What is exercise?

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Mattie
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What is exercise?

Post by Mattie » Sun Jul 11, 2010 5:26 am

I have been thinking about this quite a lot recently, What is Exercise?

We are told to walk our dogs daily to exercise them but not told what the walk is to be, I have seen many people walk less than 100 yards then turn back, walk done. Other are out for several hours.

Many dogs cannot be let off the lead for various reasons, do these get enough exercise? Are dogs that are let off the lead better off than those that are not?

We take a dog on then our circumstances change, many become disabled and have problems walking their dogs, they may be able to on some days but not others, is it cruel for these people to keep their dogs?

Are there any other types of exercise that can be done?

Just my thoughts, exercise is important to both dogs and us, but I don’t think that it has to be walking, there are other ways we and our dogs can exercise. The dog that is walked for less than 100 yards is short on exercise, many dogs belonging to people with mobility problems are exercised well.

There are many ways we can exercise our dogs besides walking them, mine love to play fetch in the garden as well as outside, 3 dogs racing round after something that has been thrown, then chasing the dog that got to it first, the wrestling matches that follow, my dogs have more exercise in 10 minutes than they do on an hour’s on lead walk. As well as more exercise, it is more fun for my dogs to play like this.

Some people put up agility courses in their gardens to help exercise their dogs, they are not interested in competing just love working with their dogs.

Dogs do need to go out and see other things, a friend was walking his dog one day when 2 men tried to steal his dog, since then he is frightened to walk his dog were he lives but as he is a caravaner and away every weekend, his dog get lots of walking when away. He is played with in the garden during the week.

In my previous house in a village there wasn’t many places I could let my dog off lead because of livestock in the fields, since moving to the outskirts of a town there are lots of places I can let them off lead, it is much better for my dogs now.

Then there is mental exercise. :lol:

I would love to hear about other people and how they manage to exercise their dogs when they can’t get them out for a walk for various reasons.
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Sarah83
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Sarah83 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:10 am

Rupert is usually walked daily, most days he gets around 30 minutes on a long line, part of that practicing recall between me and my husband which gets him running. I do feel he (well both of us really) misses out because of his issues. I can't take him to the field when I feel like it and just let him off, I can't take him to the river which he absolutely loves, I can't give him the long walks we'd both enjoy because even though he's under control other peoples dogs aren't. Does he miss out on exercise because of it? Yes. Yes I play with him at home, I do training and try to keep him mentally stimulated but he is still missing out because if it weren't for his issues I'd be doing these things on top of the ones listed above. However, he does get more exercise than the majority of pet dogs I know who are lucky if they get a walk round the block on nice days.

It's rare I can't get Rupe out for a walk, there has been the odd evening where the weather has been so bad that Rupe's taken one look at it and made it clear he would much rather skip the walk :lol: In these cases we usually have a game of chase in the house instead of a walk that neither of us would enjoy. Normal rain is not a reason for us to miss a walk, never ending sheets of water falling from the sky combined with winds I can barely walk forwards into are. Well, Rupe says they are anyway, Shadow would have disagreed. I don't walk him on days I've had a seizure either but hubby usually takes him out for a shorter than normal walk just so he gets out and has the chance to sniff around.

I don't think it's fair in most cases to keep them cooped up at home all day every day. Maybe I'm anthopomorhizing (sp?) but I know what it's like to be stuck in the house day in, day out seeing just one or two people. I'm going out of my mind with boredom! I don't want to go anywhere in particular or do anything in particular, I just want to get out of the house. So no matter how much exercise I can give Rupe at home and how much I hate walking him I try to ensure he gets out and about at least a little every day.

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Re: What is exercise?

Post by jacksdad » Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:49 am

funny you would post this mattie as it touches on issues/questions I am currently working to figure out and address. I live in a town-home. Think condo that only shares 1 or 2 walls with the adjoining unit. Which means no personal fenced in back yard. That plus Jacks reactivity issues, unless I take him to the dog park he gets no off lead time right now. And since I have changed how I use the dog park, this means 99% of the time Jack is on a leash.

What is exercise is only half the question, the other half is how much. How much is not enough, just right, or even too much. in "stress in dogs" the authors report from their study that dogs that are under exercised get stressed out, as can dogs that are over exercised. A risk I think most people and their dogs are NOT at risk of, so that leaves getting people to realize they need to up the level of exercise.

