There has been a “trendy” attitude the past few years about getting dogs enough exercise…yes dogs do need exercise and here comes the “but”…
Walking your Labradoodle, your German Shepherd, or your Great Dane around the neighborhood on a leash does not qualify as exercise, except maybe for you.
Under-exercised dogs are more reactive to all kinds of things more than ones who get enough exercise. “But” if you are trailing your dog around your neighborhood with him dragging you, fence fighting, charging dogs, kids, adults with beards and peeing his or her way to China you are letting your dog know that is how you want him to walk around the neighborhood. So in my opinion you are doing more harm than good.
Dogs need to run or trot, even if they are just playing ball in the house. If you have a normal sized backyard or even if you don’t you will see your dog doing what I call “loop de loops” they will run fast around the yard for 10 or 15 minutes all by themselves; dogs really do know what is good for themselves…if you have two dogs they get plenty of exercise!
Dogs profit tremendously from having something constructive to think about they need mental exercise, and that gets us back to obedience training!
Obedience training always makes a dog (and owner) more confident…it will teach your dog to walk on a loose leash with no drama….come when called and to pay attention to you…you’re alpha remember? Then go beyond basic dog training! Teach your dog to track a scent (your kids or grandkids for example) find your cell phone…jump over agility obstacles; hold still while a child reads to him. Teach him anything but bad habits, and keep his mind and body busy…
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Marjorie “The Dog Trainer” Satterfield is an award winning author, breeder, exhibitor, trainer and judge.