Exercise vs. Recreation & Our Perceptions

Exercising & stretching, for me personally is like taking unpleasant medicine or eating a particular vegetable that I may not be fond of but, “it’s good for me”. I equate exercise with discomfort, out of breath, boring, & sometimes painful.
I do enjoy walking, hiking, climbing, softball, biking, swimming. But if one was to ask me to do these things as exercise, I immediately get into a “stubborn” mode & the things I may like doing have now just become “work” or “drills”. What’s the problem? It’s perception of is it “fun” or is it “work”? Is it “recreation” or is it “exercise”?
The point I’m trying to make is how we perceive something affects how we actively participate in something. If we perceive training, exercising, stretching as something akin to work & drudgery then we will be less likely to stick with it unless forced to do so. If on the other hand we perceive something like, learning tricks, going to a wonderful destination, playing games, camaraderie of companions, relaxation & massage; then not only do we look forward to participating we are more apt to do these things more often.
This applies to dogs as well as people. If training times with your dog become a time of being in a military school filled with repetitive drills, abrupt commands, and all “work” and no “play”; you and your dog will not look forward to this time together.
So get creative, what are some ways you can think of to make training fun for both you and your dog?
Recently at a doctor checkup, my doctor encouraged me to exercise more. I think he saw the scowl that immediately appeared on my face. So then he suggested Yoga or Tai Chi and go slow with these things. He also suggested walking more.
All I could think of was, walking in my neighborhood is no fun & at times can be stressful for various reasons. But change of location, along a river or a creek, along a beach, through a forest, up a mountain, in a park all can transform “exercise” into “recreation”. And what can make this even more enjoyable is bringing my dogs along!
I use outings with my dogs as an opportunity to train some fun into our ordinary “drills”. Looking for trees or lines, or objects that I can have my dog heel in creative patterns in, through & around, over & under, zigzags, weaving, hide-n-seek, playing fetch, and so much more. In all these fun activities simple commands can be put into the mix: sit, down, come, stay, wait, up, over, off, leave it, stand, etc.
Now, when you’re all done & ready to relax. Spread out a big blanket and stretch out your tired muscles very slowly. Now is a great time to stretch your dog too!
Here’s a great video to get you started on how to stretch your dog. This guy has a total of 11 videos on how to stretch the various muscles in your dog. He also has some for people too! It looks so very relaxing and not only will you feel great your dog will benefit so much from the stretching but it deepens the bond you share with your four-legged friend!
Enjoy this YouTube video: ” “The Other End of The Leash -Dog Stretches”
Okay whose going to give me a massage now. LOL!