But how to address the exercise needs of dogs like Jack who are not yet ready to be let off leash? Be it recall training needing to be done or reactivity issues or even no safe place, the reality is so what, your dog need exercise. So what are the options? My two cents based on working with Jack and some reading I have been doing is that while off leash time is best (again, "dogs in stress" the study results show that dogs able to run free are less stressed), you wouldn't be harming your dog if all your time is on leash, IF you do a few things. First is to think out side the box in order to meet your dogs needs, taking into account any age, health, behavior, training issues and concerns. What I like about this forum is this is encouraged, and I think one of the most under emphasized components of positive reinforcement method of training.

Back in December as Jacks issues were intensifying and my feeling of being over my head increased, not knowing any better I signed up for a Pet Smart dog training class. in the section on walks, we were taught that the walk is for walking, not peeing, marking, sniffing etc, but walking. I suppose IF you have a place for your dog to be off leash that this might be ok. The theory being, when on leash the dog is expected to behave one way, but when off leash the dog can sniff, mark, pee, run free etc. All well and good, but what if you don't have a safe place to let your dog off leash or there are other behavioral issues that make it un wise to let your dog off leash?

Here is what I have done in terms of walks for Jack and since taking this approach our walks are 100% better. First, I am VERY tolerant of Jack randomly stopping to sniff and mark. as long as he is able to do so safely and isn't pulling like a train I give him a lot of freedom to make his own choices on leash. The longer the leash, the more freedom he gets. Should note, I match the leash length to his safety needs. walking through town, normal short leash. on the beach or in a park I tend to break out a 15 foot leash and just let it drag. Jack will spend 90% of the time still in a pseudo heal position because of the loose lead training with the 15 foot lead just dragging behind him, while I continue to hold my end of it. He is then able to move significantly freer and make a lot more choices almost as if he wasn't on a leash. I should note here that doing this can mean the need to refresh your dog on loose lead walking when you switch back to a short leash. Jack is getting better about "knowing" which leash he is on, but sometimes I still have to spend a couple minutes re freshening his loose lead walk. Anyway, when on the 15 foot leash, if he wants to sniff, he sniffs, if he wants to change to the other side of the trail he can, as long as his safety isn't at risk or reason to believe he will go into reactive mode the leash is lose and dragging and he can do almost do what he wants. This is as close as I feel I can give him to being off leash right now. And it seems to be working out ok, his body language and the fact I often have to pick him up to put him back in the car to drive home tell me he is enjoying this. where as before taking this approach not so much, he was often ok with our outings being over.

So that is how I address Jacks "off leash" needs right now. we are working on recall so that hopefully soon as his reactivity issues continue to improve he can have some real off lead time.

As for how much? Jack gets close to 2 hours some days, but never less then an hour. his primary exercise is just our on leash walks. while running free, playing fetch, or even agility might be more optimum for our dogs, the value of a sustained "trot" (ie walk) should not be under estimated for dogs who either can't be off leash or have no where to be off leash. In the course of any walk greater than 30 minutes, Jack gets most of his sniffing/marking out of the way early and than tends to walk more then sniff/mark. by the end of about an hour he is ready for a few hours of rest.

But the greatest challenge and one I am struggle with is running. Dogs love to run and running is most defiantly Jacks favorite and if a good game of chase can be had (particularly if he is being chased) even better. Problem is, I can't run as fast as Jack, and I don't want him to get into the habit of running from me. So, to meet his running needs I will after at least a 30 minute walk to burn some of his energy, will jog with him for short bursts. to keep him from running out ahead of me, I will zig zag around enticing him to chase me. I also keep an eye out on the fenced in dog park to see if any dogs are in there, if not, we might go into the dog park area and let him off leash. if it's been a while since he has had a good run, he gets a brief case of the zoomies and will run on his own. 5 - 10 minutes of this and he is ready to move on. If there are just a couple dogs and they don't appear all that active, I might still go in and we will go down to the other end by our self and I will run with him off leash zig zaging and getting him to chase after me. but due to his issue with dogs, use of the dog park is rare.

