Staying in Shape together With Your Dog

We all know the benefits of staying in shape, and there’s unlikely to be a more fun or motivating way to keep fit than with your dog. Walking is excellent, but there’s so much more you can do with your dog, and it is a great way to increase your bond with them too.

Choosing the Right Exercise

Now, don’t get us wrong, exercise is important, but the type of activity you do, and the amount, will change depending on the dog. As owners, we have to consider factors such as their age, breed, the weather, and their general health. All of this can affect the type of exercise they can take part in.
 
Generally speaking, larger dogs and working dogs, in particular, have higher energy levels than smaller or toy dog breeds, so your exercise should be tailored accordingly. Most dogs should go for a walk twice a day, and can vary from 15 to 60 minutes each time.

Best Ways To Keep Fit with Your Dog

So if you’re looking for more ways to stay in shape with your dog, then here are some ideas that are guaranteed to get tails wagging. The first step is to head outside, but once there, what is the best way for you both to stay in shape?

Go For a Swim

Most dogs actually enjoy swimming, especially Retrievers – it’s called doggy paddle for a reason. So if you have access to safe, clean water such as from a lake or the ocean, then why not bring your dog along and try your hand at swimming. A little paddle is a lot of fun, and it is a great workout, primarily during the hot summer months when there is a risk of heat exhaustion.
 
Canine hydrotherapy could be another option if you don’t have access to water. Some businesses welcome dogs that don’t need hydrotherapy for health reasons and allow them to come for a swim, thanks to the many health benefits and non-joint stressing exercise it offers.
staying in shape with your dog

Head to the Park

Most cities have dog-friendly parks or recreational areas where they can safely run and play off the lead. Both you and your pup can get some exercise in the park while meeting other dog owners in the community. Dogs need to be socialised with others, and what better place to do this than the park.
 
If you’re new to running, apps such as Couch to 5k or Parkrun are really effective options for building up your fitness gradually. We suggest keeping your dog on a lead as you run to ensure they don’t get into any unwanted trouble.

Find Agility Classes

Agility classes are one of the best ways for your pooch to get some exercise while learning some new tricks at the same time. Mental stimulation is crucial, and agility classes tick all the right boxes. Medium dogs, especially herding breeds, are particularly good at agility exercises.
Agility classes are usually advertised through dog trainers in your area or at most pet stores.

Take a Hike

If you’re in a more rural area or in the countryside, you can go for a hike with your four-legged friend. Exploring new places is great for mental health for both you and your dog and can leave you feeling very refreshed and energised.

Remember that a curious dog is happy, so allowing your canine to investigate new areas and explore new routes will keep them mentally stimulated. Take the time to slow down every now and again and let them sniff out their surroundings.

Ride a Bike

Riding your bike with your dog on a lead beside you is a brilliant exercise for those looking for something a little different or more challenging. This is more suited to more energetic and medium to large dogs, but most love to run, and biking is an excellent way to stay in shape and spend time together.
 
If biking isn’t your thing, you can try skateboarding or roller-blading instead.
staying in shape with your dog

A Classic Game of Fetch

Whether you use a ball or a stick, you can’t beat a classic game of fetch. Even if they don’t bring it back (like my dog), seeing your pup chase after a toy can bring hours of fun for both of you. Predictably, retrieving breeds such as Labradors or Golden Retrievers tend to be the best at fetch. Still, many other dogs also enjoy playing fetch with tennis balls, racquetballs, toys or sticks.
 
All you need is some open space and a toy of some form, and you’ve got everything you need for an enjoyable exercise-filled afternoon.

Consider Doggy Yoga

Yes, this is a thing! Puppy yoga or doga classes (I know!) are growing in popularity and go beyond the downward-facing dog. They offer an effective way to get you and your dog to move together and build that all-important bond.
 
Doggy yoga can help you both stay in shape while also building your strength and flexibility and aiding relaxation.

Use the Stairs

We’ve all heard this advice before, but taking the stairs is another great way for both dogs and owners to stay in shape.
 
We do this with our dog while out and about, and he loves it. If the weather is terrible and he won’t go outside, we even play with him throwing his toys up and down the stairs, and he’s soon tired out and having a great time.

Try your Hands (and Paws) at Some Sports

Playing sports is so much fun with your pup. There are so many activities you can try to help stay active. Beyond hiking and bike riding that we’ve discussed, you can play with frisbees, football, tennis, etc. Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and similar breeds tend to thoroughly enjoy sports and competitiveness.
 
Why not think outside the box by using items from around the house or garden. Use garden sticks and boxes or plant pots to make a hurdle to jump over, or train your dog to jump through a hula hoop. You can even cut up cardboard boxes to make tunnels; the options are endless.
 
As long as you’re both having fun, you’ll find that your fitness levels increase through sport without you even realising it!

Keeping Fit and Healthy with your Pup

There we have it. Before introducing a new exercise, we recommend speaking to your vet. They will point you in the right direction with particular activities, especially if there are any health conditions you need to keep in mind.
 
It is essential to take plenty of water as you exercise for both you and your dog, and try not to feed your dog for at least an hour before you head out. The last thing you want is for them to fall ill and get sick while you’re exercising.
 
We all need to stay in shape, and it’s a lot more fun when you have a furry friend by your side.

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