There is a “Biologically Appropriate” amount of exercise that all animals need to achieve optimal physical and mental health. No animal can reach their full potential without it. Dogs are no different. The problem is, in balancing a dog’s need for exercise with a dog’s need for structure. To rehabilitate a dog, they need to have extremely tight structure for a period of time. In order to meet the dogs exercise requirements without ruining their structure, owners have to spend a lot of time doing it….. Or hire us!
Problem is….. Most people’s idea of exercise is just to get them tired. Dog parks, run in the yard, endless fields of toys….. Sound familiar? And you know what….. It works. They get really tired. And no better. Not really.
Look, I realize that there are a lot of dogs out there that don’t really have inherent “issues”. They are just lacking the biologically appropriate activity level that they need. Up their exercise, and their “issues” go away. But, honestly, that’s not the case most of the time. I found out the hard way.
One of the dogs that we named this venture after, Mabel, was a nightmare no matter how many toys she had access to in the huge yard she had.
So what were we doing wrong?
Well, for starters, we weren’t doing any obedience. And that is a huge part of the puzzle. Now, there’s a ton of people who can help with that part so I won’t focus on it.
For something to be Exercise “Therapy” it has to be WORK not play. Most dogs are quite challenged by a treadmill. So, the treadmill is a great way to work them.
Leash obedience can be great exercise is a great way for both you and your dog to work! That means attention training, not slack walking. This is mental work, that happens to be physically challenging too. For you it’s walking or even jogging! For them it’s attention training. You walk, jog, start, stop, change directions. It’s interval running! As long as you keep them engaged, but not too excited, it’s still work!
The other way to work them at this level are what we call trust obstacles. That’s essentially finding obstacles that are mentally challenging for them. This develops leadership, and happens to be, basically, agility work for your dog, and you!
Sounds easy enough.
Or you can play Tug. The right way…. You know…… the way that establishes correct pack structure, and creates a great obedience reward.
Well, here’s the downside. It takes your creativity, dedication, patience, and many times physical endurance. Because it’s work for them, it’s not a mindless activity for you either. And, that’s what people really want. They want a “fix” not a plan! They want to take the dog to the park and let them play while they text. Or they want to go for their own jog for x amount of time/distance and not be bothered with all the starting and stopping, direction changes, or worse, the triggers they run in to! They just want to go for a walk/run damn it.
Well. If you have all the tools, knowledge, patience, and time to give your dog these things, then good on you!
But for the rest of the world…..
Check our services page, set up a consultation, and lets see how we can help you fulfill your dog!