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Training Tips

 

The importance of exercise and how it affects your dogs overall mental and physical health

Lack of exercise can be one of the underlying causes of many behavioral problems. Aggression, anxiety, pacing, tail chasing, going after the vacuum or broom, etc can all be symptoms of lack of exercise. However, before you run out of the house with your dog in hopes that exercising him will help with his bad behaviors there are a few things you should know.

There are two types of exercise a dog needs: mental exercise and physical exercise. Most people do a very good job of exercising their dog’s physical needs. The dog park, long runs or walks, letting your dog run free in open fields (provided he’s trained to come back) are all great for fulfilling your dogs need to exert themselves. However those exercises are only fifty percent of the equation. You also need to mentally stimulate your dog!

So how do you do this? Well first you have to consider the type of dog you have. If you have a retriever like a lab or a golden retriever then you need to play a strenuous game of fetch! If you have a pitbull then perhaps a good game of controlled tug will fulfill the need to use those big jaws. Throwing a squeaky ball will help your terrier satisfy the need to chase small animals like squirrels. Have a husky? Let him pull a wagon with the baby in it during walks!

Every dog was built to do a specific task and it’s important that we fulfill that task as best we can by simulating it through proper exercise.  Huskies enjoy pulling things over long distances, pitbulls enjoy using their mouths, labs love to retrieve and terriers love to chase prey like creatures. Be sure you’re doing something to satisfy your dogs desire to work both mentally and physically. It is important for their well being and in preventing or addressing problematic behaviors.