It is believed that dog owners are much happier and healthier than others, but a survey by the Kennel Club found that over a third of dog owners are overweight, followed by a quarter of their pet dogs. I think it’s important to make that extra effort to maintain a good healthy lifestyle for both owners and pets. Now that the weather’s getting better there’s no excuse not to get up off the couch and get fit with your dog.
Admittedly, I struggle to find the time in the busy day to fit in enough exercise for my family and my dog. With work, cleaning, cooking and everything else life throws at us, it just keeps getting harder to accomplish. We do walk at least twice a day but in the end it’s just a simple walk around the park nearby, which after 1,000 times I’m pretty sure both of us are totally bored. There’s only so many smells to sniff out, right?
But I hear you say “walking is boring” and I’m right there with you on that one. Most of the walk consists of constant stopping to sniff and talking to people from my neighbourhood. It’s just not giving me or little Lucy the physical or mental stimulation that we both need. So, let’s take a look at what we can all do to get fit with your dog while also mixing it up to keep from getting bored.
I know, we already mentioned how boring walking is. But lets stop with the talking and the sniffing and make this a more dedicated power walk. If you have a more flat-faced dog breed like a pug, this type of exercise won’t be too challenging, since this type of breed can struggle to take in air.
You can make it interval too. Start out with a brisk walk with lead in and dog at your heel for 10 minutes or so, then slow down for breaks and repeat.
Running is a great way to advance from walking. This will burn both you and your dogs energy much faster than your whole hour in the park. Olga; writer of Running for Dogs; logs over 1200 kilometers a year running and that’s mostly with her canine partner Jodie.
You will be surprised how good a dog is doing this, just take it easy on hot days as dogs don’t sweat like we do to cool down. I bet you could find some great public footpaths all around where you live, this will switch up the scenery a bit and keep it interesting. And if you go for long runs, I recommend taking along a doggy water bottle and well as your own.
This is a really fun adventure for very high energy dogs. If you have a pooch that very nearly pulls your arm off, then this is the one for you. You can use a tool like the Walky Dog Plus lead to attached to your bike for a safer run, as this absorbs pulling and helps to prevent your dog leaning in towards your bike wheel. Increase your dog serotonin levels in your dog with exercise which in turn will help your dog relax a relieve anxiety.
This is a great one, if you can manage to stay up on them! If you have a big enough breed and the type of dog that naturally likes to pull, like a Husky, this will work wonders. Have you ever seen an episode of The Dog Whisperer? He does this often so he can initially drain the energy from the dog to help with behavioral training on the show.
Dog friendly exercise class are getting more popular these days. And even though they are more targeted towards the persons workout than the dogs, this is a great way to teach your dog how to deal with a highly distracting environment.
Nothing beats a good game of football with your dog. Once you teach your pet to dribble the ball, you can tackle from one another. Kicking the ball and both chasing after it will really drain everyone’s energy.
Still prefer a walk? Need a bit more of a challenge? Feeling adventurous?
Go for a planned hike in the beautiful countryside with your buddy and really push your limits. Make sure you take supplies with you like food and water and any safety equipment if your planning on doing some pro adventuring. Keep safe!
If you live in the city and you are looking for something to do closer to home, you could swap the hiking for a stair climb style walk. Don’t worry too much about walking up the stairs only as going down can be just as good, working different muscles for you and your dog.
I good mental exercise for the more impatient dog, just like my Lucy. Stop and stay put.
Take this time to stretch at the beginning and the end of your routine. You get to warm up and cool down which is great and your doggy can learn to wait. This is a good time to practice keeping your dogs attention and to not get distracted running around. Try getting them in their most comfortable position, like sit. Keeping them calm at this point really helps and practicing this at home in a quiet place first, will help you and your dog get used to it ready for the outdoors.