Click here to learn more.
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!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
The Oregon Zoo's cubs, Kamali, Zalika and Angalia, recently ventured outside with their father, Zawadi Mungu.
Cooper the Shih Tzu offers stress relief at the university's medical school library all year long — not…
When your kitty is 13 to 15 years old, keep an eye out for behavior changes that may signify health complications.
You would never steal from your vet or ask her on a date, but clients have done it to Dr. Patty Khuly and her…
The versatile American Shorthair came to the New World alongside pilgrims, sailors and adventurers.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.