I let mydog chase as many squirrels as she wants and try to take her for a little adventure every day. Sometimes it is through the drive thru at walgreens or mcdonalds, sometimes a walk around pet smart, whatever i can do. Sometimes, since i am older, i hire a college girl to walk her around the neighborhood or let her run at the beach. I try to mix it up. She is 6. When younger she needed more running time. Standards are very athletic and like to run flat out if you have a place they can do so safely.
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Our boy is 3 now, and has finally settled down, but does need a good amount of exercise or stimulation. If you can find some neighborhood dogs to play with, that's a great way to wear your pup out and gives him socialization. Our guy doesn't care for balls or fetch. Mental challenges are tiring. Our favorite is some treats in a bag inside a box inside another box inside.... you get the drift. I save cereal (and similar) boxes, paper bags, amazon boxes. Marchie works and works to get at the treats, trying to figure out how to get at it. You can put treats in more than one of the containers, and I sometimes poke holes in the boxes so he can smell the treats. Also, chewing seems to be tiring, so marrow bones or other long lasting chews (jumbo bully sticks) work. But, all in all, we still walk our boy a total of about 1.75 hours a day. On the other hand, it really keeps you fit to keep up with a young dog.
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On the other hand, it really keeps you fit to keep up with a young dog.
Or even with an older one! When I was choosing a dog breed I looked for one that would not need a lot of exercise as I was never a great walker. But Sophy in particular never read the books about toy dogs needing less exercise - her idea of a pleasant stroll is 2 or 3 miles, preferably repeated after a half hour nap. Once I realised that a proper dog focussed walk, with sniffing and meeting and greeting and the chance to look for squirrels and rabbits and to simply run for joy, is to dogs what catching up with the news and emails, browsing the shops, meeting friends, playing sports and doing all the other things that keep brain and body functioning happily are to us, and saw just how much pleasure it gave them, I began to enjoy our walks too. I am now fitter in my 60s than I was in my 40s!
The right kind of "walks" are particularly important for puppies - they are one of the main ways they learn about the big wide world and how not to be afraid of it. And where they get the opportunity to grow their brains through sniffing. I think with puppies in particular walks are not so much about physical exercise - they can get plenty of that running around at home - as smelling and seeing and hearing and learning.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring- it was peace.
~ Milan Kundera
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Asta needed more outside time (he roams our fields and woods) when he was younger He really started settling down and needing less time outdoors when he turned 3. Now (he is 4) he is a couch potato and realizes his most important job is being with me. I let him out for exercise mid-morning and afternoon, in addition to taking him out for potty. He will run around for about 15 minutes and then it is back to the door to be let in.
I was afraid that with less exercise he might put on weight. No he self-regulates and now does not eat as much food.
I realize our experience is probably atypical for spoos but he really fits my lifestyle and special needs.
Best wishes - Claire &
Asta: Psychiatric Service Dog
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Lillycd..LOL Oh how I despise this spellcheck..I also have new glasses and they don't seem too well for print..I may have to get different glasses for reading (these are progressive )but I m anticipating surgery for cataracts so holding off.
We used to walk for 2-4 miles twice per day. This tapered off after the age of 10-11 though. Our last girl, not quite 14, walked a mile — in 40 minutes — on her last day. One of my neighbors thought I was mistreating her with her daily walks, but she really loved them and never wanted to go back into the house at the end. We're looking forward to the new recruit reaching the age to start walking because I prefer a dog to an audiobook.
I don't like dog parks although sometimes they're necessary. There is often a problem owner or two and it's just not worth the risk. I also have a knee replacement from an old dog park injury, but that was a freak accident (involving a big standard poodle puppy who had just met two other young spoos — it was an all spoo accident!)
Sniffing related games definitely does use a lot of brain power. I am working on the utility scent discrimination right now. The dog needs to learn to be methodical at the pile and take the time to find the right article but also has to gain the confidence to commit to it and pick it up and bring it back to you without your assistance. It has been very interesting doing this with Javelin and seeing how he responses as we progress through the weeks. He is working with happy body language and needing less guidance once he finds the right article. We did a round of this exercise today and he was very happy to sleep quite soundly for at least an hour afterwards. I think my friend and I confused him at one point since he had scented for a wood article, brought it correctly but then my friend accidentally placed that article back in the pile rather than an unscented wood. I gave her the scented leather article and sent him to find it. He came back with the previously used wood article. I thought he had made a big mistake until I saw it was article 9 (the numbered pair I have been consistently using). He had done a nice orderly search and found the wood article first. I took it from him and sent him back to work and he got the right leather article. This was actually really good on his part to recover from what I thought was his mistake and go right back to work.
I love nose work games like find hidden treats, puzzle toys and such, fun for the dogs and uses one of their best innate abilities.
I'm really starting to see the value of intellectual stimulation with dogs. My spoo hasn't arrived yet, but I've been taking my little terrier mix to an obedience training class once a week, and he gets absolutely worn out from that hour-long class that has very little physical activity. We get home and he zonks out on his cushion for the rest of the day!
I like the idea of the dog park, and my dog loves it. But this weekend while I was there, two of the big dogs got into a fight with no warning (at least no warning that the owners could notice), leaving one of the dogs with two punctures on the side of his face. It makes me reluctant to go there except at off-hours when it's empty. It would be nice if there were dog parks where the dogs get evaluated and approved ahead of time, but I know that is easier said than done. I suppose the best thing is to make friends with other dog owners so that we know the dogs that our pups are going to be playing with.
Eric, it also helps to have a solid recall on your dog. There is a point in time when you can call your dog back to you if you think there will be trouble. Then, the line is crossed where your dog does not feel safe turning from the other dog. You will learn.
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