Today’s topic is all about helping your furry friend expel his excess energy so he can be a well balanced and behaved pooch. I truly believe that 90% of all behavioral problems in dogs are due to a lack of attention being paid to a dogs physical and intellectual needs. Dogs need exercise. It may seem like a simple concept, but you would be surprised how many owners fall short in this category. Letting your dog run around the backyard is typically not enough exercise. It doesn’t address their intellectual needs and often times can lead to anxiety. Not to mention exercising with Fido helps strengthen the bond you have and enforces you as his “Pack Leader,” as Cesar Milan would say. With that being said, here are 5 simple ways to give your dogs the daily dose of energy burn he needs.

1.Go for a walk! Child’s play, I know, but going for a walk daily is absolutely the easiest way to exercise your puppy and strengthen your bond. Shoot for a 30-45 minute walk. Make sure not to let your dog lead you, always lead him. For higher energy breeds, a lengthier walk or even a run may be in order.

2. Go to a dog park. This is not only a great way to exercise your dog, it’s an invaluable tool for socializing your pet as well. There are tons on dog parks in the Houston area. Check out this list. Make sure to bring bags to clean up after your dog just in case the park is out. Also bring a towel to dry him off if there is a pool. Lastly always keep your dog leashed when initially entering a park. Only release him when you are confident that he is in a friendly and moderately calm state.  You want to make sure he knows that you are in control of his play time. This isn’t a free for all.

3. Doggy Day Care. This is another great way to get your dog some exercise while you are working and also to help with socialization. A simple Google search for doggie day care in your area will most likely yield more results than you have time to sift through. These are very popular options for busy, city dwelling individuals.

4. Teach him a trick. While physical exercise is important, it’s not everything. Helping your dog focus his attention drains energy as well. This will also strengthen his listening skills and yield a more obedient dog. Keep training sessions short. I recommend3 or 4 training sessions at approximately 10-15 minutes each. Take breaks in between to allow him to rest and recollect his thoughts. Lengthy continuous training is not recommended, because it gives Fido the opportunity to lose focus. Keep is short, positive and productive.

5. Take up a sport. Dogs LOVE to have a job. Whether it’s fetching a ball, catching a frisbee, swimming, or running agility. In my opinion this is the perfect combination of mental and physical stimulation. If you’ve ever been to a dog show, you’ve notice how happy and fulfilled the dogs that compete are. Take something your dog loves to do and turn it into his job. As an example, my female Border Collie is head over heals in love with swimming. In fact, its an obsession, and obsession in dogs is never good. We’ve worked on channeling that obsessive energy into a job of retrieving in the water and she loves it! It takes her focus off the water and puts it on the job.

Ok, so this turned out way longer than what I had envisioned. I apparently have plenty to say on the topic. In summary, a tired dog is a happy, and more importantly, a well behaved dog. I’ll try to keep it shorter next time.

Yours Truly,