Can Your Dog Help You Get in Shape?

Exploring Intensity

Can Your Dog Help You Get in Shape?

There are many great reasons to get a dog. But according to a new CNN article, there are at least 13 specific activities that you can enjoy with your dog that will make you happier and healthier. Running is an obvious dog/human sport, but some of the suggestions in the piece are a little weird. These are nine ways we feel are the best way to get you and your best friend panting together.


Active Fetch- That’s what they call it in the article and it’s a pretty good idea. Throw a ball out and as you wait for your dog to run back with it, see how many lunges or squats or push-ups you can do. By the time it’s over you’ll both be heading home ready for a nap. Or, if you have a wiener dog or basset hound, see if you can beat the dog to the ball, stick or frisbee.

Cross-Country Skiing- The article also includes snowshoeing, which can be a beautiful way to enjoy deep snow. This activity is a seasonal one (obviously), and it’s best enjoyed in off-leash areas.

Soccer- Does your dog like to chase a ball around, even if its too big for their mouth? Well, time to do your best David Beckham impersonation.

Charity Races- If you think your dog has a philanthropic side, then check to see if there are run-with-your-mutt races. Keep in mind that dogs are great sprinters, but they tire out faster than people do. We have found that our dog will pull and lead us through a fast first-half mile – and then we’re pulling and tugging the dog the final two and half miles of a 5k.

Cycling- If you find yourself worn out way before your dog when you go on a run, then maybe it’s time to take advantage of some human ingenuity and cheat a little to get your pup running harder and faster. Do NOT tie dog’s leash to bicycle, though. We suggest mountain biking on trails in an off-leash area.

Human/Dog Boot Camp- These apparently exist to get people to push themselves to the limit, while their dog pushes itself to its obedience threshold. Essentially, while you get to roll around in the mud and scream, your dog is shown ways to behave itself. Not exactly an immediately exciting activity for your dog, but the point is that if they can react better to these kinds of distractions they will be much better companions if you choose to do something like take a hike.

Keep Away- Some dogs love to get a hold of a high-value item like an old tennis ball or dirty sock and run around the yard. Many dogs enjoy a game of quick chase. Try and catch your dog as they zig and zag around the yard. But keep a treat handy – and work on getting the dog to give up the object from time to time.

Swimming- Going for a lake or pond swim can be a great way to spend time with a pooch. It’s a great way to exercise an aging dog. But many dogs will swim right up to you in the water, so be careful not to get scratched.