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Your dog is your best friend and loves to run around outside just as much as you do. This combination is a match made in heaven, so there is no reason why you can’t practice some of your favorite sports together. Here are five opportunities in which you can both get some exercise and enjoy each other’s company.
Throw a Frisbee
Playing frisbee with your dog is a perfect way to practice for your ultimate game while giving your dog a chance to run wild without a leash. As long as you use a frisbee that you don’t mind getting teeth marks in, any disc should do. It is best to play in an open field without bushes and trees that could deflect your disc or make it difficult for your dog to chase the frisbee.
When your ready to throw, do a few pass fakes toward the direction you plan on sending the frisbee. This is just a polite way to let your dog know which way to run once you actually toss the disc. Throw the disc with enough force and at an angle so that frisbee gains some speed and altitude, but not so hard that your dog can’t catch it. You want the game to be fun for both of you. You can also break out your softball gloves. Just remember that your dog won’t throw the ball back!
Going running with your dog is a great way to spend time together. Depending on the size of your dog, you will have to adjust your speed to so as not to leave him or her behind. Of course, there is also the possibility that your dog will need to do the same for you. Therefore, you can set the pace and stick with it, or introduce your pooch to high intensity interval training.
With HIIT, you’ll be varying your speed up and down to get a good workout and burn some fat. Your dog naturally follows your lead but may require an adjustment period for this style of running. If you’re going for a long run with your dog, you may want to run on grass or a dirt trail because too much time on hard pavement may be uncomfortable. You should also avoid running on city streets because broken glass or other garbage could injure your dog’s paws.
Take your dog hiking with you for an adventure you both can enjoy. Unfortunately for dogs, most of them don’t get to spend much time walking in the woods or trekking up mountains. Thus, when you bring your dog hiking with you, it is a special occasion. Consider whether to use a leash in unfamiliar territory. Your dog will love all the new smells and may be tempted to track down their sources. This is normal and fun behavior for dogs, but if it gets out of control, you will be following them instead of the trail.
Many but not all dogs love to swim. If your dog likes to get wet, there are some precautions you should take beforehand. First, if you’re using sunscreen, your dog could probably use some too. Second, put a doggie life jacket on your four-legged friend just to be safe. Third, if you’re swimming anywhere other than a pool, watch out for blue-green algae blooms, which are highly poisonous for dogs. With the safety measures taken care of, have fun splashing around, but observe your dog for any signs of fatigue. Dogs are good swimmers and are very brave. They just can’t call out for help as well as humans can.
Everyone has heard of downward-facing dog pose, but can dogs do yoga? The answer is kind-of. Doga is the name for practicing yoga with dogs. Dogs like to stretch, but your dog is unlikely to contort themselves into yoga poses for exercise or enlightenment. Think of Doga as just another chance to spend time with your best bud.
By including your dog when you exercise, you will enrich both your lives. Don’t be surprised if you’re the one who has to stop and catch your breath!