Who says your daily workout has to be limited to your local gym? You can work up a sweat and have fun by recruiting your very own four-legged workout partner. Not only is regular exercise good for humans but provides a lot of mental and physical benefits to your pooch.
Exercising also releases endorphins and helps maintain a healthy weight while also improving your dog’s coordination, balance, and strength. And you have the added benefit of a non-judgemental workout buddy! Here are just a few easy and fun things you can do with your dog to get in shape that doesn’t involve running a marathon.
Play Active Fetch
Go outside even if it is just for 10 minutes and throw a ball or disk for your pooch. Then race your dog to the toy.
You can also try a variation where you throw the toy and then run the other direction which will encourage your dog to chase you once he has retrieved the toy.
Swimming or Water Sports
If you have access to a pool or an ocean/ lake water exercises are great for that aerobic workout without putting any strain or stress on yours and your dog’s joints. The low impact nature of these types of exercises means that you and your little buddy will be able to get the maximum workout without the strain on delicate joints.
You can also try kayaking or paddleboarding with your dog for some weekend fun in the sun. It’s a great way to enjoy the water with your favorite pal while also engaging your entire body. Smaller dogs can sit/stand on the kayak/paddleboard with you and larger dogs can swim alongside.
Make sure that your dog always has a canine life preserver on when she is in the water and remember to rinse off your pup with a mild dog-safe shampoo when you are done.
Combine Tricks with Fitness
With smaller dogs try training your dog to weave through your legs as you do walking lunges down the hallway. Alternatively, try a standing lunge with larger dogs and teach them to weave through your legs in a figure 8 pattern. In both variations use positive reinforcement with treats to train your dog. When he starts to go through your legs, reward him with a tasty nibble.
You can also try a wall sit in which you have your back against a wall and pretend to sit in a chair. Small dogs can jump into your lap while larger dogs can put their front paws on your legs. This not only provides an extra challenge as you strengthen your legs and core, but also works out your dog’s rear ends. Try teaching your dog the command “paws” before you try this so that he knows to put his paws where you ask him to.
Incorporating some cool tricks into these common exercises helps your dog burn off some energy, but also helps take your mind off the pain!
In agility training dogs aren’t the only ones that get a good workout.
In fact, the dogs’ human teammates have to be able to run, turn, and pivot while directing their four-legged teammates with hand and verbal signals as they climb ramps, dart through tunnels, and weave through those flexible, bouncy poles.
Remember that you should check with your vet before starting a new fitness regimen with your dog just as you would with your own doctor. It is important to understand the limitations of your pooch so as not to accidentally harm or injure your dog.
In the end exercising with your dog is all about the activities and fun you can have with your dog and it’s an incredible way to strengthen the bond with your pooch!