Dogs are the perfect fitness companion and just owning a fur-baby can improve your health. Studies indicate that dogs can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol; reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; and they motivate you to exercise. I mean, come on! They are like the fitness buddy you always wanted, only way cuter. If you find yourself living on dog days and don’t find the motivation to run or workout, then chances are that your heart will melt thanks to the puppy eyes that most dogs perfect over the years. The pair of excited eyes and wagging tail will move even the most stubborn mind.
That being said, your dog probably needs the workout too. Dogs are highly trainable and can be successfully trained with love, positive reinforcement, and consistency from your side. Not all dogs are used to a routine, but it is possible with consistency and a little patience. If you stay consistent then a simple walk in the park with your dog can turn into a full-body training session with just a few exercises. But while you do try out these workouts, always adopt caution. Exercising with your dog is not as easy as it sounds; you still have to take care of certain aspects to have a trouble-free pet time.
What You Need:
- Your dog!
- A Leash
- Throwable dog toy
- Water bowl
Things To Keep In Mind:
- If your dog refuses to do an exercise or becomes lethargic then don’t force him/her.
- When using food to motivate your dog for the workouts, use the ones from his daily allowance instead of adding more treats. If your dog has a favorite toy, then use that as an alternative.
- If your dog doesn’t cooperate then don’t stress. Do your best to train your pooch and just have fun with it.
Before diving headfirst into the workout, remember to warm-up. Strap a leash on your dog and take him for a brisk walk. The idea is to increase the temperature of the muscles and to prepare your body for the exercises to come. Improvise by changing your pace, walking on toes, adding a few butt-kicks, changing directions, and by jogging. Use the leash to direct your dog and choose the same route till s/he gets accustomed to the walk and won’t get as distracted with all the new scents.
Take it up a notch now. Continue with the walking but break into a lunge with every step. Coordinate your movement with your dog’s by placing treats when you bend the knee. Repeat for 10 reps.
Let’s start with the body weight session now. For the front squat, cradle your dog in your arms and stand up straight with feet at shoulder-width distance. Bend your knees and push your buttocks out to complete one rep. Return back to standing position and do 10 reps. If you have a big dog, then you can train him or her with treats. When you squat down, place a treat so that your dog sits on his hind legs. When you return to standing position, s/he should stand back up.
A yoga mat for this is optional. A little grass in the park hurt nobody. Lie down on your back with knees bent. Position your dog between your legs, so that s/he is facing you and should be sitting on all fours when you are lying down. When you come up, place a treat in your dog’s mouth and train her to sit-up on her hind legs when you do so. Perform 10 reps of this exercise.
Toss and Stretch
Get your dog’s favorite toy for this. Throw the toy as far as you can. While your dog is away fetching it, bring right heel to the right butt to stretch your quad. Hold the stretch till your dog returns. Repeat the throw and stretch for the other leg. Involve your quad muscles, hamstrings, calves and upper back for this one. Perform 5 reps on each leg.
You can finish off the session by walking home. Give your dog some water if needed and remember to keep yourself hydrated as well.