This is a guest post by Ruth from DogHQ, QA site created to help dog owners get an advice. DogHQ contains dozens of dog related questions and answers and gives you all the necessary information to succeed in raising a friendly, healthy and happy dog.
As an avid animal enthusiast, dogs have always been part of my life, but keeping them properly exercised, especially while living in a city with minimal resources can be challenging. I first noticed that proper fitness and weight management were an issue for my two year old Australian Shepherd when he started to become more lethargic than usual. Instead of being his active self, he began spending more time lounging on the couch in the sunshine than bounding up and down the stairs, and running to the kitchen at the slight chance of receiving a treat. It wasn't long before his run across the yard become more of a waddle.
I had recently relocated to a new city, and upon arrival discovered that not only was there no dog park within city limits, but that allowing your dog off leash anywhere but your yard would result in a hefty fine, something I luckily learnt prior to being ticketed. Unfortunately, due to these set-backs, my formally athletic dog, started to noticeably pack on the pounds. My first attempt to rectify this situation, involved getting myself out of the house as well. I had always been a firm believer in walking my dog every day so with that in mind, I tied his leash around my waist and started taking him on my morning runs. It was slow going at first, as he was not used to keeping up the pace and distance, and I was far from used to having him alongside with me. After only a few days I began to notice a clear difference in him, and in the days that followed his energy level continued to increase.
With the first step in increasing his fitness completed, I began to look for more ways to incorporate simple changes into my every day routine to ensure that he was more active. Every time I went outside, to walk to the mailbox, hang laundry on the line, or to do lawn maintenance, I ensured that he was alongside. I also started keeping toys in various locations around the house, for example if I was outside hanging laundry on the clothesline, I made a point to have a ball with me so I could play fetch with him while I completed the chore.
The most effective change that I made however was ensuring that my dog received more than enough socialization time with other dogs. I live in a small neighborhood, where the majority of people I know have dogs of their own, now when we get together for BBQ's and social gatherings, we make sure to bring our dogs along. This socialization has been a great way to increase the level of fitness for my dog, as well as the other dogs in my neighborhood. Nothing tires the group of them out like running around the backyard together, chasing a ball or playing tug-a-war with a stick. Not only is my dog back to his athletic self, he is so exhausted from a day of running around that he comes in and just wants to snuggle up on the couch with me.