Working Up a Sweat with Your Pup


Stud­ies indi­cate that peo­ple who work out with their canine com­pan­ion are more likely to stick with an exer­cise reg­i­men.  Work­ing out with your dog not only helps keep you moti­vated, but it ben­e­fits your pooch immensely.  All dogs need to get exer­cise every­day to keep them mobile, healthy, and energetic.

 

Before you head out for a jog with your dog, there are a few things to consider.

 

  • Your dog’s breed.  Some dog breeds are born for hard work, like Mala­mutes or Huskies.  Oth­ers, like dachs­hunds, aren’t built for long runs and can actu­ally get injured if you make them run too far.  Take this into con­sid­er­a­tion when plan­ning a fit­ness program.
  • Your dog’s age.  Older dogs won’t be able to exer­cise as vig­or­ously as younger dogs.  They can injure their joints if pushed to hard.  Be sure your exer­cise activ­i­ties are age-appropriate for your dog.
  • Your dog’s state of health.  If your pup is over­weight or has joint issues, you’ll need to adjust your plan accordingly.
  • Your indi­vid­ual dog.  Your dog may enjoy chas­ing a Fris­bee more than long jogs.  He may pre­fer swim­ming to hik­ing.  Make sure your doing activ­i­ties both you and your dog enjoy.  This is sup­posed to be fun, after all.

 

Whether you decide on walk­ing, swim­ming, Fris­bee, or Doga (dog yoga), there are a few things to keep in mind:

 

  • Make a trip to the vet before you start a work­out pro­gram to make sure your dog is healthy enough for an exer­cise program.
  • Stay hydrated.  Always have fresh water on hand for you and your pup.  It’s also a good idea to have a stash of healthy dog treats with you.
  • Start slow and grad­u­ally build up.  If your dog is over­weight or doesn’t get much exer­cise, you want to be care­ful about how far you push him phys­i­cally.  Start easy and get more and more intense as you see your dog’s tol­er­ance grow.
  • Use the proper safety equip­ment.  Be sure your have the proper har­nesses and other equip­ment you need, and make sure your dog can use it pain­lessly.  Use it as it was intended.  And don’t leash your dog to your wrist.  That’s a dis­as­ter wait­ing to happen.
  • Teach your dog to sit, sit-stay, and heel.  Not only will this make things eas­ier on you, but it will also keep your dog out of trouble.
  • Check your dog after your work­out.  Check his foot­pads for cracks or sores.  In the win­ter, check for ice build-up.

 

If you need a few ideas of exer­cises you can do with your canine, hear are a few ideas:

 

  • Walk­ing
  • Jog­ging (If appro­pri­ate for your dog)
  • Swim­ming (It’s a good low-impact work­out for older dogs.)
  • Fris­bee (You may not get much out of it, but your pooch will.)
  • Hik­ing (Dogs love to explore new places and look for new smells.)
  • Agility Train­ing (Dog obsta­cle courses)
  • Doga
  • Ski­joor­ing (For big­ger dogs, har­ness them to you while you cross-country ski.)

 

Finally, here are a cou­ple videos that may give you a few more ideas: