Have you started thinking about healthier routines, diets, and fitting into the newest spring/summer outfits? It can be tough to start and stick with a new exercise program, but if you have a dog, you have a great training partner ready to help you at a drop of a hat! Here’s some items you’ll want to keep in mind before having your dog assist you on the journey to a new, healthier you.
Just like yourself, before embarking on a new training routine, your dog should have an updated physical, making sure they are clear of any medical issues (heart, lungs, joints, pain, weight) that would limit their ability to exercise with you.
Breed and Age Considerations
- Small dogs – may not be able to go long distances, but are great for two or more short daily routines
- Large, young, active – pre-workout may be needed. Try a game of fetch before heading out together
- Short nosed – have difficulty breathing in hot weather; keep routines to cooler times of the day
- Puppies – Easy does it! Check with your veterinarian on what’s appropriate
COLLARS – Watch it! Disconnect it from that leash!
- A collar should only be used for ID. If your pet is as excitable as my dog, exercising with a traditional collar is no-go.
- Use a head halter system (eg. ‘Gentle Leader’) or no-pull style harness (eg. ‘Easy Walk Harness’).
LEASHES – Retractable leashes, YIKES! NO WAY!
- If your dog is 10+ feet away, they won’t respond (“I can’t hear you from way over here”).
- A regular lead under 6 feet long is great. Helps everyone stay at a steady pace.
- A shorter lead will save you from elbow and shoulder injuries, or worse, getting dragged to the ground, when they decide to chase that squirrel.
- Your pet may need a refresher, especially if they’ve been on ‘break’ the past several months.
- Revisit basic commands in a comfortable environment, with limited distractions.
- Consider a formal brush up for you both with an obedience class (new canine friends!!!).
Now you are ready to go. So get out there!
- Set up a daily routine to keep you both going.
- Easy does it! Resist the urge in the beginning to go all out – pace yourselves.
- Besides not having the stamina, your dog’s foot pads are soft and are not ready for a multi-mile jaunt right off the bat.
Remember, HAVE FUN! Your pet will appreciate the time together. In no time, you and your new training partner will start reaping the health benefits.