We would all love to say that we have an award-winning show dog who loves to perform tricks and looks like it popped off of a magazine cover but alas we as humans are not necessarily all bred to maintain that lifestyle with our pet. What we can do, however, is give them the best quality of life we can afford (and that they deserve) and simply take it one day at a time.
Keeping your dog fit and healthy may seem like a chore but, to be honest, it is a fundamental basic that comes standard when taking on the responsibility of owning and taking care of a dog. You don’t need to run marathons with them to make sure they burn their daily calories, but you do need to keep them reasonably active.
Fit and furry.
There is no doubt that when we look at or even think about dogs that we tend to think of them as furry family members that never tire, they seem to want to go on forever and can at times too. If a child or owner is willing to play they are up for it, and if you are looking to get yourself in shape it can make for a great workout buddy combination. Pair that training regime with a well-balanced diet consisting of natural and organic ingredients such as those in the holistapet dogs breeds guide and you could well be on your way to trying out those dog-friendly marathons in no time.
Just think about all the quality bonding time you will be building up as you and your four-legged friend run around the park, along the riverside, or even do a few sets at home in the garden.
The main objective is for them to stay fit, active, and healthy and have their heart beating like music to a drum. And if you get leaner and stronger in the process then what have you got to lose?
So you are considering getting healthier with your pet, after all, you have to take them out for their daily walks either way you might as well make the most of it.
But are there particular training methods used for specific breeds, do some activities work better than others, and what could benefit your dog the most for the long run?
These are all valid and vital questions and which is why we will look at some of the exercises pet owners swear by and although some of them may be classified as old school, they work. And as the old saying goes, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it, am I right?
For a quick intro into what they look like you can watch a short video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJInHSgdB_Y and try to implement one into your outdoor schedule for a week if it works keep adding another to mix things up and to keep it interesting for both of you. Before beginning any exercise program be sure to have your pet thoroughly checked over by your vet and get the all-clear to begin.
While you may be excited to start be sure that the methods you plan on doing (tell your vet what you have in mind) are suitable for your pet. An older dog may need to stay somewhat limber to keep its joints from stiffening, but too strenuous an activity could end up doing more harm than good.
- Figure eight. This is great because it can be done with anything and anywhere and is a good way to warm up and stretch the spinal muscles. Place two objects (cones, tins, or even two jumpers) a few feet apart and lead your dog through them intertwining and weaving as you go, to get more from the exercise and a deeper stretch once the muscles have warmed up and are more flexible you can bring the objects closer and closer.
- Balance. Once your pup grasps the concept of having to stand on an item whatever it may be, you can begin with a simple square box, you can begin introducing more unstable items. Now when your dog stands on them he knows he needs to stay on and so will have to essentially work to maintain balance. This builds core and refines the smaller muscles around the larger group ones.
See some great ideas in this link with tried and tested successful methods, it can be a base for your training or an add-on to an already well-established regime, no matter what you try, something new always confuses the muscles and makes them work harder to build to be stronger.
- Push-ups. Yes, you read that correctly and it essentially does what it says on the tin. You want your dog to go from a sitting position to a down position with its paws out front, and then back up again into a sitting pose. This is great for building muscle, a good warm-up to get them into the flow of things, and that it is time to train, and has the added bonus of working on discipline without them realizing. Win-win.
The list of training methods is endless, different countries and cultures prefer certain ways, others are honed in more to benefit the specific breed type, and even more so if they are a pedigree pup. But the end goal is to stay fit and healthy, both you and your pet and enjoy an active lifestyle together.