Dogs are born to work for a living. They’ve worked alongside us for thousands of years, and most are bred for a particular purpose, like hunting, herding livestock or providing protection. Dogs’ wild relatives spend most of their waking hours scavenging and hunting for food, caring for offspring, defending territory and playing with each other. They lead busy, complex lives, interacting socially and solving simple problems necessary for their survival.
The most common job for our companion dogs today, however, is Couch Potato! They no longer have to earn their keep and instead have to adjust to our more sedentary lifestyles. They get their food for free in a bowl and are often confined, alone and inactive, for most of the day. This lack of purpose leaves dogs no outlet for their naturally active tendencies-physical and mental-and it contributes to the development of behavior problems.
“Another problem modern dogs face because they rarely work anymore is a lack of opportunities to exercise. Some pet parents make the mistake of assuming that if a dog has access to a yard, she’s getting exercise. But your dog doesn’t run laps by herself in your yard-or do much of anything besides waiting for you to come outside or let him/her back inside.”
“It’s the interaction with you that counts! “
“Exercising your dog is an important part of your relationship with him. All dogs, young and old, benefit from exercise, not only physically but mentally as well. A dog that doesn’t get enough exercise will not only run the risk of developing health issues like obesity and arthritis, but may also develop some behavioral issues.
Dogs who aren’t given something constructive to do with their time will make their own fun, which normally includes digging, chewing, and even pushier behaviors, like excessive play biting, jumping, and attention-seeking barking.
If the aforementioned issues weren’t enough to get you and your pooch off the couch and out the door, exercise can also help shy and fearful dogs gain confidence.”
Consistent exercise, such as strength training, can also help reduce the amount of fat in your dog’s body. Fat is a proven source of inflammation in your dog’s joints.
This means that proper body weight through strength training not only reduces the stress of obesity on your dog’s joints, but also reduces the chances of inflammation from fat deposits.
Finally, strength training brings the added benefit of increased muscle mass and overall strength. As a result, your dog’s muscles will be able to better protect and support the movement of its joints and improve its quality of life.
“These examples of great workout exercises for dogs are only a few of the many, many different kinds of exercises you can engage your dog in to keep him feeling healthy and fit. If you start with these basic exercises, you will surely see signs of your dog regaining his waistline and pursing a healthy life. Once he gets the hang of these workout exercises, change it up and try new activities.”
The main idea of dog workout exercises is to make sure they are effective but also to make sure they are fun. Do not create workouts for your dog that are so grueling and difficult that you and your dog will hate participating in them. Be patient and have fun while staying active. If you approach workout exercises for dogs out as a fun and exciting activity for your dog, then you will set yourself up for a lifetime of a healthy and happy dog.” — Bully Max
Benefits of Exercise and Play
The good news is that keeping your dog healthy, happy and out of trouble with daily exercise is a lot of fun and provides many benefits, including:
- Helps to reduce or eliminate the common behavior problems listed above, such as digging, excessive barking, chewing and hyperactivity
- Helps to keep dogs healthy, agile and limber
- Helps to reduce digestive problems and constipation
- Helps timid or fearful dogs build confidence and trust
- Helps dogs feel sleepy, rather than restless, at bedtime or when you’re relaxing
- Helps to keep dogs’ weight under control
1. The Spring Pole
What Is A Spring Pole & How Does It Work?
If you’re looking for ways to give your dog more exercise, the first place you should start is with a spring pole. A spring pole is basically a spring connected to a rope that hangs down from a tree branch or a wood beam.
The beauty of the spring pole is that it allows your dog to play tug-of-war with himself!
This makes it incredibly convenient, since you don’t have to actually be there. It’s a great way to provide your bully with countless hours of entertainment and fun, while allowing them to expend excess energy (which results in a better-behaved dog).
And, of course, a spring pole will also go a long way in helping your dog to develop bigger, stronger muscles and more energy & vitality.
Here’s a video from Bully Max that shows you how to build a spring pole in just a couple minutes at home:
2. The Flirt Pole
The flirt pole (one of our favorites here at BULLY KING Magazine) this is a gift to worn out dog owners everywhere. It not only helps your dog work on their basic manners and impulse control, but it also gives them a workout in just a few minutes. And you hardly have to do a thing.
How a Flirt Pole Works:
You drag the toy on the ground in a circle, they chase and tug, with rules. (Think giant cat toy) Check out this cool video from our friends over at The Bully Market putting the flirt pole into action!
Playing fetch is a great way to have fun with your dog and exercise him/her at the same time. If you’re lucky, your dog plays fetch naturally, but few dogs intrinsically understand the concept of retrieving. Some dogs will chase after the toy but then won’t bring it back, while others simply look at you with a confused expression, wondering why you repeatedly throw the toy away!
Helping your dog learn to love retrieving can be as simple as finding a toy he really likes or as complex as training the entire sequence of chasing, picking up and bringing back the toy. Make it fun for the dog and it’s a great way to keep the kids active as well. Make it a game and it can be a fun way to spend quality time, bond and get some exercise while you’re at it!
Here are a few popular choices to try:
- Tennis ball
- Retriever plastic or rubber bumper
- Air KONG® squeaker tennis ball
- Soft Bite Floppy Disc® or the BOODA® Flyer™
- KONG Flyer (made of soft, flexible rubber)
- Hyperflite® Jawz™ Disc (semi-flexible plastic Frisbee made specifically for disc dog competitions), SoFlite™ Disc (extra-soft for sensitive mouths) or FrostBite™ Disc (stays soft and flexible in cold weather)
- KONG Toy (comes with or without a rope attached)
- Chuckit!® Flying Squirrel fetch toy (also comes in a plush form)
- Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff® Orbee Ball
If your dog doesn’t like to put toys in his mouth, try soaking a plush toy or a tennis ball in chicken stock or stuffing an old sock with treats. This will entice him to taste the toy, and you can reward him for this by giving him a treat. He’ll soon figure out that putting the toy in his mouth pleases you to no end, and then you can start teaching him to fetch it.
Be very careful to avoid the hottest parts of the day, especially with some of the “bullier” dogs. Dogs carrying heavier muscle, and Brachycephalic Dogs (shorter muzzles) can get out of breath much quicker. They also need plenty of rest and recovery time as they take longer to cool off.
4. Walking/Swimming etc..
Remember to keep “calm assertive and dominant” (Caesar Milan voice) when walking your dog. Your dog looks to your for confidence, and if you don’t exhibit confidence and control, your dog will assume the pack leader role.
This can cause unwanted behavior issues, aggression towards other dogs and also people as the dog feels it must fill the leader role to protect it’s owner. Swimming can also be a great workout for your bully, but they need to be supervised. They can tire easily due to the added muscle and bone they carry.
Also be sure to let your bully get the appropriate amount of rest, nutrients and time to recover after any strenuous activity. A high protein dog food with quality ingredients and the right supplements can help you build quality muscle.
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