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:
- 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)
- 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: