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Exercise. We all know that exercise is a crucial, key ingredient in creating happy, healthy and quality lives. Not only for us, but for our pups too. Join me and the Prevent Cancer Foundation on Sunday, September 21 for their annual 5k walk/run. You and your beloved pup can exercise together and support Prevent Cancer’s mission of saving lives through cancer prevention and early detection.

My stance in regards to dogs and exercise is that the intensity and duration of the exercise must always meet and exceed the energy needs and level of the individual dog. This is exactly why a 20-minute leash walk simply will not cut it for most dogs.

Daily physical exercise is a canine instinctual need that must be fulfilled, and it’s our responsibility to provide this outlet for them (no, having a backyard is not an okay substitution). If not met, any unspent and “left over” energy ends up compounding upon itself, creating common misbehaviors, such as excessive barking, chewing, digging, jumping, etc., as well as frustration, which could also lead to aggressive tendencies. Daily physical exercise is a must, not just for keeping fit, but for providing a way for dogs to achieve a calmer, more balanced state of mind. And when I’m training and working with dogs, this is what exactly what I’m after.

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My husband has a cool trick he uses with our dogs to incorporate them into his training (one at a time, of course). It’s something called the “3-and-1” method. They do 3 minutes of structured, focused running, then one minute of free-sniffing, leaving “pee-mails” and such. He’s got a timer/beeper that lets him know when each time frame is up. As soon as the pup hears the beep, he/she knows it’s either time to run or do doggie business.

This method can be played around with (e.g. 5-10 minutes running, 1-5 minutes sniffing and such), of course, but it’s a great way to bond with your pup and knock two cans out with one stone (i.e. exercise for both you and Fido).

So, what are you waiting for? Pick a tree-covered spot (remember, it’s summer and Fido dons a fur coat 24 hours a day), stock up with some H20, get out there with your faithful companion and get your train on!

Best of luck and remember: one foot (and paw) in front of the other.

Register now for the Prevent Cancer 5k Walk/Run.

Follow Kimberly on Twitter @Packfit1 and learn more about PackFit at packfit.net.