A reader called asking for information on the importance of exercise, especially in this hot, humid weather. My answer started with, “Yes, exercise is important for all creatures, it keeps their muscles toned, relieves anxiety, and in the case of dogs, I will quote Brian Kilcommons, a nationally known dog trainer and author, ‘A tired dog is a good dog.’”
Now, exercise has to be individualized especially since dogs come in all sizes. Age also has to be considered. My little six pound toy breed gets plenty of exercise following me around the house, but she also enjoys investigating the yard after the sun goes down. How do I know she gets enough exercise? She sleeps a lot when I sit down to work, but is ready to go when I get up. I also keep track of her weight each month.
The larger breeds need more exercise. In this weather, I recommend early in the morning and late in the afternoon. If you have more than one dog, they often will play tag with one another, but if all they do is wander around the play area, it will be up to you to provide the incentive to exercise. Most dogs like to chase and retrieve balls or stuffed toys. If that doesn’t interest them, try hiding pieces of treats around the yard and let your dogs go individually out to find them.