How To Get Fit With Your Dog

  • By Caroline Denholm

As January draws to an end, running shoes and yoga mats around the country are beginning to gather dust. If you’ve lost steam on your fitness-focused New Year’s resolutions, why not try adding your dog to your training routine? Exercising together not only benefits your health but your dog’s as well. But remember, before beginning any exercise routine with your four-legged friend, consult your vet to ensure your dog is in good physical condition for the exercise you’re envisioning.

How To Start Exercising With Your Dog

So you want to spend some quality time with your pup while improving both of your health. But new exercise regimes can be daunting. What’s the best way to get started? For dogs and people in good shape, the commitment is three months of walking for at least 30 minutes, five times per week. People and dogs (such as senior pups) who would benefit from shorter walks, commit to three months of more frequent, shorter walks — at least 10 walks of minimum 15 minutes each, per week.

If you plan to start jogging with your dog, it’s essential to increase the distance appropriately.

“You have to build them up to it just like you build yourself up to it,” she says. “You have to get their paws acclimated, their heart, everything.”

When taking your dog out to exercise, always check the weather to ensure it’s not too hot for your dog. Also always make sure to have water. Use a sturdy, non-retractable leash to give you more control, as well as a harness instead of a collar, to avoid pulling on your dog’s neck. Lastly, make sure your pup is on preventative flea and tick medication if you’re planning on hiking, and learn how to properly remove ticks just in case.

If you and your pup are ready to try some new fitness techniques, Leash Your Fitness offers video tutorials on exercises that you can sprinkle into dog walks, such as lunge-walks, brief sprinting, and squats — all of which will require your dog to pay close attention and mind your commands.

Before you begin, remember that all dogs are different. So it’s important to find a form of exercise that works for both you and your dog. All dog owners must explore what exercise might be best for their pups.

“For instance, a Bulldog isn’t necessarily going to love a running class! They might prefer hanging out on a paddleboard. Either way, don’t discount your dog. Dogs are capable of so much more than people think if we just give them a chance.”

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