Essentially I gave you plenty of places to get your fitness on. Today, I want to talk more about the types of fitness activities that benefit both you and your dog.
I think it's important to note that not all dogs are ready to do a marathon or jog alongside a cycle from the word "go." Getting your dog to a prescribed fitness level, just like us humans, takes time. Start slowly and work up. Let your dog tell you how much and how intense your workouts should be. Watch for warning signs such as: excessive panting, pale or bright red gums, lagging behind a lot, vomiting/diarrhea, extreme soreness in the day after a workout.
Also, keep an eye on your weather. Stay away from the hottest times of the day in the summer (and pavement), making sure your dog is well hydrated. In the winter, booties can help alleviate ice/snow build up and exposure to road, trail or path salting for icey conditions.
Finally, bring plenty of water and a portable bowl for hydration breaks.
Everyone can play this game. Walking is a great way to exercise, as well as build up to more intense levels of fitness work. When working with puppies, make sure you start slowly (15 minutes), working up to 30, then 40, then 1 hour. Remember, young puppies joints are not yet closed, and stressors can cause problems down the line.
Dogs need plenty of stamina in order to hike. Terrain issues (steep hills, rocks, creeks, etc.) can tax your dog's energy reserves. Starting slow and on easy terrain is highly recommended, adding more strenuous hikes as your dog builds up their muscles and stamina.
Once your walks have built up to a longer level, you might want to add jogging to your dance card. It is not recommend to jog dogs strenuously until they have reached the age of one (again, those pesky joints need to fully close), but if you have a very high energy dog, working up to a nice jog pace might be a good thing. Jogging is NOT recommended for overweight dogs or dogs with arthritis, as it does put a lot of pressure on joints. Also flat-faced dogs may struggle with their breathing. Closely monitor your dog or ask your vet for their input as to whether or not your dog is a good candidate for jogging.
4. Dog Agility
If you think humans do not get a good work out copiloting their dogs through an agility course, you have not experienced true agility training. It's DEFINITELY a workout! If your dog likes learning new tricks, running and jumping, check out agility training near you.
This is a great activity for dogs who like to fetch. We had a Golden Retriever named Ollie who was one of the best Frisbee playing dogs we ever owned. It really helped to keep Ollie's weight down. There are also Disc Dog events, for when your dog becomes STELLAR at frisbee catching! Last week I saw a boy playing frisbee golf at a local park, using his retriever to fetch the frisbee and bring it back to him. Bonus: you learn how to throw a frisbee, and get plenty of exercise in the process.
Whatever you decide to adopt as your fitness regimen, including your dog strengthens that bond between you, and allows them to remain healthy and fit for years to come.
Click Into the Circle
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic (fitness), start here with Sandra of Sandra McCarthy Photography as she provides tips for Hiking in NH with your dog.
Then find the link at the end of each blog to click on to the next photographer, until you find yourself back here, and have completed the circle.
Have a great weekend! Can you believe it's Fall? Where did the summer go?