Answers to commonly asked questions regarding dog exercise and enrichment, provided by Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM
1. How often should I walk my dog?
This depends on your dog. The breed of your dog, age, weather outside, and any underlying medical conditions affect the amount of exercise your dog should receive. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you to make sure your dog gets the proper amount.
2. How does a dog benefit from going on walks?
Dogs like people require mental and physical stimulation to live the fullest happiest life possible. Dogs who going on walks increase their physical health as well as their mental health. Exploring new areas and new smells stimulates the mind. Getting the heart pumping and blood flowing stimulates the body to function better and longer. You, the pet parent, also receive these added benefits as well. Also dogs who get mental and physical exercise tend to be less destructive and anxious in the home.
3. I have a yard, can I just let my dog go into he back yard rather then go on a walk?
Even a yard that is fenced in is not 100% safe. Unwanted wild life can get into the yard causing harm to your pet. Your pet may also eat something without your knowledge. Though a yard is great, it is always a good idea to supervise your pet. Plus going on a walk together increases your bond with your pet.
4. Is it important for dogs to run off leash? Why or why not?
This depends on your dog, its breed, age, and any underlying health conditions. There are certain breeds at certain ages that require more exercise than a human can keep up with on a leash. It is however always important to make sure that your dog is well trained to follow off leash commands and it is done in a safe environment following all local laws.
5. Is it important for dogs to play with other dogs?
Dogs are pack animals and enjoy the company of other dogs. It is an important part of their socialization skills. Dogs who play together should be closely supervised, up to date on their vaccinations, and temperament compatible.
6. Does playing with other dogs eliminate unwanted behavior at home?
Physical activity tires the body and the mind. It can prevent unwanted behavior that results from boredom. It is also an important way that dogs learn to socialize and understand social cues from other dogs.
7. My dog has not been in daycare or has been out of daycare for a few months. How do I ease the transition for him to go back to daycare?
This is where bringing your dog to a day care facility that has trained staff and you trust is very important. If your dog has never been to a daycare before the staff should do a temperament test on your dog to ensure he is put into a play circle that will work. It is also important that they gradually introduce your dog to one dog at a time. It can be overwhelming for a dog to be introduced to a pack of unknown dogs running at him. If your dog has just been out of daycare for a few months, the transition back should still be gradual but it will be much easier and quicker.
To learn more about Doggy Day Camp or Daycare at your local Best Friends Pet Hotel or Best Friends Doggy Daycare locations, contact your local center.