Mental Exercise Tires a Dog Physically More Than Physical Exercise Does
I love this quote by Ian Dunbar.
Check out Ian Dunbar here .
I have been saying this for years.
And, quite frankly I kinda love Ian Dunbar.
If I were to have an admiration work crush I think it would be on him and Karen Pryor.
Check out Karen Pryor here.
So I found this “meme” the other day while scrolling through Facebook and of course I shared it!
It seems I may mention Facebook too much, ha ha ha, but my mind often has to multitask and so as I work, I go back and forth seeing what my friends and colleagues are up to in their lives.
Anywho… I digress… another problem of mine…
I was pleasantly surprised when someone asked me to clarify what he meant.
Physical exercise is great, it tires our muscles and sometimes our bodies and makes us need a little sleep or nap.
I also happen to be a certified personal trainer, so I know the benefits of physical exercise.
But I have gotten a little (or a lot if you ask anyone else) chubby since my old dog died and I got depressed and have suffered from depression for quite a while now.
Sometimes life is overwhelming… and I digress yet again…
So I’ve started exercising again; I started at 3 miles and I am now at 5 on the treadmill and 10-15 on the bike.
All of this has been within the last month.
3 just doesn’t do it for me anymore and I need the help sleeping at night right now and fighting a new reason for some feelings of depression 😉
Plus I have increased my pace and incline, yippee for me.
And, I wasn’t born an athlete.
Your dog was born an athlete…
He is able to change his fast twitch muscles into slow twitch muscles (slow are better because they help with endurance) much faster than we humans can.
This means he would probably be able to go from 3 miles to 5 miles in a couple of days rather than the weeks that it takes for me.
He, your dog, is a much better athlete than you will ever be 😉
It takes a lot of work to consistently tire a dog out using exercise only.
Now send me, the slow but beautifully aging adult (if I do say so myself), to school or a CE (continuing education) for the day.
I’m pretty sure I would come home more tired than if I had to run a half marathon.
My muscles may hurt after some severe exercise, but everything is tired after lots of mental stimulation.
Think, study, problem solve and don’t take many breaks and you will sleep like a baby and be exhausted by the end of the day.
Your dog is the same way.
Exercise builds on itself increasing your endurance and making you a better athlete.
But mental stress and stimulation and exercise is always more exhausting, even physically.
And, you can mentally exercise any dog; old dogs, puppies, painful dogs (like hip dysplasia) etc.
How to Use This to Your Advantage
Remember when working with your dog; mental stimulation is always better than physical exercise if you have to choose between the two.
Need a tired dog, but have a limited time?
Teach him something new!
When the weather outside sucks (it’s too hot, too cold, too rainy) or otherwise not workable; train with your dog!
If You Want a Double Whammy Tired Dog
Exercise your dog physically, while training him to do either something new; or while stimulating his mind and working on his existing obedience.
For instance, I take my dogs running with me (I can’t run as fast as they need to make them tired) but I add sits or downs in motion, U turns, circles, down stays as I run past, eye contact and focus.
Teach him some tricks.
Add some retrieve work, play with him, but most of all make him thinking.
A thinking dog is a tired dog; and a tired dog is a good dog!
Don’t you agree??
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.