Have you ever wished you could be a little more motivated to work out? You have a built-in accountability buddy right there on the couch next to you! Working out with your dog is a fun way to get yourself more active and to help your dog get the exercise they need as well.
Why Dogs Are Great Work out Buddies
Before we get into how to work out with your dog, let’s talk about why you’d want to do this in the first place. In addition to being motivating for you, and healthy for your dog. Here are some other reasons your dog is a great workout buddy:
• Dogs won’t cancel on you like a human workout partner might.
• Dogs won’t complain about going outside, and their enthusiasm for the new day can lift your spirits.
• Working out with your dog feels more like playing and walking your dog, not like a boring work out.
• You don’t have to pay to work out with your dog.
If those reasons sound like great reasons to work out with your dog, here are a few great ideas for getting the both of you moving together.
1. Take Your Dog on a Run
If you have a dog that has plenty of energy, taking a dog for a run is a great way to motivate yourself to run. The only big thing that you really need to watch out for is heat exhaustion. Dogs don’t sweat, so they need breaks to get some water and rest in the shade if you’re on a long run. If your dog has a very short or flat muzzle, like a Boston Terrier, runs shouldn’t last too long, because these dogs can struggle to breathe after extended exercise.
2. Hit the Water with Your Dog
Dogs and water go together in many ways. Swimming with your dog can be fun, but you can also try kayaking or paddle boarding with your dog as well. Be sure to stick to shallow water unless you are a very good swimmer and trust yourself to save yourself and your dog if anything were to happen. Something like kayaking is great if your dog isn’t the most athletic, but you want a buddy to hang out with while you get a workout.
3. Get into Playtime
One very easy way to workout with your dog is just to get more active during play time. Play a game of tag that involves running sprints, or get very into a game of tug of war. Run with your dog for a game of fetch, racing them to the disc or ball that you’ve thrown. Get down on the ground and wrestle with your dog, jump up and run, dodge their chasing, and do anything you can to have fun. As long as you are breaking a sweat, it counts as great exercise that your dog will love.
4. Try Dog Yoga
If you love yoga, you can definitely do it with your dog. Encourage your dog to stretch with you in the morning, and teach her to do some of the easier poses, like cobra. You can take your dog to an actual “doga” class, or just incorporate her into your own routine. If your dog likes to be involved and is calm, you can even use them as a prop for poses for yourself. This is a great way to workout with a dog that isn’t interested in going for a run.
5. Play Any Game with a Ball
Any game that involves a ball is going to be fun for dogs. Kick a soccer ball around, bop a volleyball around, or play any similar game. Your dog will have fun running around after the ball, and you’ll get the exercise of consistent activity.
6. Get Rolling with Your Dog
If you like to ride a bike or Rollerblade, you can involve your dog. You’ll have to be careful with safety in both of these activities, but a well-trained dog can be a great companion for a bike rider or for rollerblading. Be sure your dog is either off a leash (in a safe area), or is trained to never pull when you are on wheels.
7. Try Joining a Canine-Friendly Race
There are many 5k races and marathons that allow dogs to join in. This allows you to have a blast with your pup, support a charity if the race is connected to one, and get a little competitive all at once. Plus, training for the race will give you an excuse to get plenty of exercise in before the event.
8. Let Your Dog Take You On an Adventure
Sometimes it’s fun to let your dog lead the way. If you want to have a nice long hike with your dog, why not let them wonder where their nose takes them? You follow along and see where the two of you end up. Your dog will love the chance to take in all kinds of new smells and explore places he may not have before, and you’ll get a nice long hike in the process. Be sure you have water for the both of you and a good pair of shoes.
9. Get Your Dog Involved in Canine Sports
Believe it or not, things like obedience trials and lure coursing can be very intense activities for the owners as well as the dogs. In addition to running around with your dog on the course, you also have to work with them during training, which involves long hours leading them through the actions.
These tips can help you and your dog get out and get some more exercise together, but at the end of the day, the trick to exercising with your dog is to find something you both enjoy and just do it! Whether it’s long walks, running, playing on the water, or any activity that you like, your dog will simply be happy to be with you.