In the off-season, your dog will become less active over time. The spring and summer months are times when dogs tend to get lazy, especially solid hunting dogs like the Whippet or Setter breeds. That\'s why it\'s important to exercise your hunting dog daily, but it can be tough, since we don\'t always have the time. But exercising your dog will not only prepare them for the next hunting season, but it will maintain their health.
The next time you exercise, such as walking or running, take your dog with you. The type of exercise running depends on the individual dog, but taking them out for stimulation will keep them invigorated. Taking them on bike rides, mountain hikes or long walks will also help them keep the weight down. However, be sure not to overexert your dog, and have a bottle of water and a bowl handy if they need water. You can also do simple things like taking them on a car ride or to the pet store.
Another great way to keep your dog in hunting shape is to conduct retrieval exercises with them. Make it a play date by throwing sticks, toys, or anything they love to normally fetch. It will not only keep them in hunting mode, but it is a great way to build a relationship with your animal. The more a dog becomes familiar with you, the more they will see you as alpha male and will obey your commands. Also, give them praise every time they fetch and bring something back to you, since it makes them feel useful.
Dogs that have high energy will need intense exercise sessions, and running is one way to keep them in shape and burn up excess energy. How long you want your dog to run will depend on the breed and the personality of your pet. If you don\'t have large acreage to work with, you can run your dog up and down the down stairs, or use a specialized doggie treadmill.
If you don\'t want to go that route, you can find a park or public area to walk them. Since I live close to a college campus, I take my dog to the nearby baseball and football field, where dogs are welcome. Just be sure to bring some clean-up material in case your dog leaves any waste.
Tug of war is a common game I play with my dog. If your pet is pretty territorial over a certain toy like my dog, this is a great game to play; however, be aware that a simple tug of war game can quickly turn into an alpha male struggle. This is something that you\'ll just have to manage, and it doesn\'t mean you have to avoid the game. When my dog grabs his toy and brings it to me, I usually hold on to it firmly until he releases the toy and waits before I throw it. A game is one thing, but you don\'t want to lose your alpha male status. Other good games to play indoors is a laser game (just don\'t point it in their eyes).
If you also have the land, you can set up an obstacle course such as hoola hoops or tunnels for them. This is a fun activity that will keep them engaged and well trained, and it keeps them in the mode of dodging and weaving objects as they would in a forest.