Your favorite dog could be the key to keeping you fit. Learn how to make running, hiking and swimming a bonding activity with your puppy.
Whether you’re a long-time dog owner or a recent times puppy parent, you know the power of pets to stay healthy and happy. In addition, your dog can also keep you fit. “Dogs can motivate you to get out of your house and exercise,” says Suzi Teitelman, a teacher and trainer of Doga (That’s the Yoga you do with your dog) in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.
Training with dogs is a great way to connect with them while improving the dog’s obedience. “It’s really fun to work out with your dog,” says Annie Appleby, a San Francisco-based Yoga, Pilates and strength training teacher who incorporates dogs into her classes at her company YogaForce.
Walking is just the Beginning. Dogs can at a number of Organized Activities, says Personal Trainer Dawn Celapino, whose Company Leash Your Fitness in San Diego Dogs in Hiking, Surfing, Kayaking, Camping, Yoga, Running, Bodybuilding and Boot Camp in the Process of transportation. “Start slowly and build a new activity, and don’t get frustrated if your dog can’t do it right away,” Celapino advises. “It takes patience and work.”
FIRST STEPS WITH YOUR DOG
Make sure your dog is approved by your veterinarian for any activity you undertake and be sure to monitor your pet for any signs of discomfort, pain or fatigue, advises Tracy James, exercise director and dog trainer based in Santa Monica, California, who offers fitness classes for humans and dogs
For outdoor adventures, pack food, water, and sunscreen if your dog is lightly coated or hairless. Take frequent breaks to rest, refuel and rehydrate. and give your dog time to warm up and cool down before and after strenuous exercise, especially in extreme weather. As long as you and your dog are both “healthy and able to perform the exercises painlessly and in good shape, you have a wonderful training partner,” says James. If you’re wondering what activities you want to try together, start with this List.
HIKING WITH A DOG
Going on the trail with your four-legged friend can provide a powerful Cardio workout. Before lacing up, make sure dogs are allowed wherever you go and check if a leash is needed. Even if it is not, a leash prevents the puppy from unintentionally disturbing other hikers, hunting wildlife and damaging off-trail habitat, unless your dog is very well trained. (A standard 6-foot leash is best for control, Celapino says.) Make sure your dog’s flea and tick meds are up to date (pre-treat him before heading out on the slopes, if not). After your hike, check your dog’s paws to make sure nothing is stuck inside. And clean up after your dog by burying the trash or packing it in plastic bags.
MAKE YOUR DOG FOR COMPANION
If you grab your shoes and start pounding the pavement, you might want to grab that leash, too. Dogs can “help you maintain your pace and make you do a little more than you normally would” when you’re running, Teitelman says. Some breeds of dogs are more suitable for long-distance races than others. If you have a brachycephalic (short-legged) dog like a pug or a bulldog or a puppy whose bones are still growing, stick to short Sprints in the garden or park. For dogs who like longer runs, start with a long linen walk or a short run around the block, gradually adding the distance. Make sure you don’t push your dog beyond his comfort level. “You wouldn’t run a Marathon,” Calepino says. “You have to lean on it.”
CYCLING WITH YOUR PUPPY
The right equipment can make cycling with your dog safe and fun. In most matters, you want an accessory that securely attaches it to your bike seat so that it can walk with you when you pedal. Do not hold the leash in your hands while holding the handlebars. this increases the risk of deviating from the course and losing control. It goes without saying that you want to avoid busy roads and adapt your pace to what is comfortable for your dog. If it’s slower than you want, change gears to make it harder for you. Don’t forget to praise your dog for being a great bike companion.
HOW, WITH HIS DOG SWIMS
Not all breeds of dogs go into the water so easily. Long-legged and short-legged dogs like dachshunds can have problems. If your dog is hesitant, don’t push him. Nevertheless, many dogs with proper training and gentle encouragement can keep them company in the water. Start in shallow water where your dog can feel the ground and stay close by. Gradually encourage your dog to go further. Train your dog to calm down with a canine life jacket with handle for swimming so that you can keep control of the Situation.
PADDLEBOARDING DOGS AND WATER SPORTS
If your dog likes to swim and respond to commands, paddleboarding or kayaking is a great way to train and connect. Choose equipment that provides your puppy with enough space, stability and traction (and use this canine life jacket with handle). Gradually guide your dog to the paddle board: First, practice standing on firm ground together, then release him little by little with you into the water and reward him with treats, encouragement and praise.
TAKE YOUR DOG TO DOGA, PILATES AND BODYBUILDING
Fitness instructors have come up with creative ways to incorporate dogs into everything from squats and lunges to downward-facing dogs (of course) and warrior poses. Although looking for a Doga class is the easiest way to explore Yoga with your dog, you can also try it yourself. Teitelman suggests first sitting quietly and meditating with your dog nearby for five minutes. “It’s about making sure that you and your dog bond through common energy and that you are together in the Moment,” she says.
SKIING WITH YOUR PET
Skijöring has a Moment. This snow sport, where you put on cross-country skiing and your dog drags you on a trailer attached to a harness, is a great exercise for both humans and dogs. But be careful: even if you have the right equipment and are ready to finish training, not all dogs are suitable for this serious winter training. “They want dogs that can handle the cold weather well,” Calepino says. If you are going to Skijöring, “” you would not take a beach dog.”
The bottom line is that being active together brings body and emotional benefits to the people and pets they love, James says. “Dogs want and need Stimulation. They like to learn and deserve treats,” she emphasizes. And do not believe what you have heard: “you can teach an old dog new tricks — and help increase the number of healthy years you have with exercise.”