Dogs can be such great motivators when it comes to exercise! No matter what size of dog you may have, a dog needs some form of exercise daily. Like the benefits exercise has for humans, daily exercise for your pup will help release excess energy, help ease boredom, and help your dog get rid of any mental cobwebs going on. Dog behaviorists and trainers state that a lot of behavioral problems in dogs can be lessened or even completely prevented with a regular exercise routine. An exercised dog is a happy, tired dog, and therefore not feeling in the mood to be destructive or feeling incredibly bored.
October 1-7th is considered National Walk Your Dog Week! To celebrate, I challenge everyone to walk your dog at least twice this week, if not daily. I know what you’re thinking, “my dog doesn’t walk well on a leash,” or maybe you aren’t a walker, but instead a runner or biker. So, you can take your dog with you! Here are seven solutions for including your dog in your exercise routine, plus a few more ideas to make your routine a little more pleasant.
Gentle Leader or Halti brand Head Collar
This collar accessory is a lifesaver if you have a dog that always pulls on the leash. It has a loop to go over the dog’s nose, and you buckle the collar behind the ears. Your dog’s leash will attach to a ring found near the nose loop. Much like a halter for a horse, the Gentle Leader or Halti brand collars will control your dog’s head, so when they have the urge to pull, their head will turn back toward you, reminding them who they need to be focusing on during their walk.
You can steer the dog in the direction you would like to walk. The collar puts pressure on the back of the dog’s neck rather than at the throat, like a traditional dog collar/leash setup. This collar will also help remind the dog not to pull without the dog choking. Folks that have never seen this collar automatically assume it is a muzzle. This training tool is not a muzzle; your dog has free movement of their mouth, allowing them to breathe correctly and eat/drink with the collar on if needed.
This unique harness is another excellent tool that helps with dogs that always pull on the leash. There are many styles of no-pull harnesses on the market, so ultimately it will depend on the size of your dog. The harnesses are designed to have control over the chest and front legs when the dog pulls. Unlike regular harnesses, the no-pull harness has a leash hook located on the chest rather than on the back of the dog. Just like with the head collar models, when the dog starts pulling on the harness, the harness will re-direct the dog back to you. The no-pull harness is also an excellent solution for folks with brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds that like to pull on leashes, as they don’t have a long nose to fit a head collar over. Plus, the no-pull harnesses will not put any pressure on the dog’s neck, which is excellent for brachycephalic breeds that already have trouble breathing effectively.
This retractable leash was an interesting item I found as it serves two purposes; one being a retractable leash (17 feet in length) and the other feature is it can be a no-pull harness too! The harness portion goes around the dog’s chest, and when the dog tries to pull, the harness puts light pressure on the chest/abdomen area to discourage the dog from pulling. I am not sure how effective this leash/harness combo is, compared to the no-pull pet harnesses or the head collars, but it’s affordable and worth a try!
If you take your dog running with you, this is a great option! This leash has a waist belt for you to wear, and your dog’s leash will attach to a ring on the belt so that you can run with the dog and not have to hold the bulky leash! Even if you are not a runner, this will work great if you want to take the dog with when you have your kids in a stroller, or for many other situations where you would prefer a “hands-free” method of walking the dog.
With the same concept as the hands-free dog leash, this wristband looks like a heavy-duty bracelet and your dog’s leash attaches to a loop on the wristband. So, in theory, you could be “hands-free” to hold items while walking the dog.
Are you a Biker? No Problem!
If your kind of exercise involves biking rather than walking or running, why not take the dog? There are bike leash mounts available so you can attach your dog’s leash to your bike. They mount to the frame of the bike, usually under your seat, and have a bar that comes out with a ring to attaches to the dog’s leash. The bar, along with a leash mechanism, will absorb shock and any pulling the dog may be causing. That way you don’t have to worry about the dog pulling you and the bike in the wrong direction! Check out the video for this product showing someone trying this out with their husky!
Hands-Free dog walking belt
Much like the hands-free dog leash, your dog’s leash can attach right to this belt. However, this belt also has pockets and pouches for you to store your ID, phone, keys, a water bottle, poo bags, and treats for the pup. You can indeed be hands-free with this belt!
If you don’t prefer an entire walking belt while you are out on your walk but still want to bring treats, a treat pouch is a good alternative. Some treat pouches are big enough for you to put other items in too, such as your car keys.
So, what If I don’t have a regular exercise routine?
For folks that physically cannot do much exercise or have a physical constraint that prevents them from walking their pup, there are solutions available. Do you have a family member that can take the dog for a walk regularly? What about a neighbor or friend? If you don’t have anyone you know that could walk your dog, why not hire a dog walker? A dog walker will come to your home and take your dog on a walk or run for you. The cost is affordable, usually $15-$30.00 per walk, depending on where you live. If you decide to have someone come and walk your dog, you will still be responsible for having a proper leash (and any needed walking aids) for your pup.
Whatever the adventure, you have the tools!
There are so many different products available, for any adventure you desire to go on with your pup. Whether it be walking, running or biking, or if you want some additional training aids such as hands- free assistance, or no-pull training aid, there are so many solutions available for any size of pup! The most important part is that you enjoy the exercise and get to include your dog in on the fun. We wish you the best of luck in all your walking and exercise adventures!