Running and Other Fun Exercises for you and your Dog

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Today we welcome Sydney, Australia based veterinarian, Eloise Bright as a guest writer for the letter ‘R’ for our A to Z post on, wait for it…of course, RUNNING! As you will soon find out, Eloise and SlimDoggy have a common point of view on the value of exercising regularly with your dog.

dog runningOur pets are now part of our lifestyle and in no area is this more important than with exercise. According to the National Pet Obesity Survey over 52% of dogs in the US are overweight or obese. And while one third of Americans are obese, dog owners are fitter and healthier than those without pets. Even walking with your dog helps to keep your mind and body healthy and could possibly even prevent dementia. However, as with anything in life, variety is the key. If your daily walks are getting a little on the dull side and you are looking for some inspiration, read on for some great new ideas for exercise with your dog.


Running, Cycling, Rollerblading or Skating

Running burns more calories than just walking the same distance (as much as 3 times more), making it the best form of exercise for you and your pet. If your dog is relatively well trained on the leash you can easily tether him to your belt and hit the pavement at a good pace. You may need to do a bit of training to ensure your heel is reliable before jumping on the bike, roller-skates or rollerblades, but the payoff is adventures that can really go further afield than a walk.


If you happen to have an older dog that can’t make the distance on longer walks, find a second hand 3 wheeler jogger pram, or a carrier you can use to strap your pooch on. There are also great pet (or children’s) bike trailers that allow you to take your pet with you on longer outings to the shops or further afield than just a regular walk.


For some extra motivation, KC Dog Runners in Kansas City, Missouri matches volunteers with rescue dogs for a monthly running club. What better motivation than knowing if you cancel your run, a rescue dog won’t get out for the day. Rescue groups are always very happy to have extra dog walkers and a well-exercised happy dog is more likely to get adopted, talk about a win-win situation!



Doga is of course dog yoga. Practitioners include your pooch in the various postures. Exercises such as the downward dog take on a whole new meaning. We very rarely stretch our dogs, so this is one way to make sure you and your furry friend stay fit and supple. If you want to try Doga at home, there are some free exercise videos available here. As with any new exercise, consult with your Vet to make sure the exercises are safe for your pet. Some poses require unusual positions which may be dangerous for certain dogs that have respiratory or cardiac disease and those postures that require hip extension should not be performed in growing dogs or those with hip problems.


Skiing or Skijoring

dog frolickingThis fabulous winter sport really is the definition of teamwork between you and your pet. Part sledding part cross country skiing, it involves tethering skier and dog via harnesses. The human part of the team has poles to help things move along during the tough bits, so it isn’t all a free ride for the two-legged team member. The first competition was held in Scandanavia, but there are organisations throughout the world.


Join an Agility club

If you love training with your dog and the social aspect of pet ownership, joining an agility club can be a great way for you both to get mental and physical exercise. Agility is not just about the dogs, owners need to keep pace too. Check out the inspirational Crufts agility finalists here.


Circuit Training

You can do this at home in the yard or at the park. Get one of your dog’s favourite toys and set up some basic exercise stations. Some dogs will be happy to follow along with your walking lunges, and you can even train them to weave through your legs in between squats and lunges.

Some examples of exercises:

  • Stand with feet hip width apart and squat, as though sitting down on a chair, as you rise raise the toy above your head and encourage your dog to jump for it.
  • Throw the toy for your dog to fetch and while waiting for him to return do as many burpees or walking lunges as possible.
  • Lie on your back and do a full sit-up, as you reach the top, throw your dog’s favorite toy a short distance, then come back down. Repeat for 20 repetitions.


Fetch and Tag

dog fetchIf your dog knows how to fetch, put a new spin on this game by throwing the ball, then running for it yourself. Make it a race for the ball. Great to really get the heart-rate up, and your dog will think it’s an even better game than usual.


Dancing with your Dog

Dancing is great for mental health and fitness and particularly good for the elderly. Some research indicates it may even help prevent dementia. Did you know you can also dance with your dog? Imagine the matching outfits you and your canine friend could wear! There are many different styles, but freestyle dancing allows for the most creativity. This amazing canine team has some fabulous ‘grease ‘ moves.


