Man’s best friend? How about “Man’s best workout buddy”?
If your New Year’s resolution is to be more active, it’s not just YOU who can benefit. Dogs that “work out” are healthier, happier and a lot less destructive around the house. (Great news if you got some plush new slippers over the holidays.)
And let’s be honest: as much as we love our pets, sometimes we just need them to lie contentedly on their beds instead of following us around 24/7!
So how can you move beyond the basic walk and find fun new ways to exercise with your dog this year? Read on …
#1: New Spin on Fetch
Fetch doesn’t have to mean you stand there and your dog does all the work. While your dog is retrieving the ball, take that time to do lunges, crunches or jumping jacks. If your dog doesn’t really get the whole “bring the ball back” concept (we can relate), you can make a cardio game of it, where you both chase the ball back and forth across the yard.
#2: Play Soccer
Soccer is a favorite activity for herding breeds, bouncy boxers and other fun-loving pups. So unleash your inner kid, or better yet, if you have kids, get them away from their screens and outside to play a fun game of soccer with you and the dog. Dogs can easily learn to “kick” or “dribble” with their noses and paws, and of course, they love to chase “throw-ins.”
You can find specific soccer balls built to withstand those sharp doggie teeth, such as Amazon’s choice, USA-made Jolly Pets 8” soccer ball.
Ski what?! Skijoring is a combo of cross country skiing and dog sledding, and it’s all the rage for pets and owners who love the snow. During this fun winter activity, the dog wears a dog sledding harness attached by a rope or towline to you (who’s also wearing a skijoring harness). While you power yourself with skis and pulls, your dog can also pull you.
For this activity, dogs should be at least 35 pounds, high energy and able to tolerate the cold temperatures. It also helps if they’re well trained so they don’t take off after a rogue squirrel.
#4: Agility Training
You’ve seen it. You’ve heard about it. You’ve always wanted to try it. So this season of resolutions is the perfect time to actually go DO IT. Enrolling your dog in agility training is a great way to work out and bond with your pet. Dogs of all shapes and sizes can do it, and you’ll love watching them jump hurdles, jog across walkways, and jockey through tunnels.
Too cold outside for you and your pet? You can both get an indoor workout playing hide-and-seek. The only rule here is to have fun. This is a great family activity and easiest to play if there are at least 3 people. One person hides while the other person stays with the dog and counts. Then it’s time to go seek! For more of a workout, include all floors in the house so you can take the stairs as you hide and seek.
Let’s Do This.
Exercise for you, exercise for your dog. This is what we call a New Year’s win-win. Have a fun and healthy 2018 with your dog, and be sure to share this post with your friends who have pets. Maybe you can all be workout buddies!