Fit Dog Fitness Tips: Add Intensity for a Boost

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Doing similar workouts each day can lead to boredom, both mentally and physically, for both you and your dog. Most of us get into daily routines and habits and if we aren’t careful, we end up doing the same exercises at the same intensity for days if not weeks in a row. Although this is certainly better than skipping your and your dog’s daily exercise, we recommend mixing in some more intense sessions every so often to keep things interesting and your bodies fit. We were reminded of this recently by our Pilates instructor who suggested that next week’s workout be a “no springs day”.


No Springs Day for an Intense Workout

No springs day has nothing to do with the seasons nor with the source of drinking water. It is a reference to a piece of Pilates equipment, called the Wunda Chair, that is used to perform some pretty serious exercises.


For some background, the Wunda Chair is a small bench with springs that are used to add assistance and enable Pilates students to perform a series of body weight movements that they would otherwise be unable to perform. As the student progresses, they are (in theory) able to lower the springs and thus force the athlete to use more and more of their body weight.


Wunda chair

SlimDoggy Steve using the Wunda Chair. What fun!



During the end of a recent Pilates workout, a circuit of pretty intense movements using six different pieces of equipment including the Wunda, my instructor made the suggestion that next week would be no springs day. She said this while I was wiping the sweat off of my brow and the floor- evidence that I was working hard with the springs. I just smiled and nodded my head. After all, it had been awhile since I went “no springs” and I figured it would be great to amp up the intensity and keep me motivated and challenged.


Making your Dog’s Workout Intense and Interesting

The idea of a no springs day can easily apply to your dog’s workout. No, I am not suggesting that your dog gets on the Wunda Chair, although I am sure some of you have dogs that could do so. Rather, I am recommending that you mix in some higher intensity surprises every now and then to keep the both of you from slipping into boredom. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:

  • Run faster. For those runners out there, try increasing your normal pace as much as your dog can handle. SlimDoggy Jack and I will normally run 3-4 miles at about 9 minutes per mile. Every now and then, especially when we both seem to feel fresh, we will try and cut a minute per mile off of our pace. Jack actually seems to enjoy it. At least when we are done.
  • Mix in sprints. Another option is to mix in short intervals of sprints throughout the run. Try to hold the sprint for at least 50 yards or more. These can really amp up your heart rates.
  • Walk or hike faster. Speeding up your walking pace is an easy way to up the intensity of your workout. Keep your dog’s leash ‘short’ and establish a brisk tempo from the start so that your dog can quickly come to understand your intention. I bet they will appreciate the challenge.
  • Add a new movement to the routine. Adding a new movement can really challenge your dog both mentally and physically. Try some of the exercises that we have recommended in the past. For example, the Labby Limbo, the Elevated Touch, or some core work. Or try some new agility drills.
  • Add a new route to the run/walk. Simply mixing up the location can bring about renewed enthusiasm, for both you and your dog. This can often translate to a more intense experience and will definitely keep things from getting boring.
  • Play some fun and intense games. Try adding a game of chase or fetch after your regular walk. Most dogs love these games and they provide them with short bursts of intensity. Even better, get involved yourself and run around like a kid.


Try adding some new elements or intensity (or both) to your dog’s workout 1-2 times per month in order to achieve the benefits of increased calorie burn and fitness.


What do you do to keep your dog’s workouts interesting? Have you consciously tried to mix in a no springs type of day into the weekly routine? Maybe if enough of you are committed, we can have a no springs FitDog Friday and kick some collective ass (together).

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FitDog Friday Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life.   Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below - lots of fun fitness tips and advice!  


  1. We’re lucky to live in a town surrounded on all sides (except the lake side) by steep hills. If you want to go any distance, you’ve got to tackle hills. Not only do we get to work harder when we climb one of the gorge trails, but we’re rewarded with a beautiful view at the end.

    Personally, I used to increase the intensity of my runs by speeding up when I passed another runner so I looked more like a cool kid instead of a jogging old lady. Since there are a lot of runners in my town, it was a pretty frequent increase in intensity from my usual slow jog.

    See, sometimes pride is a good thing. 🙂
    Pamela recently posted…When A Foster Dog Visits…My Profile

  2. Hi Y’all!

    Hmmm…is that a play bow you’re tryin’ to do? You don’t need a chair for a play bow.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Fit Friday FunMy Profile

  3. These tips are really great. We have found that even fooding habits are a big part of a dog’s fitness!! The nutritional values in their genetic habitat should find a way in their diet plan!!
    SK recently posted…Bling tags not just for petsMy Profile

  4. Great tips! We throw in some sprints every now and then and also play a game running up the hill in my backyard. Hills will up the intensity in a hurry! Happy FitDog Friday.
    Diane recently posted…More Agility Fun With Rocco HavaneseMy Profile

  5. my mom laughed as she read “run faster”… and I know why, lol. butt we plan to add some “special” features, like jumping over a fallen tree or a slalom course.
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog FLIBUSTIER FRIDAYMy Profile

  6. Great tips! I always make sure to mix things up a little bit, my huskies get bored far to easily.
    ]ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Gotta have Bowzer Box!My Profile

  7. In the “mix it up” area, even walking on the other side of the street gives a dog new things to smell.

  8. We mix things up quite a bit. The usual walking and running, but some sprints, some balance work, swimming now and then, hill work, we haven’t gotten bored yet 😉
    Emma recently posted…A Good Diet For A Good Life #GetHealthyHappyMy Profile

  9. Great tips again. We switch it up by hunting in different locations and terrains.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…FitDog Friday~Racing Threw The FieldMy Profile

  10. The pups always love when I turn up the pace for sprints at the beach, but I tire way before they do and I can never get far before they catch me. I need an extra pair of legs.

  11. Great tips, always looking to spice up a workout for Kilo.

  12. Mom says Ouch! looking at those photos! I know she tries to mix things up with our walks so those are very good tips, thanks! Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…Morton Arboretum Goes to the DogsMy Profile

  13. I am one of those who falls into the habit of doing the same workouts at the same intensity, and then I never really see an improvement in my fitness. (I don’t think I’ve gotten any worse, either, at least.) When I’m running with high-energy, fast dogs, I do try to add some sprints into the mix. They love it!

    With Ace, I try to get him to step onto different obstacles every now and then like benches, playground equipment, steps, etc. He thinks that’s great!
    Lindsay recently posted…My dog is scared, so he must’ve been abusedMy Profile

  14. I like taking Mr. N to walk different places because I get bored and I’m sure he does too.

  15. Autumn is Harley’s favorite season, this is the time of year that he doesn’t mind long walks and steep hills. We will actually spend more time visiting parks and exploring new territory than we do any other season. Harley’s not a long jogger, so we take many breaks in between, but he gets it in “eventually” BOL

  16. I was just thinking the other day when I was in the yard with the dogs, that if I just did exactly what they did, I’d probably get a good workout! Luke especially switches things up by sometimes running harder, or just doing different things when playing. He’s definitely on the right track….and I like all the ideas you gave here too. I agree it’s important to keep from getting bored with the same old thing all the time.
    Jan K recently posted…FitDog Friday – Fall FitnessMy Profile

  17. I definitely need to up the intensity of my walks. My peeps are sooo unfit!
    Misaki recently posted…Woof like a pirate day!My Profile

  18. I would say our Upland season is something that is more demanding than the brown dawgs’ usual training. They are moving quickly through the forest and over obstacles like dead trees and brush. It is also a workout for humans who have to follow behind. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Dogs Don’t UnderstandMy Profile

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