How to Immediately Impact Your Dog's Behavioral Issues

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Over the years, I’ve visited with families and worked with hundreds of dogs. These dogs had issues from puppy play biting and jumping on guests to full-blown human aggression with long bite histories. The breeds ranged from chill bulldogs to highly active pointers and shepherds, and the ages varied as well – 2 month old puppies to 14 year old dogs.

And, yet, though they are very different, most of my clients have one thing in common – they are lacking exercise.

We’ve all heard the old saying that a tired dog is a good dog. Overall, this is true. Exercising your dog can not only eliminate most simple problem behaviors, such as barking and chewing, but will also impact serious behaviors such as separation anxiety and aggression.

EXERCISE IMPACTS HEALTH

Obesity is considered an epidemic for humans, with over 2/3 of adults in the United States being categorized as overweight or obese. Similarly, studies have shown that around 40% of dogs are considered overweight or obese.<sup>1</sup>

Excess weight brings many health concerns for our puppy pals. Obesity has been linked to shorter life spans, cardiorespiratory disease, orthopedic disease (arthritis), ligament tears, urinary disorders, and anesthesia complications.<sup>1</sup> When our dogs are fit, they are less likely to need expensive medical interventions and are healthier as well as happier. Most importantly, research has shown that increasing your dog’s level of exercise has an effect on body composition and assists in managing and eliminating health concerns due to obesity.

IMPORTANCE OF VARYING EXERCISE

For optimal canine fitness, it is important to mix it up a little. When most people think of exercising their dogs, they think of taking them for walks. Daily walks are an important form of exercise for dogs, but games such as fetch can be highly beneficial as well. Hiking with your dog is a fabulous way to exercise both human and canine, and jogging is a great way to tire out your pup while bonding with him as well.

Also, consider exercising your dog on multiple surfaces. For example, running in sand works muscles differently than running on grass, and running on grass works muscles differently than running or walking on concrete.

WHEN TO EXERCISE

Us humans have busy lives and it can be difficult to fit our dog’s needs in with our own. However, exercise is simply that: a NEED.

Time of day is not particularly important, but for most behavior problems, exercising at the start of each day is the most effective. If you take your pup on a good walk in the morning, he is less likely to bark, chew, or experience anxiety while you are at work.

 

<sup>1</sup>German, A. J. (2006). The Growing Problem of Obesity in Dogs and Cats. Journal Of Nutrition,1361940S-1946S.

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