Over the years I have tried many different fitness activities and have had many different fitness partners. I have found that the best fitness partner tends to be your own pet. Dogs are the perfect fitness partner.
People tend to get sick, make other plans, or lose interest in working out. A dog will always accompany you when working out, and do it with enthusiasm. When I get in a routine, it doesn’t take long for the dogs to realize they are part of my new regimen. I swear, dogs can tell time. Within a few days, the dogs know what time we should be exercising and are barking and ready to go. On days when I’m not feeling up to it, the dogs remind me that they are more than feeling up to it. I can be sitting on the couch and they come up barking and nudging me ready to go. As soon as they see my shoes come out they are excited and running to the door.
Through the years I have been rollerblading, running, walking, and bicycling with the dogs (although the bike takes a lot of coordination and doesn’t work well for me). Walking and rollerblading are my favorite. I have found I can walk the dogs at a fast people-pace and the dogs stay right with me. When rollerblading, the dogs can go as fast as they want, and I have no trouble keeping up. When running, my people-pace is no where near their canine-running-pace and they are either pulling me along or half walking with me.
I do not use, or recommend, an extenda-type leash when running, or walking. The only time I use the extendable leash is when rollerblading. I keep them no more than 4 feet ahead of me, but if they get a sudden burst of energy, or lunge after a bunny, this gives me a few seconds to react before they hit the end of the leash.
I do prefer a Lupine halter when exercising with my dogs. It gives me a bit more control, without jerking their head or neck. I did take time before-hand to train them on how to behave when using the halter. Seeing a different halter and leash sets up a different attitude for me and the dogs. They know something fun is about to happen, but also know it means they have to behave.
An added bonus to exercising with your pet is having a tired pet. A tired puppy is a good puppy. They get the exercise that is needed for their mental and physical health, and are less prone to get into trouble, chew things they aren’t supposed, dig holes, etc.
Exercising with my dogs gives us both the physical exercise we need, and the accountability I need to stay on target with my plans.
Guest post by Emily