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  • Writer's pictureElla Gaffke

Everyday Exercise

There’s no denying that labs are energetic. It’s what makes them so amazing at what they do.

However, when you have 13 house dogs you must develop a way to handle this energy and put it towards something productive. We do a variety of different things to exercise our dogs so life with 13 is a little less chaotic than it already is.


One hobby that our dogs and we love, is running. At one point or another all of our family members have gone for a run with our dogs. (yes, our family is the one that does the turkey trot on thanksgiving and the 5k on St.Pattys day).

Running is something our dogs love so much that when they see you with your running shoes on, they get over the top excited.

Aaron and Harper run off leash with Foster Jane on leash. We love to run down the dirt road near our house and our dogs love it too.

We train our dogs to run on our left sides and we usually run-on sidewalks or the rail-trail until they get the hang of it and then we will take them on the road. Most of our dogs run on a leash but once they have lots of experience it’s not uncommon for them to be off leash. Through running our dogs don’t only get exercise but they also learn to listen well and stay in tune with our body language.


Playing fetch with 13 dogs can turn into a mess, so we have found a few ways to handle this. One way we do it is that we will play with two or three balls so the dogs end up splitting up and all running for a different ball. We also play with our dogs in separated groups of four to five so that it’s less chaotic and they all get a chance to retrieve.

Playing fetch with your lab is a great way to work on their instincts and get some energy out.

However, balls or anything that can be retrieved is only allowed outside. We don’t allow our dogs balls in the house because it wouldn’t end well and we want them to learn that inside is for relaxing.

Wade launching into the water to retrieve her bumper.

Four-Wheeler, Trail Rides & Walks

We also have a four-wheeler that our dogs love sprinting alongside of. They get beyond excited to go for a run in the woods with the four-wheeler.

Layne and Coleman Jackson strike a pose as they run through the snow.

Jude Ryan running through the snow with the four-wheeler.

Emersen and I doing what we still do, taking our dogs for a run (circa 2017). With Kal and Ammo.

Our dogs also love when we ride horses because it means that they can go on trail rides with us and explore the woods as we ride. Our dogs and horses have a healthy respect for each other (except for Foster Jane who will happily lick the horses’ noses).

We often take our dogs for walks in the woods as well and they love anytime they can be in the woods.

Overall, we exercise our dogs in lots of ways and this keeps us and our dogs happy. With high energy dogs, exercise is a necessity.

Thanks for reading!

About the author:

I am a sophomore at Olivet College and am studying Media Production and Communications. I am currently discovering what direction I want to pursue in media and communications and play basketball at Olivet as well.

I often miss my dogs when I am at college but make sure to visit home often and see my four-legged friends.

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