Exercise has gone to the dogs. However, canines are more than happy to share the treadmill with the special humans in their lives. More often, owners are finding out that it all finding fun exercises that both you and your dog will enjoy. And we have five perfect fun exercises that you are sure to love.
Fun Exercises: Number 1 – Canine Freestyle
Also known as dancing, canine freestyle is a fun activity for young and old alike. It is an activity where owners set up a dance routine with their dog. It is a great workout and a great bonding experience between you and your dog.
Canine freestyle teaches the dog to stand on his hind legs, twirl, weave through your legs, and a host of other tricks… and all of it will be set to music.
Benefits of Canine Freestyle are:
- Better Obedience: Canine freestyle is all about trick training and dogs that compete have excellent basic commands as well.
- Stronger Bond: Any exercise where you and your dog work as a team will improve and strengthen the bond between you.
- Creates Muscle Tone: Dance has been proven to strengthen bones, improve muscle tone, and burn calories. Owners and dogs will benefit from all of these. Moreover, canine freestyle is an aerobic workout.
While all dogs can learn canine freestyle, some breeds, such as Australian Shepherds, thrive in it. However, the exercise isn’t suitable for giant breeds, simply because of the logistics of weaving between legs.
Fun Exercises: Number 2 – Doga
Doga is an exercise that is quickly gaining popularity. It is fun, full of health benefits, and a perfect way to bond with your dog.
If you aren’t aware of what Doga is, it is Hatha yoga, which incorporates your dog into the poses or helps guide them into a stretch. It doesn’t offer many health benefits to your dog, but it does offer owners the health benefits of balance, stretched muscles and relaxation.
For the dog, Doga provides them with plenty of attention through natural stretches and massaging the dog while in the stretch. Moreover, it is a fun activity that often has owners laughing at the antics of their dogs in yoga poses.
Doga is popping up all across the country so get out to a class today.
Fun Exercises: Number 3 – Jogging
Jogging with your dog is definitely one of the most well-known fun exercises around. Almost everyone has either done it or seen someone jogging with a canine friend. Jogging has plenty of health benefits for you and your dog.
It builds muscle strength, is an excellent cardiovascular workout, and it provides mental stimulation for you both.
Jogging also offers bonding time for you and your dog. Finally, jogging with your dog will help keep you motivated.
Like all exercises, there are some things to be aware of before you hit the open road.
- Never Jog during the Heat of the Day: Dogs can become overheated quickly. To avoid health risks, including fatal heat exhaustion, jog in the mornings and evenings when it is cooler.
- Only when they are Adults: Jogging for long periods can cause stress to joints on growing dogs. Wait until she is over a year old before you take your dog jogging
- Not All Breeds: This isn’t about small vs. large. Some small breeds are excellent joggers, where some large breeds shouldn’t be jogging partners at all. For instance, while Greyhounds are racers, they, along with most sighthounds, are sprinters. They are not meant for running long distances.
- Don’t forget Warm Up and Cool Down: Like humans, dogs need a five-minute warm up and a five minute cool down so plan that into your jogging routine.
Jogging can be a great way to bond with your dog and it will keep you both happy and healthy.
Fun Exercises: Number 4 – Cycling
Cycling is an activity that everyone can enjoy from small dogs— trained to ride in baskets— to large dogs that are happy to trail along beside you.
Cycling offers a wide range of health benefits, including cardiovascular workout, muscle building, and improved mood.
In addition to the health benefits, it has been proven that dogs that cycle with their owners are better behaved, due to the increased training that is necessary for cycling. And they tend to have better mental stimulation as cycling offers them a range of sights and smells to keep their brain active.
However, there are some considerations when choosing a cycling companion:
- Choosing the Right Breed: Some breeds and their mixed cousins are designed for cycling and running in general. Breeds like Huskies and Vizlas are meant for running, as are a lot of bird dogs and sporting dogs. Giant breeds are the best for cycling and small breeds only do well in a basket. Also, avoid any breeds with a high prey drive to prevent them running off after animals.
- Watch for Fatigue: Cycling is much faster than jogging so it is very easy for a dog to overdo it. Always watch your dog for signs of fatigue. Take breaks as necessary and never cycle for longer than the dog can handle.
- Never Before Maturity: Running for long periods can stress joints of growing dogs so never start serious cycling before the dog is a year old. Short periods of training can start at an early age but don’t start long distance cycling until later.
With proper training and care, you and your dog can enjoy cycling for years to come.
Fun Exercises: Number 5 – Agility
The final of our fun exercises is dog agility. This is a great activity where dogs race through an obstacle course with hurdles, tunnels, and other obstacles. The owner runs beside the dog… don’t worry; you won’t have any hurdles to jump yourself.
The sport is a great cardiovascular workout for both you and your dog.
Some benefits of this fun exercise are:
- Improved Dog Behavior: Agility requires plenty of training as you both learn to work together. This translates to a dog with better behavior and a better grasp on commands. Your dog will be perfect at sit, lay down, stay, and hand direction.
- Stronger Bond: Agility is all about working together as a team and owners and dogs often have a stronger bond because of it.
- Improved Health: I already mentioned this but agility improves the health of both you and your canine since you are both active when doing this sport.
- Better Social Health: Agility is a very social activity with training, competing, and getting out to the obstacle courses. You and your dog will meet plenty of like-minded individual and their dogs. In addition, with the social aspect, combined with the fun exercise, you both will soon feel the effects of these benefits on your mood and well-being.
As you can see, there are plenty of fun exercises for you, your dog and your whole family to take part in. Try one, or all of them, and find out which one fits you and your dog. Trust me, your dog will thank you for the exercise.