Especially in the warmer months, sometimes it’s difficult to get more active and exercise with our dogs due to the extreme heat. But becoming overweight or obese is a growing problem for many of today’s pets and sometimes their owners may follow suit. Animals gaining too much weight face the same type of health risks as their human counterparts, so it’s best for all of us if we can stay active and get more exercise.
Often when we think of exercising with our four-legged friend, we may imagine the traditional dog walk, which is always a good method, but there’s plenty of other ways we can get active with our animals. Here’s some tips on some more unusual methods of staying active with them:
Many dogs enjoy swimming as a way to stay active and beat the hit and there’s another watery activity that requires our participation. Dock diving is rising in popularity and the AKC (American Kennel Club) has began recognizing this sport and it’s titles. In case you’re unfamiliar with the practice, portable pools are set up where dogs are judged for their ability to jump and recorded for their distance or height they achieve after running down a dock and leaping into the water.
But you might be thinking, these events aren’t really for human participation, but still masters of these animals are charged with bringing them onto the docks. Some of these dog owners run down the ramp alongside their canines enticing them to get the greatest distance or height. Others simply play with them to get them excited before their leap. Either way, this is a great way to get active with your dog.
Indoors Doesn’t Mean Inactivity
Just because we’re stuck inside when the thermometer reaches into those higher digits, this doesn’t mean we can’t continue to be active with our dogs. Hallways and staircases make great venues for an active game of fetch. But don’t let your canine do all the work, trade places with them on every throw (at the beginning or end of the hall, the top or bottom of the stairs) so you’re getting exercise too.
Another great game is tug-of-war, but this doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch the entire time you’re playing with them. Similar to the dock diving owners, get them to follow you around the house in order to get them more excited about the game. After a brief struggle, once you’ve won the battle, go to a new location before beginning again.
Yet another great indoor adventure is hide-and-seek, which is actually how they train drug sniffing dogs. The handlers will scent their favorite toy with the offending drug and then hide it from them. You can do the same with your canine (minus the illegal substance of course) when you command them to sit and stay, then hide their favorite plaything. Tell them to “go get it,” and you can keep this game going for quite a while.
Be sure to give them their just reward and a healthy treat after playtime. This will encourage them to continue being active with you if they’re being rewarded at the end of the regime. As always, you should check with your veterinarian before changing their exercise routine, but they’ll likely agree this is a good idea to keep both you and your dog in better shape.
Amber Kingsley is a former art history student turned freelance writer who lives in Santa Monica, CA. This travel junkie has a goal to visit every country in the world. She has backpacked through Europe and South America with an eye on conquering Asia next. This peppy, perky writer loves pets, photography, and music.