One aspect to dog health that’s sometimes inadvertently overlooked is a dog’s mental health. Dogs seem to need little more than food, water and some basic care, but as pack animals they are really quite social — and like it or not you are a member of their pack.
Once you’ve established yourself as the alpha animal in the pack, it’s your job to offer your dog a daily routine, including some good work that it can understand. Folks with true working breeds know that a dog with no job is either happy tearing down the house (or worse) or simply very unhappy.
How to Exercise Your Dog
Providing work for your faithful companion can be as simple as offering regular exercise. Take him for walks on and off leash when you can. Teach your dog to fetch sticks from land and lake — and give him the opportunity to do it at least once per day at a fairly consistent time.
While “working” your pet, you will also be able to reinforce other training exercises like sit, stay, come and more. If you provide the work before you leave for work in the morning, your dog will happily sleep the day away with few problems. Work him again in the evening and he’ll quietly cuddle before bedtime and sleep through the night without worry.
So, add “work” to the old standbys of exercise, discipline and reward and you’ll wind up with an incredibly loyal, head-happy companion who’ll accompany you to the ends of the earth and back, and dream of doing it again tomorrow. Do it again tomorrow and you might just find that your own head becomes happier too!
Watch the full episode! Hank shares hints like these in each episode of Tough Grit. Visit Tough Grit online to view this episode and many more. The hints above appeared in Episode 11, “Man’s Best Friend.”
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.
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