“A strong body makes the mind strong…” ~ Thomas Jefferson
Exercise not only develops a strong cardiovascular system and strengthen bones but is can stimulate brain growth! Not just in humans, but in our dogs!
Anthropologist David A. Raichlen from the University of Arizona led out in research whose findings suggested that exercise helps the brain to grow, and boosts the body’s production of neurotrophins – chemicals that build and maintain brain cells. He tested dogs, ferrets and humans in the research.
In another study comparing brains of two groups of mice, Justin S. Rhodes, a psychology professor at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, gathered four groups of mice and set them into four distinct living arrangements. The group that was assigned to running (lived in a cage with a running wheel in it) generated far more new neurons in their hippocampus than the other groups. Animals that exercised, whether or not they had any other enrichments in their cages, had healthier brains and performed significantly better on cognitive tests than the other mice. Animals that didn’t run, no matter how enriched their world was otherwise, did not improve their brainpower in the complex, lasting ways that Rhodes’s team was studying.
Exercise prompts increases in something called brain-derived neurotropic factor, or B.D.N.F., a substance that strengthens cells and axons, fortifies the connections among neurons and sparks neurogenesis.
This is all wonderful news and of course making sure our dogs get plenty of exercise on a regular basis is making us “smarter” too as we go for walks, runs, do agility with our dogs, etc.
I do want to point out that it is extremely important that when you have a puppy, exercise that’s not appropriate for a puppy’s age and development can cause significant and irreversible damage. What would be a simple sprain in an adult dog could leave a puppy with a misshapen or shortened limb, so this is a subject that should be taken seriously. Don’t get carried away with too much exercise too soon for your puppy and make sure the exercise fits the puppy’s fitness level.
As a breeder of many years, I have researched and studied this topic out and have tried to stay on top of the latest findings. I would like to take this opportunity to recommend the “Puppy Fitness That Fits The Puppy” booklet written by Jane Killion. This booklet has been SO popular, that she has recently released a second edition, with more information, including a recent study on puppies and hip dysplasia.
This is wonderful and affordable source of information for those of you have a puppy!
If you are a breeder, then this second edition is still the same low price as before, with the same discounts of up to 50% off on orders of 8 or more – perfect for your puppy packages!