Dog Exercises: Walking, Running, And Swimming

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Only a few dogs get adequate amounts of exercise. In urban areas, and in busy suburbs, dogs should be exercised on leash, and this takes time. It’s time well spent, nonetheless, for exercise is an excellent conditioner. The constant pace of controlled leash-walking is more beneficial than the occasional dashing hither and yon of the yard-confined dog. Moreover, even in a sizable yard, a dog can be as slothful as he wishes. 

Whenever possible, walk your dog on leash two times every day as far as he will go without appearing tired. Two or three trips along the block each day are more beneficial than three miles on Sundays only, for dogs become accustomed to exercise just as we do. The walk should be as long as the dog’s legs—meaning, one city block for the short-legged dog equals many for the long-legged one. If you’re uncertain about the distance your dog can walk, begin with a few blocks, then bit by bit increase the distance each day. In addition to leash-walking, your dog must be exercised and played with constantly in his yard, or he can be taken for a free run in woods and fields. 

Do not feed straightaway before or after exercise. When it’s really hot, walk your dog just in the cool of the evening or early morning. Don’t expect him to hold his own on icy sidewalks, for he slips easily. If you get caught in a shower, towel him dry when he gets in, and when returning home from a tramp in the woods, check out his feet for mudballs, thorns, or blisters and his coat for burrs and ticks

Dog Swimming

Get the pet into shallow water by floating a ball. When you, too, are in the water, he would wade in to get it, and might swim when he reaches out beyond his depth. The dog’s swimming stroke is just like his walking movement—that’s why it’s also known as a dog paddle. He doesn’t have to learn either stroke or timing, but he should have to hold his body fairly upright and his chin above the waterline. If your dog does not begin swimming, do not pressure him; let him fool around the shallow water to get the feel of it. You will be able to guide him beyond his depth later, though with your hand under his chest. 

Next, take him out into deeper water, readily turning him toward shore before he starts out to swim. He will go on swimming using paddling strokes till he reaches the bank and clambers up. 

When you get your dog ready to swim, make sure there is a graded exit, meaning, a slight rise or bank up which he can scramble. A dog can’t pull himself up out of a straight-sided pool. Unwatched and unaided, he can readily drown in this manner. Even when he tries and fails by his own efforts, he may be so scared or exhausted that he will reject entering the water again. When a dog learns to enjoy the water, he will join in by himself, especially when chasing a stick or ball. 

When your dog has finished swimming, dry him well using towels or an electric hair dryer. Be particular about his ears; dry them fully. If he was swimming in salt water, rinse off his coat with fresh water. Salt water (together with sand) dries out the hair, often chafes the skin, and causes itching and scratching.

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