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The Animal Training Quick Fix

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Waist down image of woman walking her small fluffy dog on a loose leash. They are walking along a paved path in a field of grass. Title in Orange over the picture: The Animal Training Quick Fix. King's Creatures Animal logo in bottom right corner.

“Why is my dog jumping on me? Why won’t my dog stop barking? Why won’t my dog calm down? Why does my dog always dig holes in the yard? He knows better!”

“Why won’t my kitten leave me alone? Why is my kitten biting me all the time? Why won’t my kitten stay off the countertops? Why does my kitten keep pouncing on and attacking me? She should know better!”

I have heard each of these questions a myriad of times from potential clients. Many of them are ready to dedicate time and money to solve these issues, others are desperately hoping for a quick and easy fix. Well, I have some great news for you! There is a quick fix! Regular structured exercise can often solve all of these issues and many more! "What?! You’re crazy, Laura. All of these questions are about behavioral issues. You always tell us that training is a lifelong process. If one simple fix could solve most common training concerns… wouldn’t we all be doing it already?"

I know, right?! That’s what this post is all about! I’m hoping will help all of you to realize how beneficial this quick fix can be and motivate to you to stick to it. It really can alter behavior, solve health concerns, and save lives. Some issues may also take a little training to resolve, but structured exercise always has a huge role in any training program.

Still in doubt? Let’s take a deeper look at our pets’ desperate need for exercise...

Pet Obesity Epidemic

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 50.2 million dogs and 56.5 million cats in the United States are above their ideal weight! [1] That means over half of all dogs and cats are overweight. Besides causing a plethora of health concerns including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer, pet obesity can also contribute to behavioral issues like aggression or anxiety. [2,3] (Is your dog or cat overweight? Learn more here.)

Wow! There are some serious truth bombs in that paragraph. Can you believe that at least 1 out of every 5 dogs and 2 out of every 5 cats are above their ideal weight? Chubby and obese pets are all around us, and they are all at risk for serious health and behavioral issues. They can’t control their lifestyle, but we can. Through better diet and exercise, we can help our pets to live happier, healthier, and longer lives.

Benefits of Structured Exercise

Exercise helps our pets (and us!) on a physical and emotional level. Overweight and under-exercised pets have an excess of energy that is waiting for an outlet. When we don’t give our pets exercise, they funnel that energy in negative behaviors like jumping, play biting, digging, and even aggression. When we pour that energy into structured exercise, the excess is depleted. Our pets have just enough energy left to be calm, happy pets.

That benefit alone should have us leashing up our pets and getting outside with them, but it doesn’t stop there! Exercising with our pets is great for us too! Many studies have shown that exercise can help to alleviate anxiety and depression in people, and it can do the same for pets as well. [4, 5, 6]

When we get outside and exercise with our pets, we’ll reap the rewards ourselves. Just the simple act of spending time with our pets helps to reduce blood pressure, anxiety, stress, and depression . [7, 8] When we add in exercise, it can reduce all those things even more! The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity (such as walking) to maintain heart health. [9] There are few things more beneficial to us and our pets than going on walks together!

[Too cold to go out? Check out this article full of indoor exercise ideas for pets!]

Extra Motivation & Accountability

I know, I know. I'm laying it on pretty thick! I’m even starting to make myself feel a little guilty about the amount of exercise my pets and I get in a week! Is anybody else feeling it? If you’re anything like me, when you look at all this information you’re thinking, “Man! I know I need to do this. I know I need to get out there with my pets and get regular exercise in, but I still struggle to do so every week!”

Let me give you the extra motivation and accountability you need to do this! Studies have shown that we may be more motivated and likely to follow through on exercise if we have a reward system. [10, 11] Check out these motivators: