Monday, August 29, 2005

Mental and Physical Stimulation for an Active, Healthy Dog

A Mind and Body Approach to Dog Exercise and Activities

Insufficient exercise and mental stimulation can lead to stress, often creating behavior and health problems including but not limited to aggressive and/or destructive behavior, fatigue, and skin problems such as itching or excessive shedding.

Exercise is also good for the canine mind.
Running through the woods or along a beach, swimming in a lake, navigating an agility course, chasing a ball or Frisbee, playing with other dogs in a dog park, or playing with interactive dog toys all challenge your dog’s mind, help to calm him down, and provide exercise as well. Many of these activities can also provide fun and exercise for you.

How to avoid these common behavior problems in your dog
· Excessive barking
· Soiling in the house
· Destructive chewing
· Hyperactivity

These dog behavior problems often stem from boredom, separation anxiety, and too much pent-up energy. Increasing your dog’s activities and exercise time will help your dog become well adjusted, better behaved, and much more happy and healthy. In addition, the cardiovascular system will improve, more calories will be burned, helping to keep your dog trim and fit, and his muscles will be better toned. An added benefit is that you and your dog will have a stronger bond by sharing more quality time together.

Excessive Barking
· Excess energy and boredom can cause excessive barking.
· Not enough exercise creates pent-up energy that your dog may be releasing by barking.
· It may help to provide more interesting toys and activities to relieve boredom and increase stimulation.

Soiling in the house
· Stressful situations can cause accidents
· Older or sick dogs often soil in the house
· Mind and body exercise helps relieve stress, keeps dogs of all ages healthy, and encourages elimination in more appropriate places.

Other dog behavior problems such as destructive chewing and hyperactivity can also be addressed with mind and body exercises and activities.