In the house, we will sometimes play a bit of fetch with his plush toy, maybe a little chase, tug of war, hid n' seek. about 20 minutes of this (in addition to his normal walks) tires him out.

I think the key is to be creative in meeting your dogs needs. have more then one walk route, more then one non walking exercise activity. Mix it up, don't get into a predictable routine.

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Re: What is exercise?

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jul 11, 2010 12:09 pm

Just a thought thats occurred whilst reading your post....

Put 'chase me' and 'be chased by me' on cue. so that you can do these with jack, as a game that has rules and then this is unlikely to be mistaken or used inappropriately when he finally is allowed off lead.
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Fundog
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Fundog » Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:47 pm

Great topic, Mattie.

I too will be interested in reading everyone's ideas, as my entire household, dogs included, have all been rather lazy of late. The temps are beginning to spike, so all six of us are spending our days lying about like a bunch of beached whales-- even the dogs! :oops:
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wvvdiup1
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by wvvdiup1 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:34 pm

I think this is an interesting topic, Mattie! :D

Normally, I would walk Karma in different places (to avoid the boredom of seeing the same old things), however, I would do some agility exercises and some of the other exercises as we go on our walks. I do this to keep the walks "interesting" and "fun" for the both of us.

However, here in the eastern part of the United States, we've seen record temperatures near or in the 100+ degrees Fahrenheit, or in the forties degree Celsius range, and in my area, we get these high-humidity readings, which makes the air around us humans heavy, so can you imagine what it does to our dogs and other pets? When we have these days here in my part of the world, I have to get up really early in the morning, when it is still dark and I do the same after 9 PM in evening walk Karma.

The last few days, however, had been very difficult for me. As a few of you know, I had been in the hospital. Before leaving for the hospital, my uncle took care of Karma. According to my uncle, Karma had missed me, but he was able to exercise her on his little farm, not only by doing the things I do with Karma, but because of the weather, he took her swimming, and she did a lot of swimming. However, he told me he couldn't take all of the credit in exercising Karma; his eleven-year-old grandson helped, too! As many of you know, young boys have a lot of energy! I imagined Karma was "wiped out", or tired, at the end of the day! :lol:

As for how long Karma is exercised each day, I definitely know she does get two hours of exercise. However, I think with my uncle's grandson (my second cousin), I think it was a lot more! :D Poor dog! No wonder why she was so glad to see me today, when I came home from the hospital! :lol:

Thanks Uncle Charlie and Isaiah for one really tired, but happy dog! :lol:
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Smiles
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Smiles » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:17 am

This may sound silly, but one thing I have started to do on very hot days recently is play hide-and-seek with my dog. I put him in a sit-stay or down-stay and go to another room or floor of my home, "hide," and release him and then call him to come, giving a treat when he does. I think it's a good bit of physical exercise even though my place is small because I call him from the far ends of the house and make use of the shared basement. It's also mental exercise, and it reinforces his stay and his recall. It's quite funny to stand behind a door and watch him search! I really do think he has fun.

I also use a ball attached to a string on a stick, and he loves to chase it. I just sort of twirl it around and he runs after it like you wouldn't believe!

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Mattie
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Mattie » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:52 am

I think we have some lucky dogs on this forum, their owners think outside the box in order to exercise them, it also proves that "Walking" a dog is only a small part of their exercise.

In the UK many sighthound owners just let their dogs run for an hour or 2, the dogs usually are running with other dogs, this will get rid of their energy but does it meet their other needs? Running round with other dogs to me will get boring, I think dogs need more. New places, new smells.
The last few days, however, had been very difficult for me. As a few of you know, I had been in the hospital.
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Nettle
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Nettle » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:02 am

Despite being sighthounds, mine all say you are right, Mattie, smelling the smells is just as important as running about like mad things. :D
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Lauram
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Lauram » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:45 am

With our lurchers, just running isn't enough. It is great for them to let off steam but alone does not give them the mental or physical stimulation they need.

I think dogs need dog time. Time to just chill out and do dog things, interact with each other away from our intervention. In doggy time ours do play fight and go zoomieing but they also spend time sniffing, swimming (if near a river) digging, writhing on the ground, rolling, eating the odd bit of grass and sunbathing. This to them is equally important as the running, the hunting and the training.

