There are some very important tips to learn about for you and your dog’s safety. We are going to cover some that you should follow every time. First please check with your doctor and your dog’s veterinarian before starting any new exercise program to make sure you guys are physically fit. Start off slow and gradually build up you and your dog’s stamina and endurance.
It is essential to always warm up before exercising. I like to begin any workout I do with my dog with a brisk walk or jog for at least 5-10 minutes. It is important that your dog is leash trained and stays to one side of you to reduce chances of injury to either one of you. You may consider taking some dog training classes before beginning a workout. You may also consider practicing the workout moves at home by yourself before adding your dog to the mix. The more you enforce good habits you and your dog will learn while you guys workout; Perfect practice, makes perfect.
Another important factor to teach your dog is the difference between a “casual walk” and “working out”. If your dog has the bad habit of smelling everything and pulling, it’s time to try and break that habit. No, it won’t happen overnight and it takes a lot from the person holding the leash… you. You have to create a more relaxing and safer walk. It takes pressure off of your dog’s throat and off your shoulder. Besides you can always save the time at the end of the workout to spend some time smelling the grass, which can be a reward for them being good.
It also creates mental stimulation and that helps make your dog tired by focusing on commands and being in a calm state of mind; which is very important. I like to differentiate the time of a “casual walk” and “working out” by a few different things. First is my mind set. If I am going to work out then my mood is a little more upbeat and my pace is definitely faster. Warming up with a brisk walk/jog and concentrating on keeping your dog in a “heel position” helps tire them out for the rest of the workout which allows you to focus on having good form. Secondly is I like to use a hands free leash which allows for better movements. I can move my arms and legs freely and my dogs understand to walk slower or stay still. Last but not least is always make each of you guys are having fun and being safe. I like to end the walk with a hug and pet thanking them for working out with me. If they still have energy, then we may play a game of fetch the Frisbee or just a simple belly rub.
Working out provides many benefits for both you and your dog. It allows you both to get in shape and stay in shape. It provides mental and physical benefits for each of you as well. Please always remember to take in consideration like the weather, the time of day, heat, etc. Early morning or late evening workouts tend to yield the best results.