Fetch isn’t the only thing that keeps our dogs healthy and content with life.  Dogs aren’t just to be petted and stroked, they are pack animals that want to feel as if they’re needed. This is perhaps why gun dogs are always wagging their tail, yearning to be released by their owners to go and fulfill their role. It’s also why police and military dogs are always full of simmering energy, ready to go and sniff out contraband and explosives. They have been trained to do these jobs, they are rewarded every time they’re successful and so, they feel as if they too have a role to play in the pack. These are examples of healthy lifestyles for our pet dogs. They need to have more than just love and affection, they need a purpose in their lives too.

Search and return 

Fetch is of course one of the best games to play with your dog. It gets them to use their joints which have been dormant all day long from lying down on their beds or pads. They switch direction quickly and this gets new blood to filter out into their ligaments and muscles. However, it’s a simple game. They see the ball or the stick and they know where to go and what to do. Their senses aren’t really put to the test. A search and return game however will light up their curiosity and make your dog use his or her brain to achieve the objective. Simply show them a ball and let them sniff it. Then get them to sit and turn away as you go behind them and hide the ball. Then when you find a good hiding place, ask your dog to go and find it while you go along with them to give them pointers and calls of hot or cold regarding how close they are to finding it. It’s healthy for their brain and connects them more with their senses.

A slow consistent jog

Rather than playing simple running games such as the aforementioned fetch, you should go running with you dog. Jogging is great for you and it’s great for your dog. Firstly, it’s not as intense so you can do it for longer. Dogs may get tired from running around quickly but if you’re running at a reasonably quick pace for longer they get their fill of being outdoors. A slow and consistent jog at your side will be better for them than just 5 or 10 minutes of sprinting.

Give them real food

What we put into our own bodies is crucial to our health. You are what you eat as they say. It’s no different for dogs either. So give them natural dog food instead of highly processed foods. Look at the Freshpet line for inspiration. They have food such as natural tender chicken log sausages and roasted meals in packs.

In conclusion, give your dog something to think about with search and return games. Go for a jog with your dog instead of quick sprints and give them natural food and avoid processed foods.

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