Updated: Feb 20, 2021
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Working out with your dog
Why exercise alone when you can work out with your dog? We all realize that just like us humans, it's extremely necessary to keep our dog fit and balanced both physically and mentally. Fortunately for us, knowing that both ourselves and our dogs get enough exercise goes hand in hand or, more accurately, lead in hand.
But are we trying to get the most out of our pet workout? We all experience the advantages of a leisurely walk across the fields to stretch those six legs, but do we really take it up a notch? Dogs make perfect fitness partners. They maintain a good mood, assist you in having fun, and you get to enjoy the cuddles on top of it all! What can't be enjoyed in that? But if you're searching for a few new ways to stay active with your dog, check out these bondy building exercises (see what I did there?) listed below that you can do with your furry partner!
When choosing the type of workout(s) that you would like to do with your dog(s) it's important to keep in mind what size and breed of dog you have. Not all dogs have the ability to do every type of workout. For instance, you wouldn't want to take your Dachshund on a run next to your mountain bike when riding up and down rocky terrains. "The Spruce Pets" features a great article with more information about this in their article Low-Maintenance Dogs for Busy People
Just like any other vigorous or high-impact sport, keep your dogs running smoothly. It's a great workout for them, but much like you, they need to get in shape over time.
If you're on the road, keep your dog on your outside while running—out of the traffic line—and on a reasonably short leash. We don't want to see our dog dodging in and out of the lane. For those of you fortunate enough to have a trail nearby, make sure your off-leash pets are tagged and permitted when required. Like hiking, you will need water and make sure your dog has everything he or she needs.
Tips to have a great run with your pet:
If your dog is not on the leash, consider taking a basic class in discipline. A well-behaved pet will make your run together much easier. Well, for you anyhow. Your dog will probably like the game of chase.
If you have a recently born puppy, avoid running, particularly on the pavement, for at least six months—possibly further if you have a big breed. Pounding can be harmful to the growing bones of your puppy. Consulting your veterinarian is also a good option.
Give enough time to your dog for a potty break before you run. Intend to spend some time walking while you both warm-up before starting the running session.
Set some time aside to let your dog do some "doggie stuff" like sniffing before you begin running and also at the completion of your run.
Let your dog run as if it's a game—most dogs enjoy cycles, so feel free to play with the speed your fitness allows.
Hiking is among the most rewarding exercises you can do with your dog. The mixture of tougher workouts and nature is perfect for the mind, body, and soul.
Hiking is a little different from other activities because you're basically out there on your own, notably if you're on a big hiking trip. While planning a hiking journey, always bring a lot of water and, preferably, carry a hiking first aid kit. Plan ahead of time.
Start off with a shorter, less intense hike and gradually build up. And if you're just walking, hiking can still be rough and hilly. It's best to develop endurance before you try the hardest hikes.
A few tips to bear in mind while hiking with your dog:
Ensure your dog is relaxed on a leash and has a clear recall if it gets loose.
If your dog is afraid of other individuals or pets, be sure to warn other hikers.
Pick up after your dog.
Before you go out, look up the rules of the park—make sure that pets are permitted.
If you're not drawn by long walks, consider dancing with your dog. Often called freestyle dancing, you choreograph a dance routine to upbeat music. You're going to get your pooch racing between your legs and doing other tricks while both of you are going to get an aerobic workout. Dancing advantages include losing calories and gaining greater strength, better balance, reduced blood pressure, and increased muscle tone and bone density. Try incorporating some small commands as you do different routines. They might just surprise you. Dancing with Dogs is a great book available on Kindle or the Kindle App.
Swimming is an all-in-one activity that is highly useful for people or dogs who have arthritis. Since it's a low-impact exercise, swimming is easy on the joints. But that doesn't mean that this is a wimpy exercise. Swimming functions in different muscle types increases stamina and stimulates the heart and lungs. It can be a great bonding activity for the dog and his owner. But not all dogs like swimming, so try proceeding with this slowly. Use treats or incentives for encouragement, and if they still resist, try switching to another workout activity. Remeber, the idea is to enjoy activities with them. So if he doesn't enjoy it then it will not be a bonding activity.
