Common Sense Fitness Training for You and Your Dog

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Our “6 C’s Pyramid” for fitness provides a framework upon which a lifestyle fitness program can be created. Common Sense is the third component of the lower tier of the pyramid and if used in conjunction with “convenience” and “cross training”, can help you and your dog integrate fitness into your daily routines and stay in shape throughout your lives.


6 C's Pyramid


The expression “use common sense” is a frequently used piece of advice for almost any situation. It certainly applies when working out with your dog. The Miriam Webster online dictionary defines common sense as

“the ability to think and behave in a reasonable way and to make good decisions”

Sounds simple and practical. Let’s take a look at how common sense can apply to your dog’s (and your own) fitness programs.


Common Sense in Fitness Program Design

Applying common sense to fitness is a fairly straight forward but often overlooked approach to program design. One of the reasons that many people ignore common sense when it comes to fitness is because there is a never ending supply of ‘fads’ and dogmatic (no pun intended) approaches to exercise. Look at the human fitness industry for proof. Some exercise or exercise method, or perhaps some dogma will catch on and people all around the world jump on the band wagon and tell all of their friends about it. Far too many people accept these ideas as absolute truth and end up creating workouts that might not make sense for their unique situations.


For example, many people believe that running is bad for their knees and joints and they believe the same for their pets. As we wrote about last week, this just isn’t true. Another human example is the CrossFit phenomenon.  CrossFit has caught fire across the world and it is a respectable approach to working out. However, that does not mean that it is right for everyone.

And that is at the essence of what we mean by using common sense when designing your dog’s fitness program. Just because everyone says that you should or shouldn’t do a particular exercise, doesn’t mean that you should follow that advice!  It is best to experiment and see which types of exercise seem to work best for your dog. Running may be a perfect exercise for your dog despite what the so called experts say. Or it may not! Each individual dog is different and there is not a one size fits all answer to their exercise needs. Apply common sense with experimentation and discover the things that you and your dog can do safely and regularly to stay fit.


A second aspect of applying common sense relates to workloads.  If you and your dog love running and can do so safely, that is no excuse to ignore common sense and run yourselves into the ground (by overdoing the weekly mileage). Watch your dog for signals that they are fatigued and adjust your schedule accordingly. Use common sense to create appropriate workloads in order to reduce injury risk.


Applying common sense also means cutting back exercise when your dog is lame, injured, ill, or on special medications. Common sense also applies in the hot summer months when a regular outdoor workout might be hazardous to their health.


The bottom line is that there is no one single best way to exercise your pet. What works for others might not work for you and your dog. And never be afraid to let common sense override a workout if you feel like you are overdoing it or if some exogenous factor (e.g. the weather) dictates a change in plans. It’s just common sense.

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  1. Very good advice. I often see or hear people say their dog fetched the ball a million times one right after the other. You have to be the adult and stop that or tell the person to stop throwing the ball because the dog isn’t going to quit when hot and tired. Common sense for sure
    joann stancer recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes~HomeAway™ Travel Organizer KitMy Profile

  2. Ah yes, common sense……something so many humans lack! haha!
    Thanks for the great tips, and have a great weekend!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Nite Dawg – Glowing huskies product review!My Profile

  3. Common sense isn’t my strong suit, so I let Eko take care of the thinking in that department. When he’s done exercising he’ll let me know. Sometimes that means cutting a run short on a hot day and sometimes that means going longer on a cool day, but it all works out in the end.

  4. Thanks for the good reminder. If only people used common sense in all applications more often, we’d all be safer and better off!
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…FitDog Friday– How to Get Started Exercising with your DogMy Profile

  5. Great for humans too!

  6. Hi Y’all!

    My Human calls it “horse sense”…but I’ve also heard her say that “some people just don’t have the sense they were born with”… If they were born with it, I wonder where it went? You don’t think my Human is implying that they just don’t use it, do you? Silly humans!!!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Lazy Hazy Days of Summer…My Profile

  7. Mom usually doesn’t listen much to our ideas on exercise. We seem to have to do way too much, but on the other hand we are fit and don’t have to worry much about what we eat 🙂 Good pyramid. BlogPaws is mentally challenging, so there isn’t much room for physical exercise until we get back home.
    Emma recently posted…Seeing Beauty on a Road Trip | GBGVMy Profile

  8. Great post! When speaking with Sampson’s PT I told her what our typical exercise routine was and told her I watched the dogs to gauge when they were tired. She told me when I notice they are tired it is too late. Since Sampson is healing from his ACL surgery, I’ve adjusted his schedule accordingly, it’s far harder for him to do 15 minutes now than it was before his injury.
    Jodi recently posted…Sampson’s Saga ContinuesMy Profile

  9. I am finally catching up. This is very good advice. Not all exercises work for everybody. You have to use common sense.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Wordless Wednesday–ExcitementMy Profile

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