I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we have. The weather has become a bit cooler! What does that mean for dogs? It seems like their energy level increases ten fold! All of a sudden the dog who slowly wandered around the yard a couple of months ago is now doing “zoomies” at every opportunity.
We love that. It means it’s a great time to “up” the exercise for your dog since the debilitating heat and humidity of the summer is no longer an issue to keeping him in shape.
Since the winter weather in Florida is so conducive to being outside, what sort of fun things can you do with your dog for exercise? Here are a few suggestions some of which give you a great workout too!
- If you enjoy running, this time of year is perfect for jogging with your dog.
- Give an agility class a try.
- Instead of just a walk, how about going for a hike? We have so many great parks and hiking trails in Central Florida that are dog friendly.
- Go bike riding with your dog. There are hands free leash attachments you can get for your bike that make it easy to ride with your dog.
- Take your dog to the beach. This time of year is perfect for going to the beach because it will be less crowded and the sand won’t be hot. For a day trip, try the dog friendly beach in New Smyrna or Fort De Soto in St. Petersburg.
- Play fetch races. If your dog loves the game of fetch, give it a twist by throwing the toy and racing him to retrieve it. Your dog will love the competition and you will get some great exercise too!
- Set up an obstacle course of things such as hurdles, boxes as tunnels, etc., in your back yard or local park. Briskly walk your dog through the obstacle course. At each station of the course, designate an exercise for yourself, such as toe touches, squats or push ups.
- Play the “find it” game. Hide your dog’s favorite toy or a high value treat in the back yard and ask your dog to find it. This is a good physical and mental exercise.
All of these suggestions presume your dog is in good enough physical condition to participate in these types of activities. If you’re dog is older, overweight, arthritic or has some other physical reason for not being able to be as active as you would like, consider swimming, since it’s a non-weight bearing, full body exercise. Whatever you do, keep up the exercise, especially through the holidays. Your dog will be healthier and happier as a result.