Stay in shape by exercising your pet pooch

With the weather getting warmer, now is a great time to start getting in shape for summer.

You don’t have to hit the gym in order to exercise, you and your dog can get fit together. Here are 8 ways to exercise with your pooch, your body and your pup will love you for it.

8 ways to exercise you and your dog

Remember to consult your vet before starting any strenuous exercise regimes, particularly if your dog is a bit of a couch potato or has existing medical conditions.

1 Walking

Seems obvious and we all do it already. By why not mix it up a bit? Throw in some lunges as you walk. Or try some uphill or stair walking to get the blood pumping. Your doggie will love the variety.

2 Running

Not every dog is cut out for running (particularly flat face breeds like pugs and bulldogs) and like anything, start small and work your pup up to longer distances, don’t start out with a 5km run! Once you get in a routine your dog will be dragging you out of bed for a run, all the motivation you need on those days you would rather hit the snooze button.

3 Swimming

Swimming is an amazing workout for you and your pooch. Head down to a dog beach and jump in. Be mindful of your dog’s swimming ability, you can get great life vests so they don’t tire too quickly. Why stop at swimming maybe try kayaking or paddleboarding if your doggie is up for it.

4 Bike riding

Once you have trained your pup to run alongside you, they will love a good bike ride. Start out small on your property or a back street, walk your bike with your dog until they get used to the bike’s movement and your commands. Practice stopping and starting. Once you’re confident hop on and take it slow. You can even get special bike leads that will absorb any sudden pulling your dog might do so that you don’t come off.

5 Rollerblading

Remember rollerblades? So much fun and a great cardio workout. Your pup will love getting up a bit of speed and running alongside you. Just make sure you are confident on them before attempting to bring your buddy along. Start on a quiet street or on your property so your dog doesn’t get distracted.

6 Agility

Take some equipment down to the park (like cones to dart in between or a tunnel to run through) or use the play equipment that is there (like hurdles) to get your pup doing some agility training. Your pup will love learning something new and you will have so much fun you won’t even notice how much running around after them you are doing.

7 Strength training

Dogs love tug of war and it’s great for toning your arms. Try holding a squat position while holding a rope with your pup on the other end, just watch your posture. If your pup is small you could try things like tricep dips with your pup on your lap. Get creative and have fun with it!

8 Active fetch

Who says you have to stand there while your pup brings the ball back to you. Try racing them to the ball. Or see how many burpees or lunges you can get in before your dog brings the ball back. Don’t forget to squat when picking up the ball.

Your dog is the best exercise partner you could find because they are always keen, will never bail on you last minute and will never complain about going a little harder.

Whatever it is you are doing if you are having fun doing it, it doesn’t feel like work.

Don’t have a dog? Your local shelter will be glad for a volunteer to exercise the dogs waiting for their forever homes.

Visit our directory for a list of animal shelters & rescues.

What are your doggie exercise tips? We would love to hear how you and your pup stay fit together.

This article was originally published on January 2, 2017