Your Dog: Why Exercise Is Important

Choose the Right Exercise for Your Dog

Your dog's breed will also affect what kind and amount of exercise is best. Dogs that were bred to be active for sustained periods, such as many sporting, herding and protection breeds, as well as some types of Terriers, may need longer exercise periods than those bred to have short bursts of energy, such as many hounds and some toy and companion breeds. Dogs bred to retrieve are happiest getting their exercise by fetching, and often, swimming; those bred to hunt like to chase and explore; those bred to pull carts or sleds love to pull; and those bred to herd enjoy herding, but may have to settle for chasing and catching.

Even handicapped dogs can get exercise. Blind dogs can walk alongside you or even chase noisy toys. Older dogs can play low-impact games inside that get them up and moving. Walks aren't out of the question for older dogs, even those with arthritis; they may just need some vet-approved pain medication or other therapies to help keep them comfortable enough for exercise. Swimming can be a great exercise for arthritic dogs too.

Don't forget the mental exercise! Add in some games that require your dog to think — he'll probably appreciate the challenge, and you may be surprised to learn you're living with a genius.

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