We highly recommend that if you plan to do any long swims outside the safety of a swimming pool, know the limits of you and your dog. Make sure you are physically able to pull your dog to safety in the unfortunate event that something should happen.
Biking with your dog can be a fun and exhilarating experience for both of you. Not only is biking a healthy way to get around, it can also be a great way to get in some great cardio and scenery.
If you're going to take your dog on a bike ride on a leash, we highly recommend that you use a bike dog leash attachment with quick release in the event of an emergency. The last thing you want to do is take your dog out with you if something happens.
Be ready to spend some time getting the dog used to a bike and learn how to walk next to it. You want to make sure that your dog understands what he's supposed to do to stay safe and out of harms way in the event that something should happen.
Things to do before going for your first dog ride:
1. I know this is obvious, but make sure you know how to ride a bike well and are physically able to handle the bike with a dog attached. Especially if you have a big dog. The last thing you want is for your dog to pull you sideways and not know how to react. This can be difficult at times for even the most experienced riders.
2. Make sure you have the right protective gear. Especially if you are riding in rough terrain. Things can happen that cause your dog to jump, stop or lunge. So you want to be prepared if something comes up. Here is a list of minimal protective gear we recommend for your dog rides:
For the more extreme Mountain bikers we recommend adding these items:
3. Practice walking your bike from each side with your dog(s) so they feel comfortable on either side. this can help ensure that they know how to react from either side when situations change. Integrate verbal commands like "let's go" and "easy" during each action. Be sure to use the same commands every time for each corosponding action so you don't confuse them. Be patient with them. It will take time to learn them, but they will get it. These signals will come in handy during your rides.
4. Take your dog for a few trial rides so that he or she gets used to the bike. Make sure they feel comfortable before expecting them to behave correctly on a long or difficult ride. Again, be patient with them. Especially if this is their first time to be on a ride and not walking. They may be used to the bike when you're on foot, but you on the bike is still going to be a new experience for them.
5. Try braking, speeding up, spinning, and moving aside for cars so they can get used to changing situations and react accordingly when the a real situation occurs. This step can take a while, so repeat the action many times, but don't overdo it. Work on different actions a little at a time. You don't want them to think that it will happen non stop or they may not enjoy it as much as they should.
Biking tips for your dog:
The simplest speed for your dog to continue with is trotting; if you see your dog getting tired, take a break or a slow walk. Let them catch their breath and get a drink of water. Keep in mind that you are on a bike and able to cover much more distance with much less effort.
If you're biking on a mountain, it's actually better to keep your dog off-leash. Be sure that the trail permits off-leash dogs, and then continue with some trial runs. Each new terrain and scenery will be a new experience for them and you, so it can be a little more difficult keeping an eye on them while paying attention to where you are going or what you are riding on. For dogs that have little experience in this setting, they can be easily distracted, so be sure to keep up with them.
To sum it up, No matter the age, breed, or height, every dog requires daily exercise. Established over time, a tired dog has improved behavior, calmness, concentration, and understanding. Daily exercise doesn't only benefit them. It will benefit you as well.
Exercise keeps the dog healthy and supple while reducing behavioral issues such as repetitive licking, barking, biting, searching, and other anxiety-related habits. It also lets your dog develop confidence and trust in you and the surroundings.
Pets are great motivators; your dog is almost always delighted to go for a run: storm, shine, even after a rough day at work. As an extra bonus, the everyday workout is just as great for your pet as it is for you.
Note: The information given here is not intended to be any kind of medical diagnosis. We are not doctors, but we are fellow dog lovers. Any information given in these articles are meant to be for educational purposes only. As with anything, we advise that you try any new product in a small amount and see how your pet reacts. Pets are living biological beings just like humans, so they may not necessarily react the same. It is possible for a pet to have an allergic reaction. Please don't load them up with a new product without paying attention to how they react.