Exercise with your dog
Dogs are great companions, and they can also be exercise buddies. Dog owners are more likely to walk greater distances each day than people who don’t own dogs, but the exercise doesn’t have to stop with walking.
You might be wondering how you can exercise with your dog. If you’re looking to get more active, involving your dog might be the motivator you need to stick to your new exercise plan. There are all kinds of activities you and your dog can do together, so grab your pup’s leash and get to it.
How much exercise does my dog need?
You might want to get more exercise, but does your dog need it? Dog exercise requirements vary widely. If you want to walk for more than an hour with a Chihuahua, you’ll be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, a Border Collie will happily go for a 10-mile run and still beg you to play fetch with them afterward.
While many dogs could do with more exercise, you should consider your dog’s exercise requirements and ensure you’re not overdoing it. Also, bear in mind that puppies shouldn’t do too much high-impact activity as it can damage their developing bones and joints. Avoid running, cycling or agility training until your dog is fully grown.
Workout with your dog
Once you know how much exercise your dog can handle, it’s time to think about the types of exercise you want to do with your canine companion.
Walking is the most obvious choice of exercise to do with your dog. All dogs need daily walks, but you can take it further than a simple walk around the block or to your local dog park. Look up some local hiking trails that are long enough to be a challenge but not excessively long for your pup.
When you’re going on long hikes, don’t forget to bring water and a collapsible dog bowl. You can also buy dog water bottles with built-in drinking bowls, such as the Kong H2O K9 Unit.
High-energy dogs can benefit from running with their owners, especially if there aren’t many suitable local spots where they can run off-leash. If you’re just starting out running, you can build up your endurance with interval training, where you walk for one minute then run for one minute before gradually increasing the length of your run.
Take your dog’s fitness levels and exercise requirements into consideration when running with your dog, and ensure to run early in the morning on hot days. For most dogs, it’s best to keep your running sessions to around 20 minutes with an extra five minutes of walking on each side to warm up and cool down.
A hands-free leash is excellent for trail running and running in parks but shouldn’t be used for running near roads, as you’ll need close control of your dog.
Cycling with your dog can be great fun, as long as you spend time training your dog to run with a loose leash while next to your bike. If your dog is likely to pull, it isn’t safe to cycle with them as they could pull you over or veer your bike into traffic. When cycling with your dog in low light conditions, it’s essential to make both you and your dog highly visible.
In addition to standard bike lights and reflective cycling gear, we’d recommend the Noxgear LightHound LED light-up harness for your dog.
Dogs are natural swimmers, so why not try wild swimming with your dog? Wild swimming is the act of swimming in natural bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. This is ideal when swimming with dogs because the folks at the local pool are unlikely to take kindly to you showing up with your canine best friend.
Take a look at our pick for the best dog life jacket, the Outward Hound Granby RipStop Dog Life Jacket. Even if your dog is a confident swimmer, accidents can happen, and a life jacket will help keep them safe if something goes wrong.
Throwing a frisbee for your dog might seem more like exercise for your dog than for you, but you can make it as active as you like by running around with your dog while you throw it. Plus, if your puppy pal isn’t great at returning the frisbee, you’ll need to chase them around to get it back.
Agility training is like an obstacle course for dogs, with jumps, weave poles, see-saws and more. Your dog is the one who traverses the obstacles, but you’ll need to run around the course with them, giving them commands. While agility classes are great, you can also buy dog agility equipment to practice with at home.
If you want a practice that combines stretching, strength training, mindfulness and dogs, try doga. Yes, that’s dog yoga. It’s the humans that do the yoga more than the dogs, but you will incorporate your canine companion into some of the poses. It’s not great exercise for your dog, but it’s a great way to bond with your pet, for your pup to socialize with other dogs and for you to meet local dog parents.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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