Fitness with your Dog

How you can have fun with man’s best friend and get a workout in the process.

BodyHe loves you unconditionally, always has an open ear when you need to talk, and welcomes you with open paws when you need a hug. Now, you can have an even tighter bond with your dog, as you and your pooch get healthy together!

Here are five ways to turn your favorite four-legged friend into your new workout partner.

1. Walking

The most obvious way to exercise with your canine pal is to simply go for walks together. After all, it is recommended that all dogs go for walks every day, and doing so is a great way for you to get the 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise your doctor recommends. As if those perks weren’t enough, the regularity of a daily walk helps develop a stronger relationship with your dog, helping your dog trust you and be more obedient.

2. Fetching

Many dogs love chasing after tennis balls, tree limbs, or whatever else you can find to throw. To get a workout that will benefit both of you, throw the object to be fetched and take off after it with your dog. You’ll probably get beat most of the time, but the running back and forth and friendly competition will do you a world of good.

3. Swimming

It may be difficult to find a pool where your pool is welcome. So if you can’t find a neighbor’s pool where Fido is welcome to take a dip, head to a local lake, river, or ocean and get swimming! The movements work both you and your dog in ways that no other exercise does, leaving you exhausted and stronger. As you’re in water during the exercise, you also get to stay cool in the process.

4. Dancing

A little bit less common than walking or swimming, dancing with your dog may seem a bit odd. All you have to do to dance with your dog is toss on your favorite CD or record and start moving. Allow your pooch to run around you as she wishes. Gradually, encourage your dog to sprint through your legs, jump after a certain move, and even stand on his or her back paws in a standing position on occasion. The constant motion will help both of you burn plenty of calories and will leave you in a pile on the floor, laughing and loving the kisses your new dance partner lavishes upon you.

5. Bicycling

Years ago, bicycling with man’s best friend by your side was extremely dangerous. Fortunately, there are now contraptions that allow your pooch to be attached safely to your bicycle for a ride/run. With one of these devices, you won’t fall over every time Fido decides to lunge after a squirrel or cat while running down the road. But you will be in great shape after a few months of riding alongside your exercise-loving doggie!

A Few Rules to Obey

Working out with your canine pal can be rewarding in many ways. To make sure your workout is safe as well as effective, you’ve got to take a few steps, as your dog’s safety is in your hands.

  • Unless you’re exercising in your home or backyard, keep your pooch on a leash to prevent him from getting loose and running away or getting injured.
  • While you may think you can push a dog as hard as you can go, you may be wrong. Understanding your dog’s breed will help you cater your workout to be fitting for your dog’s abilities.
  • Never leave your dog alone in a public area, as it could lead to a variety of unwanted events.
  • If your dog doesn’t know how to sit, stay, heel, or perform other necessary obedience skills, don’t take her in public, as it could result in a frustrating outing filled with pulling on the leash, pleading with your dog to obey.
  • Be sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations and has the tags and identification necessary in the event he gets loose and runs off.

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