8 Easy Tips on Getting Your Dog Exercise Strong

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dog exercise dog hiking with ownerDo you want to get your dog exercise strong? Regular exercise with your dog is a great way to burn off some calories, spend some quality time with your pet, add to the monotonous routine of the daily walk and have some fun.

Doing some exercise with your dog offers great benefits for both of you. A large percentage of people and pets in the United States are overweight and can benefit from a few minutes of stimulating exercise each day.

Plus, when you and Fido exercise together, it improves blood flow, mental health and overall well-being for both of you. It also improves your bond and offers great opportunities for you and your dog to learn new skills and enjoy each other’s company.

Start Slowly

Once your vet says your pet is healthy enough for dog exercise, if you and your dog aren’t used to strenuous workouts, start slowly! You can gradually increase your daily 10-minute walks to 20 or 30 minutes while you enjoy the great outdoors, increase your stamina and strengthen your muscles.

Be careful. Some dog exercises are not recommended for a very young puppy. Let your dog take the lead occasionally as they sniff around and slowly get used to the outside world. Pushing your puppy too hard too fast can result in you and the dog suffering serious injuries.

Step Up To A Hike

Once you and your dog are in better condition, you can make your daily walk a little more rigorous by taking your dog on a hike in a nearby park. Taking on some hills will strengthen the muscles, lungs, and heart of both you and your dog.

On your days off, you can take more challenging hikes. Hiking in different areas lets you and your pooch experience new sights and smells together. Not only will the dog exercise improve the fitness level of you and your pet, the experience will help you relieve stress, feel happier, have more fun and form an even closer bond.

On top of that, you’re are checking both the ‘mental stimulation’ and ‘physical activity boxes! If you have a dog which likes to have a job, such as a German Shepherd, you could give him or her a backpack and they can carry some lightweight items. Be sure to not weigh the dog down too much! Be sure to not weigh the dog down too much! Here are additional tips for dog backpacks.

Go For A Swim

Some dogs enjoy being in water once they get used to it. Plus, swimming is a low-impact activity that’s gentle on the joints of older dogs and people. Dogs love it during the hot summer months.

To keep you and your furry friend safe, avoid swimming in areas with dangerous currents or steep embankments where its difficult for your dog to climb out, or where underwater branches can snag their collars.

Some adventurous souls regularly take their dogs rafting, kayaking, surfing, boating and paddle boarding. It’s a good idea to put life jackets on dogs in those instances.

fun ways to exercise with a dog, dog windsurfing

Dog Sports

For high-energy dogs and their owners, there are several sports they can play together. They include Agility, Flyball, Dock Diving and Nosework. These sports involve people and their canine pals competing in a wide array of challenges where the dog must run, jump, catch, dive and search for hidden targets.

Training for these activities involve dogs and their humans spending countless hours practicing together to learn to toss and catch Frisbees and other items, coordinate their actions and learn new skills. These sports are lots of fun and excellent exercise for both people and dogs.

Simple Games

The dog exercises you do together do not have to be very intense, require elaborate equipment, or be competitive, to be fun. Something as simple as going to the dog park near your home and running around with your dog playing fetch or catch with a ball, Frisbee or toy, can be lots of fun.

These activities will be more than enough dog exercise to keep both of you fit and happy. Even a spirited game of tug-of-war with man’s best friend can build shoulder, neck, chest, jaw and upper body strength and be an enjoyable way to spend some time together.

Fun Indoor Exercise

If inclement weather forces you to stay indoors with your dog, there are a number of fun ways you can still dog exercise together. Running up a staircase and down again with your dog several times in succession can be a challenging indoor workout.

It engages different muscles than normal walking or running, and can provide significant physical benefits. If you don’t have a staircase, you can put your dog on a treadmill.

Once the dog gets comfortable with it, set it at a moderate speed and let the dog jog along for a few minutes to release its pent-up energy. You may have to hold the leash and give it treats initially until it gets accustomed to the treadmill.

Consider Trying Doga

Another unique way to exercise with your dog is by taking a yoga class designed for people and dogs. It’s called Doga and a growing number of dog owners nationwide are taking the classes, reading books on Doga or using DVDs to learn how to do it.

Doga uses different types of stretches for relaxation, flexibility and improved overall health for people and their canine buddies. The instructor or dog owner gently guides the dog into the proper positions. Dogs love the attention they get in doga classes, and doga workouts benefit both the owner and the dog.

dog exercise vizsla doing doga

Exercising Safely With Your Dog

Running around with your four-legged friend so you can enjoy the great outdoors, increase your stamina and strengthen your muscles, is a great pastime. But trying to walk, hike or run with your dog while holding its leash can be challenging, especially if it gets excited and pulls a lot.

Experts recommend using a lead designed to be worn around your waist while exercising with your dog. It gives you more control over your four-legged workout partner and leaves your hands free.

This unique lead is inexpensive, easy to use and very effective. It can give you more freedom and make outings with your dog more enjoyable.

Protecting Your Dog While Exercising Outdoors

It’s important to protect your dog’s health and safety as you have fun exercising outdoors. There are some simple precautions you can take to monitor and maintain your pet’s well-being as you have fun exploring the outdoors together.

They include:

  1. Protecting thick-coated dogs from the uncomfortable and potentially dangerous summer heat is essential. Keeping their hair trimmed to a reasonable length helps them keep cool and reduces their risk of suffering heatstroke.
  2. Make sure the roads on which your dog will be walking or running are not so hot the dog will be in pain and make its feet susceptible to getting burns and blisters. If the surface is so hot it burns when it touches the skin on the back of your fingers, it’s probably too hot for the feet of your dog. People who insist on having their dogs regularly exercising on hot roads should at least consider getting dog boots or paw balm to protect their feet. Those boots also keep grass seeds from getting between the toes of the dog.
  3. Check for ticks at the end of any outdoor dog exercise session. It’s also essential you make sure your dog’s flea and tick treatment is up to date. Especially if you regularly take your dog outdoors to play or for workouts. This is particularly important if your dog spends time in coastal areas. If your dog goes swimming a lot, consider giving them chewable tick protection. External treatments can easily wash off once the dog hits the water.
  4. Always take water and a collapsible water bowl when you take your dog outdoors to walk, run, hike or play. Just like people, dogs get dehydrated after working out for several minutes. Be sure to take breaks, let them rest in the shade and give them some water. Even if you take your dog to a river or beach, take water and your collapsible water bowl with you. This will make sure they don’t get thirsty and resort to drinking dirty or salty water which can make them sick.

Protect Your Exercise Buddy

Dogs are the ideal exercise buddies. They are full of energy and always excited to go. Regularly taking them outside to run and play is a great way to keep them healthy and have fun bonding with them.

Varying the activities and dog exercise you do together will make your workouts more fun. With the right equipment, adequate water and following a few basic guidelines, spending time exercising with your dog daily can be safe, beneficial and lots of fun!

About the Author:

Aaron Burdick is the proud owner of a Golden Retriever. When he’s not writing articles he’s with his best friend playing fetch or cycling around the streets of Louisville. 

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