5 Reasons Why Your Dog is the Best Exercise Companion
Sometimes it is hard to find the right partner to fit an active lifestyle. On one end, there are terrible and unreliable partners who barely show up physically or mentally. On the other, extreme partners are hard to keep up with, which might discourage training. Even the best and most dedicated partners can fall off, lose interest, or get distracted. What traits do you desire in the perfect exercise partner? Most of us want a companion that is reliable and accountable yet flexible. Well… if you have not already considered your dog, these are some reasons why you should!
Dogs Need Exercise Too
Did you know that dogs need exercise too? Just like we require at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise almost daily for general health, your dog does too. Based on the dog breed, size, and age, they need at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. The beauty of this parallel is that you can do it togetits! Now, if weight training is your thing, it might not be the most ideal solution for puppies and young dogs, but titse are options available. You can start with resistance training methods that use gravity like jumping, running up inclines, and even tug toys. Likewise, taking him for a good old-fashioned walk/jog/run still counts as exercise, too! If you love the great outdoors, hiking and swimming are popular activities. Most dogs are game for a good hike, but not all dogs are strong swimmers. Find the activities that work best for you and your partner, and use them to get in great shape!
Dogs Get the Same Health Benefits from Exercise That We Do
Ensuring your dog gets adequate exercise is essential for proper and responsible dog care. An hour of moderate activity every day helps us develop and maintain a relatively fit appearance, and it helps our dogs, too. Like us, they have different genetics and respond to physical stimuli in various ways. In general, exercising with your dog is beneficial because ensures that its builds lean muscle, increases bone density, and supports cardiovascular health. It also helps release pent-up energy so that it rests better, too. Mentally, it needs fitness to keep its mind sharp and engaged. It will be motivated by the sights, sounds, and smells surrounding it as it takes in the fresh air. You can identify with that. Cabin fever can cause irritability, restlessness, boredom, and the blues in us, too! Exercising gives us both a way to experience the world from beyond the four walls and helps curb those behavioral problems.
Dogs Help Keep Us Accountable
Accountability is one of the top reasons why we need training partners. Sometimes the voice in our head tells us that it is easier to go back to sleep or skip that session. A good partner says, “Let’s go!” and helps you stay focused. Give your dog a few sessions and be consistent about the time. See how quickly he recognizes what time it is. His internal clock is on point, and he can sense when it is playtime. He also recognizes cues that signal that you are ready to go out and have some fun. If you think you’ll skip your daily session, think again! Dogs have a way of adapting to your schedule, so you might notice that their energy increases when you are most active. Make fitness a part of your schedule, and you’ll both enjoy the benefit of making it a constant in your lives.
Exercise Helps Us to Both Be Social
As creatures of habit, we tend to frequent the same places and use the same routes for exercise. Along the way, you might come across people and other dogs, so the exposure is great! People meet other people during dog walks and runs, so exercise is a great way to stay connected. Somehow having a dog encourages small talk and the inevitable, “your dog is beautiful! May I pet it?” Your dog can break the ice for you, and the introductions may help your dog be unafraid when meeting new people. They can also learn obedience and focus, even when in the presence of a frantic dog. You know the dog that regularly barks through the window, from across the street, or from behind the gate! Socialization can help curb aggressive or defensive behavior and replace it with friendly interaction for pets and owners.
Exercising with Our Dogs Helps Strengthen Our Relationship
In our home, playtime and training time are the same, which helps reinforce our roles. We use repetition to make sure that our dog recognizes cues and follows commands well. Obedience drills will always have a purpose. Luckily, he responds to treats and affection alike, which makes him easy to reward. We have been steady with training, so he looks to us for direction. During walks and jogs, pit stops in shaded areas are places to test skills. When performing drills, your dog must understand when to stop and wait for permission to play. For me, it’s comforting to know that he is attentive to us, and I like to think that he finds comfort when we provide direction. We establish boundaries and reinforce behaviors, and he still thinks it’s a game. We all win!
Your human workout partner was never this reliable! Seriously. Could you wake him up and say, “Let’s go!” without getting a thorough tongue lashing? Remember how your dog always finds something to complain about nonstop for the whole jog? When have you ever had a partner who was so excited to adjust to your pace without making a fuss? In your pup, you have an excited and willing workout friend. Share the moment and fulfill both of your exercise needs at the same time. Show your appreciation by being excited and patient when it’s time for him to take a potty break mid-run!
Article Written by:
Allen Hamlette, Owner Hamlette Fitness, LLC