A Dog Workout: Exercises and Activities
The Importance of a Good Dog Workout
Once upon a time, Welsh Corgis were used to herd cattle and watchdogs. Nowadays they’re just household pets and faithful companions. With the shift of occupations comes the need to make sure our furry Corgi companions get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, especially since they were bred to have great physical stamina and intense mental concentration for their work. Welsh Corgis need plenty of exercise in order to burn calories, stimulate their minds, keep healthy, and avoid boredom.
Without something constructive to do, Corgis may turn to other more destructive outlets for their pent up stores of energy such as chewing and digging. Bored Corgis may entertain themselves by barking and howling. Regular exercise is also needed to help maintain a good body weight as Corgis have a tendency to put on weight.
Overweight bodies combined with long backs may result in spinal problems in Corgis. Therefore, Welsh Corgis, and really all dogs in general need to have daily exercise and structured play to make sure their energy and minds are put to good use and not into the more destructive behaviors - as well as to avoid being overweight.
Exercises for dogs vary, depending on the individual’s breed (purebred Corgi or mixed Corgi), sex, age, and level of health. A couple of walks around the block everyday and/or ten minutes in the backyard simply won’t cut it. Because Corgis are an active breed being from the working/herding group, they need more exercise than that to satisfy their natural instincts to dig, herd, chew, retrieve and chase.
Young Corgis, especially 6- to 18-months adolescents, require much more exercise than older Corgis due to the fact that they have more energy to burn off. Brisk on-leash jogging, race walking, or strolling several miles are a good forms of dog exercises for Corgis as well as playing fetch using a Frisbee or tennis ball in a fenced enclosure.
Corgis should have a minimum of two outings a day. The first outing of the day should be early in the morning, especially if the dog is going to be left alone the rest of the day, and last between 45 to 60 minutes. The second outing can be shorter than the first outing, lasting around 30 to 45 minutes. During those two outings, Corgis should undergo a strenuous aerobic exercise such as off-leash running or play with other dogs, running alongside a bicycle, swimming, playing fetch games, running alongside a jogger, or running on a treadmill. Corgis can be trained to run on human treadmills, though there are treadmills made just for dogs.
If your Corgi has been a couch potato recently, make sure you have veterinary approval before attempting any of these high-level activities or any exercise program for your dog. Your Corgi will need to start slowly then in order to gradually build up his or her stamina, strengthen his or her muscles, and toughen the pads of his or her feet.
Corgi puppies that are still growing should not be forced to do any activity or exercise that forces them to be perpetually moving. Instead, the best exercise for Corgi puppies is to let them play with other puppies or people. If your Corgi has any type of physical problem that limits his or her ability to exercise, swimming should be considered as an alternative exercise option.
Dog Running Exercises
Corgis can be exercised off-leash, in a safe area, if he or she is trained to come when called. And if your Corgi is friendly to other dogs, then the closest or neighborhood dog run is a good place for your Corgi to get some exercise and meet their doggy friends. A dog run is a safe, fenced-in area where your Corgi can run off-leash with other dogs, but it is important that all owners are able to call their dogs out of the group and that their dogs will respond accordingly. This is just in case there is an emergency in which everyone needs to be able to quickly get a hold of their dog(s).
Structured Play Exercises
How dogs play should be based on what they were bred to do. Since Corgis were bred to herd, having a giant boomer ball for them to herd and play with is ideal. Training is another great way to exercise your dog as well as stimulate their mind. Practicing basic obedience behaviors, teaching your Corgi tricks, or setting up an obstacle course in your backyard for your Corgi to navigate through are excellent exercises for your Corgi’s body and mind. Short training sessions lasting between 5 to10 minutes once or twice a day are best. Always remember to keep these sessions light and fun for your Corgi by providing plenty of rewards for good behavior.
Many dogs enjoy a good game of tug of war so perhaps your Corgi may enjoy it as well. However, owners should be aware that teaching a dog that he or she is stronger than you can be hazardous to your health. Also, if your Corgi displays any of the following aggressive behaviors, then this activity is not appropriate for your Corgi. If the Corgi growls in a threatening manner rather than a play growl, or stiffly stands over the tug toy and snarls, immediately stop the game.
Mental Dog Exercises and Stimulation
Food-dispensing toys are a good way to stimulate your Corgi’s sharp mind. Making your Corgi work for his kibbles is a great way to fend off boredom. Most, if not all, dogs enjoy searching and working for their food. Therefore, rather than just giving your Corgi his or her food in a bowl, place his or her meal in a Kong, a Goodie Ship, or a Buster Cube so that your Corgi spends time trying to get their meal out of these toys. You can also try hiding small containers of food around the house and letting your Corgi find them.
You can also take his or her bowl of food and toss the kibbles into the backyard, allowing your Corgi to sniff around in the grass to find it. Another way of stimulating their mind with their meal is using their kibbles, instead of treats, as reward for their training.
Rather than feeding them their two or three square meals a day, pour their daily amount of food into a large bag and use those kibbles as rewards throughout the day for good behavior. This way you can always be sure that your Corgi’s attention is focused on you and that you are not over feeding your Corgi with extra treats on the side.
Other Final Tips
Whatever dog exercise plan or structural play that you decide for your Corgi though, always remember that you are the leader and that you must always be in control of them. You should decide when, where, and for how long your Corgi gets to play or exercise. There are unlimited activities that you and your Corgi can do together. There’s agility, flyball, tracking, search and rescue, pet visitation, clicker training, herding, freestyle dancing, etc.
For more information on what kind of dog exercises activities you can do with your Corgi, ask your local Certified Professional Dog Trainer. Increasing your exercise and play time together will make life more interesting for the both of you and will increase the time you two can be together!