7 Fun Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog
If you’re looking for fun and exciting new ways to get fit, how about incorporating activities that can involve your best four-legged friends? Fitness is always more fun with a friend by your side and there’s no better friend than your dog!
While your daily walks are a great place to start, read on for 7 more fun and healthy fitness ideas to do with your dog!
Dog agility is a competitive event that will keep the minds and bodies of both you and your dogs engaged. This fast-moving sport challenges both dog and owner on an obstacle course designed to test accuracy and time. This sport is an incredible way to bond with your dog, using toys or treats as an incentive. Best of all, it can be tailored to the physical limitations of any dog, any size, age, or ability. What’s more, you don’t have to join an agility training club to participate in this dog-friendly workout - you can build your own backyard agility course right at home!
Biking is a great way to get outside and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells with your dog, all while getting into shape - no matter the size of your dog. If your pup is too small to jog alongside your bicycle using a walk/run attachment, consider a specialty dog bicycle basket to show them the lay of the land. Remember, it may take your dog some time to get used to riding at high speeds, so always start slow and progress at your dog’s comfort level.
Canicross is the sport of cross-country running with dogs. The sport originated in Europe as a way to keep mushing dogs in tip-top shape and training during the off-season or when there was no snow. Canicross is a great sport for owners of one to two dogs in need of exercise. In Canicross, the dog wears a harness attached by an elastic or bungee line to a specially designed waist belt worn by the owner. Once strapped in, the human/dog team begins running, usually off-road or on a cross-country course. In addition to providing an intense workout for both the dog and their owner, Canicross is an excellent opportunity to work on training and strengthen your bond.
Doga, or yoga for dogs, is not only fun for people, it’s great for dogs, too. Taking time to relax, breathe deeply and slowly, and stretch out muscles and joints is as important for dogs as it is for humans - and it can be done in the comfort of your living room. So, next time you work on your Downward Facing Dog pose, bring your pets into the mix! There are plenty of instructional Doga books and videos that help you to plan an appropriate yoga session with your dog.
Dogs love to run, so why not jog with them? Hands-free jogging leashes make it easy to take your dog along on your daily run. If you have a small dog whose little legs can’t keep up with your long strides, why not push them in a doggy stroller? Whether you’re taking your dog out jogging to help tire him out, or you’re jogging for your own exercise, these are excellent ways to bond with your best friend. Remember that your dog’s paws are sensitive and you may need to plan for some paw protection if you’re running on pavement or asphalt.
Whether you’re headed to the beach or the pool, swimming is a great way to get in shape and if your furriest family joins in, all the better! When swimming with dogs, remember to take precautions to prevent accidents and injuries and always outfit your pup with a properly fitted dog life jacket or swim vest. Make swimming even more fun for your dog with floating toys!
Playing tug-of-war with your dog, while following the rules of the game, can strengthen your bond with your dog, reinforce obedience commands, relieve excess energy, and provide an appropriate outlet for their inherent genetic needs. Plus… it’s just plain FUN and will prove to be a great workout for you, too! And, because the only thing you’ll need is a great tug toy (the Rompidogz Tug N’ Toss Rope Toy is perfect!), tug can be played indoors or out making it a great form of exercise in all 4 seasons.
When you’re first looking for ways to get out and exercise with your dog, consider your dog’s breed, temperament, and natural inclination towards specific events, being careful not to push your pup too far, too fast. And, make sure fresh, cool water is available to your dog at all times.