Exercise is a fact of life: My Aussies will not be ignored!

December 19, 2009 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment

archer2I was here at my computer this morning, fingers flying, when Archer nudged my arm and well, you know:  The delete key got some use and the spellchecker went wild.

I couldn’t blame Archer, though. I got started on the computer early this morning. I changed our normal routine –  oh no! — and the dogs had been waiting patiently for me to get up and get moving.

My dogs and I have a deal: They will –  for the most part — wait patiently for me to do my work at the computer, and I will make sure they get plenty of exercise, playtime, and training every day. This works for us.

When you take into consideration Australian Shepherds are a versatile herding dog bred to be an all purpose farm/ranch hand, you can understand why inactivity doesn’t suit them well at all.

The dogs and I walk every morning, and we did this morning, too. But I can’t consider walks as exercise for them; walks are a social outing.

Exercise is chasing the ball or toy and bringing it back –over and over again. All three dogs love to retrieve, and I vary the rules of the game. Sometimes I throw one toy and all three dogs compete for it and other times I throw one toy apiece and each has to get his toy.

Exercise is also running alongside the bike (on a Springer). I like the Springer (vs. other similar products) because it puts the dog in the heel position by my side where I can see him. I can make sure he’s running easily, and I can stop when he needs a break.

Exercise is also running on the three acres at the training yard. Chasing birds, hunting for critters, or just plain running. I teach all my dogs as puppies to “Go run!” That means just go run as fast as you can. They do that then circle back to me and I send them out again. Great command!

Playtime for us can be combined with exercise –  retrieving games — or it might be playing a Nina Ottosson game. Play can be trick training. Who knows! Playtime is when the dogs and I do stuff and they make me laugh.

Training and playtime overlap just as exercise and playtime overlaps. Trick training is fun, but it’s also training– training that can be done in the house. Archer has discovered that trick training is great fun,  and he’s quick to offer his tricks when he wants some attention.

With this breed, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise.

Ooops! I just got nudged again. Time to go.

Image: Archer!


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