We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A recent conversation involved exercising our dogs.
A neighbor runs his dogs by letting them chase his car around the neighborhood each evening until they are fatigued. That reminded me of how they get hounds in shape for fall hunting. In the southern US, you tie the dogs to a rope or chain to the back of your pickup and drive around dirt roads for a while. If you did that around here you would probably end up in jail.
Up here, it's not unusual to tire a hyper-energetic hunting dog, before a hunt, by letting him run around the woods with a 5-6' length of chain on his collar. That can help an overly-exuberant dog focus on his task afterwards.
That's what we do in the gym each morning to ourselves so it is far from abuse. Years ago, I would run with our Lab each morning 5 or 6 miles. Being a well-trained dog, she needed no leash for road running. We had fun. And, of course, any dog loves a few hours to run free in the wilderness too. That's the best for them, going full dog. Dog-training snob that I am, I hate any use of leashes (except maybe on human children, pet Cheetahs, and dancing bears).
How do our readers make sure their dogs get the exercise they require every day? Don't tell me you "walk them" like a yo-yo. Walking is neither exercise for dog nor human being. Exception: people or dogs recovering from something.
I'm old and slow, so there's no way I can exercise my dog just by walking her. I take her to local parks and cemeteries, thumb my nose at the signs dictating that I keep her on a leash (and no one ever says anything), and let her run. I will soon be doing the same on Florida beaches, and daring them to collect a fine from me.
We live in the mountains, miles from paved roads. We let the dogs out (two Brittany Spaniels) every morning at dawn, and they run around on their own until after breakfast. Most of the time, we travel to works spots on tractors or four wheelers. The pups ride with us during the transits, then sort of orbit around us while we are working.
If they have any energy left at the end of the day, we let them run ahead of us the last mile or so back to the house.
When I am not on the ranch, I try to take each dog out for frisbee catching every day. I use two discs, and as soon as one gets dropped at my feet, I throw another as far as I can.
When the dog is too tired to return the discs, and just lays down, we are done. That is usually 30 or more throws.
German Shorthaired Pointer, four to six hours in the farm fields every day, regardless of the weather. We hike up and down the hills and around the fencerows, through the woodlots, and the brushy areas on the slopes near the adjacent housing area. It's about four hundred acres in total, although we until recently had access to an additional seventy acres of pasture reverting to woodland, the new owners posted that land.
He hunts the brush, kills scores of groundhogs and brings them home as trophies. Chases rabbits and squirrels, catches a decent percentage of those he chases. Last evening he took off after a coyote and almost caught it.
I walk somewhere between eight and fourteen miles each day as we meander our course. He's nine years old now, showing some gray, but still lean, muscular, and very fast. Rain, snow, wind, he doesn't care.
Increasingly, I do care, getting too old to keep up this pace without more than our annual vacation break. He's not our first Shorthair, but he will be the last.
Live on 20 acres. My dobie loves to dig for mice in the fields. She also swims in the irrigation canal after ducks. Then digs for gophers on the edge of the neighboring hops field. Every day. She sleeps good and has a great physique.
Just throw a tennis ball. There are plastic tennis ball throwing arms to get more distance and avoid wearing out your shoulder. The dog, who is running out at top speed, gets interval training and tires quickly enough.
I have always lived by the mantra "a tired dog is a good dog"
I don't have a dog now - but did for many years. I always ran with my dogs. 3 to 6 or 7 miles - off leash. People were always amazed that I could run with my dogs - sometimes through town and traffic - off leash. Few people understand how to train a dog properly. It takes time, patience, and consistency. I believe that after a while though, you don't really train you dog - its more of coming to an understanding. You know what you can live with - and they know what they can get away with. Plus, you want a dog that can think on its own and not one that is beaten into submission.
What I tell everyone is that dogs are like kids - you get out of them what you put in. If you leave your kid at home alone in a crate all day and get home tired, throw some food out and ignore it, you probably won't have a very good kid. Same with dogs. You have to spend a lot of quality time working with kids and/or dogs to teach them how to think and behave in different situations.
Finally, I always liked my uncle's saying:"In order to train a dog - you have to be smarter than the dog - that is why there are so many bad dogs"