Top 5 ways to get fit with your dog
Whether you love to exercise, or you hate it, most people will have considered exercise as a bit of a chore at some point in time. But what if we told you that you could enjoy exercise while bonding with your dog? If you own a dog, you will understand that owning one comes with walking and training them. If you upped your game just a little, you could also be benefiting from these activities along with your dog.
So, how do you get fit with your dog? We have compiled our top five ways to exercise with your dog so you can bond together while enjoying exercise! If you know the type of exercise that suits you best, click the links below to find out more.
When it comes to dog walking it is important to think ‘how much walking does my dog need?’, no matter what the breed of your dog, they will certainly need at least one walk a day, however, a dog’s walking needs can vary depending on their health, size and age.
Large breeds, such as Border Collies, are renowned for needing longer walks as they can be more susceptible to experiencing joint issues, therefore regular exercise can help prevent the risks that cause joint problems. Alternatively, smaller dogs such as Shih Tzus, often only need one short walk a day to get the amount of exercise they need.
It’s worth considering that all dogs are different, and some may love long walks regardless of the breed.
Low impact dog walking
If you are a beginner to exercise or can’t participate in intense exercise, then dog walking could be the perfect start for you and is a great low impact exercise for dogs. Dog walking is a great way for both you and your dog to get some light exercise, you can burn off calories steadily and can also benefit mentally from just being outside and at one with nature.
Having daily low-impact walks with your dog can help keep both of you fit and maintain your dog’s weight at a healthy level. Choose a route that suits the capabilities of you and your dog and if they like to run but you can’t increase your pace, then consider using a retractable dog lead to give them the freedom they desire whilst keeping them under control.
High impact walking or hiking
Hiking with dogs can be a great way to get fit and enjoy the outdoors with your furry friend. However, before doing any high impact exercise it is important to know your dog’s capabilities, steadily increasing their regular exercise is a good idea before starting strenuous walks with your dog.
Get outdoors and let your dog enjoy nature, but make sure to keep an eye on them at all times if you decide to take them off their lead.
Group dog walks
Another way that dog walking can be made fun is by joining a dog walking club. There may be a group in your area that all walk their dogs together or maybe you have some friends who own dogs. It’s an enjoyable way to exercise and bond together, and with each other’s dogs too.
If dog walking is a little too easy for you, then why not take up dog running? You can run or jog with your dog as long as they feel up to it. Test your dog’s fitness by going for a fast walk and gradually increase the pace until they feel comfortable running alongside you.
If you have a super active dog, it may be the case that they end up pulling you along. Make sure to keep in charge of the pace and let your dog know that you’re the one taking them for a run, not the other way around.
Wear proper running attire, including trainers and clothing, and carry a water bottle with you in case you or your dog would like a drink during the jogging session. If you use a fitness tracker, why not get one for your dog too? A dog activity tracker helps you to see how active your dog really is ultimately helping you to give the best care at the right time.
Dog training at home
There are other ways to get fit with your dog other than walking or running. Getting fit with your dog by your side can be as simple as training them in your garden. Playing fetch with tennis balls, hide and seek and sit and stay are all ways you can run around the garden with your dog while testing their brain training skills.
Sit and stay is the perfect way to teach your dog some obedience skills while getting your heartbeat racing. Start by telling your dog to sit and tell them to ‘stay’ while showing them a particular movement, then move slightly backwards. Each time you do this, move further and further away before telling them to ‘come’
If you don’t have a large garden, you can play these games while you are out on a local playing field or a safe open space while taking your dog for a walk.
Every breed can do agility training, some may just be a little better at it than others! Agility is valuable for dogs as it mimics their natural instincts of how they would have to act in the wild whilst chasing prey or hunting.
Whether it’s running through tunnels, jumping fences or weaving between poles, as with any training, agility training with your dog is not only beneficial for burning off access energy, but it also helps build on the bond you have with your pet. Elements of agility rely on you being able to communicate with your dog both verbally and non-verbally.
If you’re wondering how to agility train your dog, you can start agility training at home with simple training such as jumping over low obstacles or running up and down slopes. Once you and your dog are more confident, you could then take him or her to an agility training course near you. This way you will both learn the ins and outs of agility and get fitter along the way.
Dog yoga, or ‘Doga’ as it is also known, has grown in popularity in recent years. It’s a way to feel zen and practise light exercise as well as forming a greater bond with your dog. Dog yoga may not work for every breed, but if you get a sense from your dog that they’d like to join in, why not give it a go? Start by practising yoga in the same room as your dog and see if they lay beside you or show interest in any way.
If you’re wondering how to do dog yoga, we’ve got you. You can involve your dog in dog yoga in two ways. One way is to use your dog as the object. For example, your dog may get involved by resting on you as you do an Upward Bow. Always take great care not to drop your dog if you become unbalanced. The other way your dog can get involved in yoga is as your partner. This is when you do poses that your dog can copy. We’ve heard that a dog’s favourite yoga position is the Downward Dog (we wonder why).
As with all exercise, make sure that your dog is happy and comfortable joining in with you. You don’t want to cause any unnecessary harm or injuries to your pet.
So, there you have it, our top 5 ways to get fit with your dog. Keep both yourself and your dog fit and healthy and don’t forget to protect yourself from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our dog insurance policies today.