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Outdoor activities with your dog.

Outdoor activities with your dog.
Being outdoors is great for both dog and owner. Being outdoors provides a fresh and interesting environment which will help to keep your dog’s mind active, fresh and alert. The more they spend outdoors, the more they will get used to strangers and other dogs coming into contact with them.
Even if you are lucky to have a large garden, your dog would still benefit from walks outside of the family home. It is advised that any dog should have at least one walk per day that lasts around 30 minutes. Obviously the size, age and breed of dog will require different amounts of exercise. And don’t presume that small dogs require less becuase of their size. It’s always best to check with your vet about how much exercise your particular breed of dog should have. Your common sense should be adequate, you will know when your dog has had enough, and when they have had too little!

Here are a few ideas for stimulating activities you can share with your canine companion

Take a Walk

walking activities with your dog.
No matter how old you or your dog are, a walk is a great way to spend quality time with your dog. You can go at your own pace. Even when your dog becomes senior in years, they love being outside, even if they are suffering from the odd leg or hip problem. This is when a dog stroller comes in handy. That way a dog can stay out with you all day long. You don’t have to cut short a family day out if you have a stroller. The dog can simply pop in and out of their stroller whenever they feel like it. A stroller is also ideal for any young dogs who are still being trained or awaiting their vaccinations.
But for all dogs a daily walk is an essential part of their exercise routine. In fact the more you can walk them the better. And it’s good for you too. Whether it be a country lane, a beach run or just a walk to the park, try and get your dog out and away from the family home on a regular basis.
Not only does it exercise them but it introduces them to new people, other dogs and new stimuli. All this will help develop and stimulate their senses. Even if you become incapacitated, try and get a friend or hire a professional dog walker to get your dog out and about.
Always remember to keep your dog on a secure leash and only let them off in a safe, dog friendly environment. Check with your local park whether dogs are allowed to roam free. And check whether the beach is dog friendly, as some don’t allow them on the sands during the spring and summer.
Your dog should also be ‘micro chipped’ and wear a collar that has an id tag attached, incase they run off or get lost. That way someone can get in touch with you if they find your dog.

Chase and Fetch

Outdoor activities with your dog.
All dogs love a game of chase and fetch. So include this game on any outdoor outing. Whether it be a frsibee, ball or designer dog toy get your dog running back and forth as much as you can. It’s double the exercise for them and really gets their joints and muscles going. The chase and fetch game also taps into their internal instinct to hunt and retrieve, and they also look forward to the reward of returning a ball to a happy owner again and again. The good old tennis ball is always a favourite. You can now buy handy ball throwers or ‘ball launchers’ which are designed to help you pick the ball up from the ground with out touching it and the long handle helps because you don’t have to be constantly bending down. You can hurl the ball at quite a distance too, which means your pooch runs further.

The Beach and Ponds in the Park

Beach activities with your dog.
As mentioned above, many outdoor activiies may include the beach or a pond or a lake. Most dogs love the water and it’s a great way for them to exercise and to cool down. There are some great floating dog toys on the market which are pefect for the beach, ponds and lakes. Dogs love the water and can spend hours having fun swimming with you and your family. Just make sure your dog doesn’t have to swim too far out to retrieve thier toys. Although dogs are good natural swimmers, they too like humans, can be swept out to sea by undercurrents. You can buy coast-guard approved pet life preservers to keep your dog’s head above water without restricting his movement or breathing.
It’s common sense, but always play safe near the sea and only visit good family and dog friendly beaches and avoid messy beaches which is littered with bottles and debris. It will only increase the chance of a cut paw and a hefty vets bill.
Also keep your dog well protected from the sun if playing on the beach all day. Dogs can get heatstroke just like humans, but have trouble cooling down if they suffer from sunstroke. Keep a dog stroller handy or a pop up tent, so they can go and lie in the shade. Make sure you take plent of water with you too, they will need to drink a lot of water if playing in the sun.

