2001-Sat Apr 29 01:47:04 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Fido may have a cushy spot on your couch (and seem quite content there), but a dog in motion is a happy, healthy dog. Without an adequate outlet for their energy, even sweet, easygoing dogs can quickly develop a trifecta of serious issues: Bad behavior brought on by boredom, excess weight and potentially significant health problems.
Long before human intervention divided the canine family tree into diverse branches such as the Irish Setter, the Bulldog, the Alaskan Malamute and the Yorkshire Terrier (and all combinations thereof), feral dogs spent their waking hours using their wits and their bodies to search for food. Sometimes they hunted and sometimes they scavenged, but they were on the move, working for the next meal to keep them alive.
When humans came into the picture, many dogs became even more active. The majority of breeds worldwide were developed through selective breeding to help hunters and farmers get and protect their own food supplies. All the retrievers, hounds, terriers, setters, shepherds and collies of the world are a testament to these work-dogs, who are born with a drive to earn their keep. Thanks to centuries of selective breeding, a dog's body is made to move and to complete countless physical tasks in the service of humankind.
You can see the inherited habits for yourself. They all have them, though they're buried deeper in some dogs than others. Everything about a dog is designed to see and go after potential prey: the way his eyes focus, the way his nerves are routed, the way he's on his feet and after that tennis ball and the movement toward the door when it's time for a walk.
An animal with a strong instinct to take off running wants and needs exercise. Movement helps a dog shed excess pounds as well as behavior problems. And keeping him active is good for you: Studies show you'll be more likely to be more fit as well, and you and your dog will be more tightly bonded.
The best exercise for any dog is something that engages both body and mind. You can start with something simple, or dedicate your life to training and competing with your dog. It doesn't matter, as long as you start. As the saying goes, "Every journey starts with a single step," which is why there's a natural place to begin — walking! What are you waiting for? Grab a leash and hit the road with your dog! These activities will soon reveal the tenet all veterinarians hold dear: A tired dog is a happy dog.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.