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Friday, July 30, 2010

Fido Fun: More Exercise Options for Your Dog

by Carrie Boyko

(c) Christy Moser, all rights reserved
Kota is a Rescue, 
Turned Disc Dog

Does your dog love to run, jump, and catch things that fly? Maybe he's got a 'disc dog' trying to get out. My friend Chris Engel, a national disc dog competitor, has written a series of guest posts for All Things Dog Blog, to help get you started:

Frisbee Dog 101: Part I in a Series of V
Frisbee Dog 101: Dog Selection for Frisbee Dog Enthusiasts
Frisbee Dog 101: Getting Your Dog Ready to be a Disc Dog
Frisbee Dog 101: Frisbee Training Begins
Frisbee Dog 101: Frisbee Choices for Your Dog

(c) Carrie Boyko
Tanner Enjoys Catching
his Ring the Most
Okay, so you're not a Frisbee thrower. I can empathize. Tanner says my tosses are not up to speed either, but we try. Another way we make sure that Tanner gets plenty of exercise is by giving him a backpack to carry.
(c) Alan Boyko
Tanner Walks Like a Gentleman
With his Backpack on

Carrying a backpack is not just about weight, although I do put a few pounds of beans, rice or water bottles inside. What's really cool about this exercise mode is that Tanner has to concentrate harder on his 'job.' The backpack will swing and sway if he doesn't walk smoothly, or if he swings his hips by walking too fast. The result of walking with a backpack is a dog that walks smoothly and straight ahead beside me, just the way I like.
(c) Carrie Boyko
Tanner Loves Swimming
Almost as Much as Playing Fetch

On a hot summer day (or even a cold day, as far as Tanner is concerned), there is nothing better than a good swim. You're missing the boat if you dog doesn't know how to swim. Every dog can learn to swim, and should, even just for safety's sake. Here's some tips to make it go smoothly. Even a kiddie pool is an enjoyable, cooling game for a pup outdoors in the heat.

Afterwards, Tanner is a tired and relaxed boy that is ready for a nap. Swimming provides him with lots of problem-solving activities. I make games up as we go, like how to get a toy off the steps below him, or retrieving a toy from the ledge while he's in the water. He also tries hard to use his front and back legs to hoist himself up the side of the pool.

Swimming is definitely in second place to his all-time favorite activity--playing Fetch! Nothing can compare to this activity, and I suppose that is because he is a Retriever. That's what he was bred for, and he is true to his heritage.
(c) Carrie Boyko
Great Fetching Form

If you'd like some help teaching your dog to play Fetch, here's a post with some training instructions: Teaching Your Dog to Fetch.

Keeping your dog busy with a variety of activities will help to assure he doesn't eat your couch or your neighbor's purse, or even your shoes. A tired dog is a napping dog. Now, go get your pup busy doing something that will use his mind and his body to wear him out. You'll be glad you did.

Before you sign off, you might enjoy Xena's point of view. Coming from a senior dog who can't always run, jump and swim all day, she makes a good point in her post at 5 Minutes for Fido.

Finally, be sure to join me Monday night after 6 p.m. when our new ASK THE VET column, with Dr. Pat, debuts; don't miss it! 

© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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