Fun Ways to Exercise With Your Dog
June 30th, 2022
Both humans and dogs must have an exercise routine to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Although dogs can be eager to play and go for a walk, you may sometimes need to push your furry friend for some exercise.
Dog owners must devise fun ways to incorporate their dog’s workout to keep their pets fit and healthy.
What’s not to love about exercising with your dog? They help you have fun, keep a positive attitude, and give you free cuddles at the end.
This article will explore fun ways to exercise with your dog to help your dog exercise in no time.
How Much Exercise Do Dogs Need?
Most dogs need one or two hours of exercise daily to stay healthy, but no two dogs are the same.
Factors to consider when deciding how much exercise a dog needs include age, breed, and health. Different dog breeds have different energy levels.
Some feature active dogs with higher exercise requirements than others. Younger dogs generally need more exercise than senior dogs.
Regular exercise provides various health benefits for you and your dog, including physical and mental stimulation that prevents destructive behavior, obesity, and loss of muscle mass.
Always decide how much exercise your dog needs to get based on its characteristics.
So keep this in mind when dealing with dogs. Like bulldogs, they feature unique physiology that makes breathing and panting difficult, so keep this in mind.
10 Fun Dog Exercises
Here are some fun, beginner-friendly exercises that make it easy to bond with your dog while staying healthy.
Walking or Running
Dog walking is a classic form of exercise your dog will appreciate.
It allows them to stay fit and healthy while they explore their surroundings. Start with short (20 to 30 minute) walks to the dog park and gradually warm up your dog for a long walk.
Avoid rushing it and allow your dog enough time to sniff and explore.
Running is also excellent for some dogs after they’re comfortable walking.
However, not all dogs can tolerate this exercise. Ensure you start slowly and warm up to higher speeds and distances.
Bring plenty of water and take breaks as needed. Don’t run with your dog in hot temperatures or push them too hard to avoid the risks of heat stroke, cardiovascular problems, and injuries.
To prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated, check out our portable water bottle.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for you and your dog. It does wonders for overall health and provides an aerobic workout that tones and strengthens the muscles.
Diving into the pool with your pooch on hot days is a great way to foster the bond you share.
Swimming is especially great for dogs with arthritis. It’s low impact, non-weight bearing, and non-concussive, allowing your dog to enjoy all the benefits without stressing their tendons and joints.
Not all dogs are natural swimmers, but hydrotherapy can be a great way to introduce controlled swimming.
You can play many games with your dog at home, in the garden, or in the park.
Games are a great bonding opportunity and will give you and your dog some exercise and mental stimulation. Games that will provide moderate and light exercise include:
- Tug of war
Tug of war gives your dog a healthy outlet for its predatory nature and provides physical and mental exercise while reinforcing your bond.
To play safely and keep the game from going overboard, make sure you and your dog understand the rules and parameters before playing. Here’s how to play:
Teach a release command like ‘drop it’ and ensure your dog masters it before you begin.
Choose a dog toy designed for tagging. Good tug toys feature rubber or similar material with comfortable handles to keep your hands at a safe distance.
Pick a spot with room for you both to move about and initiate the game. Ensure there’s nothing in the way should any of you back up.
Always start and set the tone for any tug of war game, and take breaks to keep things under control. Some growling with tail wagging may be okay, but take a break when anything intense occurs.
- Game of fetch
The game of fetch is a continuous exercise that relieves your dog’s anxiety and improves their happiness. You may think dogs play fetch naturally, but it’s something they need to learn. Teaching your dog the game of fetch is easy.
Start by ensuring your dog understands the sit command. Always begin by asking your dog to sit. It ensures your dog understands the rules and doesn’t jump on you to try and take the ball before you throw it.
Throw the ball and tell your dog to fetch. It mostly happens instinctively, but if it doesn’t, work on training your dog to play first. Give treats and praise your dog for taking an interest in the ball, and work your way to having it run after and pick up the ball.
Get your dog to return by ensuring they understand the “come” command. Speak in a cheerful voice, praising your dog and patting your legs.
Teach your dog a drop or release command and give it as soon as it returns to you.
If your dog loves to fetch, they’ll also enjoy frisbee, so give it a try for a fun dog workout.
A cardio workout will help build your dog’s muscle strength and endurance.
Cardio circuits incorporate different exercises targeting separate muscle groups to give your dog’s whole body a great workout.
It involves having your dog complete a sequence of exercises with little to no rest in-between.
The number of reps will depend on your dog’s fitness level. Beginners don’t have to go straight to five exercises in a circuit. Start small with 2 or 3 exercises and keep reps low to help your dog succeed.
Puppy push-ups are a great exercise to warm up and build muscles for dogs of any age. It also has the added benefit of honing basic obedience behaviors.
A puppy push-up involves having your dog move from a sitting position to a down position and then back into a sitting position.
Incorporating your dog into your push-up exercise routine is a fun and challenging twist. Get your pup to sit on your back for a little extra resistance and do a few reps.
For you and your dog's safety, smaller dogs are more suited for this than larger ones.
Dog Yoga (Doga)
Doga, or dog yoga, is a fun way to exercise with your dog and spend quality time with them.
It provides physical and mental benefits, including relaxation, improving circulation, soothing hyperactivity, and stress relief.
You can include your dog in your yoga practice at home or in a class with other humans and dogs.
Most yoga flows mimic animal stretching movements, and doga can help you and your dog develop a closer bond or connection.
From using your dog’s weight to balance to stretches featuring lots of pats, it’s a fantastic bonding experience. Check out this basic doga routine.
Turn your lunges into a fun game with your dog by holding your arm straight out from your body with a treat or toy.
Your dog can jump for the treat or toy as you lunge up and down, toning your legs and having fun!
If you can comfortably handle your dog’s weight, you can hold them next to your chest, maintain good form, and perform your lunges.
It’s a fun unilateral challenge, and your pup will enjoy the ride.
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek are among the most fun things to do with dogs. Your dog gets to move around while flexing its cognitive and seeking abilities.
To be successful, your dog must understand basic commands like sit, stay, and come.
Go with your dog to a room and ask them to stay, then leave and hide in a different location.
Call their name while in your hiding place and encourage them to come and find you.
They’ll practice following the trail of your natural scent and boost their confidence when they find you. Celebrate the victory with praise or a treat.
Obedience training involves great mental stimulation exercises for your dog.
They can keep your dog occupied, enhance competition skills, or simply ensure your dog can listen to and respond to you positively.
Exercises can include heel on leash, heel free, recall, sit-stay, get your leash, or sit and stay.
You can find all kinds of dog sports out there, and they guarantee a great mental and physical dog workout.
Dogs naturally love to play and jump over gates and hurdles, climb up ladders and ramps or crawl through tubes and bridges.
You can easily set up an obstacle course and run through it with your dog, or you can research other dog sports and find a suitable one based on your dog’s needs.
You can find trainers who offer classes in your area to help you and your furry companion learn the sport.
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