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by Vicki Chaney

Exercising your puppy is essential to good health and development. Chasing a ball in the yard, running around with another dog or child and, of course, your walks are all important to your puppy.

Exercise is not only important to the development of the muscles but it is important to the mental health of the puppy. A tired puppy is far less likely to be destructive than is a puppy that has been left alone with no exercise. Exercise is also instrumental in aiding in the digestion of food and regulating the bowel movements, helping you with housebreaking.

The interaction between you and your puppy during periods of exercise is an important part of building your relationship. During these times, (throwing the ball, tug of war, walks, etc), you should be watching the puppy's body language learning what it is thinking and saying to you. You should be talking to the puppy as well, teaching it words and showing it what you want.

For instance, you pick up a ball and show it to the puppy, "Want to play ball?" Throw the ball and say, "Fetch." When the puppy goes after the ball and gets it, praise the puppy. Call the puppy to you encouraging it to you with body language. When the puppy comes to you praise and take the ball giving the command, "Give". There is an example of three words you can teach the puppy just while playing ball.

A SPECIAL NOTE: Whenever the puppy fetches something, whether this was at your request or his idea, NEVER CHASE the puppy to get it back. Try encouraging the puppy to you by sitting on the ground and using body language to get him to come to you. If this doesn't work get a toy you want the puppy to have or a treat and try to get him to take that instead. If you can't get the puppy to come to you try walking away. If the puppy follows praise and again sit and try to get the puppy to come to you. If you chase the puppy to get an object away from him he will think this is a great game and you will establish the habit of the puppy running away from you. This can be detrimental to your training later on and is a very difficult habit to break.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).