A guide to getting into a fitness routine with your dog

It’s much easier to stick to fitness routines with your dog by your side. Dogs motivate us to get out and about – they need their exercise everyday. With the fun energy of your furry friend, there’s no better workout buddy. 

Just like the daily walk, if you up your fitness routine and make it fun, your dog won’t let you forget it. Dogs are brilliant early morning alarm systems and the best thing is they don’t come with a snooze button. Your dog will quickly become a personal exercise alarm clock. How’s that for motivating!

With so many great exercises like canicross Running with your dog attached to you by bungee), doga (yes, that’s dog yoga), paddle boarding and surfing, it can be fun and easy to keep you both fit and healthy. So here are our top tips to help you get into a fitness routine with your furry friend. 

Find an exercise you both love

Exercise should be fun and exciting, not something either of you dread! There’s always a lovely walk to look forward to, but trying new things with your dog can be a great way to bond as well as keeping fit, active and healthy.  These are some of our fitness favourites, ranging from the super easy to the super fit.

  • Swimming 
  • Canicross 
  • Dog agility 
  • Dog-friendly exercise classes 
  • Hiking 
  • Cycling 
  • Active fetch 
  • Football
  • Paddle-boarding
  • Surfing
  • Doga 

Start small and build momentum

Adding in a new exercise routine to up the ante on your usual dog walking is just like any other exercise. We need to start slow. Starting slow is great for you both, and is much more likely to form a lasting habit, rather than it being a fitness flash in the pan. 

Tips for running

slowly increase the intensity and time. It’s not just you pounding the pavements – you’ll both need to build your fitness up first before you set those big running goals.

Get the kids involved

Nothing beats spending time outdoors with the whole family. It doesn’t have to be high-octane activities, either.  Explore woodland walks together, and play hide and seek with your dog. If you’re near a coast go for a swim in the sea, or go on a bike ride through the countryside. CaniBike is great fun! Your dog is attached to the front of your bike with a bungee, similar to Canicross. Best to stick to adults only and take it slow at first though.

Reward yourself and your dog

Immediate rewards can help you stick to your exercise routine. Choose something you look forward to that you’re only allowed after exercise. When you’re just starting out, this simple trick can help keep your motivation high. It could be as simple as a soak in a bubble bath, or a cup of your favourite coffee. And don’t forget the dog. Your furry friend deserves a tasty treat too.

2 comments

  1. Really disappointed that you have advocating running with your dog. It is not good for the dog as they cannot readjust their pace, or stop if they need to. Dogs are not meant to keep going mile after mile at the same pace – other than dalmations.

    I see so many poor knackered dogs dragging along behind their owners who are going way too fast for the dog, it needs a rest and cannot.

    1. Hi Jane,

      Running with your dog definitely isn’t for everyone. We recommend consulting with a vet or vet nurse before starting any intense exercise with your dog – as it’s really important to make sure you go at a pace suitable for both you and your dog and to stop when you need to. If your dog isn’t cut out for Park Run, hiking or swimming is a great option, too!

      Millie

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