We could all use a little more exercise, and our dogs are no exception! After all, a tired dog is an obedient dog, right? But life can get busy and getting enough exercise is often a challenge, for us and for our dogs. Thankfully, there are lots of creative ways to get a little extra activity, and even strengthen your bond with your dog at the same time. Here are some great ideas for getting fit with your favorite pooch!
Play a Game of Active Fetch
Don’t just put your dog out in the yard when you get home from work, head outside for some mental and physical stimulation with a game of active fetch. Throw the ball and then run toward it to race your dog for the ball. Or, throw the ball and then run in a different direction, so your dog has to chase you to bring it back.
Combine Exercise and Tricks
For example, try doing walking lunges while your (small) dog weaves through your legs. Or, do standing lunges and teach your dog to do a figure eight through your legs. It may take a while to teach your dog what you want him to do, but that’s half the fun! Use healthy treats as a reward.
Attend an Exercise Class
Did you know that there are special exercise classes that you can take with your dog? If you live in a large metropolitan area, look for K9 Fit Clubs or other similar classes in your area. An example of an exercise you might do in class is the wall sit, where your back is against the wall, and you pretend to sit down in a char. Bigger dogs can put their front feet on your legs, and little dogs can sit in your lap to add some extra intensity to the exercise, and your dog will get a little workout too.
Every dog loves to go hiking, and there’s really no better way to spend a sunny weekend day than hitting the trail with your favorite pooch. To amp up the fun, make it a group activity and invite your pooch-loving friends to come along.
There’s no question that just taking a walk around the block with your dog will provide good exercise for both of you, but you could really add intensity by including some interval training. Choose a point and run to it, then walk for a little while, then run again. This increases the intensity for both of you and gets your heart rate up for added benefit. Just remember to start out slowly if your dog isn’t used to so much exercise.
Get Involved in a Dog Sport
There are a lot of fun sports for dogs and their owners, such as agility, dock jumping, skijoring, flyball, nose work, and lure coursing. If you’d rather not get involved in a formal sport, consider water sports like stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. Sports provide great exercise and some much-needed mental stimulation for you and your dog.