Exercising With Your Dog – Stay in Shape
Are you and your dog packing on a few extra pounds? Well, why not exercise together? From running to fetch, there are numerous exercises you can do to help you both get in shape. It’s time to dog exercise your way to better health – live an active, healthy life!
Stay healthy by exercising with your dog
Getting fit and keeping healthy with your faithful friend can be a rewarding experience for all parties – but if you think jogging along with Fido on a leash back from the school run is all there is to it, maybe you should think again.
Exercising is vital for your dog’s well-being and mental health.
With our simple to use the guide, we take you through some of the common misconceptions about exercising with your dog that are vitally important in the long run (pardon the pun).
So here are some do and don’ts of dog exercises that will you have to sit up and take notice of…
Exercising With Your Dog Dos:
- One thing that is so obvious that you may think it’s not even worth saying – but absolutely is – understand what your dog is capable of. A joint regime is far from a level playing field if the dog merely has to do what you’re doing. He can’t stand against a wall, hands-on-hips puffing for breath and tell you to hang on for a moment. It may not be patently obvious when he’s had enough or is struggling to keep up with you but you can bet your life he’ll give it all he’s got – you need to know how to read the signs and recognize when to rest or stop altogether. A trip to the vet for a quick assessment is a great idea and you will get all the advice you need.
- Figure out a routine that’s fun for both of you. A run, jog, or walk is fine, but if it’s the same every day it could get boring. Vary the routine so he doesn’t overwork certain muscles. Think of it along the lines of being at a gym and only doing bench presses every day when you’re aiming for all-around fitness. Your muscles would soon tire to the point of becoming painful so keep that in mind.
- Think outside the box – some dogs love water and a few minutes swimming is a fantastic alternative if he enjoys a dip every now and then. You can purchase floatation devices if there’s even the slightest doubt but chances are the occasional jump in the river for a stick or a dip in the sea for a Frisbee will already have given you plenty of advanced info! Typically, Labradors and spaniels love the water, as do Irish Water Spaniels, but this is by no means a definitive list! Keep a close watch and make sure your dog isn’t struggling throughout your swim – a lap or length or two should be more than enough. Swimming is particularly good for dogs with joint problems and, of course, if they don’t like water at all, they’ll be apt to let you know.
- Try a session of agility training by making a fun obstacle course out of anything you think might work well – tunnels, hoops, a small fence, or cones are all good and work a variety of muscles as well as keeping them mentally sharp. Some breeds will enjoy this better than others and if you’re wondering where your workout comes in, remember you will either be leading or attempting to keep pace!
- Cycling is another great form of duel training – but while your efforts are likely to be far less strenuous, regular rest stops and providing water are essential and this will almost certainly be too much action for older dogs. Keep it slow and steady and preferably short because this is one routine that will be working your dog far more than it is for you. Because of potential distractions and because it makes good sense, always wear a helmet too.
- Cross-country skiing might not be high on your list of potential dog and handler exercises, but if you’ve got the gear and it snows, why not? It’s an easy pace for a dog to keep up with and will give you a serious energy burn while not taxing the dog too much. That said, a brisk walk in deep snow will have you both sleeping well at night!
- If you’re injured or aren’t quite up to it on certain days, the ever-popular walk around the park with a few rounds of fetch thrown in still ticks most boxes.
- If you have the funds, a dog treadmill can keep things ticking when either the weather or time is against you. The treadmill you use – again if you have the budget – may work equally well with training. There are plenty of online tips and advice for getting your dog used to a more programmed run. Some dogs love them and if you’re sharing the load and running a few miles yourself, everyone is happy. Sessions and speed should reflect a normal routine out on the streets or the park.
- Try letting your dog walk you – let them lead the way and lead you on a magical mystery tour that could well end up back at your front door. There are some fascinating methods for teaching your dog to head home with a simple command that can be learned over a series of walks. Do some research – it can yield some truly amazing results.
- When exercising with your dog, always carry water for both, energy bars and treats.
- Check your pooch’s paws after a long work-out and give them a quick look over.
Remember, he doesn’t wear protection on his feet and could have picked up a thorn, lodged stone or trodden on glass along the way.
It doesn’t take a moment and it could stop a lot of discomforts and potentially, infection. Plus, he’ll appreciate the extra attention!
If you are looking for more ideas of dog exercise or workouts you can do with your dog, check out this guide.
Exercising With Your Dog Don’ts:
Don’t come up with a vigorous routine from scratch – work up slowly and gradually step up the workout so there are no unnecessary shocks to the system.
- Just because your next-door neighbor enjoys a vigorous run with their pet greyhound doesn’t mean you can do the same with your Maltese Terrier! Research what your species is most likely to be suited to with a common sense also playing an important role. Crucially, you mustn’t run with a dog until his skeleton is mature – doing so could affect his growth and cause problems later on. Typically, dogs built lean with deep chests and long muzzles are natural runners.
- If you choose roller-skating, roller-blades, or even skateboarding, make sure your dog is almost as skilled as you are. A faithful pal that wanders as you’re plowing ahead will likely cause you to veer off your intended path and could cause a few painful mishaps. Your dog must stay to one side – crossing from one to the other will end in trouble so if he’s not trained and trusted, give this a wide berth. Like cycling, helmets and guards are essential.
- Don’t let the winter, cold, or rain put you off and if it does, you can still play plenty of games in the home and garden with a game of hiding and seek with their favorite toy, chase or fetch could work well so long as you’re burning a few calories as well.
- Don’t forget this could be your dog’s only outing – restricting what they do, how many times they stop for a sniff, mark a spot, or do their business will ultimately spoil their trip out.
- If your dog has any medical condition or injury, don’t proceed with your routine – he’ll be no doubt as willing as ever but waiting a few days is better than further aggravating an injury.
When exercising with your dog, don’t exercise when the weather is unseasonably hot.
Early morning workouts are best when it is cooler and the pavement isn’t baking (think about his paws).
The terrain should be steady, too – uneven ground or rocky conditions could again cause injury for both.