How to Add your Dog to Your Exercise Routine
If you live an active lifestyle, you may be asking yourself how to add your dog to your exercise routine. This is a common thought for people don’t have a dog already but are considering getting one.
Even working a full-time job can cut into precious time with a canine friend, but exercising together is a great way to quickly bond with each other.
If you’re looking for ways you can add your dog to your exercise regimen, read our suggestions below.
How To Add Your Dog To Your Exercise Routine
When considering how to add your dog to your exercise routine, it’s important to remember who you are and who your dog is. You need to keep this in mind to make sure you have the proper expectations.
If you have a small dog, you are obviously not going to want to push them to their possible limits. Running a marathon with a small dog is not a very smart idea. But they are likely going to be able to join you if you prefer to kayak. Likewise, a big dog might be a great running companion, but they might not be the most comfortable on a narrow boat.
Setting your expectations will go a long way in making sure you and your dog are comfortable and prepared to work your hardest.
Exercises You Can Do with Your Dog
If you plan on running long distance, your dog needs to be able to keep up with you. Short muzzle dogs such as bulldogs or pugs should not run long distances. Puppies should not run either, due to their growing bones.
According to the American Kennel Club, “Your dog should master loose-leash walking before you start training him to run beside you. A canine companion that pulls on the leash is frustrating when walking, but downright dangerous at faster speeds.”
Here are some tips for running with your dog:
- Warm up before and cool down after your run.
- Too hot or humid? Your pup should stay home.
- Work breaks into your routine.
- Your dog should be trained to listen to your call. This way, you can call them to you even when distracted.
Kayaking is a great upper body exercise for you, and it allows you to get some nice quiet time with your pup. Just be sure you both have your safety jackets.
You’ll also want to be sure your dog is familiar with the kayak and is comfortable sitting on it. They should not be fearful. If your dog acts out of fear, they could capsize the kayak, putting you both in danger.
While cycling with a dog can be a little tricky, once you both learn how to do it successfully, it can be a great form of exercise for both of you. It is great for dogs that have a ton of energy to burn and want to run at full power for an extended time.
Though here is a word of caution. If your dog is likely to take off chasing squirrels and the like, you should think again about cycling with them.
Rollerblading is a great form of exercise for you, and your dog should enjoy spending time in the great outdoors with you. Just be sure you are already a good roller-blader. If you are not steady on your feet, your dog may take it as an opportunity to lead you around.
Just because it’s a human game doesn’t mean that your dog won’t love it! Soccer is one of the most popular games in the world, and many dogs love the challenge too. You can easily play keep away with your dog. Once they learn how to direct the ball with their paws or nose, you can get both your heart rate up!
Cross Country Skiing
If you have a cold weather dog like a Husky or St. Bernard, cross country skiing is a great option to help them burn some energy. CCS is also a full body workout for you!
You can also put your dog to good use by attaching a sled to them. This provides an awesome workout for them, and also gives you the opportunity to include children or other family members who are interested in joining in on the fun.
Safety Tips When Exercising with Your Dog
When you go out for some exercise, you take precautions and preparations for yourself. Stretch first. You may bring a bottle of water with you. You might even bring a change of shoes or clothes so that you can be comfortable afterward.
It’s important to remember that your dog will need some amenities as well. Make sure you are bringing a bowl for them so you can share some water together after a hard workout.
Make sure you also have all the equipment you’ll need for your dog. Bring a harness or life vest if you know you’ll be doing something where this safety equipment is needed. You may consider bringing dog shoes or booties if you will be running on hot pavement. Whatever your dog may need to be comfortable and safe, you should bring.
If you find that your dog is still able to outlast you, consider adding some weights to your routine. No, we don’t mean you need to pump iron with your dog. We mean that a dog who has excess energy to burn can benefit from a weighted pack. You can add a pack and slowly add weight to it. Just be sure to consult with your vet before doing so. Misplaced weight can add strain to your dog’s back and joints. Better to get a professional’s opinion rather than do any harm to your dog.
Lastly, be sure to check in with your dog often. Most animals are used to sprinting rather than continual work. A dog can easily overheat if you are not careful, especially on a hot day.