Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!

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fitDogFriday_180x150Editor’s note: the inspiration behind this post came from a conversation with our friend and fellow blogger Kimberly Gauthier, of Keepthetailwagging.com.  We were discussing our PetsMove.org initiative and Kimberly made the great point that many of us come up with excuses when it comes to our pet’s and our own fitness, especially as we head into fall and winter.

Proper exercise and feeding are the most important factors that will influence your pet’s health and longevity as well as the amount of money that you will spend on their health care.

  • Studies show that lean dogs outlive their overweight litter mates by almost two years.
  • We estimate that in the US alone, there is somewhere near $8 billion dollars per year spent on extra food, medicine, and medical care on overweight dogs.

Yet despite this, we have a pet obesity problem in the US and other countries. Which leads us to wonder why?  We love our pets, and we certainly ‘love’ our money, so why wouldn’t we do everything we can to preserve and take care of both?  One possible answer is that we too often find excuses to NOT to exercise with our dog.  Or we find excuses why NOT to calculate and measure their proper feeding amounts.  Much like we make excuses regarding our own fitness and diet programs, we likely do the same for our pets.

Excuses for not exercising your dog

There are so many excuses for missing a workout; whether it is your own workout or a workout for your dog.   Yes, life sometimes gets in the way.  But our health and our pet’s health are as important as virtually anything else that might make your ‘to do’ list.  So let’s make a commitment today to eliminate excuses and find ‘work arounds’ to the events and factors that force us to compromise our pet’s (and our own) fitness levels.  Of course, there are some excuses that are hard to get around; your dog has just had surgery and can’t weight bear or immerse in water, for example!  Always check with your vet whenever you plan on markedly changing your pet’s exercise regimen.


Here is a short list of excuses for not exercising with your dog, along with suggested workarounds to help you overcome each one.


No Time

Too Dark

It’s raining

We walked yesterday

“My dog is lazy”

“I’m too tired”

“My dog is too fat”


It’s a day ending in “Y”

Other health condition


Wake 30 minutes earlier.

Join a group and walk together and wear/carry lights.

Bundle up (both of you). Use water repellent clothes (e.g Goretex).

Dog’s need daily exercise. Try running or balance exercises.

No they aren’t. Dogs prefer to be active. It is their natural state!

Get up and move! Exercise invigorates and reduces fatigue!

Start slowly, 10 min walks. Get moving.

Exercise can help ease arthritis symptoms.  Get up and move.

Really?!  Get off your butt, workout with your mutt!

Check with your vet.  There is usually an alternative (e.g. core, swim, walk vs. run).

Do you have some other excuses to add to the list? Let us know your most common excuses for skipping your dog’s exercise and what you do to combat the excuse.


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. “It’s too boring!” Our last neighborhood was isolated so there were only a couple of walking routes, and that got old fast! So sometimes I would drive somewhere else with our pup to walk. (Luckily our new neighborhood has lots of different routes we can take and we never get tired of how pretty it is!)
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Q&A With Peggy Frezon for FitDog Friday!My Profile

    • That’s a good one Jackie. We like to mix it up as well. Makes it more interesting for us and our dogs.

      Here is another perspective on ‘boring’. I used to ‘hate’ running the same streets and route and was often bored. Then, I had achilles issues and couldn’t run for 14 months. You know what I learned? Boring is sitting at home unable to go out and run/hike/squat/jump. Every day we should all feel grateful that we are able to get up and move and do something physical.
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  2. Some great tips here. It just takes a few weeks to form a habit. If dog owners take just 1 of these ideas & ‘run’ with it they’ll be half way there….

    • Oh, oh, we’re half way there, oh, oh, living on a prayer…

      Sorry, it is early. Agreed, it takes a little time (weeks in most cases) to get in the habit. The cool thing is, as you get more fit and can introduce more vigorous exercise sessions, both you and the dog will start to feel the euphoric ‘runner’s high’ as a result. Yes, dog’s feel it too, and it can become ‘addictive’ so that you both look forward to exercise rather than dreading it.

      My name is SlimDoggy Steve, and I am an exercise addict.
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  3. If I could use an excuse, it would be “it’s raining.” However, Mr. N is very insistent upon his daily walk so I have never gotten to use that excuse. He’s so happy to be out and about that I feel horrible saying no.
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…FitDog Friday #6 – When a Walk isn’t Just a WalkMy Profile

  4. We don’t use excuses, we just do it no matter what. I think if people could pledge to walk their dog for only 30 mins a day for an entire month, it would start to become a habit. People would feel like they need to do it and the dog would also want to continue. Just roll out of bed and out the door and be done with it. Don’t think about it all day, that is one big reason excuses start popping up. Walking in rain, snow, cold, etc., can all be really fun if you give it a try.
    emma recently posted…Lots of News This Week | GBGV | Follow Up FridayMy Profile

    • Great point. Just 30 minutes a day for a month and both you and your dog will look and feel great. If a pharmaceutical pill could offer the same benefits as consistent exercise does, there would be a line 100 miles long to buy it.
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  5. I always have excuses, but I still walk our dogs. I twisted my ankle a couple weeks ago and I still walk the dogs. I took 2 days off and J took the dogs for a walk to help out. I love our walks, because it’s relaxing, it’s a great time to work on training with the dogs, and the dogs are so much happier and better behaved when we take a walk.

