Get In Shape With Your Pet

By DogDialog Team on 11 September 2017

As a dog owner, you’re already taking steps to a more active life and achieving a good level of fitness; you’re far more likely to be active than someone who doesn’t own a dog. Having a dog gives you a reason to get up and out, so while everyone else is thinking up excuses to avoid the gym, you’re out in the park running with dogs and playing fetch or chase.

Personal trainers or running buddies are often used for the sole purpose of motivation. Who needs them when you’ve got your dog as the perfect motivator? They’ll never stand you up or complain about how hilly it is, while the emotional connection of interacting with your dog creates a rise in endorphins and fall in stress levels for you.

Once you’ve established a routine, your four-legged friend will also make sure you stick to your training plan, so you won’t be allowed to sleep in and miss your morning run!

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Do you need a change in routine?

If your dog walking routine is getting a bit boring, you could step it up and start running with dogs or hiking. Go a stage further and take them swimming, bike riding, roller-skating or skateboarding. For both your dog’s safety and yours, always keep them to one side of you and train them not to run in front of you to prevent injuries. Dog-friendly boot camps are sweeping America, with the UK swiftly following, so keep your eyes peeled for a class near you. Some breeds of dog respond well to swimming, and it’s particularly good for dogs who struggle with arthritis, encouraging movement in their joints as well as working out their heart and lungs.

Alternatively, if that sounds all a bit active and you’d rather stick to walking, change your regular routine. If your walks are always determined by you, why not let your dog lead the way? It will likely give you both a new view of your local area. It is, after all, you dog’s walk.

 

Is your dog one for fair-weather activities?

If you or your dog is put off by the sometimes damp or cold British weather, get fit with indoor doggy workouts like this one from Shape. Using their favourite toys or treats, you can do all the moves with your dog, including squats, lunges, press-ups and burpees.

There’s also a new class, again a trend that started in America, called Doga; yoga for you and your dog. Not all dogs are built for arduous outdoor exercise so perhaps some gentle indoor yoga is what’s required. A downward dog will never be the same again.

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Is a harder work out suitable for your dog?

Wherever your exercise mission takes you, consider your dog’s age and physical condition. Long distance workouts can be detrimental to younger dogs’ development, while older dogs can tire easily and may struggle to keep up. Your dog’s breed is likely to give you some indication as to which type of workout is favoured. Some dogs prefer high endurance while others are more suited to short bursts of activity.

 

Top tips for running or hiking with your dog:

• Take enough water for you and your dog to stay hydrated
• Take regular breaks, particularly in hot weather
• Take energy snacks – if you’re feeling creative in the kitchen, make some dog-friendly trail mix bars (avoiding raisins!) that both of you can enjoy
• Invest in a hands-free dog lead for ease and injury prevention
• Use paw protector boots if hiking or running on rocky or difficult terrain

 

We’d love to see your workout photos – share them on our Facebook and Twitter profiles.

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