Does your dog zoom around the house on an hourly basis? This usually means they have a surplus of extra energy they need to get rid of. Doing exercise together with your pooch is a great way for them to release all that extra energy. It also gives you a chance to spend some meaningful time with your pet and get some exercise yourself. In other words, if you and your dog exercise together, it’s good for both of you!
Before you run off to exercise together…
- Please note that before you exercise with your dog, you should take them to the vet first. This will ensure there are no underlying health concerns that can harm them.
- Not all dogs can handle strenuous activities. Breeds such as Bulldogs and Shih Tzus are brachycephalic dogs. These types of dogs have obstructed airways (due to their flat faces) and have a hard time breathing. As a result, exercise for these breeds should be short and moderate.
- The same goes for puppies and old or sick dogs. Your puppy’s bones aren’t entirely formed yet, so they can’t go as hard as adult dogs.
- Dogs with short legs don’t need as much exercise as regular sized dogs.
- Take your time when building your dog’s resistance to exercise. Don’t take your pooch on a flat out 10k run on the first day! Like you, your dog needs time to strengthen his muscles and joints.
- Don’t forget to hydrate! Bring enough water for you and your dog.
- Be careful when it’s hot and humid because dogs don’t sweat as humans do. Same goes for wet and cold weather.
With that out of the way, are you and your furry friend ready to get busy?
Here we go!
1. Run with your dog
Most dogs love to run. It’s in their DNA.
Whether it’s chasing down prey or herding sheep, our four-legged friends enjoy moving fast. One of the best ways to exercise with your pooch is to go on a run with them!
Running has plenty of benefits for you and your dog. It’s an excellent cardiovascular activity that will keep both your hearts healthy. Running burns calories, strengthens leg muscles and is a great way to spend time outdoors. Keep in mind though, that your dog will often stop to check out things, dogs, or people.
It’s their run, and you’re just tagging along! You can jog in place until they are done.
To learn how to train your dog to be a running partner, read our blog post on the subject.
2. Walk with your dog
Walking is a low impact exercise you can do with your dog. This exercise is great if you’re easing your adult dog into a routine, for puppies or if your dog is recovering. Walking is a fantastic excuse for your dog to go outside and take in all the sights, scents, and sounds.
Walking with your dog also burns calories, tones leg muscles, and exercises her heart if you make it brisk. These benefits apply to you, too.
Again, let your dog stop and smell the roses if they want to.
3. Run up and down the stairs
Don’t let bad weather get in the way of good exercise!
Running up and down the stairs is a surefire way to get your dog to spend all their energy. Stair running will get their heart rate up, burn excess calories, and strengthen their leg muscles. Do some practice walks first, to teach your dog proper climbing technique and for them to get their timing right.
Running up and down the stairs is great for you, too!
Running on an incline burns more calories than running on a flat surface, which is why hill sprints are so popular these days. In fact, a 70kg person burns 191 calories running up and down the stairs for 10 minutes! Using the stairs also gives your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves a good workout.
4. Play “Extreme Fetch”
You can always go back to basics and play some fetch with your dog.
But not just any game of fetch.
Make it “extreme fetch”! This “fetch” variant is different because your dog won’t chase the ball all by their lonesome. You’ll be joining in the fun, too! Once the ball leaves your hand, start running alongside your dog to see who gets to the ball first.
All that running and throwing with the ball will leave both of you tired, panting, and happy.
5. Play soccer with your dog
Believe it or not, most dogs love to play soccer even if they don’t know what the heck it is.
Soccer brings out your dog’s love for chasing and playing with balls. If you’re a soccer fan yourself, this is a great way to get some exercise together with your dog and burn calories in the process.
Firstly, make sure you take the time to teach your dog how to play.
Your pooch should use either their nose or paws when “kicking” the ball. You should also set up a soccer net to let your pup score a goal. Turn up the heat and let your dog chase you while you’re moving the ball.
Just make sure you buy a dog-proof soccer ball. A regulation ball won’t hold up to your dog’s sharp teeth. Nothing brings a kick-around to an end faster than a popped ball.
6. The Treadmill Tandem
Have you ever seen videos of dogs walking on a treadmill?
They’re hilariously cute! Plus, the dogs get a great workout.
When the weather turns foul, and you want to exercise with your dog, you can always use the treadmill. If you have the luxury of owning two treadmills, set them up side by side. This way, you can let your pooch use one, while you’re on the other. If you only have one treadmill, set your dog up on it, and while you jog in place alongside them.
The beauty of treadmill training is your dog can either do a brisk walk or a full run. In other words, this type of exercise together can meet both of your current fitness levels. Just ensure you don’t set a pace that’s too fast for them. Remember: they don’t have the option to switch off the treadmill themselves.
If you’re a cyclist, why not take your dog with you?
No, your dog won’t be riding shotgun on your bike, nor will they ride a tandem bike with you. You can just let them run along beside you while you ride. If your dog is well trained, you can do this without a leash. If you need to use a strap, get one that attaches to your bike’s frame and absorbs the force of sudden tugs.
Cycling is a beautiful exercise for dogs with a lot of extra energy. For humans, riding a bike burns 500 calories an hour and builds great leg muscles. Just make sure you don’t ride too fast so your dog can keep up!
If you exercise together, you’ll fight obesity in the both of you
The most important takeaway here is that your pup gets the exercise they need to fight off obesity and other health issues.
According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.5% of dogs are overweight. Unfortunately, that figure isn’t too far from obesity rates in humans. In effect, when you exercise together with your dog, you don’t just help them become healthy and ward off disease. You also get to enjoy all the benefits of an active lifestyle.