    We live in the Pacific Northwest so rain isn’t an excuse. Our dogs have raincoats that they hate. To deal with rain, we have covers for the seats in my car, I walk them off leash on these days on a trail that borders our property, because no one likes walking in the rain except us. It’s the most peaceful time and I love it.

    When Sydney was over weight and had joint pain; I started her (and her brothers) on Wag Lifetime Joint Care, and we took her on 1/2 mile walks at first and built up the strength. Thanks to what I’ve learned on this site and switching our dogs to a raw diet, she’s slim and trim, more energetic and can handle a 4 mile hike.

    Another thing we noticed is that we thought Sydney was too lazy. Imagine eating McDonalds every single day – how would you feel? Improving her diet took away the laziness. She’s a nut and very energetic.

    And the excuse of “we walked yesterday” – yep, we’ve said that. Yesterday doesn’t count – that zap to their energy wore off hours ago. We can skip a couple days a week (maybe), but we let the dogs make that determination and they will. Sometimes they just want to play fetch in the yard, or explore our property. But 2 or more days in a row of this makes all of us antsy.

    Great post and thanks for the shout out!
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Podcast for Dog Lovers | Keep the Tail Wagging is Now on iTunesMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Kimberly. It is easy for me to say rain should not be an excuse, given that we live in SoCal! You are a good example for folks who want to use THAT excuse.

      Do you have any other excuses not on the list? Come on, I know you do…
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

      • How dare you call me out! LOL
        – I’m too tired, it was a stressful day and I just want to veg – doesn’t work, because a walk always relaxes me after a stressful day.

        – I have blogging to catch up on – doesn’t work, because I have a good schedule and bouncy dogs won’t let me focus anyway.

        – I think I’m coming down with something – doesn’t work, because at the very beginning of a cold, a brisk walk and then a work out seems to do the trick of knocking it out.

        – I’m hungry and cranky – doesn’t work, grab a protein shake, mix in yogurt and oatmeal, it’s a great snack on the go and tides me over to dinner (or lunch or breakfast).

        – I’m still sleeping – yeah, try sleeping now with three dogs dancing on your head! Take them for a walk, wake up, stop by Starbucks, and start your day! You’re losing the light! Life’s too short! You sleep when you’re dead! And all the other phrases morning people like to shout out – damn them!
        Kimberly, The Fur Mom recently posted…What is My Dog Telling Me When He Sniffs My Butt #LetsTalkBumsMy Profile

        • I just had a feeling you might be able to add a few to the list. I was correct!

  6. Oh boy, can I ever come up with excuses! But my major one is the road we live on. It would be like walking on your California freeways, in the middle lane! In the 20 years I have lived here in South Carolina, I have never felt safe walking along this road. These people are lunatics behind the wheel of a car! Most of them drive around with their freakin phones attached to their ear and one hand, and their eyes everywhere but on the road and traffic around them, usually trying to find something they just dropped on the seat or floor. Enough of that. SOOO, since we have a nice, big fenced-in yard, Callie, Shadow, and I play fetch/keep away after they’ve chased a squirrel or two. For a special treat on a cool, dry day, I put their seatbelt harnesses on them, buckle them in on the back seat, and we go to the park in town for a leisurely stroll along the walking paths. Usually it takes about 30 minutes to circle around from the parking lot and back, so we find a bench to relax at away from the path and we all have some water and enjoy the peace and quiet front about 10-15 minutes before going back to the car.
    Now, lest you think I’ve forgotten about Ducky — she gets lots of exercise at daycare. She loves the agility tunnel — loves to chase and be chased by her doggie friends thru and around it — and all the dogs get walked at least twice a day. She is usually very happily tired by the time I pick her up at 4 o’clock.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…JUST A FEW THINGSMy Profile

    • Wow, I didn’t realize that the roads in SC were so dangerous for pedestrians and pawdestrians. I am glad that you have found some workarounds. Your dogs thank you for it I’m sure.
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  7. I love this post! I used to be very, very fat…and then I made the transition to super-fat to super-fit thanks to my fur-ever parents!
    Tootsie recently posted…Bedroom in ArlesMy Profile

  8. I’ve recently started walking again, but don’t take the dogs. Most of the time we walk in the mall early in the morning. No dogs allowed. But the dogs get plenty of run time in the back yard and have nice waistlines. It’s my own I’m worried about.
    Flea recently posted…Why Take Part in a Blog Hop?My Profile

