As much as retirement will bring you umpteen hours of free time to spend as you wish, it may also mean you are of an age where exercise isn’t as easy as it used to be. Getting a dog at any age is a huge commitment, and if you are looking to relax into retirement an energetic puppy that needs constant attention might not be the right choice.
However, if you do decide to buy or adopt a lifelong furry friend, it’s essential to know the best ways of keeping it happy and healthy! The dog might even start walking you!
As a retired person there are a few things to consider before getting a furry companion, let’s get into those before we talk about how to exercise your dog!
Think about how you usually get about and if this is likely to change when you get a dog. If you are driving a Nissan Micra and adopting a Great Dane, you might want to consider if you have the space to transport him.
Remember even if you are only walking your dog near your home, it will occasionally need to go in the car for a trip to the vets or if a family member is looking after it for you.
If you normally take the bus you’ll have to consider that too; most bus companies are perfectly fine with dogs onboard. However, getting a new puppy used to public transport might be trickier than you think.
You’ll want to make sure they are fully trained before you take them on board to avoid any embarrassing mishaps!
Your personal mobility is just as important as the transport you take. Old age can impact your ability to do the things you used to.
If you get a big energetic dog, you need to make sure you can keep up with them, that means regular activity sometimes even longer than an hour every day.
If you have a bad back and knees that are on their way out it doesn’t mean you can’t get a dog but look at the smaller breeds as those little legs won’t need as much walking.
You might want to use your new found freedom to go travelling or take up a new hobby, in which case you may need some support from your family to look after your dog when you aren’t there.
If you live far away from them, they can’t just pop round with spare key and let him out for a walk so you may have to fork out for kennels or a dog walker.
If your family are willing to help out make sure your new doggy meets them a few times before they take him so they can get accustomed to each other.
Remember they have lives too and maybe pets of their own so you can’t always think they will be around at the drop of a hat to help out.
One of the benefits of retirement is that time to spend with your dog daily is on your side.
In the long run however it might not be! As morbid as it sounds you have to think about the possibility of your dog outliving you and who will be able to take care of him if you no longer can.
Luckily the absence of work means you can form a close bond with your new pet and have all the hours in the day to go for walks and get acquainted with each other. Just make sure you have a backup plan of someone who will be able to look after your dog should you fall ill or be unable to live at home with them anymore.
Different dog breeds require different amounts of exercise! We’re not saying smaller breeds are easier to look after as they can often be hugely energetic.
However, having little legs means you won’t have to go on huge walks constantly so if you are not fit as a fiddle a smaller breed like a Shih Tzu or a Daschund might be best.
If you are confident in your health and a good walker, then don’t let us put you off a big breed! But make sure you have space in your car, and house for something that will take over your life. Bigger breeds need longer walks and have one up on you in terms of pace.
If you decide to go away or you’re struggling to keep up with your dogs need for activity, you may have to hire the hand of a dog walker.
Dog walkers charge anything from £10-£20 an hour or more so you’ll need to think about your finances before considering this option. It’s a great way to give you a rest once or twice a week but probably not a viable alternative to walk your dog full time.
Types of Excercise
Not all dog exercise has to be wandering around a local park, make it fun for both of you by mixing up routes and planning walks on weekdays when they aren’t as busy.
You have all the free time in the world now, so you don’t have to be visiting walking routes on busy family-filled Sunday afternoons anymore.
Teaching your dog tricks is another way of keeping it mentally stimulated as well as exercise for you both, frisbee or ball catching is one of the easiest, but you could also train it to follow other commands.
As well as general walking think about joining local groups and even puppy training classes if you decide not to adopt an older dog.
There are plenty of activities you can do with a dog that doesn’t just include walking, and introducing them to other dogs will improve their social skills and keep them more aware of how to behave.
If you have read through this blog and decided a dog is the perfect companion don’t forget to take a look at The Benefits of Grain Free Food to get it the best possible diet. As well as that you can take a look at this blog about The Best Types of Excercise For Different Dogs