My sisters dogs especially do quite alot of training because they do heelwork to music and agility so for these dog time is particularly important.

I think excercise is vital to maintain a balanced contented dog. If the mob become restless or certain members become unruley then the first thing we do is up the excercise and then training. Some may do it the other way round but we have found that letting them go nuts or taking them out with the horses to tire them out physically leaves them in a better frame of mind to learn things and accept the training. When the puppies (lottie and bramble) were learning to lead walk we had to take them some where and let them race around for 5 mins before putting them on the lead because they would get so excited and had so much pent up energy they would pull horribly run on their bqack legs and leap and lunge. The excercise enabled the training.

The terriers we have also demand excercise, if they are tired and contented they don't bark as much. Their excercise is a mixture of bushing and flushing, hunting, swimming and I think they are smarter than the lurchers, the lurchers can be satisfied by just a run but for the terriers this is not enough.

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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Fundog » Mon Jul 12, 2010 1:41 pm

Good points, all of you: One of my family's favorite activities in the evenings is to go sit on the front porch swing and just watch the world go by, lol. We take the girls out with us, and put them each on a long line, tied to the swing (with 500 lbs. of people sitting on it). We might give them a bone to chew on, or a stuffed Kong. They like to lay on the lawn (and it is especially nice when it has just been watered), with their noses in the air, sniffing all the smells of the world. They like to watch the birds, or the tree squirrel. Watching the squirrel really keeps Annie's mind occupied, lol.

Just last night I made a list of various types of agility toys, and I am trying to noodle up ways to implement scrap materials I already have on hand to make some of them, without having to spend any money (since I currently do not have a job). We have a really big backyard now, and I'm certain the girls would love to have their own obstacle course to run through. :D
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Sarah83 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:46 pm

Lol Fundog, I tell Rupert I'm turning his television on when I open the front room curtains. He likes to sit at the front window and watch what's going on out there. Thankfully he very quickly learned that barking at people walking past wasn't acceptable and now only barks if they come up our path (weird how he'll learn something like this in a matter of days yet it takes months to teach him a new command).

I tried making a tunnel out of cardboard boxes, it didn't work too well as I had to hold it up but Rupe had fun running through it for 5 minutes before shredding it. I've also made jumps by wedging a cardboard box between the sofa and a chair. That worked a bit better. Those little plastic cones they use in sports work quite well for weave poles if you put long sticks in the holes. Wouldn't really recommend it if you do or plan to do agility but for someone like me who's just trying to find something to teach their dog and a way to exercise it works fine. I use a towel for a "table" as I don't actually have a table or anything else that would support Ruperts weight. Mine really is make do agility equipment :roll: I'd love to get the see saw thing they use in agility but don't have the money and can't make one of those out of cardboard boxes, sticks and towels :lol:

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Re: What is exercise?

Post by wvvdiup1 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:48 pm

Did any of you, when you were little, ever make a fort out of your parents' furniture and cushions? Using that little bit of imagination, you can still do the same thing, except, of course, you might want to try to make an agility course for your dog(s). I did this with all the dogs I've ever had and still do for the one I have now! :D Great exercise for both you and your dog(s), and the best part in addition to exercising and having fun with your dog(s), is that you don't get your rear-end spanked by your parents! :oops: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Fundog
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Fundog » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:53 pm

Sarah, our new yard has an old dog house and pen. It's completely unacceptable for our girls, as it is old, run down, and much too small. But the dog house does have a lot of scrap lumber on it, that, if we can just take it apart, we can use the pieces for "stuff." Like the see-saw: Use a wide rectangle of plywood and balance it on a mound of dirt. If you keep your eyes open as you're walking the neighborhood, or driving around, you can find bits of scrap lumber, free for the taking. Snatch it up and put it to use! :D
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Mattie
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Re: What is exercise?

Post by Mattie » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:48 am

Bricks, clean tins like baked beans, etc make good places to rest wood onto, broom handles can be placed on top of the bricks, tins etc for the dog to jump over. If you want to buy something drain pipes are light, easy to handle and won't hurt the dog if they knock them down.

If you get stuck, ask a horse mad girl to put jumps up for you with what you have, they will be up very quickly. :lol:
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