Physical fitness is an important factor in a dog’s overall health, so it’s necessary for you to help your pit bull get enough exercise. Not only will this help him maintain his target weight and prevent unnecessary health problems, it will give him an outlet for all of his energy (which might otherwise be used to destroy your home). Exercise helps dogs stimulate their minds, which is beneficial for you because a bored pit bull is often a destructive one.
Walks are one of the most important parts of a dog’s exercise routine. Dogs burn calories and energy when they walk, so this simple exercise is a great way to keep your dog in shape. Walks aren’t just for exercise either. When you put your pit bull on his leash, you are taking him away from his usual environment and giving him a chance to explore the larger world. The exposure to new smells, sounds, and sights will give him a chance to exercise his mind as well as his body. An energetic pit bull needs two walks per day. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes for each walk, or, if you prefer, you can take one extra long walk. Keep your pit bull safe on walks by keeping him on his leash at all times, taking your own water along in case he gets thirsty, and wearing reflective gear at night. If you encounter any new dogs on your walk, be sure to watch your dog’s body language for signs that he is getting tense or nervous. If he is, remove him from the situation before a fight starts.
Dogs make great exercise partners, especially if you enjoy running. Pit bulls have high energy and great stamina (if they are in good condition) and will enjoy a brisk jog. Running has the same health benefits for your dog as it does for you – it burns calories quickly and gives his heart a good workout. If you aren’t fond of jogging however, a long walk will do just as well for your pit bull.
You can also try taking your dog for a swim. Many pit bulls love water, though you may have to introduce him to swimming slowly. Take his favorite toy to a pond and toss it into the shallow water so that he only has to wade out to get it. He may pounce happily into the water, or he may be shy about it at first. Stick to shallow waters until your dog gets used to spending time in the water. Once he is comfortable, you can gradually throw the toy into deeper waters until he is forced to swim to retrieve it. It’s important to remember, however, that not all dogs know how to swim instinctively, so it’s a good idea to start out with life jacket on your dog just in case. If your dog enjoys swimming, it will be a great way to get him the exercise he needs! (He might even feel tired afterward. Did you think that was possible?)
Swimming can also count as play time. Play is just as important as walking. When you play games such as fetch and tug-of-war with your dog, he is getting physical exercise while fulfilling his need to engage in predatory behaviors. You’re giving him an outlet for the hunter within, and he will love every minute of it. Games allow your dog to use his instincts and his intelligence while spending time with his human best friend. When you play with your dog, you are helping to strengthen the bond between you while keeping him mentally and physically healthy.
A great option for getting your dog extra exercise is to train him to compete in one of the many available dog sports. These sports are mentally challenging and often physically demanding, and they will keep your dog in good shape and give him a challenge to overcome. They also allow you to reinforce and continue your dog’s training, so he will be the best-behaved dog in the neighborhood. There are a surprising number of sports available; agility, disc-dog Frisbee competitions, dock diving, weight pull, and flyball are all canine sports that your dog can participate in. Pit bulls, with their compact muscles, have been known to excell at weight pull competitions. Your strong pit bull might get extra satisfaction from that particular sport! Some pit bulls have also been known to do extremely well at disc dog, a game in which the handler and the dog perform a choreographed sequence of Frisbee tricks. In fact, if you want to see what your pit bull is capable of, you can check out this link for some great videos: http://www.pitbullunited.com/wallacethepitbull/wallacevids.html.
If you are diligent in making sure that your pit bull gets enough exercise, you will find that he is not only healthier, but that he is more balanced, obedient, and happier. Through walks, jogs, or play, you can enhance your dog’s training, keep him physically fit, and strengthen the ever-growing bond between you. On top of all of that, you might find that you get some exercise of your own along the way!