Man’s best friend is also man’s best exercise buddy! We are confident that your furry friend will make an excellent exercise buddy to help you stay motivated.
This training guide is full of ideas and inspiration for you to enjoy exercising with your furry best friend. Read on to discover the physical movements that will help you build strength, balance and endurance, and don’t worry, we’ll also spend time with toys and doggie treats for your four-legged friend!
Exercising not only keeps you active, it also means spending quality time together. Remember, all dogs are unique and their exercise needs vary. Make sure you have fresh water available and consider its temperature. Before embarking on a new exercise regimen, check with your GP and your vet.
If you have space, we recommend you take a short jog or walk with your dog around the room, so that you both warm up.
1. Squats and leg
Our favorite exercise is squatting with our dogs. And it’s something you can do quietly at home:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lower your hips, keeping your weight on your heels and your chest up. Your knees should not go past your toes when looking down.
- To include your dog in this activity, take both of your little one’s front legs and hold them in front of you. Squat down, and allow your dog to drop a few inches as well. Then, both of you return to the starting position.
- Repeat it. (Who will tire first?)
- You can use a treat if your dog needs more than verbal instruction. Not only is this exercise good for your glutes, hamstrings, and abs, but you’ll also be teaching your dog a new trick.
Did you know? Squats work your lower body muscles (glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductor, hip flexors, and calves), as well as your upper body (shoulders, arms, chest, and back). All of these muscles are worked by doing everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, bending over, and lifting heavy objects. Squatting helps improve flexibility and strengthens your core, which supports your back.
2. Play with toilet paper rolls
Agility training can be a great challenge for your furry’s mind and body. Lay out some toilet paper rolls in line. Depending on your dog’s level of training, use a treat, toy, or verbal instruction to encourage him to follow you as you walk around dodging the toilet paper rolls. Make sure to reward him with lots of affection (or a healthy treat!) When you get to the end of the tour. Eventually, you can increase your speed to improve your stamina and coordination.
3. Twists and sweets
The best training you can give your little one is to exercise his mind! Engage your dog by letting him see a toy and then hide it in your hands.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step back into a reverse lunge.
- Turn your torso in the opposite direction while holding the toy in front of you, this way your dog will move from side to side as you turn.
- Reward your dog with lots of love or a treat. Another option is to hide her toy so she can fetch it while you complete your reps.
4. Tug of war
Using your dog’s favorite toy to play tug of war, hold one end of the toy and without letting go, squat, that is, squat down while your dog has the other end of the toy in his mouth. Then he goes back up and then falls back into a squatting position. This game is great for strengthening the human-canine bond, as well as having fun with your four-legged friend! Make sure you take breaks so you don’t get your dog overly excited, and try not to be too competitive. Letting your dog win is rewarding for him and can help build his confidence. Do not do this activity if you know that your dog has a dental problem.
5. Lunges and balance
This is another exercise that will get you moving your whole body while spending time with your favorite furry. PRO tip: you will need space, so if you don’t have a patio or terrace, try moving the furniture very carefully to make room in the room for example.
- Do a static lunge and ask your dog to sit each time you do one. Hold on for ten seconds. PRO Tip: Make sure your knee is in line with your ankle and doesn’t go over your toes. Your weight should be on the front heel.
- Now do a lunge with the other leg and remember, have your dog sit up at the same time. Hold for ten seconds. Keep doing this exercise by switching legs for 10-15 minutes.
- Stand on your left leg and tell your dog to lie down.
- Reach down (with your right leg in the air) and give your little one a caress.
- Return to the starting position and repeat the movement five more times (your dog too!).
- Repeat this exercise with the other leg.
As you strengthen your leg muscles, your dog’s job will be to follow your instructions and think about what you are doing. This will stimulate and tire you out. We recommend that you tell your best four-legged friend how good a boy or girl he is when he hears your commands (sit, lie down and / or stay still) and follows them to the letter.
