One of the reasons that some people get a dog is because they want to make them a part of their own exercise regimen. They are hoping that regular ‘walkies’ and trips to the park to play games for hours on end will help them in their quest to shed those stubborn pounds and stay fit all the while building a strong relationship with their dog.
So it can be a bit of a bummer when you discover that your dog doesn’t actually want to do any of that! You grab hold of their dog lead and come towards them and they run over to the couch and nestle down deep. But don’t worry. With a few handy tips you can encourage your furry couch potato to take more of an interest in regular exercise.
Here are some things to consider.
Like we humans when given a large meal, dogs tend to like a nap afterwards. In order for you to help your dog adapt to a healthier lifestyle, pay attention to the size of the portions you are putting in front of them and what you are actually feeding them. Be careful with the treats and feeding them the food from your plate. These things can make them feel sluggish and unmotivated to exercise. Try and incorporate more vegetables and fresh meat into their diets.
Reward them with praise instead of a treat!
The tendency for some pet owners is to reward their dogs with a treat for good behaviour or doing what has been asked of them. Your pet will eventually cotton on and remain obedient but they will keep expecting treats for it! Instead reward them with praise! Dogs tend to respond well to an excited tone of voice from their owners; this in itself will be enough reward for them. Use this when teaching them to get into exercise. This is especially good when it comes to taking the lazy dog for a walk. If the walk is upbeat and fun, the dog is more likely to want to come along. Also, exploring new areas will get even the laziest of dogs to put his nose down and search around. But if they are really hardcore lazy, you may have to start with some small treat to get the ball rolling!
Find them a playmate
Even the laziest of dogs would love to play with another dog. See if there are neighbours who have dogs that you can go to the park or arrange play dates with – it will definitely get your pet motivated to do something other than blob around the house!
See what activities for dogs there are in your area and get your pet involved in some of those. It will make life easier for you and having something tailor-made for your pet will help them get used to different sorts of activities, particularly if there are other dogs around.
Whatever course you choose, aim to exercise your dog at least 45 minutes each day. Daily exercise is good for their heart, mobility and overall well-being. Even though they may be unwilling to comply in the beginning, persist. They must have exercise as part of their regimen if they are to enjoy a good quality of life.