Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
One of the most common mistakes people make when exercising their dogs

One of the most common mistakes people make when exercising their dogs

Why I find it challenging to visit dog parks

For most people going to the dog park is fun. Most of the time it is torture for me.

It didn’t use to be like that, but as I learned more about dogs, I also learned how much our behavior affects their health. Dog parks are a location where this becomes very apparent. They are the place where most dogs get injured and those injuries often lead to serious chronic problems and premature loss of mobility. 

Why human parks and dog parks are similar 

In many ways, dog parks are equivalent to children’s playgrounds, where one witnesses a different level of 'parent awareness' and understanding. Most dog lovers care about their dogs very much. However, love comes in different forms and sometimes people hurt their dogs, despite their best intentions.

In the case of kids, harm can come in the form of permissive parents without boundaries. In the case of dogs, the harm most commonly comes in the form of injuries. These injuries happen because of a lack of awareness of what is harmful and what is not.

Most people understand that dogs need to be active to be healthy. In nature, they would roam the forests and the plains. They would hunt and chase prey on occasion, play and socialize and sometimes just hang out, observing the world going by. It would be a pretty simple, active and healthy life.

"Hiking and walking on trails is the best form of activity for your dog" 
Tweet: Hiking and walking on trails is the best form of activity for your dog @drpeterdobias

In the civilized world, many dogs do not move the whole day. They just wait at home for their people to come home from work. Then they are taken to a park by their humans, who are equipped with a ball thrower or a frisbee and they chase their toys over and over until they are exhausted. They love the endorphin rush and look happy.

At first, one would think that this is great! In fact, I did the same thing with my dog Skai when he was young, but then I started to see him slip and slide, injuring his back repeatedly. I also saw a greater number of injuries in other dogs from chasing balls and frisbees. Older dogs that were ball and frisbee chasers had severe back pain, muscle tightness and hind end weakness from slipping.

This tightness and injuries over time led to nerve impingement and overall weakness. Most dogs end up on pain medication of some sort, which can lead to liver and kidney damage and the inability of the body to heal properly.

Whenever unsure see what nature does

When I mention the above to other dog lovers, they often object that dogs love to run and that it is natural for them to chase things. I agree, except that dogs in nature never chase 50 or 100 rabbits in the span of 30 minutes! Chasing is a very small portion of their day and they spend most of their day roaming or resting.

A simple solution that can add years to your dog’s mobile and healthy life 

If you worry about no longer having a ball with your dog, do not worry. There are other ways of exercising and connecting with your dog without the risks. Here are a few healthy ways of exercising your dog safely while still having fun:

  1. Do your best to get your dog out twice a day. Take him or her out rain or shine to ensure regular exercise.
  2. Hiking and walking on trails is the best form of activity for your dog because it is similar to what they would do in nature. 
  3. Even senior dogs should walk uphill to keep strong.
  4. Moving on rocks and terrain and obstacles is an important way to maintain strength and balance.  
  5. If you love to go to the park, hide the toys for your dog and ask him/her to look for them.
  6. Play hide and seek and chase your dog. Dogs love to be chased, especially when carrying a safe toy.
  7. Teach your dog to walk on logs, go through tunnels, weave through your legs.
  8. If your dog loves other dogs, let them play and interact. However, beware of rowdy and rough dogs that may overwhelm a shy, injured or weaker dog. 
  9. Most of all, if you remember one thing from this whole article, it should be to leave your ball chucker at home and hike, walk and move with your dog as much as you can. 


If you see that your dog is getting stiffer, please read our blog on how to treat arthritis and stiffness naturally. 

If your dog has already been injured, we have two Facebook Lives linked below that I hope will be helpful!

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.

By clicking "Continue" or continuing to use our site, you acknowledge that you accept our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. We also use cookies to provide you with the best possible experience on our website. You can find out more about the cookies we use and learn how to manage them here. Feel free to check out our policies anytime for more information.




Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping