Adopting a Dog
Many people have the common misconception that if you live in a smaller house or apartment, you cannot adopt a dog. No matter where you live, it is still important to get your dog enrichment and exercise daily.
Sometimes people who have a house and a fenced yard, forget that you still have to spend time entertaining, playing with and training with your dog. Simply letting your dog outside to “entertain themselves” might not be enough. Dogs are looking for daily exercise as well as ways to get their other senses engaged. Taking your dog for a simple walk around the block and letting them stop to sniff around can be wonderful enrichment! Dogs have millions of sensory recpetors in their noses and a large portion of their brain is dedicated to analyzing the smells they take in. Enrichment is crucial as it reduces dogs’ stress levels.
When considering adopting a new dog into your family, consider their energy levels and whether this might be a good fit for your lifestyle. No matter where you live, know that you must be dedicated to getting your dog enrichment and out for lots of exercise!
The amount of exercise that a dog requires depends on their individual personality, energy level, and temperment. You may assume based on a dog’s breed that they fall into a specific category of energy and activity level, but it is important to remember that every dog is different. Ask questions about the dog and their needs before you decide to take them home.
For example, one dog might be completely fine with getting out on several walks a day and apartment living, while another might require a big yard and lots of interests to keep them occupied.
Does a Dog’s age Affect their Energy Level?
The simple answer is yes, but once again you need to evaluate the dog based on their own personality and traits.
Adopting a brand new puppy is going to require more training, enrichment, and acvitity. Puppies require more hands-on work, as when left without entertainment they can become destructive. Dogs in their early years tend to need more time doing activities to help them expend some of that built up energy.
On the flip side, senior dogs can make excellent walking companions. Some seniors, especially larger pups, can have just as much liveliness at eight-years-old as they did at two-years-old. Others are just as satisfied lying around with you on the couch. Make sure that even if you are looking for a senior dog (because they are wonderful to adopt) you are still getting them exercise to prevent things like heart disease and obesity.
What are some Enrichment Activities you can Try?
We have a whole blog post on fun enrichment ideas that you can try with your dog!
An easy one to take the first step is feeding them at meal times in either a puzzle feeder or freezing their food into a “pupsicle.” There are many different kinds of puzzle feeders you can purchase, or find creative ways to make your own. You can make a puzzle feeder out of a box, or use a water bottle to dispense some kibble. We have ideas on recycled enrichment here.
Enrichment allows dogs to follow their natural instincts and wants for things like playing, smelling, and searching. Ongoing enrichment activities make for a very happy dog!
Exercises to Try with your Dog:
- Agility Training
- Cycling or rollerblading (but not all dogs are a fan of this!)
- Playing fetch
- Obedience work
Things to Consider when Adopting a Dog:
As long as you are willing to put in the effort to take your new pup out for daily exercise, it doesn’t necessarily matter where you live. Think about your lifestyle and what type of dog might fit in best. Ask about your new dog and their energy level, and think about some training classes for them. Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and there is sure to be one out there waiting just for you!