9 Easy Exercises You Can Do With Your Dog
According to CBS News, over half of pets in the U.S. are obese or overweight. Those extra pounds can lead to diabetes, joint problems, and even anxiety. You don’t want that for your dog and certainly not for yourself. Fortunately, many of these conditions can be treated with a good sweat!
We’ve compiled 9 easy exercises you can do with your dog to help. Not only will your dog get in shape, but they will become your favorite workout partner.
Make the most out of bathroom walkies by turning them into exercise for you and your pup. All you have to do is stay outside a bit longer once they have done their business. A brisk 15-20 minute walk is enough to get her heart rates up as well as increase her metabolism. It will also help you burn a few calories in the process!
You can increase the intensity once your dog is used to their new routine. Incorporate HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) by adding short bursts of jogging or sprinting into the mix. Just make sure to keep an eye on your dog so she doesn’t get exhausted or dehydrated.
This is a great exercise for when it’s raining. It may be easier with smaller dogs since they will take up less room if you do it indoors. However, this doesn’t mean that bigger dogs can’t join in. You just may have to put a little more training into setting boundaries for them.
Don’t limit yourself to only climbing stairs inside. Hit your local high school football field and tackle their stadium stairs. Try skipping a step or two to really kick it up a notch for especially hyper pups. Just make sure you’re not getting in anyone else’s way when you do.
3. Active Fetch
In traditional fetch, humans will throw something for their dog to retrieve and bring back to them. Active fetch works the same way, but with a twist. You run with them instead of standing there and waiting for your dog to return the stick or ball.
This adds a whole new dimension for you as well as your dog. Your dog will be excited that you’re running with them and may think that you are racing them, making them run faster. You will get the benefit of a good sweat!
4. Playing Hide and Seek
Playing hide and seek can be a really fun game for you and your pup. It’s also a great fitness exercise for dogs. All you have to do is chase them a bit and let them run away and hide. You can also alternate being “it” once your pup has figured out how the game works.
- 1Chase your dog around a bit.
- 2Let them escape and “hide”.
- 3“Seek” your dog until you find her.
- 4“Catch” your dog and let her run and hide again.
- 5Repeat until you’re both out of energy.
Hide and seek is another great indoor game for when it’s raining or too hot outside. It will allow your dog to get some exercise in while avoiding prescriptions like anxiety medication for dogs.
5. Urban Mushing
Have you ever fantasized about running a dogsled team in the Great White North? Chances are that you will never get to live that dream. On the plus side, you can try urban mushing!
Urban mushing is comprised of dog-powered sports where dogs pull their masters behind them on a bike or scooter.
Some breeds, such as huskies and malamutes, are natural mushers. With that said, nearly any dog can be a mushing dog if they’re over 30 lbs, have long legs, and are at least 1-1.5 years old (but not elderly). All you will need is something to ride on, a bungee line, and a safe place to ride.
Cycling is a fantastic way for high-energy breeds to burn off energy. It’s also a fantastic way for you to sneak some exercise in without putting in nearly as much effort as they do! Your pup may need to get used to the bike, as well as some training on how to run beside you.
It’s also a good idea to buy a leash attachment for your bike. Holding on to the leash or looping it around the handlebars is never a good idea since a dog who pulls or gets scared of the “bike monster” may knock you off balance. Both cases could result in injury for you and your pup.
Think of canicross as cross-country trail running combined with mushing. The difference here is that your pooch is pulling you as you run behind him instead of you riding on a bike or scooter.
You don’t need much for canicross. All you will need is a good pair of running shoes, a bungee cord, a canicross harness, and a special belt. Belts for canicross go by a few different names, but searching “canicross belt” in your web browser will do the trick.
You will need to teach your dog some verbal commands in order to “steer” them on the trail. There aren’t any rules about what these commands should be, though many canicrossers use dog sledding terminology. Just make sure that your pup understands and obeys them!
Longboarding with your dog is a lot like urban mushing. Bigger dogs that are well-trained can pull you along on the board. Small dogs can also join on long-boarding. They may not be able to pull you, but they would love to run alongside you any chance they get.
The ideal longboard should have:
- A lowered deck
- Low trucks
- Softer wheel
- Wide hangar width
- A long wheelbase
- A foot brake
Those new to longboarding should get comfortable riding alone before adding dogs to the mix. You’ll be ready to skate or die once you have trained yourself and your pup!
Playing soccer is a great exercise for humans as well as dogs. Herding breeds such as Corgis and Australian Shepherds may take more naturally to the sport, but just about any dog can be trained to score goals.
You can probably get by with a regular soccer ball. However, you may want to invest in a sturdier soccer-style ball specifically for dogs. Whatever you choose, don’t expect them to give it up without a fight!
Get Out And Play!
You can turn almost any activity into exercise if you make it fun. Chances are your dog will be happy just being with you, so make the most of it! The only limits to what kind of exercises you can do are your imagination and what you both find fun.
Do you know any fun exercises you can do with your dog? If so, be sure to leave them in the comments below and we'll add them to the list!
About the Author: Corey Singletary is the lead author of Exercise With Dogs, a site all about working out with your best friend.