Your dog needs exercise, probably more than you think. I'm reminded almost every time I sit at my computer that it's really not my time to do so. Gracie interrupts me with a poke in my ribs - the squeaky plush toy in her mouth letting out a holler as she does so. When you have a smart dog, you have to spend enough play time to satisfy the urge for excitement - also called JOY OF LIFE. I honor that in Gracie. She reminds me of my sedentary faults.
Now at age 10 1/2 years, as Gracie slows down (just a bit), I want to make sure I'm not over-taxing her joints with extra long walks and vigorous romps. I can still accomplish my goal of tiring her out, hearing that satisfied sigh after our new, shorter exercise routines. The key is in exercising her mind.
The mind also burns calories and can physically exercise a smarter, older dog while safely keeping their joints protected. Here are some favorite activities we like, especially on rainy days.
The Toy Wrap
Take a small, older blanket that's soft, and not too bulky. We have an old pink plush blanket that was a gift many years ago, marketed as a pet blanket. Wrap a favorite squeaky toy in it on the diagonal, then tie the opposite corners of the blanket together. Your dog will love setting the toy free. Be prepared to accept holes and shreds in this new well-loved blanket toy. Repeat.
The Guessing-Hand Game
Inspire the guessing game with your dog by hiding treats in your hands (be sure to scent both hands with the treats). Hide hands behind your back, then bring them forward at the same time. Reward your dog if they guess correctly, of course. But the key here is to try to keep them guessing. Smart dogs will play along for a long time and stay engaged.
The Hide-and-Seek Game
If you have kids, you have perfect partners for your dog to be the seeker. Dogs love traditional hide-and-seek. Add hints of soft knocking, whistles, squeaks, or even scents as you accompany your dog on the search.
All of these games and more can be great alternatives for the older dog to play safely, not over-stressing joints, and satisfying the fun quota for exercise. Top off playtime with a short walk, and you'll have a happy, tired pet soon taking a nap.
If you have more ideas, or concerns about your older pet, I'd love to hear from you.
Contact Rosemary of Natural Pet Health Alternatives today.