Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Importance of Exercising Your Dog--Mentally and Physically

The Pack Leader at Work

At the risk of sounding like the Dog Whisperer, I will repeat his mantra: Exercise, Discipline, Affection--in this order. He is so right.

My first experience at beginning to understand this came with Xena, when she was little miss hyperactive at dog training classes. When the instructor decided to allow "recess" or playtime in the beginning of class, she calmed right down after a vigorous play, and was ready to focus and learn. Wow! Such a revelation, and that was before we even knew about Cesar Milan.

Now, exercise before discipline is my own rule. Before obedience classes with Tanner and Oliver, I always found time, somehow, to fit in a long walk, bike ride, dog park run or a good fetch game in the pool. Once or twice, during long downpours, I actually took my long walk inside of Petsmart. Thank goodness they allowed that.

With obedience classes behind us, we are now venturing into a new challenge: Agility training. Running an agility course definitely involves both exercise and discipline; however, in my humble opinion, it is more discipline than exercise. Tanner can easily outrun me, and when he does he finds himself with confusion as to where he is supposed to go next. At first, he would just pick his favorite and have a blast, but now I see him beginning to stay with me and keep his attention on me more. That is the goal, so I guess we are making progress in discipline.

I do have to work at it, though. Each day that we have class, I take Tanner to a doggie play date. He runs for hours with a group of fun dog friends, and comes home good and worn out. Then we go to Agility class. Without that play date, Tanner would be a hyperactive nutcase. Well, maybe that is a bit harsh. Just hyperactive.

In my next few posts, I'll write a little about some of various ways I assure these pups get their exercise. I'd love to hear about your creative methods also. Feel free to COMMENT at the link below. Have a great weekend, and don't forget to walk the dog.


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