If even a short time away from your pet makes you the slightest bit lonely, then you might be have soft spot for your dog. There’s nothing quite like the unconditional love of (wo)man’s best friend; no matter how bad a day you’ve had, you know you can count on your pup to make you smile. So with the dog days of summer winding down, now is the perfect time to make your pet part of your workout. Not only will he or she enjoy the cooler days that help to reduce the heavy panting, but also he or she will help to keep you moving from start to finish. Grab the leash and tie up those laces, because you have a new exercise buddy that is paws-itively crazy about you!
Walk, Jog, Run: Maybe the most obvious way to get in a sweat session with your pup is to go for a walk or run. The speed you choose will depend partly on you, but should be more dictated by what’s best for the health and breed of your dog. For example, if you own a young, full-of-energy Weimaraner, you might have a sprinting session ahead of you. However, if you own a pudgier pug, a slow walk might be a better pace to set.
Pop a Wheelie: Super speedy dogs prove four legs are better than two. Keep up with your pup by skateboarding, rollerblading, or cycling by his side. You’ll get your cardio pump going, while also helping your dog to release extra energy. By the time you get home, you’ll both be ready for a nap!
Have a Ball: Sure, you could toss a ball for Fido to fetch, but why not join in on the fun and make it a race? Instead of just working out your throwing arm, toss the ball then race your dog to try to capture it first. It’s a much more challenging workout, and your buddy will love the bonding time of you being more engaged.
Paddle and Play: While the water’s still warm enough, dive right into a dog-friendly beach or pool near you for a swim with Rover. Again, make sure this kind of activity is right for the breed. If your pet can only doggie paddle for a short amount of time, gear up him or her with a pet-approved life jacket.
Try Some New Tricks: Whether young or old, your dog wants to please you. Make it easy by training your pup on an obstacle course. When he or she is first learning, you’ll need to actively lead the way so that your dog knows what to do. Praise him or her as she learns, and keep moving side-by-side, so that the activity stays high energy and fun for both of you.
Pack It Up: It’s true: some dogs are just too small, too fat, too old, and too lazy to keep up with your fit self. Instead of leaving him or her out at home on the couch, turn your dog into extra weight for a strength training routine. While we don’t recommend that you bench press, curl, or deadlift your dog, by putting him or her in a dog-toting backpack or rolling him or her in pet carrier (think “stroller for your fur baby”), you can hike, climb steps, or hit the rugged trails with your pal while still keeping up the intensity.
Your dog wants to be by your side, and by making him or her part of your fitness program, it’s possible. However, always remember that you and your pet’s safety comes first. If you’re questioning any duo-activity, be sure to check first with your veterinarian. Also, get help from your pet store with outfitting your dog in any gear that will make your time together more enjoyable. And last, always have water on hand. Most dogs are perpetually wearing a fur coat. What feels cool to you, could be sweltering and dangerous to your pup.
Love the idea of working out with your pet? Tell us about your dog!