Wednesday, January 17, 2018 by Frances Bloomfield
Getting enough exercise can be tough when you go at it alone. For many of us, having a friend with you makes exercising a whole lot easier and way more fun. But as YouTuber and spin instructor Annie Brooks has shown, your friend need not be human. Along with her Shih Tzu-Poodle mix, Winnie, Brooks has put out an exercise routine that dog owners can do with their beloved pets.
- Warm up: To kick things off, jog in place. Switch between a slow and fast pace at 45-second intervals, and take 10-second breaks in between jogs. If you’re near an open field, then you can power walk over there to have more leg room for the rest of the routine.
- Side shuffles: Place markers on the floor about four to five feet away from either side of your person. With a dog toy in each hand, rapidly shuffle sideways and try to bend and touch the floor of the markers. Your canine companion should run back and forth in an attempt to snatch the toys from your grip. Kick things up a notch by placing your markers further apart and/or by using your dog’s heaviest toys.
- Ice skaters: Hop from one leg to another while bending forward. Swing and sweep your arms back and forth, again, while holding dog toys in each palm. And again, you can opt for the heaviest ones if you like. Similar to the side shuffles, your dog should chase after the toys.
- Ball throws and squats: This is pretty self-explanatory. Simply throw a ball and squat until your dog returns with the ball, making sure to keep your knees behind your toes. Add to the intensity of this workout by doing a back lunge while you toss the toy. If your dog isn’t the sort to come running back to you with the ball, don’t sweat it. Just perform 20 squats then throw it again.
- Plyometric lunges: Begin by standing and planting your feet at about shoulder width apart. Step your right foot forward and lower your body until your back knee nearly touches the ground and your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Jump back up then repeat this with your other foot. Alternate between both feet. Make your arms work by substituting weight with dog toys. Your dog might not be able to do plyometric lunges with you, but you can ensure they get some activity by rousing them into sprinting around you as you lunge.
- Cool down: The cool down comes in two parts. First, take a brief, leisurely walk with your dog. Next, stretch your muscles, putting special focus on your legs. Don’t forget to reward your pooch with a dog treat for being a great workout buddy. (Related: Homemade dog treats: How to make your own, save a bundle and improve your dog’s health.)
Keep in mind that dogs are built differently from people. While we sweat from almost all areas of our body, dogs only sweat from parts that aren’t covered in fur, such as their paw pads and noses. So the best times to exercise with your dog is either during the morning or evening when it isn’t too hot out. Another way to keep your dog from overheating, according to Prevention.com, is to give them an ounce of water for every pound they weight. If your dog begins panting excessively, has difficulty standing up, or lays down limp, bring them to a veterinarian immediately.
Your dog’s breed should also be factored into this workout. Dogs with shorter legs (e.g. Corgis, Basset Hounds, and Dachshunds) aren’t made for too much running, neither are Brachycephalic breeds or dogs with shortened skulls (e.g. Pugs, Boxers, and English Bulldogs).
When you’ve got all of these sorted out, you’ll be doing yourself and your dog a huge favor. You’ll have found yourself a wonderful exercise companion and your dog will be getting their own exercise, which is very important. Dogs are wont to packing on the pounds too, and this greatly increases their risk of heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes — just like humans.
Go to Slender.news to read up on more ways of keeping yourself and your dog as fit as a fiddle.