General Exercise Aids for Dogs
When you exercise your dog, it is always helpful to have the right equipment in order to make the task more fun for you and your dog, as well as safer. In most cases you only need a leash for your dog and a good pair of walking shoes for you. It is also good pet etiquette to take along scoopers and requisite waste elimination equipment to clean up those ‘accidents’ that may occur along the way. Another thing to consider when exercising your dog is water. You do not want your dog to become dehydrated so you may wish to take along a water bottle for him. You can take along collapsible water bowls or a water bottle with a folding reservoir.
Walking Your Dog
There are many styles of leashes that you can purchase, everything from a plain simple dog leash, to retractable ones that include a muzzle attached to them. You can even get an attachment for your leash that has a shock absorber to minimize pulling and tugging. The attachment is usually a light-weight, easy-to-use elastic "shock absorber" that fastens between your dog’s collar or harness and leash. It helps to reduce the muscle strain that occurs when your dog pulls or tugs on his leash and reduces stress on your dog’s neck and shoulders. You can also buy an anti-tangle split leash that allows you to walk more than one dog at a time. Some leashes allow you to walk your dog hands-free as they are geared to be worn at your waist.
It is best to gear your purchase of the type of leash or lead you are using to your dog. Some leashes or halters are better for larger, stronger dogs. Some leashes are simply leads, but others incorporate body harnesses (usually for smaller animals) or muzzles (for larger, aggressive dogs who may be strong pullers.)
Many people are very conscientious about walking their dog in any kind of weather. There are many items on the market today that will help make your dog more comfortable whatever the weather. If your dog has a short coat, he may need protection in colder weather. You can purchase a doggie coat or sweater for him so that he will not get chilled during the outing. You can also get dog coats for warmer climates that reflect the heat away from the dog’s body. These dog coats have a breathable liner that also absorbs sweat. You can also get safety coats that ‘glow-in-the-dark’ for higher visibility during night walks.
Other Exercise Equipment for Dogs
There are other types of exercise for your dog that you may need special equipment for. You may want to do skijoring, bikejoring, rollerjoring, dog-scootering or canicross. In all of these dog/person exercise sports the dog pulls the person along while attached by a cord. (See more about these sports in the ‘Joring” section.) You will need a harness for the dog and a pulling or bungee cord with an attachment for you, as well as the bike, skis, rollerblades or whatever.
You may also wish to purchase equipment for agility training. You can get bar jumps, weave poles, tire jumps, teeter totters, tunnels, etc. This does not necessarily mean that you have to enter your dog in agility competitions, but it may be fun for you and your dog to train and exercise in an obstacle course. Not only will your dog have a fun time exercising physically, but it may help exercise his brain with problem solving as well.
Other fun equipment you may consider to help exercise your dog may include a dog cart. This can simply be a wheeled box that your dog pulls, but you can purchase specially made ones for dogs as well. In the olden days many larger dog breeds were taught to pull things in a cart, people and supplies. Today this cart-pulling can be a form of exercise and can also provide entertainment as well. You can show off your dog’s cart-pulling abilities in fairs and parades. Even smaller dogs can be taught to pull carts if the cart size is geared to the dog’s size.
Of course, there are many dog toys that will also help your dog to get the required exercise. There are pull toys, balls, rubber throw toys, toys that make your dogs jump, and any number of other types of toys that will help provide needed exercise. Some toys help the dog to exercise by himself, while others require your interaction.