If you own a breed which demands a ton of exercises then you know the struggle which we are all facing whenever our four-legged friends look us with those sad eyes. You put on the leash and go out to do the same thing, either throw a ball or a frisbee or whatever else your dog loves to go after. Although these exercises are good and will probably satisfy the needs of your dog to run, it won’t really satisfy their needs to explore and to see new things. Dogs have such a need just as we do. If you’ve ever taken your dog to the mountain or any new place for that matter, you know how happy they are and just how exuberant they are when they feel something new, or catch a scent they don’t know. I for one have a Beagle, which we often take to a lake which is quite close to our home. We went there for a couple of days last Summer and the dog didn’t stop running the whole time. He was exhausted by the end of the day and slept like he was shot. Once the next day came, the dog was ready to go out and run like crazy for another 14 hours until the sun sets down again.
Once we had to head home, he got into the car and went to sleep. Two days later he seemed depressed like never before and I totally get where this came from. He had a fantastic time doing what he loves – exploring and smelling new things and we took this away from him at the end. For a number of reasons we couldn’t stay longer and I honestly felt bad for not providing him with such exercise more often. That’s why I pledged to my girlfriend that we’ll take him hiking at least once a month in the months that allow it. Beagles are notoriously energetic and there are just a few other breeds that have such amounts of energy and this is actually one of the requirements for a dog to be a good hiking companion.
I thought that Beagles are good for hiking, because my beagle Harvey is really well trained and would never run away from me. He’s actually a bit scared to leave my sight and almost never does it. I never thought that every Beagle is like that, but I really had a good opinion about combining beagles and hiking. As it turns out they aren’t that popular in the hiking communities throughout the world and there’s a list of breeds good for hiking and if you look at this list, you’ll see that there are only dogs with medium to high energy levels. From Jack Russell Terriers to Border Collies all of the dogs are really energetic, but the thing that separates them from my beagle for example is that all of these breeds are known to be really obedient and easily trained. Well may be except the Weims, we all know that Weimaraners aren’t really the easiest to train. Anyway, hiking is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise which in most cases is better than jogging and burns more calories. There’s also a good article on livestrong.com about losing weight while hiking, so I really believe that you’re better off taking your dog on a hiking trip, rather than going to the same boring park and throwing a ball to your dog. The fact is that you’re both going to benefit from it and it’s not far fetched to say that while you’re exercising your dog, you’ll also exercise yourself and you’ll both feel much more alive. Imagine that taking your dog to the park is basically going to your 9 to 5 job over and over again. Now put yourself in the dogs position and think, would you rather go to the same old boring place, or would you prefer to see a place you’ve never been before.
That’s what I thought, so go out there and start hiking with your dog. Unless it’s an english bulldog, but then again, what kind of owner of an english bulldog would be interested in dog exercises.