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Exercising your puppy

All dogs need to exercise so they can lead a happy and healthy life. It also can be great fun for you as the dog owner. Also, lack of physical activity and boredom are common reasons why behaviour problems develop.

Every dog is different and will need different levels of exercise but here are a few tips to help you get started:

•Start off gently: With puppies you need to start off with gentle exercise, such as moderately paced walking or swimming. You may want to start with a daily 10-15 minute session and build up to an hour a day if your pet is up to it.

•Monitor your dog: Make sure your dog isn’t becoming fatigued or is having trouble with breathing. Let your dog stop when they want to and ensure that they don’t overdo it, as this can lead to muscle and other orthopaedic problems.

•Give them plenty of water: The more active your dog is, the more water they will need. Make sure they have enough water before and after their exercise, and if you are going out for a long time, take some with you.

•Keep your dog safe: Keep your dog on a lead when you run with them. If you are walking or running with your dog at night, put reflectors on your clothes and your dog’s collar.

•Give them variety: You don’t just have to stick with walking, running and swimming. Play fetch with them, set out jumps for your dog, try cycling (you can buy attachments for your bike) or play Frisbee.

•Don’t forget mental stimulation too: Mental stimulation is also important to relieve your dog of boredom. There are many different toys available on the market, for example, ones where you put a treat in and the dog has to figure out a way of getting it out. Or alternatively you can create games yourself, such as hide and seek.