Different Ways to Integrate Your Dog into Your Exercise Routine

Sparky Steps - Different Ways to Integrate Your Dog into Your Exercise Routine

Different Ways to Integrate Your Dog into Your Exercise Routine

Physical exercise is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, whether you have four feet or two. More than half of dog owners (64 percent) reach approximately 150 minutes of exercise each week just by walking their pets, according to Inverse. Walking around the neighborhood is one of the easiest ways to get some physical activity for you and your dog, but there are other ways to make your dog a part of your regular workouts.

 

Running

If you like to run or jog, whether as prep for a marathon or simply to stay in shape, you can get your dog on board. First things first, make sure your dog is trained for proper leash behavior, which means no pulling. The last thing you want is to have your dog trip you up on a run in her excitement to catch a passing squirrel. The American Kennel Club recommends starting out slowly to help your dog build endurance. Just because you can run a few more miles doesn’t mean your dog will immediately be on your level. Always bring enough water for the both of you, and monitor your dog. If he or she needs a break, you can stop entirely or run in place to keep your heart rate up.

 

Hiking

If you love to hike, your dog is a natural companion for your outings. Keep in mind that your puppy hikes will need a little more prep than your solo adventures. Wherever you pick to hike, like a state or national park, always check for dog-friendly trails. It is also a good idea to check weather conditions and any park advisories – think tick warnings during the warmer months. Once you start the hike, keep your dog on-leash and bring plenty of water for the two of you.

 

Biking

Bicyclists can also get their dogs in on the fun, but it will take time and patience to get the training right. Your dog needs to have the discipline to keep pace with you because any unexpected pulls could be dangerous for both you and your pet. First of all, is your dog big enough to run alongside your bike? Typically, dogs should be 30 pounds or heavier, according to The Dog Outdoors. For dogs lighter than that, consider putting them in a bike trailer that gets towed behind you as you ride. When you do go on a ride, select bike trails that are protected from traffic. In Chicago, the Lakefront Trail is a good option because it is solely for pedestrians and bicyclists. Plus, you get an amazing view.

 

Heading to the Water

On-land exercise isn’t the only option for you and your dog. You can get into the water together. Swim and play fetch at Montrose Dog Beach during Chicago’s summer months. Before making swimming your shared workout, make sure your dog knows how to be in the water. Do not force your dog into the water. Start slow and reward your puppy during any swim lessons. No matter how used to the water your dog is, never leave him unattended – use the buddy system. Finally, if you have a small dog or if you are taking your dog into deeper water, invest in a life jacket, according to PetMD. Life gets busy. Sometimes you need to take a break from your exercise routine, but that doesn’t mean your dog should miss out. When you can’t take her out, friendly neighborhood dog walkers are always ready to step in and help keep your pup active.

 

Written by Carrie Pallardy

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