As I became increasingly tired just watching my friend’s working cocker spaniel the other day, I began praying for a canine companion to appear. My charge needed a playmate who could move considerably faster than me! I was greatly relieved when a Dalmatian strolled up to me but it turned out that this particular Dalmatian was lazy!
As every other Dalmatian that I had ever met was like a tornado on legs, I was very surprised. This dog clearly wasn’t going to run the legs off the cocker and neither was my neighbour’s pooch Archie, a west highland terrier who takes several hours to make it to the end of our not particularly long street.
Hyperactive dogs are a challenge’ but lazy dogs can be even worse. Just how do you entice them to get moving and to revel in the great outdoors?
Is Your Dog in Good Health?
Before you attribute your dog’s lack of action to laziness, it is worth checking that their enthusiasm failure isn’t due to a health condition. It could be that your furry friend is in pain or is feeling under the weather. Arthritis, thyroid issues, Lyme disease and anaemia could all cause a lack of interest in exercise. Age could also be a factor if you have a veteran pooch. Swimming is fabulous exercise for dogs with mobility issues so a trip to the nearest lake might be in order.
If your dog has been living a sedentary life, don’t try to do too much too soon. Transitioning from days on the couch to 10 mile hikes in one step is a bad idea. Start with short walks and build up the distance you travel gradually. Your dog will simply dig its heels in if you go overboard at the start.
Don’t Force the Issue
If your pooch dislikes exercise, forcing it to walk will be counterproductive. Start with short strolls and try to make them fun. Reward your dog with a treat if they toe the line and never yank on their lead. If they begin to accept the brief outings, make your adventures a little longer every day. Allow them to stop in order to smell their surroundings and be alert for anything which scares them. Your dog might be resistant to walks simply because an aspect of being outside terrifies them. If you can find out what this is, you can gradually acclimatise your pet to the scary situation.
Make it Fun
It could be that your pooch has lost interest in walking because they find it boring. Up the fun factor with new toys to chase, games of hide and seek and varying your route. Take them to places that they haven’t seen before and allow them to explore. Your dog may enjoy canine company so visit places where there are usually lots of other dogs to play with. If your furry friend is timid around other dogs, socialisation classes might help them to come out of their shell.
Even the laziest pooch can be encouraged to enjoy taking the exercise they need. Getting them to walk further will improve their health and could well improve yours into the bargain.