Including your dog in your exercise routine can be a great way for both of you to get in shape.
But first, it’s important to check with your vet. Ask them about the training intensity that’s appropriate for the type of dog you have and it’s age.
Once you have the all clear, it’s time to start planning your exercise program with your new training buddy.
Here are some training ideas.
We all know that dogs love to go for a walk. Many breeds also love to go for a run, especially Border Collies, Labradors, German Shepherds and Jack Russells. If in doubt, check with your vet. Not all dogs are suited to jogging. Some breeds (like greyhounds) are more suited to sprinting.
Your dog should be an adult before you include them in your running routine. They should also have at least a basic level of obedience.
Start slowly, gradually building up your pace and distance over time until your pooch gets used to it. Thirty minutes is ideal, including some time for warming up and cooling down. You may also be able to train certain breeds to run longer distances.
Whatever distance you’re running, make sure that you:
- have an appropriate lead that is soft to hold but also strong enough to give you good control. Both you and your running buddy need to be comfortable.
- take a water bottle and fold-out bowl to keep you both refreshed along the way. You can carry them in a convenient running belt.
- have a good pair of running shoes.
- take your poop bags with you.
Remember that dogs can also overheat quickly, so make sure that you run in the coolest part of the day.
You could also reward them at the end of your run with a dip in your own dog pool!
Hiking through some hilly trails is another great way to get your heart rate up and explore the great outdoors with your pooch. They’ll love the new sights and smells they’ll encounter. Before you set out, make sure that you:
- research dog-friendly trails and tracks
- give your dog a tick prevention treatment a couple of days before you go
- take enough water with you
- take a towel with you to clean your dog’s paws before they get back in your car
- tell someone where you’re going and take your phone.
Cycling is another high-intensity activity that can be good for both of you. But you need to start slowly and train your dog to run safely beside you while you’re riding, otherwise it can be dangerous.
Your dog needs to be able to run next to your bike without pulling on their lead. Having a good harness will help to keep them comfortable. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they aren’t overheating and be prepared to stop if they are.
Make sure you’re always carrying plenty of water for both of you.
Kayaking is a great upper-body workout and it’s another activity that you can do with your buddy with a little bit of training. Teach them to get in and out of the kayak on dry land first. Once they get the hang of that, practice paddling in shallow water close to the shore.
You might need to put a piece of carpet inside your kayak, so your dog can grip it as you move along the water. Make everything fun and relaxed so that they feel comfortable on the water.
You can even let your buddy swim beside you if you want to vary things up a bit. Bring treats along so you can reward them for their efforts.
If you want a killer ab workout, try stand-up or knee paddleboarding with your dog riding on the nose of the board. Make sure you do it in calm, shallow water to start with until your pooch gets its sea legs and can balance.
Also make sure you can both get on and off the board easily if you fall in, before you even think about venturing out into deeper water.
Share photos of you and your dog exercising together and tag us @doogptyltd on instagram and @dooggear on facebook for the chance to be featured on our website.