There’s an old saying that "a tired dog is a good dog." Many dog behavior problems are solved by regular exercise. Walking your dog every day is good for your dog’s mental, emotional, and physical health (and it’s not bad for you either). Be sure to cater your walks to the energy and fitness level of your hound. If you have a big dog who is bouncing off the walls, consider taking him for a longer walk or find a confined safe area where he can really run hard without the encumbrances of a slow-moving human (you). Conversely if you have an elderly terrier who is content with a short spin around the neighborhood, don’t sign him up for a 6-hour hike in the woods.
If you have a dog that likes to retrieve, it’s even easier to give your dog enough exercise. You can remain a couch potato and let the dog do all the work. Most dogs are easily taught to retrieve and some dogs that are bred for retrieving often need almost no training. Even if you don’t have a retriever per se, almost any dog will run after an object if you throw it. The tricky part is getting him to bring it back to you. But if you start at an early age and make retrieving a big game, the dog will get into the fun. Praise and reward the dog when he brings the object back to you. Eventually he’ll figure out that the only way the game continues is if he returns the object to you.
Spending time with your dog is important to his mental and emotional well being as well as his physical health. Dogs are pack animals and isolation goes against their basic instincts. Even though a dog in a fenced yard is safe, too much time behind chain link can result in boredom and cause behavior problems such as excessive barking or compulsive licking. Time you spend walking your dog offers an opportunity for you to bond, interact, and communicate with your dog. Even after a bad day when it feels like the world is against you, you can rest assured that when you take your dog for a walk, you’ll be the greatest hero in his life.