More is not always better

I am a huge fan of exercise, both in my own life and for my dogs.  I try to hit the gym at least 4-5 times a week but I'm not there long.  I see folks who are always there for hours at a time, more is not always better.  For my own workouts I'm in and out.  I am not a gym rat, I don't want to hang out at the gym all day; I do a concentrated 1/2 hour workout with no resting between sets and then I'm done.  Short and sweet is how I like it.  This is the way I look at my dogs workouts.  Of course as they age like Luke is now a long slow meandering walk is what is on the menu but for Elsa she needs some intensity in her workout.

Over the years I've met a lot of people who hit the dog park or beach and stay for hours at a time.  They think that their dog needs to run and run for hours, they don't.  Have a look at the life of a wolf, they save their full out sprinting for the hunt.  Other than hunting they don't do a huge amount of running around other than a bit for fun and play.  They save their energy for when it is needed.  Like us, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.  Our dog's bodies need down time when they can recuperate, regenerate and rest.

Yesterday I had the chance to get Elsa out for a nice walk with a friend, we snuck a quick off leash few moments to throw the ball with the chuck it.  I still can't get over how far I can throw that thing, I'm a horrible thrower without it.  I truly throw like a girl on my own.  So with only a few mega tosses Elsa had sprinted quite a distance.  There is no halfway for her, she always gives it her all.  Even after just a few tosses and a walk afterwards Elsa was zonked.

It is amazing how getting out and about can be so tiring to a dog.  The act of experiencing life and new things, doing training, meeting new people all factor into a busy outing.  The intense physical exercise is only a part of the whole.  The mental exercise is just as important.  There is a fine line between enough and too much.  I've met people who say that they use to go the dog park for an hour, now they have to go for three hours or their dog just can't get enough.  Why is this?  The dog has become accustom to massive quantities of continual motion and they more they get the more they need.

Downtime is very, very important.  As much as I love an active dog, they must learn that there are times when we simply 'chill.'  Dogs can become obsessively active if that is all they know.  With our guidance they can receive a great amount of exercise and learn that there is more to life than constant motion.  You can see when a dog cannot settle, when they are so use to moving continually.  They often have dilated pupils, it's from exhaustion and it is not normal or good.  Elsa had a bit of this in CT from the constant squirrel watch, it was difficult for her at such a young age to turn off the 'squirrel patrol." This was all new to her so she thought that if they were out running around that she had to be on guard.   I had to physically put her down for naps so that she was not becoming over tired.

A short power workout and/or a long and steady walk, then chill.

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