by Natasha Thompson
It’s finally spring, which thankfully brings warmer temperatures and longer days. That means it’s time to grab the leash and get your family moving! Read on to see why physical activity is so important for you and your dog, plus get ideas for some fun activities!
How Physical Activity Benefits You and Your Dog
I’m sure you’ve heard all the healthy perks of exercise for humans, from boosting heart health to giving you more energy. Our dogs get so many positive perks from it as well! Tired dogs are well-behaved, happy dogs. They sleep better, feel less anxious, and they’re less likely to have destructive tendencies. Isn’t that a win all around?
In fact, I’ve even created a month-long event for April, Active Dog Month (http://ActiveDogMonth.com), to encourage dog families to get out there and get active. Springtime is wonderful for making positive changes to your health and wellness. The warm spring air and flowers blooming everywhere make for amazing days to explore.
Use Social Media to Make New Active Furrends
Socialization is vital to emotional health, for both you and your dog. But if you’re anything like me, making new friends is a bit challenging, especially after you’ve moved to a new city. Local meet up groups are perfect for this!
We have a local Facebook group for pets in our city. It’s been great for meeting new faces, sharing adorable photos of our pets, and building up the local pet community. When the weather is nice, there’s always someone willing to meet for an impromptu pup play date or trek through the valley. If you don’t have one, why not create a public group yourself? Be the change you want to see!
Go For a Swim
Swimming is a great way to burn off energy while still being gentle on joints, making it perfect for older dogs or those with mobility issues. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so keep that in mind when seeing how your dog does.
Before heading to a swimming spot, take safety precautions for your dog. Scope out the area for any hazards before letting your dog head in the water. Bring along treats, flotation toys, and a doggy life vest. Even the best swimmers can get overexerted and that could save a life. Also, make sure your dog has a reliable recall to prevent them from running off out of excitement.
Learn to Play With Nose Work
Nose work is a fun activity that can be done either inside on rainy days, or outside when the weather is nice. You’ll want to gather nice and strong-smelling treats, such as bacon, pieces of lunch meat, or small chunks of cheese.
Start small by asking them to sniff out treats you hold in your hand, and move on to hiding them in fluffy mats. Eventually, you can grab a few cardboard boxes and poke ventilation holes in them, then hide treats inside and encourage them to use their nose to find their reward. Start slow to keep it entertaining for you and your pup.
Create a Backyard Agility Course
Another great activity to burn off mental and physical energy is by running an agility circuit. Many dog training facilities offer classes on this to learn safely, and there are plenty affordable kits available to continue training in your own backyard.
If you’re crafty, you can even get creative and make your own course. Hula hoops can be used for teaching them to literally jump through hoops, and PVC from your local hardware store can be fashioned into weaving poles. Even cardboard boxes make for fun little tunnels!
Take a Hike
Hiking is terrific for getting your blood pumping and see new amazing sights! We live in Alaska, so we’re definitely lucky to have plenty of options with incredible waterfalls and mountain vistas. Even if you live in an area with less eye-catching views, I’m sure there’s something beautiful to discover. Get out there and go find it!
Help us make Active Dog Month a worldwide event to get healthier mentally and physically with our dogs by sharing this post. Comment below with where you’re from and how you’re getting active with your pup!
Hi there! I’m Natasha Thompson, creator of Om Shanti Pups, a health and holistic lifestyle dog blog. I love puppies (of all ages!), yoga, and dog rescue. I live all the way up in Alaska with my husband Dan and our two crazy four-year-old Puerto Rican sato street rescues Roxy & Rico. Find us on Instagram & Twitter @OmShantiPups, or visit https://OmShantiPups.com.