Just because you are able to provide your dog with a big fenced yard does not mean he will get the exercise he needs to stay healthy. Without someone there to play with him, the only exercise he is likely to get is moving from a shady spot to a sunny one as the urge strikes him. Dogs are social animals and will easily fall into bad health habits if there is no one to interact with them regularly. It is a pet parent’s responsibility to see to it that their dogs get the exercise they need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Here are some great dog fitness suggestions you can do with your dog in just three 20-minute workouts a week.
Dog Fitness – Exercising Your Dog for Good Health
Play Fetch with Your Pup for Increased Dog Fitness
One of the best ways to keep a dog’s heart and lungs strong is for him to run regularly. Playing fetch is a good way to accomplish this. First, you’ll need to teach him to fetch. Some dogs take to it right away, but others need some training. If you have a small dog and large house, you can play fetch indoors. Otherwise you’re going to need a safe place to let him off leash, like a fenced yard or dog park.
Teach Your Pup Tricks to Increase Dog Fitness
Think about the energy required to roll over several times in a row. Many physical tricks you can teach your dog require them to use multiple muscle groups, other than those used for walking and running. Just like us, they need to keep all their muscle groups strong and elastic. Having them do tricks for you also engages them mentally and strengthens the bond you share. Tricks like rolling over, dancing on their hind legs, or playing hide and seek with a favorite toy can also be done indoors when time or weather prohibits a trip to the park.
Introduce Interval Training to Increase Dog Fitness
Dogs can benefit from interval training just like us. While exercising your dog on a leash, include random segments of running, walking and a few flights of stairs when possible. If you are not able to keep up with your dog for these intervals, but live in a multi-level home, you can still include the stairs by incorporating them into a game of fetch.
Set up Jumping Exercises for Increased Dog Fitness
If your dog is healthy and does not have joint issues, jumping over obstacles can be a great way to strengthen muscles and increase cardiovascular health. You can achieve this by placing a broomstick or other long, straight prop off the ground, but still low enough that your dog can’t or won’t choose to go under it. Throw a toy to the opposite side and have your dog fetch it. The idea is to get him to jump over the obstacle. Gradually raise the bar until he starts to go under it instead of over. Keep in mind that there needs to be adequate room for his deceleration so that he does not run into anything on the other side.
As you can see, all these activities require participation from the pet parent. This is not something you can train your dog to do while you are away at work. You need to make time for this and establish it as a priority. Physical fitness for your dog is crucial for his overall health and well being. If exercising your dog is a new addition to his routine, you should start with shorter workouts and build up to an hour a week, broken down into three 20-minute segments. Of course, if you have more time to give, that’s great. But before implementing any new exercise regimen for your dog, always be sure to check with your veterinarian for his overall dog fitness and ability to participate in any new exercise routine.