  9. I’m with Jackie, it can be boring. Especially if I combine that excuse with “I’m too busy,” and then add to that “I’m too tired” to wake up early!! I think I just about hit them all. But we walk our dogs twice a day almost every day because they need it and love it. Try this–if you don’t feel like going out for a walk, tell yourself that you’ll just do a quick spin around the block. At least it’s getting out there. And, once you do, chances are you’ll go farther after all.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…FitDog Friday, Fun & Furry Blog Tour Stop # 9My Profile

    • You are so right. The hardest part is the first step out the door. Even for me, an exercise junkie! Once I’m started, 99% of the time I am glad that I did!
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  10. Those are great answers to some excuses that everyone uses. We say at work that you are killing them with kindness. Food doesn’t equal love. That is a lot of excess money spent on food.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Follow-Up FridayMy Profile

  11. It is never easy to make lifestyle changes, but when it can impact how your feel, how long you live, your quality of life…then the effort is worth it! Trainers recommend that if you find that you have excuses then set a goal and find tools (products/programs/resources) to help you get past them. Life gets busy no doubt, but without your health what do we have? Gandhi said “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” Words to live by…
    DogTread recently posted…8 Common Dog Treadmill Exercise MistakesMy Profile

  12. Great post!! Thank goodness I have Rocco. He never has any excuses and he’s great at pestering me until I get up from the computer!
    Diane recently posted…How to Use a FitPaws Wobble Board for Agility TrainingMy Profile

  13. I can’t understand why people don’t want to walk their dogs. Just seeing the neighborhood through the eyes of a dog is a natural high.
    jan recently posted…Bizarre — Australian dog is stolen, shaved and returnedMy Profile

  14. How about Storm slammed into my knee and it hurts like heck?…oh wait that is my excuse. 🙂 We were able to get the dogs out for nice long marks last night (250 yards+). Unfortunately soon it will be too dark to do that. That is when it gets tough. Walks are not enough without runs sprinkled in.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Follow-up Friday 9-27-13My Profile

    • That is a decent excuse- Storm did you do that on purpose?

      Agree that walks are not enough (unless you or your dog is injured or has a health issue). Runs are the best and can help release those wonderful Endocannabinoids (AKA endorphins).
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  15. Hi Y’all!

    Teeheehee…you live with a retriever just try to stay inactive for a day and see the destruction occur to your prized items!

    l’m lucky! My Humans have always had retrievers. I don’t get to do as much as the others did because by Human Papa can no longer hunt since he had a knee and back surgeries, but we do a lot! especially retrieving exercises and hiking or at least long walks several times a day…

    One of the things I hope to impress upon people with my blog is how full of energy retrievers are! If you want a dog to just lay around you don’t want a retriever, you want a “lap dog” that’s bred to lay in your lap. BOL!!! Can’t you just see 100 lbs of Hawk laying in my Human’s lap? You wouldn’t even see her! I turned 7 last March and my Human says I’m just as active as when I was a yearling…I’m just more obedient…most of the time.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Sharing a Sunny SaturdayMy Profile

    • I wish that was true! Unfortunately, Labradors Retrievers are one of the breeds most susceptible to obesity. I wonder why that is? It certainly is not their fault, since they don’t make the food shopping and serving and exercise decisions.
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  16. There’s always an excuse somewhere. You just have to make fitness for both you and your pups a priority! And fun. Fun helps a WHOLE lot!

    • Fun helps. I wish there was a way to show people that any exercise is fun. It really is, because it is an indication that your heart is pumping blood, your lungs are working and you are ALIVE!

      Appreciation of these simple things is why it is so easy for me to be active and to make sure that my dogs are too.
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  17. Lack of time and the weather are my biggest excuses. But those really just boil down to being lazy! I think boredom factors in too, like Jackie said, so I try to mix things up…walks, runs, swims, different routes and places. I’m getting better but I know I need to do even better than that.
    I remember having a doctor who told me that if I didn’t exercise, I wouldn’t have the health to do everything else I wanted to do. It always stuck with me, and it really is true that if you have your health, you have everything. True for our dogs too.
    Jan K recently posted…The Real Guilt TripMy Profile

    • Agree. Health is key. It means vibrancy and longevity in life, and the ability to do whatever you desire physically.

      Same for dogs. Lean dogs are healthy dogs and they will live longer and have more fun while doing so.
      steve recently posted…Exercising Your Dog: Eliminate Excuses and Get Fit!My Profile

  18. There are only the following acceptable excuses in our house
    1. it’s freezing rain and everything is under ice (happened once)
    2. a dog is post surgery or severely ill
    3. we’re dead
    Jana Rade recently posted…Heart Problem In A BoxerMy Profile

  19. There are no excuses. I can honestly say I have never once missed a day. I am actually home on the couch sick today and I still managed their hour this morning. When I lived in the city they got double the amount of exercise. It’s a commitment to them and yourself.

    • You are so right…I am working on a post where I figure out how many miles or hours I’ve walked with my dogs over the course of my lifetime! WOW…it’s a lot. But I’m like you – they get their time no matter what.
      mkob recently posted…Wordless Wednesday 10-2-13My Profile

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