Need some motivation to exercise? Grab a leash, get outside and work out with your pooch.
Whether you’re starting an exercise program or needing some variety in your routine, exercising with your dog is good for you and your pet, and the time together strengthens the dog-human bond.
According to trainers at Galter LifeCenter in Chicago, having a friend to work out with can be a huge motivator, and nearly all dogs love to get out and romp, making them great exercise partners.
There are plenty of activities incorporating your dog and exercise that can be done in a formal pet-exercise class or on your own. The two of you can warm up with a slow, medium or brisk walk around a park. With the dog standing beside you, do squats, lunges and stretches.
At River Park, across from Galter, dog owners can do dips, push-ups and stretching while dogs play with their canine friends. Another option is to take long, side-by-side strides, as well as intervals and circuits around cones, trees and park benches, starting at a walking pace and working up to a jog.
You can do these exercises on your own with your dog in any park. If you’re near a baseball field, the two of you could walk, jog or run around the baseball diamond. Your dog may also enjoy and benefit from agility exercises, such as if you hold a hula hoop and have your dog jump through, over or under it.
Just like humans, dogs need a warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise and access to water. And depending on their size, breed, age and health, dogs have different exercise needs, according to Dr. Susan Nelson, Kansas State University veterinarian and an expert on canine physical activity.
In a set of guidelines released by Kansas State, Nelson offers the following rules and tips for exercising with your pooch:
Be aware of the following when exercising with your dog, says Nelson:
Once you’re done exercising, find a cool place for you and your dog to sit and hydrate, and you can check your dog’s paws for cuts or wear.