Can Exercise Boost a Dog’s Confidence?
Regular exercise provides a plethora of health benefits, to both humans and dogs, including reduced disease risk and longer and higher quality lifespans. One of the indirect benefits of regular exercise, and one that doesn’t get as much attention, is that being fit and active can boost self-confidence.
Exercise and Confidence
Personally, I have found that exercise and being fit has been a tremendous boost to my confidence. As an inherently introverted person, my teenage and early adult years found me avoiding the limelight and shying away from public speaking or almost any situation that would force me to be out in front of people. Yes, I was an introvert. But I also lacked the confidence to be the center of attention.
Once committed to regular exercise, I noticed a gradual change in my confidence levels. Being fit meant that I felt better physically and mentally and this translated to an increase in confidence. The next thing I knew, I was putting myself “out there” more often, tackling public speaking assignments, presenting at the office, and more often engaging with people than ever before.
Indeed, regular exercise can increase self-confidence in several ways:
- You look and feel better.
- You become smarter, or at least, exercise can improve brain function and memory.
- Exercise reduces stress, which often translates into an increase in confidence (as there is less to worry about).
Canine Exercise and Confidence
Like with humans, I have noticed that exercise can increase the confidence in dogs. Our most recent two dogs, Jack and Maggie, are both rescues that came to us with some pretty major issues. Jack was “unadoptable” and on prozac due to bad behavior, in part due to lack of confidence, while Maggie was a fearful dog. Fortunately for our dogs, they both exercise daily (if not multiple times per day) and there is little doubt in my mind that this has helped them build confidence over time. You can see the change by the way they interact with us and others, in the way they have expanded their ability and desire to learn, and by the way they generally carry themselves.
Why do Fit Dogs have Confidence?
I suspect that many of the same reasons that humans feel more confidence from regular exercise will also apply to dogs, with the possible exception of looking better (I don’t think dogs care what they look like!). There is one more reason why regular exercise can increase a dog’s confidence: the human canine bond that occurs when working out with your dog. You see, when you and your dog exercise together, you are strengthening the bond between you. The simple act of doing things together, and experiencing the thrill of exercise (and movement) together, will surely strengthen your bond with your pet, and therefore help to increase your dog’s confidence levels.
As if we needed any more reasons to exercise with our dogs, add improved confidence to the list of benefits of working out with your pet.