Thursday, October 7

Dogs Make Us Healthy released an article today about a study George Washington University School's of Public Health and Health Services conducted on the positive effects of having a dog in your life.  They followed 916 people in three groups, one that owned a dog and exercised with them regularly, one that owned a dog and did not exercise regularly and one that did not own a dog.  The study concluded of course the healthiest of the group was the first, they had the lowest Body Mass Index.  The article goes on to explain that people that own dogs are found to generally be healthier and happier both physically and mentally.  There is research showing that people that are hospitalized or have physical ailments recover quicker when there is a dog at home.  
The important thing to figure out is what routine will work for your dog.  This all depends on the age, physical condition, breed and health of your dog.  For instance, if you have a Basset, you may not want to run 5 miles a day, I doubt they would keep up.  But if you have a Lab with no back or hip problems, running is a great option.  The article also points out that training in intervals is a wonderful way to train with your dog and it closer to their natural behavior of running and then stopping to sniff, this is very important to a dog.  
Lastly, there are games you can play with your dog inside your home or apartment that will add exercise to both of your lives and tire your dog out.  One is hide and go seek, one person holds the dog the other goes and hides, you call your dog over and over and they find you and as a reward you play with their favorite toy.  You can play tug with your dog, so long as you win or play fetch.  All of these will get you off the couch and get your dog exercise.
If you notice your dog limping, dragging behind, or generally not acting right while exercising, they might be in pain.  A dog typically will not tell you they are hurt, you have to notice it yourself.  If they are having fun with you and playing or exercising, they will push through the pain to please you, so make sure you are watching your dog carefully.
There are so many benefits to having a dog that is properly stimulated both physically and mentally.  Their health is an obvious benefit, but you will also have a well behaved dog.  The more tired a dog is, the less likely they are to get into trouble.

For the article, bark on the link:  Bark!