Week 8 Day 4
Let’s get physical with resistance training!
An easy way to increase your dog’s cardiac output and calorie burn is to incorporate a short session of resistance exercise into your walks. This can be done by walking your dog uphill or by walking your dog on sand, through shallow water or snow.
So pick your medium and let’s get started…
- Introduce no more than 5 minutes resistance training per day.
- Start off slowly then gradually build up the pace or incline over several weeks.
- Request your dog heels at your side whilst you set the walking pace.
- If your dog starts to lag behind, slacken off the pace a little.
- Remain vigilant for signs of overexertion and overheating.
TIP: Include a little resistance training whenever the opportunity presents. However only do so if your dog is coping well with their current activity level. If your dog suffers any lameness do not introduce resistance walking.
Determining maintenance exercise levels for your dog
Determining the correct level of exercise for your dog helps maintain a healthy weight and ensures strength, fitness and a healthy doggy mind!
Under exercised dogs are prone to boredom and in a bid to release pent up energy will often form destructive behaviors (barking, digging, over excitement and obsessive activities such as repeated ball playing and tail chasing).
Your dog’s exercise requirements depend on three factors:
Breed, Age and Health.
Breeds with high exercise requirements include herding and sporting breeds such as Border Collies, Sheepdogs, Australian Cattle dogs, Kelpies, English Springer Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers and Pointers.
Originally bred to work in field conditions all day long, these types of dogs benefit from at least 60-90 minutes exercise per day.
Scent hounds (e.g. Beagles and Foxhounds) and Terriers (e.g. Jack Russels, West Highland Terriers) require moderate to high levels of exercise. Aim for 60 mins per day.
Sight hounds such as Greyhounds, Whippets and the Saluki have much lowered exercise requirements compared with their scent hound cousins! Sight hounds are designed for speed and rapid bursts of exercise over short distances, rather than endurance. Aim for 30 – 45 minutes per day.
Toy and small breed dogs bred mainly for companionship, tend to require lower levels of exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day.
Most brachycephalic (short nosed) breeds- such as Pugs, French Bulldogs and British Bulldogs also fall into the low exercise category. Impairments to the upper respiratory tract in such breeds limit exercise tolerance and make brachycephalic breeds prone to overheating.
No matter the breed as a rule of thumb all dogs should receive at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Providing daily exercise alllows your dog to express their natural behavior, explore their environment, socialize and burn energy. And remember exercise does not have to be restricted to on-leash walking. Provide variety with games, swimming, off-leash runs, and play time at the dog park.
Activity levels fluctuate according to dog age and peak in the young to middle aged brackets. As dogs enter their senior years, exercise will often reduce in line with reduced metabolism and energy levels.
Never-the less it is important for all dogs to get out and about daily. The opportunity to regularly stretch the legs and explore should remain a staple of every dog’s life.
Slowing down and stiffness in older pets should prompt a veterinary check-up. There are many effective treatments to help your dog retain an active life in their later years.
When exercising puppies and young dogs, caution must be applied. Over exercising can place stress on growing bodies and predisposes growing dogs to musculoskeletal problems. As a rule of thumb avoid long or fast paced walks with puppies and dogs less than 12 months of age.
Do not jog or cycle with puppies or dogs aged under a year. Avoid excessive ball throwing and activities that include repeated jumping. Allow your pup to self-regulate active exercise by playing off-leash in an enclosed yard. So as soon as they tire they can rest.
TIP: It takes 18-24 months for the musculoskeletal system of large and giant breeds to fully mature. Excess exercise during this period can result in lifelong defects.
Health complaints can impede the ability to exercise. Excess weight, cardiorespiratory ailments and joint disease commonly reduce canine activity levels. Always exercise your dog within their limits.
Over exercising causes more harm than good especially when there are pre-existing health conditions. Seek advice from your veterinarian as to suitable exercise levels for your dog. Regular gentle exercise is the name of the game.
Woofs and wags,
Your WAGSTA team.