Man’s Best Workout Partner: Dog Fitness

Pittsburgh Fitness Project. Exercising with your dog is a great way for you and your pet to stay in great shape. Try these basic dog fitness ideas with your pup during your next workout! Dog on Leash

If you are looking for ways to be active or to switch up your exercise routine, try out some of these activities with your dog! Exercising with your dog is a great way for you and your pet to stay in excellent shape. Dogs love routine, and they can make for great accountability partners when you find an activity that you both can enjoy. Here are some basic dog fitness ideas that require little to no equipment for you to try with your pup!

If you have concerns or questions it is important to consult your veterinarian for advice. Take your dog’s preferences and current fitness levels into consideration before choosing an activity.

Dog Fitness: Walking

Let’s start simple: just go for a walk! This is arguably the easiest activity to do with your dog and one that is a great low-intensity introduction to see what your dog is able to handle. The best way to make this a habit is to choose a route that starts at your house so that there’s no excuse to skip.

Have more time and want to mix things up? Let your dog choose the route of your walk based on whatever smell they choose!

Running

Do you and your dog need something with a little more intensity? Try going for a run or biking with your dog. These activities are more suited towards hyperactive working breeds or other dogs that have a lot of energy. When starting out, it is important to start slow both in duration and in speed so that you do not push the dog or yourself too far past the limit.

One interaction with both of these activities to take into consideration is the leash in both scenarios. For running, it is important to have a leash that is comfortable for both you and your dog if you are not in an environment where the dog can be off-leash.

Biking

With biking, it is even more imperative to be aware of your surroundings and others that may be sharing the trail. Start with just walking your bike alongside you and your dog to make sure they are not afraid of it and slowly progress into fast speeds and longer distances.

Another important factor for these activities is the time of year and the type of terrain. Dogs’ paws can be very sensitive in extreme heat especially on paved surfaces. In the winter, consider introducing your dog to a set of protective boots; salt used on roads and sidewalks in the winter can be harmful to your dog’s paws.

Hiking/Trail Run

Love the outdoors and nature’s great scenery? Your dog will too! You can choose a trail that matches your fitness level, whether you’re looking for a short, flat trail, or something with some more hills and obstacles. Hitting your local trail can be a great alternative to some terrain that is friendly for your dog’s paws as I previously mentioned. Plus, your dog is sure to love all the fresh, new smells.

Try these Pittsburgh favorites!

Dog Fitness Games: Fetch with a Twist

Looking to incorporate more circuit or interval-style training into your time with your dog? If they love to play fetch, grab their favorite toy and give this a try!

For as long as you or your dog can handle, start off by launching that toy as far as you can like normal, and then take an exercise of your choice to perform while your dog brings their toy back to you. You can do this with one exercise or rotate through multiple for as long as desired. You can even try to race your dog to their toy if you’re looking for a good sprinting workout.

Tug of War/Keep Away

If your dog is not the retriever type or one that likes to let go of their toys very easily, try adding some variation to your next game of tug of war! During playtime, you can do rows, curls, squats, or lunges while your dog tries their best to get their toy back from you. Certainly, rope toys and a fair amount of space are more suited for this type of activity.

If your dog is still the ball type or if you want some fun for the whole family, try a classic game of Keep Away! Kick around the soccer ball or throw their favorite toy around between your family or friends to keep the whole group moving.

Any Movement is Good Movement

The next time you’re not quite feeling your workout but want to keep moving, remember your pup and come back to this dog fitness blog! Any movement is good movement and your best bud will be grateful for the extra playtime!

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