The Best Exercise for You and Your Dog
As a dog owner, hopefully you already know that regular exercise is essential for the health and well-being of your pet. It doesn’t hurt that it is also a great time for you to get active as well. Exercising with your dog is the best way for both of you to improve your health, lengthen lifespans, build strength and endurance, and foster the human-canine bond.
Why Exercise with Your Dog?
Exercising with your dog has several benefits, both for you and your pet.
- Bonding: The relationship between man and wolf is part of our evolution. It’s natural and expected that you bond deeply with your pet. Running, walking, games of fetch all support the bond.
- Mental stimulation: Regular exercise can help reduce your dog's anxiety and boredom, keeping them mentally sharp, and ready for action whenever it may come.
- Weight management: Obese dogs are not healthy. Just like humans, there is an epidemic in today’s modern world leading to overweight, unhealthy animals. Have you ever seen an obese wolf? It’s important to control your pets weight, and exercise is the best way to ensure proper physical health.
- Cardiovascular health: Wolves evolved to hunt deer and moose over miles, outlasting their prey for as long as necessary. Your dog is ready to do the same, it just takes commitment. Every dog needs an outlet to allow their inner-wolf to shine.
- Socialization: Dogs are social animals, and so are we. Get them to the park, or with other dogs as often as possible. Dogs that run and play together build bonds with each other that are as important and lasting as human friendships.
The Best Exercises for You and Your Dog
- Walking: It’s the bare minimum, but walking is the most accessible and straightforward exercise that you can for yourself and your dog. It's low-impact and suitable for dogs of all ages and fitness levels. 30 minutes of walking per day should be the absolute minimum. Rain, sleet, or snow shouldn’t deter you.
- Running: Your dog wants to run, and it probably wants to do it faster and further than you can. When you get tired, it’s time to bust out the tennis ball for some good ole fetch so they can burn off the rest of their energy.
- Hiking: When hiking with your pet, don’t feel guilty for putting some weight on their back - they probably just want to help out anyway. You both should be pushing the pace, just don’t forget to bring water and lots of it.
- Swimming: It’s called the doggy paddle for a reason. Once acclimated, most dogs love the water and it just so happens to be a killer workout for us too. Lakes, pools, rivers, or oceans. Your dog can learn to love it.
- Agility training: If you're looking for a more mentally stimulating workout for your dog, agility training can be a great option. It involves a series of obstacles that your dog must navigate, such as tunnels, jumps, and weave poles.
Tips for Exercising with Your Dog
- Always start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
- Make sure that your dog is up for the exercise and isn't showing any signs of exhaustion or discomfort.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks for both you and your pet, especially on hot days.
- Use proper equipment, such as a sturdy leash and a well-fitting collar.
- Vary your workouts to keep things interesting for both you and your pet.
- Always clean up after your dog and be respectful of other people and their pets.
Exercising with your dog can be a fun and rewarding way to stay active and healthy, for you, your dog, and the entire family. Whether you prefer walking, running, hiking, swimming, or agility training, there are plenty of exercises that you can do together. Just remember to start slow, be mindful of your dog's needs and limitations, and always have fun.