Exercising is important for all living species. A lack of exercise, even in your pet, can cause health and weight issues which could lead to long term issues. Working out with a friend, or working out with a loved one can help increase productivity and commitment. Who does a pet owner love more than their pet, and who is a better best friend than your dog? Finding ways to keep your dog healthy is important to your dogs quality of life. Dog’s love to be active, it comes naturally for them, but it’s up to the pet owner to provide opportunities for your cuddly canine to have the space and tools to stay healthy. Dog health is a serious topic in the pet lover’s community.
There are facilities built specifically to help dogs remain healthy. Dog clinics, gyms and spas can be expensive and they may not allow you to participate with your pet. When you exercise your dog, or exercise with your dog, consider your dog’s health, weight, and any current ailments that may affect your dogs agility. If your dog has weight issues, you may need to ease them into a regiment. Here are 10 ways to exercise your dog.
- Walk Your Dog Daily – Walking your dog is one of the most simple ways to exercise your dog. Dogs need to exercise daily, and walking your dog is a great way to get some quality time with your best friend. Walk your dog at least once a day, and if you can, take your dog out multiple times a day, once in the morning to help wake your dog up and to promote activity and movement throughout the day, and another time at night to have your dog moving before it settles down.
- Create doggy obstacle courses in your home – Dog’s love to play games. Creating a doggy obstacle in your home is a great way to play a game with your dog and a great activity for you. A doggy obstacle course can be created both indoor and outdoor. Indoor workouts with your dog are the perfect way to exercise your dog when you cannot get outside due to weather or any other reasons. Create an indoor obstacle course and any other indoor activities with boundaries set to keep your dog under control. Be sure to monitor the amount of time spent playing indoors so that your dog does not mistake the home as a permanent play place. Use items found in the home to set up activities for your doggy obstacle course. An old hula hoop or old doggy toys could come in handy. Guide your dog through the obstacle and have a great time with your doggy friend!
- Use your home as a dog gym – Your home is full of areas that you can use as a dog gym. Your walking the dog up and down your staircase can tire out your dog and help promote activity and exercise. Just like the stairmaster workout machine, walking up and down your stairs helps your dog engage multiple muscles throughout their body. Walking up the stairs is challenging for a dog and it also helps them learn balances and coordination. Use toys and treats to show your dog to walk up or down the stairs. You can also achieve this in your backyard, use your backyard space as a running gym for your yard.
- Doggy Yoga – Ever heard of the yoga pose “downward dog?” Dog yoga is becoming more and more popular, you can find dog yoga classes of all different names at local yoga studios. Each type of dog yoga targets a particular part of the dogs body. If you’re looking to do dog yoga, we suggest that you start with a class so you can master the stretches in a safe way to avoid injuries. After a few weeks of dog yoga class you’ll be able to practice your moves from the comfort of your home and your yard.
- Get on the bike: If you have a big dog with the ability for heavy activity, take your dog out for a bike ride! There are many safety precautions you’ll need to consider before biking with your dog. You may need to purchase some accessories to help make biking with your dog easier, and you also may need to train your dog before taking him out on the road. If your dog is not trained to move with the bike, you could risk injuring yourself and your dog. Once your dog is trained you can purchase items like a dog jogger, which will help safely connect your dog to your bike while you’re riding. Plan out your path before hitting the road, make sure the distance is not too long or short for your dog. Also try to pick a clear path that won’t have too many distractions for your dog. Low traffic areas with less people walking around is an ideal path for your bike with your dog. Riding your bike with your dog is the perfect way to help them get exercise and training, it’s also a great way to get some bonding time with your fluffy canine friend.
- Play Fetch! – What dog does not love to play fetch? Playing fetch with your dog is a great way for both of you to get a workout. Work your arm muscles and engage your dog. You’ll stay active and your dog will too. Playing fetch is also a way to help your dog relieve stress. The repetitive nature of fetch helps your dog work his brain and release any pent up energy from a day in the house. Play with your dog as much as possible!
- Take a hike! – Hiking is one of the most underrated methods of working out. Nature is your dog’s natural habitat, dogs thrive in areas where they can explore and find new places to mark their territory. A rugged terrain or a complicated forest path can be a fun adventure for both dog and dog owner. Being in nature is a great opportunity to take off the leash and let your dog roam free for exercise. You can design your own hiking workout. Take a long mountainous trip or keep it short with a nice local hiking park. Let your dog sniff around, run everywhere and explore nature with a fun hike!
- Use workout machines: Workout machines aren’t just for humans. The treadmill is a healthy option for both a dog and a human. Expose your dog to the treadmill, let him get used the motion of the treadmill. Start your dog off slow and use treats to keep him or her engaged while on the treadmill. Be sure to take safety precautions to protect your dog. Never use the leash to keep your dog on the treadmill. When your dog becomes accustomed to walking on the treadmill you can begin slowly turning up the speed settings. Every day, adjust the speed to a higher level to challenge your dog and get their heart rate up. Soon your dog will be a treadmill pro!
- Put your dog to work– Your dog needs a challenge, don’t make it so easy for them to get what they want. Make treat time a way to get your dog moving. Hide your dogs favorite treats around the house. Get creative with your hiding places. Hide things behind curtains, under pillows, or inside plants. Your dog will go crazy and get really active looking for his treats. There are also special toys you can buy to help your dog work for their treats. Treat dispensers are fun, but you can also set up your own hide and find game in your home.
- Dance with your dog: Many people don’t know that there is a whole community of pet owners who dance with their dogs. People enter doggy dance competitions and train their dogs to dance like pros. Dancing with your dog isn’t as hard as it sounds. You’ll need to take some classes, but after just a few weeks you will master the series of steps that make up doggy dance moves. If your dog is already trained you may be at an advantage. You can use your dog’s previous trainings to help with their doggy dance moves. If your dog can stand on his hind legs or give you his paw, you’re in luck! Your dog is already dancing. Keep your dog’s attention in dance class with treats and special incentives to get them to behave.
Dog Exercise Safety Tips
There are many ways to help your dog get exercise, and some of them may even help you get a work out too! Be sure to take precautions to assure the safety of you and your dog. If you like to play games with your dog, be aware that they could get caught up in the excitement and bite if things get too aggressive. Games like tug of war can be fun for a dog, but aggressive games could trigger the predator instinct in your dog. Maintain the trust and respect with your dog for a healthy relationship between pet and owner. Try doggy yoga poses could be difficult for some dogs. Be sure to take it slow with whatever method you choose. Be gentle with your dog. You want to get them active, but you also need to respect their energy as well. Take your dog out with you to both indoor and outdoor activities to help them get active and also control their temperment. Be sure your dog is physically ready to participate in activity you have planned. Be sure to talk to your vet and get clearance for any new physical activity that could be strenuous for your dog. Check in on your dog to make sure the workouts aren’t taking a physical toll on its body. Check their paws for cuts, run your hands through its fur for signs of any thinning or bald spots. When you choose your activity location be sure to check for sharp objects and anything that could possibly harm your dog. Pay attention to how your dog responds to physical activity, especially if you have a puppy or an older dog. Exercising with your dog can be fun and healthy for both of you, and its important for the life of your dog.