Exercising Your Dog

My 6-month-old Boxer needs exercise—a LOT of exercise. If Beta doesn’t get some seriously good romps in a few times a day, she’s likely to get herself into trouble around the house. Case in point: I found Miss Thing standing in the middle of my dining room table a few days ago.

A few play sessions in the backyard every day, plus walks, usually suffice, but for those times when it seems like the energy will just never stop, I’ve started riding my bike with Beta. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily she took to it the first time we went out. When she had been with us just a couple weeks, I brought the bike out and walked her around the yard with it, which I think contributed to her fearless attitude when it appeared a couple months later.

At first I used a hiking leash with a spring clip which I just attached to the bike, but Beta had a tendency to run around the other side of the bike and I wanted a little more control than that, so I bought a Walky Dog Bike Leash. It’s a pretty cool idea—keeps the dog on one side of the bike, away from the wheels. It attaches to any part of the bike with a clamp, which you tighten with an allen wrench. The only problem is that Beta is kind of a monster. Without even kicking up too much of a fuss, she can jostle the clamp enough so it moves during the ride, sort of defeating the purpose.

Bear in mind, this is a ridiculously strong dog. She has defied what my husband and I thought was possible several times by breaking out of her crate using sheer muscle power. She knocked me down so hard in the snow recently that I was on the ground before I knew what hit me. She plays very, very hard. So the Walky Dog might work great for other people with dogs of normal strength.

I’m reaching for this ideal of getting so much exercise for Beta every day that she’s one of those miraculously mellow Boxers. When I first had her, I saw a guy with a mellow Boxer at the water reservoir by my house and asked him what his secret was. He told me he roller blades with his dog for 45 minutes to two hours every day. Maybe when Beta is a little less of a puppy I’ll try that too, but for now we’ll keep it up with the bike and I’ll bring my allen wrench on the road with us.

How do you and your dog work out together? How do you make sure your dog gets enough exercise to be well-behaved? This is one challenge I know most dog owners face.

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