Both owners and their dogs need to exercise regularly to keep in good shape. Fitness is important and even if one has not been in the habit of keeping fit, physical fitness can be achieved through work – and fun! Whether you are a fitness buff or a couch potato, starting a fitness routine with your dog is fun for both of you and will increase your fitness level at the same time. Adding your dog to your exercise routine may help you to look forward to exercising instead of dreading it. Quality time with your dog is something most pet parents enjoy.
Remember that both you and your dog should be checked out by a medical professional before beginning a new workout routine. This will let you know if you need to be careful about certain types of exercise or watch more closely for symptoms of fatigue or pain. Overdoing the exercise is important to avoid for both of you; go easier if either of you experience shortness of breath, soreness, or exhaustion during or after a workout.
There are many ways to include your canine chum in your workouts, both inside and outside, with equipment and without.
Some people live where it is hot outside. Sometimes it rains, making it uncomfortable to be outside. For whatever reason, there are times when your exercise has to happen indoors. There are a lot of possibilities for indoor exercise with your dog.
There are several different kinds of classes you can take with your dog that are good for fitness. Some places offer yoga classes for dogs and their owners – referred to as “doga” by some. Whether this will work for you and your dog will depend largely on your dog. It can be a good thing to try, though, even if you only do it once!
Obedience classes, while focusing on the dogs and their behavior, can also be a workout for the owner. Teaching your pet to heel, for instance, can include a lot of owner movement. These have the added bonus of a better-behaved pet!
Home is a great place to exercise! It helps to have a reasonably large clear area when exercising with your canine companion, to keep either dog or owner from injury.
Tease games tie in with your own exercise routine. One possibility is sit-up fetch. Every time you sit up, toss a toy (or pretend, if you have only one) for your dog to chase. You work your core, and pup gets some cardio! Another is a squat tease. Squat, showing the dog his toy at the bottom and when you get stood up, hold the toy above for him to get him to jump.
Make sure you have enough water available for both of you if you are exercising outside, especially in hot weather. Dehydration is just as dangerous for dogs as for people.
Agility training is a great way to get moving! Getting the obstacles in place will give an owner weight training and cardio, and leading puppers through the course will get both of you moving. See how fast you can get your dog to get through the course!
Bicycling is an excellent exercise, and because dogs tend to run faster than people, cycling can give dogs a workout they will love! Remember to keep an eye on your pet so you can take a break if she gets winded or needs a break. There are devices that can be attached to the bike that allow a leash to keep your dog close.
Fetch is a classic fun game for dog owners to play with their pets. This can be done with something as simple as a stick, which can be found on the ground anywhere there is a tree, or with a toy purchased just for that purpose.
Roller skating or rollerblading is another way to keep up with your dog while both of you get some great cardio exercise. This is an exercise that might be better for those very comfortable with being on wheels and whose pets are well behaved, to prevent injury from pup getting under the wheels.
Skijoring (“ski driving” in Norwegian) is a fun winter activity for owners and dogs. Owners on skis are leashed to their pets, and they enjoy cross country skiing together.
Soccer can be a fun sport to play with your pet. Dogs love to chase things and they can learn to kick or nudge the ball back to you – or toward a goal. Just remember not to send the ball directly at your pup’s head or face.
Tracking can be done even with dog breeds that are not stereotypically known for tracking. Create a trail from a scent that will entice your dog and encourage pup to follow. This can turn into a nice little walk – twice for the owner who set up the trail!
Dancing with the dog is fun exercise! Pop on some upbeat tunes and get down with your dog! With some time and effort, the pup can learn all kinds of new dance moves and maybe even get good enough to become viral on the internet.
Dog parks can be a great place to get exercise with your dog. Dogs like to play with other dogs, and they can meet new friends at these dog-friendly locations. Many towns have created dog parks, so there is nearly always one within close driving distance. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog and keep them under control when meeting new canines.
Flyball or flying disk games are a fun way to keep moving. Dogs tend to love playing catch, whether or not they are able to actually catch the item thrown to them. Played often enough, the pups can learn to catch most of the time, making it more fun for everyone!
Follow the dog is a great twist to the standard walk. Instead of planning out your path and making the pup follow you, let your canine control the turns and distance – within reason, of course. Follow as long as your pet is not leading into danger or taking too long to move on. Encourage him to keep moving!
Hiking adds a bit of extra oomph to a walk. Climbing hills and wandering through woods can keep the interest level high while offering a good workout. The fresh air in nature is excellent for health for both human and canine.
Obstacle courses outside, similar to agility training inside, offer some awesome opportunities for movement for both participants. They also offer some great training situations, allowing owners to teach their pets tricks and good behavior.
Run or jog with the dog or play tag. Moving fast gets the heart rate up and helps with fitness and, if needed, weight loss. Dogs love to run and even though dogs can usually run faster than humans, they often love to stay close to their person, making running a good exercise option.
Stair running is another way to add a boost. Going up against gravity increases the intensity of the workout, while going down the stairs helps to improve balance.
Swimming can be a fun way to exercise, as well as being easy on the joints. This can be a good option for older dogs and their humans or for those with joint problems. However, it will depend on whether the dog is comfortable in the water. It is a good idea to test it out before committing to a long-term swimming exercise routine.
Walking is the most common exercise to share with your pet, for good reason. Walking is a simple exercise that nearly everyone can do. Fresh air, sunshine, and the movement of walking can be a wonderful, companionable experience for both human and canine.
There are some great toys, treats, and other items to help humans spend quality time with their pets.