Step 1: Which Type of Exercise is Best?
Although each dog is an individual, certain breeds will be predisposed to enjoying different forms of exercise more than others. For instance, Labrador Retrievers love to swim, while German Shorthaired Pointers love to run. Think about your dog’s breed and original purpose. Dogs that were used for pulling sleds enjoy pulling a person on a skateboard, while many hunting and herding breeds are happy to go for a run. Non-working or sporting dogs typically prefer to go for a walk or hike instead of engaging in vigorous activity.
Step 2: How Fit is Your Dog?
The next step in creating a fitness plan is taking your dog’s current health into consideration. If your dog is overweight, running might not be feasible at this time. For your pet’s safety you should gradually build up to vigorous exercise in order to protect bones and joints from too much stress. Puppies and senior dogs should also exercise with caution. Young dogs should not follow a structured exercise plan until their bones and joints have finished developing, while care should be taken to ensure senior dogs do not overexert themselves.
Step 3: Start Small
The next step is to start small with your exercise plan and build gradually. Whether your fitness regimen calls for running, hiking, or swimming, begin by exercising 2 – 3 days per week for 15 – 20 minutes each session. Slowly add 5 minutes at a time to the duration of your workout before adding an additional day of weekly exercise.
Step 4: Respect the Weather Conditions
Dogs need time to acclimate to the weather conditions, particularly when vigorous exercise is involved. If hiking on a warm day with a large dog, consider purchasing a cooling vest that will keep your pet comfortable. In the winter, consider whether your dog will require a sweater.
Step 5: Have Fun
Ultimately, remember that exercising with your dog should be fun. If you become frustrated that your dog isn’t the ideal workout partner, consider finding a new activity that you both can enjoy. At the end of the day, your pup will be your biggest motivator and cheerleader!
Please note: all dogs should be treated as individuals. The Actijoy blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In case of emergency, always seek qualified healthcare from a local veterinarian or emergency facility. Actijoy blogs are not designed to treat, diagnose, or prescribe medication for your pet.