Getting fit for summer? Your dog could be the ideal training partner

Dog and owner play with Trixie dog activity disc

Your dog may not be too concerned about their beach body but they can be a great help in getting you in shape for the summer! Although your dog may seem unconcerned about a few extra pounds you will want to ensure they are maintaining a good weight to avoid future health problems.

So how can you and your dog start to get fit? Well walking is of course a good start. A healthy amount of daily walking per day for a human and many small dog breeds are about the same, though the dog may well burn more calories in that time running back and forth.

It’s recommended adult humans do 2 and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise a week such as walking briskly – that works out at about 22 minutes a day. For a small dog you should aim for 30 minutes walking a day. For larger and very active dogs, and those who prefer a gentle pace, an hour to an hour and a half would be a better length of walk each day, though this could be a morning and evening walk. Longer walks are also a good idea if on your walks you need to keep your dog on a lead for their safety so they can’t roam as much, so it takes longer for them to cover the same distance, though an extendable lead will help.

Longer than 22 minutes will also help you if you want to lose weight and increase your overall fitness but if you want to supercharge your walk you could add in some other activities along the way. This is especially the case for activities such as throwing a ball or playing tug that also works your upper body, giving you an full body workout. Using a tug toy can be surprisingly exhausting even with a small dog! With a Great Dane for company you’ll be lucky to stay on your feet! Our Bionic Tug-n-Toss toy is ideal for throwing or playing tug.

If longer hikes are your thing then your dog can come along as well and by the end you should both be exhausted. Make sure that you and your dog have plenty to eat and drink en route, though there’s no reason why they can‘t carry their supplies with our Backpack for Dogs.

Airedale sat in dog cycle trailer

If you want to up the pace and break into a jog or run your dog will probably happily come along too. We have a special jogging lead to make it easier to jog along while keeping your dog under control or a hands free lead that attaches to your waist.

Cycling is great exercise and great fun. If you have a larger and energetic dog then while walking or running you may find their pace is a little too much, after all they have the advantage of a couple of extra legs! To even things up let them run whilst you cycle using our DogRunner – Cycle Mount.
If you love a cycle but you have a smaller dog whose legs can’t keep up you can of course use them as extra weight to make it more of a challenge using one of our dog cycle baskets or cycling trailers for dogs that are great for larger older dogs too.

The NHS also recommend that you do muscle strengthening exercise on two or more days a week. Now you can’t take your dog with you to the gym or use them as a spotter while you do bench presses but one suggested exercise on the NHS site is ‘heavy gardening’. So what if rather than letting your dog out into the garden and leaving them to it, you went with them and starting working on your borders? On a sunny day time can go much quicker gardening than it would at the gym, plus you achieve something at the end and you have your dog roaming around the garden, keeping you company.

Agility training may seem more exercise for your dog than you, but both you and your dog will need to be fast, thoughCollie dog jumps through an agility ring your dog will be doing most of the hard work. If it’s your dog’s health you are most concerned about this may be ideal and agility training can become a hobby with plenty of amateur competitions around the country. A good starting point is setting up an agility course in your garden and seeing how you get on, even if your dog is fairly hopeless it’s a lot of fun and something all the family can enjoy!

Information on recommended physical activity from: NHS Choices

3 Replies to “Getting fit for summer? Your dog could be the ideal training partner”

  1. Temperament: South African Boerboels are protective, territorial, and judging of strangers. They are aggressive towards people walking by on the street, and should be confined constantly unless on leash and trained. The South African Boerboel is, however, very friendly and affectionate with its owners. It loves to be around people and hates to be alone. If left alone for a long period of time, this breed may become destructive. They are surprisingly gentle with children they know, and will even give them rides on their backs! The Boerboel is obedient, intelligent and self assured. They can be rather dominant and need a dominant owner. They are surprisingly good with other pets including cats and other dogs. With Children: Yes, gentle and very good with children it knows. With Pets: Yes, gets along with other pets. Special Skills: Guardian and pet.

  2. On the first visit to the Vet after we had adopted him, we were told he was about 2 kg overweight, so we put him on a diet, and took him for regular walks. His previous owners couldn’t have walked him very much, because Samo strongly objected to walking further than 50 metres from the house. He showed his reluctance by sitting down and refusing to move. I solved this problem by ignoring his objections and continuing to walk. As I weigh considerably more than even the overweight Samo, the result was he got dragged along the sidewalk on his arse, which caused him to re-think his objections and continue walking. He soon lost weight through a reduction in food and the extended exercise, and he is now quite keen to go on fairly long walks; the little chap now gets excited as soon as he sees the lead. The lead which I am carrying. For some unknown reason, I’m the mug who now takes him for his walks. Ignore the fact that it was my beloved who wanted the bloody animal in the first place, ignore the fact that I work from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm, and come home knackered, ignore the fact that my beloved is home most of the day, watching TV, reading etc., I’m the chap who takes Samo for his walks. But I’m not bitter. Before we had a dog in the house, I was surprised by the occasional comment by a friend or colleague about the propensity for dogs to produce “poo”.

  3. Greyhounds are very flexible when it comes to exercise. On a rainy day, or a day when you are very busy, two 20-minute walks will be enough. If you want to go for a five-mile hike at the weekend, though, your Greyhound will happily keep you company. Greyhounds are almost always good on the lead and love riding in cars. Avoid letting your dog exert himself directly before or after a big meal as this can be dangerous for his digestive system.

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