though your dog may play fetch and run around in the backyard, it should be a supplement to a leash walk. Even if you have multiple dogs, they all deserve a leash walk with you every day.
I consider running and playing in the backyard unstructured exercise. Some dogs can get too adrenalized with this activity (think about the dog that wants to play fetch forever)!
The best way to bond with your dog(s) and create a calm demeanor is to take your dog(s) for a loose leash walk daily. The length of the walk will depend on how active your dog is.
When I say loose leash walk, I give my dog a command to walk next to me and all sniffing, pulling, marking, etc, stops and the dog(s) just enjoy a nice leisurely walk with me. I set the pace and the dog(s) follow me. Some dog(s) walk well with a collar and leash but if your dog is pulling, lunging, breathing heavy, etc, a training aid might help keep the walk more enjoyable. You can search out a local trainer to see which training aid will work the best for you and your dog.
If the walk is not enjoyable, take advantage of group training classes to help work with your dog around distractions or work with a trainer that provides private lessons to help make this activity more enjoyable.
Loose leash walking is an EXCELLENT way to build focus, obedience and teamwork. Everyone needs to be careful of the weather (too hot or too cold) and walk when it is safe for you and your dog.
Another great option for structured exercise is teaching your dog to walk on a treadmill. This forces your dog to think and slow his mind down which helps create a calmer, focused and mentally tired dog.
Take advantage of our monthly pack walks, where we walk as a group in different areas in Muncie. Our Sept pack walk is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 5 from 7-8 pm on the Ball State Campus. We would love to have you join us.
Remember- It doesn’t matter where you go in life…what you do…or how much you have…It’s who you have beside you