Cross Training Benefits for You and Your Dog

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sprints with dogs

Steve and Jack mix in some strength work

We are excited to have TWO FitDog Friday posts today – I know that’s unusual, but we are so excited that we released our new SlimDoggy Food Database and Calorie Counter, we had to add the announcement along with our regular FDF post.


One of our fundamental exercise principals is called the 6 C’s Pyramid, which we wrote about several weeks ago.  Today we will explain the benefits of Cross training and how it can help you and your dog get fit and stay healthy.


To recap, the 6 C’s Pyramid depicts the relationship between behavior fundamentals that lead to regular exercise which in turn lead to the ultimate goal of any fitness program: positive change. 

The picture below shows the hierarchy of the 6 C’s.


6 C's Pyramid


What is Cross Training?

According to Wikipedia, cross training is defined as training in sports other than the one that athlete competes in with a goal of improving overall performance. It takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of each training method, while at the same time attempting to negate the shortcomings of that method by combining it with other methods that address its weaknesses.


In layman’s terms, cross training simply means using a variety of training methods and activities to achieve a desired level of fitness.  Human examples include runners who swim and bike and weight lifters who practice Pilates. A canine example is an agility dog that swims or does specific core work.


Cross Training Benefits

There are many benefits of cross training and these benefits apply to the human and canine body including:

  • Provides you and your dog a multitude of exercise options to choose from so that you both can remain active year round and without being limited by poor weather or lack of equipment or facility access.
  • Provides an active recovery protocol for ‘off days’ so that you and your dog can rest while still remaining active.
  • Provides a more balanced training regimen which and lead to a stronger and more athletic and functional human and dog.
  • Reduces injury risk because you and your dog reduce the repetitive stress from doing the same exercise routine each day.  Plus, you work more muscles in more ways so that your bodies become stronger.
  • Allows you and your dog to continue exercise while recovering from injury.  Maybe your dog is unable to run due to an injury, but by cross training with swimming or core work, you can maintain their fitness while they are recovering.
  • Reduces exercise boredom for both you and your dog.  Let’s face it, doing the same thing over and over again can lead to boredom for both of you.  Mixing in different drills and sports can keep your workouts energized.
  • Produces a higher level of all around conditioning and a better balanced body.


That is an impressive list of benefits and it is easy to see why cross training can be such an important aspect of any canine (or human) fitness routine.  In our next installment, we will provide some cross training ideas that you can do with your dog to keep fit and have fun while doing so.

fitDogFriday_avatarPlease enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!


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  1. This weekend I finally join a gym. Working out at home is impossible, because when it comes to hanging with the dogs or working out – the dogs win. So off to the gym I go and I’ll be taking inspiration from you. I gotta be able to keep up with our pack 🙂
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Week Six | Graduating Puppies and Aversive Dog Training #PetSmartMy Profile

  2. Your Fitdogging Blogs are always full of great tips. In the mode of implementing them…..
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…Weekly Dog Inspiration – Go Outside and PlayMy Profile

  3. I need to keep reminding myself to make sure the dogs are getting a fair balance of exercise. As it get lighter and brighter outside, I am so tempted to just walk and walk and walk for eight or more hours a day but they (and I) need to do other things too. I am always grateful for agility and on the look out for safe and legal off-leash runs!
    Bethany recently posted…Dogs That Have Fun Together, Stay Fit TogetherMy Profile

  4. Great post, we do cross training in the summer because we do two series of hunt test training. We do a land series where they have to train on land and then we do a water series where they swim in the water to get their birds. Congrats on the new Slimdoggy database and calorie counter. 🙂
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…FitDog Friday~Neck Strengthening ToolsMy Profile

  5. All great benefits. I look forward to your suggestions!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Happy 8th Birthday Thunder!My Profile

  6. Hi Y’all!

    Lots of stuff happening in my world, but boredom is never one of them!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…You Can Get Fit While Enjoying the Beauty Around You!My Profile

  7. We love cross training… keeps things interesting for both me and Rocco! Good point about reducing injury risk due to repetitive stress too. That’s something we’re especially tuned into with the agility training we’re doing.
    Your pals,
    DIane and Rocco
    Diane recently posted…Hiking with Dogs at Dawson Forest Wildcat Creek TrailMy Profile

  8. Cross training is the best kind of training for us! We enjoy doing several different things and not just focusing on one. And with you pawsome tips we have been trying new thing as well!!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…#WOOF support hop!My Profile

  9. I feel like we need to mix it up more. Looking forward to your suggestions!

  10. Congrat’s Slim, that is so cool!!!!
    Here in Doodleville, we’re behind the times, we didn’t even know you had the app – downloading it as I type. As always, you continue to put out great stuff, and we wish you much success. If we stick with your plan, the Boys and I will be fir for beach weather whenever it decides to arrive! Have a great weekend.

  11. Very interesting! We try and mix it up for Kate in what activities we do throughout the week – but inevitably it alternates between running, walking and swimming! Another reason to start agility now thanks to your benefits of cross training post!
    Jen recently posted…How to Stretch Your Dog Safely | Both Ends of the LeadMy Profile

  12. I too believe cross training is very important. I’ve had lots of conversation with agility dog owners and they all say they cross train in order to prevent injuries and make their dogs better at the sport.
    Nailah Bone recently posted…FitDog Friday – Battle of the Bulge Part IMy Profile

  13. I look forward to reading your suggestions! I agree, mixing it up is definitely the key to not getting bored, and now that the weather is turning, we’ll definitely have more opportunities to mix up our routines.
    Jen K recently posted…“My dog doesn’t like to go on walks.”My Profile

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