Exercise and Your Dog

Apr 30, 2011 | Pets, Sheryl Wall

by Sheryl Wall

Many studies show how important being fit is to you and your dog. According to Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, approximately 20 percent of dogs are obese in the United States. They also state that it causes complications for those with several diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Exercise also helps avoid a dog’s destructive behaviors such as digging, barking, and chewing that occur because of boredom and it can build confidence, and strengthen the dog and owners bond with each other. Our dogs need for exercise is just as important as it is for us and you will find that it is a lot more fun if you can share it with your furry companion.

Sheryl & Cosette

Walking is the most well known form of exercising for your dog but it’s easy to get bored by doing the same walk day after day. Let’s take a look at some new and more involved ways to get that needed exercise. In Get Fit With Your Dog by Karen Sullivan, she states that you can teach your dog to play sports such as Soccer and Volleyball. You will just need to teach them a few simple tricks such as how to push the ball and how to bounce the ball with his or her head or muzzle.

Some other types of exercises that are great for you and your dog are hiking, swimming or skating. This brings variety in your routine to help avoid the common pitfall of becoming bored with the routine thus finding excuses to put it off. Cycling can also be done together but never tie a leash to the bike for this is very dangerous for both of you. There are many attachments you can purchase for your bike to make cycling safe. Check out this website for great attachment at a reasonable price.

The Reedley trail is a good place to go biking with your dog because it is on a path away from traffic. According to Karen Sullivan, in Get Fit with your Dog, there are some breeds however that are just not built for certain sports so be sure to check with your vet before attempting exercises such as cycling, biking, and jogging.

My personal favorite way to stay fit is Agility. Ali and Joe Canova, in their book Agility Training For You and Your Dog, summed it up best when they said, “Put simply, Agility is recess with your dog.” Agility not only exercises your body but also your mind for both the dog and the handler. Even if you’re not interested in competing, just taking a class is a great option and there are some really great teachers in this area.

Freestyle dancing is another unique way to get a workout while having fun at the same time. It also creates a better bond with your pet while staying fit. In Dancing with your Dog by Sandra Davis, you can learn how to dance in your own home. And with dancing you don’t have to worry about the weather because you can do it most anywhere. Freestyle dance also has competitions if you’re the competitive type. When competing, it can also give you motive to continue with the sport.

There are so many possibilities to spice up your exercise routine that it no longer needs to be boring. And with so many choices it makes it a lot easier to find a choice that works best for you, your dog’s personality and interest. I never planned to get involved in Agility but once I had an opportunity to try it I was hooked. If you’re not sure what you would enjoy most, try different things until you find what’s best for you. You never know until you try.

Sheryl Wall is an ongoing contributor to our
Pet Perspective section, providing pet care advice from years of personal experience.


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