By Bonnie O’Connor
I am sure that there are times where we simply do not feel up to taking our dog for a walk or playing a game of fetch. But what does that mean for our dog? How important is exercise? And what things can we do to make it fun for them and for us?
When you are at work, your dog is in the house all day long. Dogs are active, outdoor animals, who need regular exercise to maintain mental and physical health.
I could never miss a daily walk with my sweet girl, she made sure of it as she sat in the hallway staring at me and throwing her head toward the door! I found this to be one of the best things we did together, as well as drives just around town, or to the coffee shop to hang out. My being home to work, and doing things together, created a strong bond.
According to the ASPCA, some behavioral problems that can result from lack of play and exercise include: destructive chewing or digging, garbage raiding, hyperactivity, rough play, barking or whining for attention. A well-exercised dog will be less anxious, and more mentally engaged. According to Jessica Peralta, a journalist and animal lover, there are five ways play and exercise can help your dog’s mental health:
• Play can promote calmness and reduce anxiety.
• Walks keep dogs engaged with the world and with brains stimulated.
• Playtime can also serve as learn time.
• Playing games can help satisfy natural instincts.
• Play and exercise can be a time for bonding with you.
At Redlands Friends of Shelter Animals (REDFOSA), trainers agree that getting your dog moving is good for keeping a dogs body and mind in balance, can create healthy and happy relationships, and increases strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health.
Some tips from our trainers to help you find ways to exercise and play with your dog include taking a walk, a hike, swimming, lure coursing, tug, fetch, food puzzles, hide-and-seek games and trick training.
California weather is perfect to be outside with your dog, so get moving, playing, and walking to help make a stronger bond with your best friend.
For more information or to connect with a REDFOSA trainer, visit redfosa.org online or call 909-255-1644.
Bonnie O’Connor lives in Redlands and is the owner of Paws and Relax Pet Massage and a member of Redlands Friends of Shelter Animals (REDFOSA).