Although dogs seem to be pretty happy with their daily walks, we can see their utter joy when we go for longer sessions during weekends. Most healthy dogs, even the smallest, are extremely resistant to tiredness and can run for a long long while before dropping dead.
Us, as humans, are having that fitness lifestyle blasted in our eyes and ears since a few years now. So why not merge both and enjoy great workouts with your own dog? Of course, if you have a whole pack, the more the merrier.
Joggers out there can simply bring their dogs for their regular runs and do it together. It’s easy and it will make your dog snooze for hours once you’re back home. But we wanted to make it more diverse and give you alternatives.
1. Hiking with your dog
My all-time favorite activity with my Border Collie is the getaway. I get her dog backpack ready and we go hiking a couple of days, sleeping in a small hotel or even camp in the mountains. I like safety so I go to a registered and official camping — with showers, for example. Sorry, I’m fancy…
Hiking with your dog allows you to adjust the level of difficulty: uphill path or a flatter field will change the game. You can also stop for breaks whenever you want and even go for a swim if there’s a clean pond nearby.
Make sure, however, that you bring enough dog food and water for the entire trail and some gear as well. Depending on how secluded your hike is, you may find it hard to buy food and equipment.
2. High intensity interval training
For those who don’t have time to escape for days with their dogs, you can do some high intensity interval training with your dog. Sprints are usually the best, but swimming is more pleasant if you can.
In theory, HIIT is straightforward. Repeat an extremely intense effort for usually half a minute to a couple of minutes and then stop to rest for the same time. And repeat. As many times as you want, or can. It’s some sort of binary: either you rest, or you go all-in.
In practice, you will suffer much more than your dog. HIIT difficulty level can also be adjusted by having more resting time between two sprints.
3. Cycling with your pooch
A lot of dog owners are just not into fitness but still want to exercise their dogs and perhaps step into the fitness world a little. Having a bike is that gateway drug to fitness and health for the laziest amongst us.
Cycling is as tiring as you want it to be, yet even if you cycle slowly, your dog will enjoy it so much more than if you just do yet another walk around the block.
The priority when cycling with your dog is to get a harness and special leash that will act as tether between your pet and your bike. You then need to slowly train your dog to run alongside the bike rather than dragging it. It takes a few sessions to practice (and few bags of treats) and you’ll be ready for the next Tour de France.
Bike riding with your dog can seem so relaxing for you but remind yourself to make regular stops to allow your four-legged athlete to drink fresh water… and resume ha!
You can get creative, too
These are examples of activities and workouts where dogs can easily be included. I prefer hikes because I work hard and very very long hours, so I tend to sometimes checkout for two or three days to recoup some energy. Going overnight somewhere somewhat remote helps me and my dog enjoy quality time together.
But these are just examples — for example, if you can, go swim with your pooch! Dogs generally love swimming even if some breeds are better swimmer than others. do it yourself.
So you get the gist — if you have the will to get out there with your dogs and workout, you will. From the easy jog to a two-day trail with your dog, you have a wide-range of exercises you can pick from to keep both you and your dog happy, and healthy.
This article was submitted by Lazhar Ichir.
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