Things People Don’t Know About Canine Fitness Part 2

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Last week, I started our series on things that people don’t know about canine fitness.  This multipart series is meant to uncover some interesting tidbits of information that most people are not aware of when it comes to keeping their dog fit.


Without further ado, here are two more things that most people don’t know about canine fitness.

Canine Fitness

Dogs need progression to get more fit

A dog’s body will react very much like a human’s body when it comes to fitness training.  As a result, just like it is with humans, dogs need a progressive exercise routine in order to get more fit, stronger, faster, or more agile.


Looking at it from the human perspective, it is very common to see ‘regulars’ in the gym, (or track, or yoga or Pilates studio) who look the same or lift the same amount of weight or run at the same speed day after day, year after year.  While they are certainly fit, they are stuck in a rut and are not able to make changes (i.e. improvements) in their bodies or performance.  The primary reason for this is lack of progression.  Their bodies become accustomed to the same workouts and thus, stop improving.


The same is true for dogs.  A canine athlete needs to be constantly challenged via exercise progression if they are to improve their fitness.  The progression can come in various forms including increasing speed, distance, or time of the workout.  Other options for progression include adding different modalities, like core work, strength work, or balance work, to the dog’s workout routine.


As long as the dog’s body is forced to react to new physical stress, their body will make the muscular and neuromuscular adaptations necessary to improve their overall fitness.  For those who have older dogs or dog’s that are not really ‘athletes’, progressive exercise is still important.  Mix in a few different drills each month, or vary the terrain that you walk or run on to make sure that the dog is constantly challenged.


Dogs get runner’s high

This is one of my favorite topics to talk about when it comes to both human and canine fitness.  As I have written about in the past, research has shown that both humans and dogs will experience a form of runner’s high, a feeling of euphoria, from intense exercise.  From the human perspective, this euphoric feeling can help a person manage stress, help them stick with a fitness program, and can even help increase a person’s confidence in everyday life.


The exact same can be said for a dog!  A common saying is “a well exercised dog is a well behaved dog”.  In my opinion, a huge reason that this is true is due to the runner’s high that a dog will experience when they are exercised regularly.  They just feel good after a workout and that is reflected in their behavior and demeanor.  Even better is when you and your dog workout together and you can share in the experience of euphoria. I would argue that working out with your dog can further enhance the euphoric effect due to bonding and team effects.


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  1. That’s really cool to know! I didn’t know it was similar to people! I will keep that in mind!
    Lauren Miller recently posted…I Only Have Eyes For You!My Profile

  2. I agree, we both feel great when we come home after a run :o) and we both are dogtired … and one of us is well behaved (for a while)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog EASY TO COOKMy Profile

  3. We definitely agree in the runners high for dogs. We are restless and not happy if we don’t get our regular exercise for a few days. Luckily, that rarely happens.
    Emma recently posted…A Visit To Sherwood ForestMy Profile

  4. It so bugs me when hunting time comes around and someone tells me they threw a couple bumpers for their dog to get them in shape for the season.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Meet Forrest StumpMy Profile

  5. That’s so cool that research backs runner’s high in pups too. Nothing is better than finishing a long trail run with the pups with all of us panting, exhausted and happy.

  6. Cool about the runner’s high … Rocco gets a semi-crazed look in his face after intense running. That must be why 🙂
    Diane recently posted…What I Learned From My Dog About Having FunMy Profile

  7. I’ve never really understood the whole ‘runner’s high’ thing, every runner I’ve ever seen was grimacing. That said, I know from experience how much better both Sam and I feel after our interval training sessions. 😉 But the important thing is to keep on moving, right?
    Happy weekend.

  8. Having done sports my whole life i’ve always approached exercising our pups like I would exercise myself or help someone to train. 🙂 Hence we have hard and easy days, with rotational exercises so that we are careful not to overexercise and to prevent injury.
    DZ Dogs recently posted…WW. Ziva on Duty.My Profile

  9. Mr. N definitely settles better after a good run!

  10. We have steadily increased our distance in walking and we are all benefiting from the exercise. We just have to be sure to take it slow and steady.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Foods and Plants That Are Poisonous to DogsMy Profile

  11. Oh my goodness the runners high. YES!! Cocoa is so much happier and more content when we run. And so am I, haha!!
    Julie recently posted…Stuff and ThingsMy Profile

  12. It’s so great that exercise helps us and our dogs, both physically and emotionally! We rarely miss a day – and the emotional side is the reason why.
    KB recently posted…A Day on the MountainMy Profile

  13. I wasn’t aware of the fact that dogs experience a runner’s high as well, but now I know how to interpret Missy’s happy face after her sprints!!
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Yes, You Can Treat Your Dog The Healthy Way. Here’s How.My Profile

  14. We don’t run – mostly because I just don’t really like running – but we do walk. The girls run all around the yard – it’s easier on Shadow’s arthritic elbows and wrists to run in the grass and dirt than on the paved trails at the park.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…And She’s Off!My Profile

  15. That’s pretty cool. I didn’t know that dogs experienced the same with running has humans. I’ve stepped up our dogs’ exercise regime and I’m happy to be surrounded by snoring dogs! They’re exhausted!!!!

    After a long walk yesterday, I brought the dogs home and we did some training that they enjoyed. My only worry was that they may have gotten too much exercise. Since some dogs won’t tell us when enough is enough, how do we know their limits?
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Raising Awareness or Unsolicited Advice? @ThePetBuzzMy Profile

  16. That explains it then – Jaxson’s running farther with the woof cycle than when we started. We (he and I) can’t even go out with Harley and Lee. They’re slower and they don’t want to go as far 🙂 I try not to push Jax because I want to make sure at his age (14 months) that he’s okay to go the distance – and just what is the right distance. Vet appointment this month so I’ll ask. Great post!
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…THE PET FRIENDLY WENTWORTH MANSION® #THEDOODLESPOTMy Profile

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