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4 Great Ideas That Keep Your Dogs Fit and Fun

Photo via Flickr user robertszlivka

Photo via Flickr user robertszlivka

Dog parents have to work; it is an unfortunate fact of life. Many dogs are left to their own devices at home while some parents have to work a 12 to 14 hour day. What can the dog do to keep from being bored other than to get into mischief? Keeping him in a crate all day long is definitely not the answer. All dogs need to be active to stay healthy. Here are some great ways to keep your dogs fit and fun.

Food Puzzles
Food puzzles are toys that your dog can play with and find food as a reward. Research suggests that dogs would prefer food that requires a little work. Another way is to hide his food bowl in the house and let him go find it. Alternatively, toss a bowl of kibble in the back yard and release the dog to go “hunting”. This may seem cruel, but dogs love the stimulation.

Dog Day Care
Dogs need somewhere to play while you are working, otherwise your dog can exhibit emotion-based maladaptive behaviors such as chewing, incessant barking, inappropriate urination and defecation, among other undesirable behaviors. Dog day cares can be great for instilling good habits on a daily basis. Dog day care is also a great way to keep your dog active. The best dog day cares are cage-free with plenty of human and canine socialization. Do a little research to find the canine day care that has experienced staff, separate play areas for matched size and age, and plenty of activities.

Training Sessions
Dogs love to learn tricks. Short training sessions will not only keep your dog stimulated, it is another chance to bond with him. Adding treats to the training session as a reward also helps with his natural instinct to hunt or earn his food.

Dog Parks
The benefits of exercise and socialization are as accessible as your local dog park. Dog parks have become more common recently. Most dog parks separate large dogs from small dogs to reduce the incidence of fighting among your canine friends. Dog parks provide a space where your dog can run off-leash and play with other dogs of the same size and energy level. A dog park is an excellent place to play and bond with your dog while meeting other dog lovers that live in your area. Most parks do not charge a fee, but there are a few rules. One hard, fast rule is to make sure that your dog is vaccinated and free of disease.

The bottom line is that dogs need activity and stimulation to remain happy and healthy. There are a variety of ways that you can satisfy their needs, such as dog day care, local dog parks, training, and food toys (puzzles). The added benefit is that all of this will bring you and your dog closer together.

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