It’s a proven fact that pets lower stress in humans. The simple act of petting a dog can have very powerful healing effects. Aside from the natural comfort and companionship a dog gives to their human (and vice versa), there are planned activities that we can do with our dog that can also boost our health. There are many things you can do with your pet to keep you healthy. Not only does it keep you healthy, but it keeps your dog healthy as well. Activity and exercise is a key factor in the health of your dog.
Most people who have a dog, myself included, regularly take their out for walks. But there’s more we can do with them. They are smart animals who learn very quickly. There’s outings and games that they can learn very easily, and once they get on a routine, will enjoy being a part of on a regular basis.
-Taking your dog for a walk goes without saying. It’s probably the most common activity that bonds humans with their dogs. Turn this activity into an exercise regimen for an added benefit to your health. A little bit of high speed walking, a little bit of jogging, and maybe a hill or two for even more of a cardio vascular workout.
-Hiking. Dogs love to explore their surroundings. For humans, it’s a way to escape daily life and activities and get close to nature. Hiking is great for both the mind and body.
-Frisbee or other outside throw and catch games. This is a great way to unwind at the end of the day, and release a little excess energy. Your dog will love it, and most of the time never get tired of it. You will end up getting tired long before your dog!
-Obedience classes or Advanced Training classes. Dogs love to be challenged. If you’re dog needs a little extra obedience training, why not enroll him in a class to work on some behavioral issues. All dogs can use a little improvement in some areas. Or, if your dog has mastered obedience, there are plenty of advanced classes that can teach them really cool tricks that you can impress your family and friends with. There are many places where these types of classes are offered. Petsmart is my personal favorite and your dog even gets a graduation certificate! My dog happened to graduate from one of the Petmsart obedience classes on his birthday and he was surprised with a “pup-pie”. Plus, while at the store, you can always pick up dog food and have 2 things accomplished at the same time!
-Dog parks are an excellent activity that you can do with your dog. Dogs, just like kids, want to play with their friends. Dog parks are fenced in playgrounds specifically centered around dogs. They usually have water stations and extra toys. You can meet other people out with their dogs and even pick up some pointers. Your dog can play will all breeds of dogs. Beagles, Dachshunds, Labs, Retrievers, Poodles, Pitbulls, Greyhounds, you name it. All breeds are welcome and represented.
-Swimming is a great sport you can do with your dog. It’ great exercise and a great way for both of you to cool off on those hot summer days. When you’ve had enough you can relax on a beach chair while your dog repeatedly fetches a stick. He won’t get bored and I guarantee you, when you return home, he will sleep like a baby!
Dogs have amazing personalities. They love to be around you and they love to please. Don’t be afraid to try new things and push your dog limits. By trial and error, you’ll quickly find things that both you and your dog love.