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7 Exercises To Do with Your Dog

A man running with his dog

The easiest way to begin–and keep–an exercise routine is to develop a habit that you look forward to and enjoy. And there are few things as enjoyable as spending time with your dog! It’s no wonder so many dog owners look for ways to include their dogs when they work out. If breaking a sweat with your dog is on your to-do, there’s no time like the present! However, not all workouts will work out for your dog. We are happy to share the best exercises to do with your dog.

Before Diving into Exercising with Your Dog, Exercise Caution

Some dogs are naturally athletic. Others are not. In fact, there are some dogs that aren’t built for high-intensity cardio. Why? Because their facial anatomy can lead to difficulty breathing–or worse. Brachycephalic dogs (those dog breeds with flat faces) should avoid exercising that causes them to pant too hard, and exercising in warm or hot conditions.

Puppies under 12 months shouldn’t join in your exercise routine. Because their joints are still developing, the impact of running and another intense exercise can cause long-term damage. Most vets recommend the 5-minutes-per-month-of-age rule [1].

Additionally, dogs that are overweight, older, or out of shape need to be conditioned before exercising. It’s always best to check with your vet before including your dog in your exercise activities.

7 Fun Ways to Exercise with Your Dog

If you’re ready to elevate your heart rate and enjoy some active time with your dog, here are some favorite exercises for dog owners and their dogs.

1. Yoga AKA Doga

Yoga AKA Doga

Find some time today to practice some yoga with your dog. Dog yoga (or “doga”) is a great way to embrace exercise in a low-intensity manner. To do yoga with your dog, you just need a yoga mat and an understanding of foundational yoga poses. You can even set up in front of your TV with some Yoga with Adrienne.

As for your dog’s part in doga, they will enjoy having their owner on the floor with them. Many dogs lay on their owner’s mat and even partake in some downward dog.

2. Jogging

Dogs make excellent jogging partners. As natural runners, dogs can build their endurance over time and help to motivate their owners. 

To run with your dog, we recommend a running leash that attaches to your waist, so you can keep a more natural gait. Elasticity in a leash also prevents some of the impact should you or your dog stop short. You will also want to get in the habit of checking your dog’s paws post-run since your dog is running barefoot.

Running with your dog also gives you the opportunity to work on your commands and communication. Just remember to start slow and short, increasing speed and distance slowly over time.

3. Bush Walking

For those looking for an adventure, bush walking is a great way to stay in shape while enjoying some fresh air with your dog. Your dog will love getting in touch with their wild side, and you will burn about 400 to 500 calories per hour while walking.

Before heading out with your dog, pack a collapsible water bowl, enough water for yourself and your dog, and weather protection.

4. Swimming

Swimming

If you live near the beach, have a pool, or want to take a dip in a local swimming hole, consider bringing your dog along for the fun. Swimming is low impact and can be a blast for most dogs. Just remember to trim your dog’s nails before you head out and pack extra towels!

5. Circuit Training

Believe it or not circuit training with a dog can be tons of fun with a dog. Between push-ups, lunges, squats, sit-ups and planks, you will build muscle strength while working on your cardio…. And your dog will love watching every second of it.

If you want to make your circuits even more fun for your dog, add in tossing the ball for your dog.

6. Dog Agility

While our other recommendations are traditionally common exercises for people, this one is made for dogs. Agility training is an excellent way to challenge your dog while getting your heart rate up. 

Agility training will help your dog build focus, balance, and flexibility.

Dog agility training is also an excellent way to provide your dog with mental enrichment and the opportunity to practice their commands.

7. Biking

Some dogs are born to run. And some owners are not. If you have a dog with a penchant for running but running isn’t in the cards for you, biking is an excellent alternative. 

To bike with your dog, invest in a biking leash, and start low and slow. In fact, we recommend walking your bike to get your dog used to walking (and eventually running) alongside it.

Like running, it’s important to check your dog’s paws after each session.

Get Paws-itively Fit with Your Dog

So lace up your shoes, grab your leash, and get ready to unleash some paw-sitive energy! Whether you're downward-dogging with your pup in doga, conquering a mountain trail on a hike, or leaving a trail of tire tracks with your furry companion in tow, you'll discover that exercising with your dog isn't just about fitness, it's about strengthening the bond you share. Remember, every wag, pant, and happy bark is a testament to the joy of movement shared with your four-legged best friend.