Exercise with your dog
Dogs are great companions, and they can also be exercise buddies. Dog owners are more likely to walk greater distances each day than people who don’t own dogs, but the exercise doesn’t have to stop with walking. If you’re looking to get more active, involving your dog might be the motivator you need to stick to your new exercise plan. There are all kinds of activities you and your dog can do together, so grab your pup’s leash and get to it.
How much exercise does my dog need?
While many dogs could do with more exercise, you should consider your dog’s exercise requirements and ensure you’re not overdoing it. For example, if you want to walk for more than an hour with a Chihuahua, prepare to be sorely disappointed. On the other hand, a Border Collie can happily go for a 10-mile run and still beg you to play fetch with them afterward. Also, bear in mind that puppies shouldn’t do too much high-impact activity as it can damage their developing bones and joints. Avoid running, cycling or agility training until your dog is fully grown.
Workout with your dog
Once you know how much exercise your dog can handle, it’s time to think about the types of exercise you want to do with your canine companion.
Walking is the most obvious choice of exercise to do with your dog. All dogs need daily walks, but you can take it further than a simple walk around the block or to your local dog park. Look up some local hiking trails that are long enough to be a challenge but not excessively long for your pup.
High-energy dogs benefit from running with their owners, especially if there aren’t local spots where they can run off-leash. If you’re starting out running, build up your endurance with interval training. That’s where you walk for one minute, then run for one minute before gradually increasing the length of your run.
Take your dog’s fitness levels and exercise requirements into consideration when running with your dog. For most, it’s best to keep running sessions to around 20 minutes with an extra five minutes of walking on each side to warm up and cool down. Also, run early in the morning or late in the evening on hot days.
Cycling with your dog can be great fun, but spend time training your dog to run with a loose leash while next to your bike. If your dog is likely to pull, it isn’t safe to cycle with them since they could pull you over or veer your bike into traffic. When cycling with your dog in low light conditions, make both you and your dog highly visible.
Dogs are natural swimmers, so why not try wild swimming with your dog? Wild swimming is the act of swimming in natural bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers. This is ideal when swimming with dogs because the folks at the local pool are unlikely to take kindly to you showing up with your canine best friend.
If you do go wild swimming, consider a dog life jacket. Even if your dog is a confident swimmer, accidents can happen. A life jacket keeps them safe if something goes wrong.
Throwing a flying disc for your dog might seem more like exercise for your dog than for you. But, you can make it as active as you like by running around with your dog while you throw it. Plus, if your puppy pal isn’t great at returning the disc, you need to chase them around to get it back.
Agility training is like an obstacle course for dogs, with jumps, weave poles, see-saws and more. Your dog is the one who traverses the obstacles, but you need to run around the course with them to give them commands. While agility classes are great, you can also buy dog agility equipment to practice with at home.
If you want a practice that combines stretching, strength training, mindfulness and dogs, try doga. Yes, that’s dog yoga. It’s the humans that do the yoga more than the dogs, but you incorporate your canine companion into some of the poses. It’s not great exercise for your dog, but it’s a great way to bond with your pet, for your pup to socialize with other dogs and for you to meet local dog parents.
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.