Did you know? When you practice balance, you improve your stabilizing muscles that are not usually used. Balance training has many benefits such as improved body awareness, coordination, and reaction time, all of which help decrease the chance of injury from falls.
6. Play throw the ball while doing squats
This game is ideal for dogs with a very good memory, and it also works to activate your body! Throw the ball or toy for your dog to fetch him / her, then instead of waiting for him standing, take advantage of that time to do as many squats as you can until your little one returns. You can do it in the living room or in a long hallway.
- Bend your knees and place your hands on the floor.
- Press your feet against the ground and lower your entire body, flexing your elbows.
- Raise your body again and jump when you get to the top. Repeat!
7. Jump, jump, jump
Jumping and dodging obstacles is a fun activity you can do with your dog indoors or out, and it’s a great way to get cardio training. There are a wide variety of dog obstacles available to buy, but as a first step you can use items you have around your house, like cushions for example, and create a small obstacle course. Once you have assembled the course, start jumping on the cushions or other elements that you have decided to incorporate. If you see that your little one does it wonderfully, you can make the obstacles higher. Always keep your dog’s size in mind, and create an obstacle course with an appropriate height for your furry one.
8. Time to do sit-ups!
Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold your dog’s favorite toy with both hands, let your little one see the toy, then start to sit up without sitting up completely, and stop when you feel that your abs are starting to work. Elevate your legs to intensify the movement. Rotate your torso from side to side, pausing on each side so your dog can chase your hands that are holding his toy. Keep the movement slow and controlled, and don’t forget to reward your furry friend between sets.
9. The table and the dog toy
Although these activities are especially useful for practicing obedience for dogs, these exercises are great for both pet owners and dogs to be physically active together. The goal is for dogs to focus on their owners and the tasks and / or commands they hear.
Take your dog’s favorite toy and do the plank position by holding the toy with your right hand. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your back and legs should be in a straight line. Focus your weight on your left arm and extend your right arm to the right, then move your right arm to the left, crossing the front of your body. Repeat the exercise five times with your right arm, then switch arms. Don’t lose your dog’s attention to chasing the toy from side to side as you move. Be sure to reward your little one with words of love or a delicious treat between sets.
Did you know? Doing the plank is not only one of the best exercises to tone your core, which contains almost all the muscles of your body, and your abs (a strong core is important to support your back), but it also strengthens your skeletal system .
10. Do yoga with your dog
Finish your training with a little Doga (this word is made up of two words in English: dog (dog) and yoga). Take time to sit next to your dog and pet him, to reduce the energy that was during that fun training that you have done together. When your furry begins to stretch, accompany him doing the yoga position «Downward Facing Dog» or «Adho Mukha Svanasana». This yoga posture is inspired by the body stretch of our canine companions and allows us to perform a full body stretch. If you prefer a more relaxing version, try doing the so-called «Child’s Pose» or «Balasana», while your dog is lying on his front. Enjoy this light stretch and a moment of connection.
Some tips to incorporate your dog into your yoga practice:
- Let your little one’s curiosity guide you
- Practice body stretching next to your dog (big or small)
- Rest together naturally during calmer postures
Here we recommend some yoga poses that you can do at home:
- Child pose: Get on your knees and sit on your heels, stretching your arms directly in front of you.
- Downward Facing Dog Pose: Place your hands and feet on the ground and push your hips back. You will feel a stretch in your calves and achilles. In the meantime, let your dog interact with you. Ask him to sit or lie down when you go from child’s pose to downward facing dog and vice versa.
This guide is intended for educational purposes and should not be considered a substitute for the advice of your veterinarian or training staff. There are many factors that have not been considered in this guide such as the appropriate exercise for each dog based on its breed, metabolism, if it is spayed / neutered, personality, orthopedic status and other medical conditions. If you are not sure if your dog can perform these exercises, consult your trusted veterinarian. Rover.com recommends that you see your GP before starting the training program to ensure that you are physically fit and able to perform the exercises.