Dogs are known for being “man’s best friend” and they really can make the best workout companions. Regular exercise is vital to both you and your dog for leading a fit, healthy, happy life - and exercise is also one of your dog’s basic needs. If you or your dog are not used to strenuous exercise, then it is important to build your way up starting off with ten-minute exercises and gradually reaching around thirty minutes per day. However, before you take up your new daily regime it is vital to consider the breed of dog. Certain exercises. such as running and jogging, aren’t suitable for young puppies as their bones haven’t finished growing. Brachycephalic breeds - which includes pugs, bulldogs and mastiffs -also aren’t one to take running or jogging, as they struggle with breathing due to their short, flat faces.
Now you can turn exercise into play with these fun, easy and basic activities.
Running is one of the best calorie burners and if you have a breed of dog such as a Labrador, which are more suited to it, then it can provide a lifetime of fun. Firstly, you should find a track that is suitable and allows dogs to run alongside you. Always take a water bottle and a foldable bowl so that you can both rehydrate whilst on the go. Comfortable shoes are a must, as is avoiding hot times of the day as this can be dangerous for any dog.
Do you have a dog that loves walks so much that they would pull you over trying to get a faster pace? Then cycling could be the sport for the both of you. Cycling is ideal for dogs who boast energy as you can gain a faster pace encouraging them to keep up with you as you pedal. You should start off trying to train them not to pull on the lead whilst running at the side of you.
This is the easiest and most ideal exercise for you both, providing benefits such as lower blood pressure, stronger heart rate and more energy. Plus, regular walks can reduce behavioural problems in your dog. You should always start off with a steady walk of around twenty minutes before you gradually build it up to a hike.
A low impact sport that is ideal for people and dogs who suffer from arthritis, as it is easy on the joints. Swimming is a fun sport for both you and your dog, strengthening your hearts and lungs. However, you should be aware that this is not the sport for all dogs. Some dogs do not like the idea of swimming in water, and you should never force a dog if they do not want to participate.
A very popular sport with lots of dogs, and a sport that can build your relationship as you work together. Your dog will race through an obstacle course of hurdles, tunnels and ladders with you running alongside offering treats for encouragement and praise. This develops your dog’s co-ordination skills and stimulates their brain.
An all-time favourite with any dog as they normally love running after their favourite toy or ball. Although this is more exercise for your dog, you can try squatting or doing some lunges as your dog makes his way back to you.
When exercising you need to be careful that neither of you overdo it. Your dog may be overworked if they are breathing fast or panting heavily - so you should always take a water bottle and a foldable bowl to rehydrate you both on the go. If either of you are stiff or sore in the coming days, then you should take it easier on the next workout. Old dogs may suffer with arthritis but this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t exercise – swimming or slow walks would be more suited to them as they are low impact ways to exercise.