Back to School Routines

Bailey Swimming - 14 years old

Bailey – 14 years old and still swimming strong!

Back to School time means new routines.  New school routines are starting and fall sports are kicking off.  Even if you don’t have children, you may be adjusting to new traffic patterns and the changing schedules of those around you.  For everyone, this is a great time of year to regroup and determine how you will fit everything into your daily schedule over the next few months.

If you are a dog owner, one of the things you must fit in is time to maintain your dog’s health.  Most dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.  Vigorous exercise means getting your dog’s heart rate up and keeping it up for a sustained amount of time.  There are many ways for dogs to get the exercise they need.  Here are a few.

  • Running – Running is the most natural exercise for dogs.  Walks typically do not provide enough exercise for most dogs.  One reason we love running is the flexibility it allows.  You can run almost anywhere, anytime.  With a few cones, you can turn your backyard or other small space into a running course for your dog.
  • Fetch – You know how this game works and your dog probably does too!  To put a new spin on the game, throw the ball and then run for it yourself!  Make it a race for the ball.
  • Tug of War – The key to this game is teaching your dog some basic tug rules. Proper playing of this game is key to making sure you are not promoting aggressive behavior.
  • Swimming – Swimming is a great, low impact exercise for your dog.  Check out our picture above of Bailey.  She is fourteen and still swimming.  Some breeds are natural swimmers like Labradors and golden retrievers but others may need to be taught.  Dogs with short legs like dachshunds may find they can not move quickly enough to keep them afloat.  Use safety precautions near water with all dogs.

We know finding 30 minutes each day to exercise ourselves is often tough, much less an extra 30 minutes to properly exercise our dogs.  Combining the two activities is a great way to accomplish both at the same time.  You will also get to spend some fun, quality time with your four-legged friend!

One of the keys to creating a consistent routine is convenience.  Here are a few tips to help make providing your dog the proper fitness each day more convenient.

  • Minimize travel distance.  Travel distance usually means time and aren’t we all trying to find extra time in our days?
  • Choose the best time for your schedule.  For many this means mornings before distractions and excuses have a chance to creep in your brain.
  • Have a backup plan.  You know the saying.  Life happens.  A five or ten minute game of fetch can burn a lot of calories and is far better than skipping the workout entirely.

Without proper rest and recovery, your body and your dog’s body can be more susceptible to injury.  Be sure to schedule days of rest!  These are great days for slower paced walks and focus on mental stimulation.

Making sure your dog receives the vigorous exercise he or she needs has many benefits.  Be sure your new back to school routine creates health and happiness for all of your family members…even the four-legged ones!

Charlotte Dog Runner

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