Promoting exercise and agility in your dog is important for their health and quality of life. Installing a canine obstacle course or seeking out dog park agility equipment can be a fun way to engage your pet and keep them active. Generally a dog between the ages of one and a half and four years old will need the most exercise and females tend to be about 15% more active than male dogs on average. The amount of exercise your dog needs also can depend on what breed he or she is — a herding or sporting dog, for example, will need much more activity to be satisfied than say, a pug or a chihuahua. So what goes into creating a canine obstacle course? What else should you know about keeping your pooch moving? What should you look for in dog parks, if you take your dogs on walks?
Here’s What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Health
Are you dealing with what seems like a totally overactive puppy or a destructive dog? This type of behavior doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Is your dog getting outside enough and getting enough exercise? Being cooped up can lead those continuous earsplitting yelps, destructive behavior like chewing on furniture, and in some cases, hyperactive digging. Your dog is trying to burn off some of that excess energy the only way he can — give him an outlet!
Exercise is also important physically, of course. It can help keep them from becoming overweight, which brings its own set of issues. Being overweight as a dog can increase their risk of becoming diabetic or getting heart disease, and can have a toll on their joints and tendons.
How to Make a Canine Obstacle Course
If you’ve got a big backyard, looking into creating a canine obstacle course can be a fun way to encourage your dog to get moving! (And a dog training obstacle course can be a fun way for them to learn commands.) The nice thing about obstacles for dogs is that they don’t need to be expensive if you have the budget for it and are easy to create yourself.
Jumps, for example, can be erected from PVC pipes and cups (that hold the PVC pipes at the right height). Just make sure that the pipes are easy to knock over — you don’t want him getting hurt! A play tunnel for kids can work as a tunnel for your dog too — make sure it’s wide enough that your dog won’t feel claustrophobic, made of durable material, and made of enough substance that your dog can’t move it when or she goes through it.
If you’re thinking about weave poles as well, PVC piping or traffic cones are good solutions — again, make sure that they won’t hurt your dog if he or she runs into them. If you use PVC pipes, make sure they’re grounded well enough that they won’t keep falling over.
What to Keep in Mind When Visiting a Dog Park
Some dog parks come with dog park equipment so you don’t have to worry about setting up your own canine obstacle course. If you’re visiting a dog park though, make sure that you’re attentive to how your dog is interacting with other dogs and that you’re respectful of the space and other animals and owners. You should never just drop your dog off at the park and leave. Even if your animal is friendly or well-behaved, others might not be, so being around to intervene could be important.
Make sure you also bring dog poop bags with you — shockingly, around 40% of dog owners don’t pick up their pets’ poop, though many cities have started fining those who don’t do so. A dog park is a public space, so remember that courtesy counts!
Making sure that your dog gets the appropriate amount of exercise is important for both physical and behavioral reasons. And hey — it may get you outside more too!