Exercise for Your Dog
Step 1 Think big. Hang a map on the wall and mark a cool destination on it -- choose someplace you've always wanted to go. Then buy a pedometer to measure your walks, and pretend you're walking to your destination. Track your progress daily on the map with a highlighter.
Step 2 Of course, if you really want to think big, consider including your dog on a vacation trip to a cool destination that a dog would enjoy.
Step 3 Some of our national & state parks welcome dogs, as long as they're kept on leashes. Many of these parks have hiking paths that you and your dog can explore together. Make sure to call or check out the Web sites for your desired parks for their pet regulations.
Step 4 When taking your dog for a walk, try for grass or dirt trails. Avoid hot asphalt whenever possible, as it can hurt or even burn your dog's pads on the bottom of his paws.
Step 5 Can't carry a tune? Your dog doesn't care. Sing softly to your dog as you walk, matching your pace to the beat of the music. Vary your repertoire -- some slow tunes, some fast -- to give your walk some variety.
Step 6 Dogs are social animals. And walking is often their only chance to meet other dogs. Make a point of greeting other dog walkers, and let your dog greet other well-behaved dogs if their owners are willing. Make sure both animals are on leashes, especially at first.
Step 7 Be a considerate pet owner. Always bring plastic bags to scoop the poop.
Step 8 Here's one more tip. Before walking, if possible, play with your dog in your backyard. This will allow it to burn off some excess energy before you try to take it out for a controlled walk. "Getting the wiggles out" in advance will mean less straining at the leash. And your dog will adore being lavished with the extra attention.