We hope these ideas have inspired you to get out and enjoy some new fun activities with your dog. New research from Michigan State University reports that people with canine companions are 34% more likely to get the recommended 150 minutes of exercise each week, compared to those with no pets. Incorporating your dog into your exercise routine can make exercise more fun for you both and increase the human-canine bond. And your furry exercise buddy will never cancel a session on you at the last minute.


About Eloise Bright

Eloise Bright is a mom to Duster, the Pomeranian, and Jimmy, the cat. As a Sydney based veterinarian of 7 years currently working with Love That Pet, Eloise has taken the opportunity to volunteer at charity clinics and is now completing her Masters in Small Animal Practice. Chat with her on Google+.



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Click here if you want to see the Blog Hop from A to L.


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  1. On your mark – get set – GO! Our Woof Trainer Bike Trotter’s came this weekend and the latter part of this week will be dry with mile temperatures. Look out – Doodles and parents on the run…. Thanks Slimdoggy. Insightful article Eloise Bright! Happy Monday 🙂

  2. Spring weather definitely has me dancing, but Eko’s not a big fan of my moves so we’ll probably stick to running.

  3. One of my huskies will fetch, but not the other two. They look at me like “you want the stick? you get it!!!” haha! Cool ideas! Hope you had a great Easter!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…OMD! Monday-Mish Mash!My Profile

  4. We walk Bentley and Pierre but only trot for a small part of the exercise. It is usually to catch up with Pierre when Bentley’s nose gets busier than his feet! Great article!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Comments on CommentsMy Profile

  5. This is a great post! My dog is 90% of the reason I get exercise, aaaaand he kicks my ass. It’s like living with a personal trainer.
    Never heard or thought about skiing with a dog! Out of all of these, we do bike rides. And I’ve got a couple things on the bucket list, namely agility and dancing!
    (Especially dancing.)

  6. Just stopping by from the A to Z Challenge. We don’t have a dog; we have cats, and they just like to lie around all day and nag us to feed them. Nothing against dogs, though.
    John Holton recently posted…Random numbers (#atozchallenge)My Profile

  7. People keep telling me I need to do freestyle with Mr. N. He’d like it but that means I’d have to dance in public!
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…Monday Mischief #30 – A Picture is Worth a Thousand WordsMy Profile

  8. Dancing sounds fun!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Who Cares If The Water Is ColdMy Profile

  9. Great guest post with some really good ideas to keep you and your dog fit.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Mischief In Poop HuntMy Profile

  10. Our dogs love fetch and tag. They are so much fun and even though we do it every day, they can’t get enough. Rodrigo and I are still going on our weekly runs and we’re going to work our way to biking. Fingers crossed.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Researching Raw Dog Food Can Be ConfusingMy Profile

  11. My dog is a fetching nut. It’s always been a great way to get him to run around a bit, but nothing beats a walk or a run. The fetching just gets him way too excited and then way too out of breath. I also love the idea of biking with dogs. I used to bike with my dog in North Dakota, especially when he was younger. I took a lot of my foster dogs biking as well. Great way to tire them out in a structured way!
    Lindsay recently posted…Most dogs don’t need a fenced yardMy Profile

    • We mostly run or walk with our dogs. Oddly, our two retrievers are not into fetch. I think it stems from their background – neither one of them come from a good home, so I don’t think they ever learned to play. Try as we might we can only get a few minutes of play out of them.
      mkob recently posted…Supplements for Pets Part 1: Food SynergyMy Profile

  12. Since fetch is the dogs’ favorite exercise, I’m trying to come up with ways to make it a workout for me too. I’ve started chasing Luke when he’s hogging the ball…it gets both of us moving (lately he likes to just lie down with the ball in his mouth).
    Jan K recently posted…Halo Cat Treat Review – by SamMy Profile

  13. Some great ideas there. I need to get my daddy out on his bike again:-)
    Misaki recently posted…Getting back to normalMy Profile

  14. Hi Slimdoggy

    I’d love to try out the Doga, but I’d like to go to a class, not sure we’d all get a lot done but it would be a blast to hang out with my Doga buddies!

    I hope you’re having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂
    snoopy recently posted…Monday Mischief – Mischief isn’t always a good idea!My Profile

  15. Our Doga is just Cody and Sierra licking our faces when we exercise.
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