Resolution #1 – I will eat less and exercise more

OK.  This resolution is a bit obvious and we know that eating less and exercising more is not just for dogs.  Dogs, like their humans, need to be fit.  If you were lucky enough to bring another pet into your home over the holidays I don’t need to tell you a tired puppy (of any age) is a good puppy!  Did you know that herders, like border collies, were bread to cover 35 miles a day in the course of doing their job managing a herd of sheep or cattle?  Unfortunately, most dogs don’t have much of job these days but that does not mean that they are happy couch potatoes.  In fact, they are unhappy if they don’t get enough exercise and without it you will find your new companion chewing, digging, racing around the living room and generally becoming an unruly dog.  This pent up energy can lead to reactive behavior and a dog that is nervous, anxious and fearful.  If you find your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms begin increasing the amount of energy he can expend simply by increasing the amount of exercise he gets.  Both of you will reap the rewards of more outside time and it is time that you can spend together.  More time together means more communication leading to greater mutual trust.  Better communication and deeper trust build confidence between owners and dogs.  Increase play time with your friend.  Fetch is great but if you can introduce frisbies, agility exercises, nose work, etc. where the dog is not only physically challenged but also mentally stimulated makes for a happy, content pet.

What about eating less?  I recommend feeding adult dogs twice a day.  Measure their food according to the manufacturers recommendations and if you are in a training mode with your dog and he is getting a number of treats during the day then decrease the amount of food at meal times.  Training treats should be no larger than pea-sized.  Generally, increasing the exercise regimen may preclude the need to decrease the portion size at breakfast and dinner.  If your dog is accustomed to “grazing” or eating whenever he is hungry during the day, leaving the dish empty until the next meal time will help decrease his intake.

We’ll talk again tomorrow.

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