Running and Jogging

running with your dog.
Some fit and keen joggers do take their dogs with them on their daily runs. It’s a great way to keep you both in tip top condition and it’s quality time with owner and pet. But if you are a keen jogger and your dog isn’t as quick on their feet as they used to be, you can now buy dog jogging strollers. Like a dog pram or pet pushchair you can jog along and push the stroller with your beloved dog in it. Or even better, you can both jog along and the dog can jump inside the stroller when tired. There are some great dog jogging strollers on the market and they are not as expensive as you would think. They are also great to use in wet weather and are actually designed to move on uneven ground and jogging terrains. You can still jog, do your exercise and still take your dog with you instead of leaving them at home all alone. Check out some of the jogging strollers on this site.

Hiking

hiking with your dog.
If you like hiking there is no reason why your dog shoudn’t join in on the fun. Unless you are a keen hiker, always make sure you plan the journey and hike to your capabilities. Don’t plan a massive trek if you are new to hiking. With any dog walk use a long leash or retractable grip lead to ensure that your dog doesn’t stray too far. Try not to let them off their lead unless you are in a dog friendly area and sure that they will come back to you.
Hiking or walking in wild surroundings may also expose your dog to ticks or fleas, not to mention the rough terrain of sticks and sharp rocks. There is also the occaisional downpour to consider. Hiking with your dog is not the same as a walk to the park or shops. Make sure your dog is always treated for fleas and ticks with a good ‘spot on’ flea repellant which you can obtain from your vet. Always make sure it’s a good one. A simple flea collar may not be enough protection if you plan many hikes over the summer months.
With rough terrain, we will never know beforehand what lies ahead. Humans can protect themselves from the elements with protective clothing and boots. Good news is dogs can too. There are now plenty of weatherproof coats and jackets designed to protect your dog from wet weather. Some are cute and some are garish, but there are some designed with just the functionality needed. Always take a waterproof dog coat with you. You can now even buy a set of dog boots which will help protect your dogs paws on bad terrain. The boots are designed for all breeds and all sizes and they slip on comfortably right over all four paws and velcro securely in place. Be sure to clip your dog’s nails before a hike to prevent them from getting caught in their new boots.
A dog stroller is also handy if you want to protect your dog from the rain or rough terrain. Most strollers are lightweight and designed to cope with rough surfaces and have the added storage space required for water, blankets and food. Strollers are also perfect for taking an aged dog or younger dogs on a long walks or some flat landscape hikes. Strollers are ideal for hikes with very little or no climbing but would be troublesome if climbing up hills and over rocks. But never the less, they are perfect for long walks as the dog can rest periodically and also enjoy some of the walk or hike by your side. The weatherproof covering will help protect them from the cold autumn and winter rain and hot sun in the summer months.
For all hikes, and especially in the summer months, always make sure you take enough water for you and your dog. There will most probably be no shop stops during the hike and drinking water for you dog may not be available. So take plenty of water with you. You can buy great collapsable water and food bowls for dogs, which are great to use and then fold away…very convenient.

Dog Agility Parks and Trails

agility activities with your dog.
More and more communities are now offering dog agility parks and trails, which feature various courses specifically designed to give your dog a fun and challenging workout. Dogs can leap hurdles, climb ramps, balance narrow bridges, and navigate their way through various obstacles. Many parks also offer classes for beginners to acclimate both dog and owner to the equipment. This is a growing new sport recommended for the active and fearless dog in your life. Check on the internet for any local groups or agility classes and if there arn’t any why not try and start your own walking group? It’s a good way for you and your dog to make new friends.

Oh….and….Dogs and their poop.

clean up after your dog!
Dogs also use their walks to relieve themselves. It is common courtesy (and a law in most places) to clean up after your dog. Obviously it’s hard to clean up your dogs pee pee but any poop should be picked up with poop bags designed for that purpose. There are plenty on the market, scented ones, some come with a handy pick up device and most are biodegradeable. Pick up and tie securely and put in designated dog poop bins in the park or on your walk. Remember there is no ‘dog poo fairy’…someone has to pick it up eventually…and it should be your responsibility. Local councils are getting very strict with dog owners who don’t pick up after their dogs, most will fine you, and so they should as leaving dog mess around in public places is a health hazard.
It’s always encouraged that you provide your pet with as much outdoor time and exercise. Exercise is critical to your pet’s physical health (and yours), and the stimulation from the sights, sounds, people and other dogs that they meet outdoors is crucial for your pet’s mental health.
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