Dog owners often struggle to make time for physical activity, both for themselves and Fido. Pups need daily exercise, otherwise they’ll find more destructive ways to burn off all that energy.
Unfortunately, pet parents don’t get much out of common dog activities. Throwing a ball gets the dog moving, but not you! Pet parents need exercises that benefit dogs and humans alike.
Take doggy play time to the next level with these fun, heart-pumping workouts.
- Nature hikes: Daily walks are great, but sometimes pet parents and their pups need a change in scenery. Plan a trip to that nature trail you’ve always wanted to check out. Hiking is a low-impact activity that allows you and your dog to keep going for a long period of time. Nature preserves often have varying elevations, which tone different muscle groups in the legs. Hikes also keep dogs mentally stimulated with all the new sights and smells.
- Bike riding: A bike ride is great for high-energy dogs and owners who want less stress on the joints. Bike riding lets you cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. The activity increases your dog’s running endurance by challenging them to keep up the pace for long stretches. It’s also a gentler way for pet parents to keep their cardiovascular systems in shape.
- Frisbee race: Pet parents looking for a more intense exercise should try throwing a Frisbee with their pup. But instead of standing in one spot, race your dog to see who can get to the Frisbee first! Racing will make you and the dog sprint in short bursts, which is great for developing speed and power. Just be sure to let Fido catch the Frisbee so they don’t accidentally nip you on the hand.
- Agility training: This activity challenges pups physically and mentally. In agility training, owners teach their dogs how to jump over hurdles and through hoops. Agility courses don’t just build a dog’s cardio—they reinforce discipline, give the dog a fulfilling task and strengthen the bond with their human companion. Pet parents also benefit from agility training because they have to run alongside their dogs as they complete the course.
- Doga: Dog yoga is an exercise that lets your dog participate in a simple yoga flow. Pet parents can hold their dogs as a balancing weight or to increase the difficulty of certain poses. There are even some poses you two can do together, like downward dog! Doga is especially beneficial for senior pups who can’t join you for long hikes or bike rides. The gentle motions tone ligaments and improve joint mobility, which help prevent injury.
- Paddle boarding: If your pup is a strong swimmer, take them out on the water with a paddle board. Stand-up paddle boarding strengthens the legs and core for both you and your dog. The activity engages various muscle groups all at once as you work to stay on the board. Paddle boarding is also one of the best exercises for improving balance. After paddling across the waves, you and your pup can go for a dip!
- Keep away: This game is simple—all you have to do is keep an object away from your pup. The great thing about keep away is you can play it by yourself or invite a group of friends. Kick a soccer ball around the yard or take turns tossing a football to each other. Keep away is an exhilarating workout for both dogs and people because it involves bursts of energy and quick direction changes.
- Roller skating: Roller skating is ideal for large dogs whose ancestors were originally bred to haul heavy loads. Strap on some skates, attach your dog’s leash and let them pull you down the sidewalk. This is a better workout than walking because your body weight adds resistance as the dog moves forward. Plus, roller skates make the daily walk a bit more fun for you. Pet parents who live in snowy regions can also try skijoring, which is the same concept but with a pair of skis.
Exercising your pup doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Every play session is an opportunity to fit in your daily workout. No matter what activity interests you, there are ways to let your dog in on the fun. Sharing these activities with your furry friend will strengthen your bond and help you two work up a good sweat. After all, a pup is the most enthusiastic exercise buddy you’ll ever have!