The plusses of physical exercise are obvious (maintaining a healthy weight, for instance), but the less tangible rewards can be just as gratifying. You’ll find that some of your most memorable moments with your dog happen when you’re tossing her the ball at the park or hiking that trail in the mountains. Staying active together helps cement the human-canine bond.
Another huge benefit: Tired dogs are well-behaved dogs. After a brisk walk or hearty jog, your pup’s next big move is usually a lengthy nap. Canines who’ve had plenty of exercise tend to spend free time curled up in bed as opposed to looking for things to do (or chew or dig up).
Dogs also do a great job of wearing each other out, so don’t forget to take your well-socialized pup to the dog park or arrange for doggie play dates. Chasing and wrestling with other dogs can provide a vigorous workout, as well as fulfill her desire to hang out with members of her own species.
Agility training is yet another great way to stay active and bond. You don’t have to take it to the competition level–many owners train simply for fun. Agility’s a mental workout as well as a physical one, as your dog learns how to negotiate the various tunnels, seesaws, and hurdles of an intricate obstacle course. Plus, it’s a thrill to watch your dog literally jump through hoops for you.