Studies say it’s easier to get fit if you have a workout buddy, and who better than your best friend? Kick off a fitness routine where your dog too can join in! You’ll both get all the exercise you need.
Walking or running are NOT the only types of exercise you can do with your dog, there are several other options. Be it kayaking or yoga(!), there are plenty of fun ways to get in shape with your pet.
Remember, dogs need exercise, too!
Dogs aren’t meant for the sedentary life that modern pets currently live. It has a lot to do with their biology. The ancestors of our house pets often roamed around for miles and miles on a daily basis. Their bodies are built for way more strenuous activities than a casual walk around the block.
Size doesn’t matter, that they are little doesn’t mean you need to cut down on daily exercise outdoors. 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day is recommended, and it’s good to mix up the activities and vary their routine for mental stimulation.
Mix It Up!
You are sure to get bored with the same workout at the gym every single day. It’s the same with your dog! Going on walks on the same route everyday, things get boring. He is no longer intrigued by the things and smells that he has seen plenty of times before.
It’s good to shake up your routine every week or so, be it a new route or a new exercise regimen altogether. Always remember to consult your vet to figure out what suits your pet the best. Apart from keeping your dog healthy, regular exercise can also dramatically reduce problematic traits such as jumping, barking and chewing.
How to Workout with Your Dog
Walking your dog might be the easiest exercise you can resort to, but it’s not very challenging and does not help build muscle or develop balance. There are a variety of activities you can try, from jogging to sit/stays or agility exercises.Even throwing a ball at the local park can be more athletic and stimulating.
Having them to stop running around and sit down while you catch your breath can be an innovative way of training. It can be a bit hard on dogs – mentally – to quiet down, while they’re still raring to go! It’s about obedience—training them to sit down right now, before doing something else next.
Outdoor Sports With Your Dog
You can enjoy the great outdoors with your dog. A few activities you both can enjoy together are:
- Trail Running
- 5k Race
- Paddle Boarding
Needless to say, for some of these activities it’s important to make sure your dog is well-trained. Your dog needs to be obedient, calm and non-reactive to succesfully underge even the simplest of these outings. Basic obedience is of utmost importance—your dog needs to behave himself and be reliable with simple instructions like come, heel and leave it.
It’s important for him to be comfortable around people and other dogs too. This will ensure a fine exercise routine and avoid stress not just for himself, but yourself and everyone around you.
Dogs are good companions in the great outdoors, but in a strange environment with different surroundings, everything can be confusing. We humans may be able to learn about conditions beforehand or just go by the instructions or signs, but dogs have to figure out each and everything by themselves.
Taking Your Pet to the Gym!
Working out with your pet is sure to strengthen the bond between you. Our pets can be additional motivation to push us through a tough workout session. At times when you can’t muster the energy to get to the gym, those pleading big brown eyes may be all the motivation that you need.
Find a pet friendly gym that he can enjoy. Some modern fitness studios even offer classes that combine full-body workouts for you with obedience training for your pet.
It’s also much easier to make friends with your fur buddy in tow. Dogs are the perfect icebreaker—everybody loves dogs!
Or “Doga” as it is popularly referred to – isn’t as ridiculous as it might sound! We do often stretch out in their namesake pose – the downward dog. But doga isn’t always just about the moves. Dog yoga sessions can be a great bonding activity.
Exercise with Caution
Consult with your veterinarian before starting any exercise regimen. No single exercise or workout is right for every dog. Make sure you are fully aware of his condition at all times and watch out for signs of exhaustion or overheating.
Some signs include:
- Excessive panting
- Stumbling around or being listless
- Tongue or gums turning red
- If your pet shows any such sign, stop exercising immediately and seek veterinary care.
Exercise can be as good for dogs as for humans. Whether starting off a fitness regimen or looking to mix up your routines, it’s best to start exercising with your dog. Not only will you both reap the benefits, you will discover new ways to get fit and your bond will only grow stronger! Hygiene is important, so don’t forget to clean him up afterwards at your local pet-friendly dog wash!
Mark Robards, Content Architect at iClean International, Netherlands.
Mark has been a pet lover since childhood and now are best friends (and roommates) with a great dane, 2 labradors and a cocker spaniel. He has successfully incorporated his love for animals with work and is now the resident expert on all matters related to pet care at Iclean international.