I would choose an hour with my dog over the gym every day if I could, but on the days I do choose to skip my workouts for my rescue, I still make sure to stay active and get a good workout in. It’s good for me, it’s good for my boy, and it’s great for our family when we are all active and feeling our best.
The first thing we think about doing when we want to “work out” with our furry friends is running or walking. All dogs love a good walk, and it certainly keeps you moving and the blood flowing. However, there are a lot of ways to make your time even more active, or at least make a workout with Fido more fun than counting steps. Here’s a few different ways I’ve learned to workout with my dog and other furry friends!
Remember, every dog is different and if you’re getting your dog involved, make sure it’s safe for them too (so no deadlifting Spots!) at their health level. What I can do today with my 7 year old shepherd mix is a lot different than what I can do with my sister’s 3-year-old shepherd, and both even more different than what our 3-legged senior shepherd Troy can handle.
1. The Stop & Squat
This is the perfect add-in to a walk with your animal friend. Clyde is my 7-year-old shepherd-mix we rescued 2 years ago, and he loves to stop and smell all the smells. One of the simplest ways I’ll burn some extra calories with him is by adding in fun circuits to our daily walks. When he wants to stop for a sniff, I stop too and do squats until he’s done. Sure, my neighbors probably think I’m just a weird girl with a weirder dog, but my booty says otherwise!
2. Take a Hike!
My favorite way to stay active with the dog is to take him on long adventures down local trails, or sometimes we will make a day of it and drive out somewhere with mountains, mud, and solitude! Hiking is one of our favorite activities and ways to workout, and we try to keep it going year round. It’s not something you can do in all types of weather, but it can be breathtaking to adventure through nature in all seasons and take it all in. Plus it keeps you guys moving and working hard!
3. The Scenic Route
Not all my hiking adventures are what you think of when you think about taking a hike. Sometimes I prefer a walk down a local beaten trail with some beautiful views surrounded by nature. Keep up quick strides to bump up the cardio or add in some jogging/running too! I like the use this time for meditation and mindfulness too.
4. Belly Rub Planks
This is a great workout with your dog on a rainy day at home. Does your pet love belly rubs? Have them roll over, then lay down facing their belly. Take a plank position, then raise one arm to pet the pup! Rest back on both arms when you need to, and start up again with your other arm. It’s a really silly but challenging way to work out with your dog and be his/her favorite human.
5. Sit Up and Shake
If your dog has the patience and knows how to shake paws with you, have them sit in front of your feet (or on them would be even better!), and let them give you their paw every time you sit up. Think of it like a high five! Clyde is actually trained to raise his paw to your open hand with the command, “High Five!” but no matter what command you use, it’s sure to be fun, and your dog will feel so lucky to be included!
Got a kisser? Snag a smooch every time you sit up! How sweet.
6. Sprints and Chase
When I say sprints and chase, I am not talking about your regular old running routine; chase them around, hop over the branches and bushes, take sharp turns, stop to watch him pant, then start again! Play with your dog, if you’ve got an active one, just running short sprints around the yard trying to catch him or his favorite toy. My older dog and now angel Callie girl loved this game!
7. Play Ball
Whether your dog is a chaser or catcher, you can burn calories running around and throwing the ball around the backyard or your local park. If you’ve got a fast dog, try to keep up or race them for the ball!
8. Tug Rope
I don’t care if you have a big dog or small dog, but if you’ve got one that isn’t going to let go of the rope, I bet this will be a great workout for you! Troy the Tripod still always wins with just 3 legs and 11 years practice!
However you choose to incorporate your dog into a workout routine, you won’t regret the extra time spent with them and the serotonin boost their energy will bring you! If you can get into a habit of working out with the dog regularly, they could be the most inspiring workout buddy you could have. What would you do if you found out your dog liked working out with you? Unlike that annoying friend you’re always turning down, you’ll never be able to say no to your furry family!