There are two things dogs love more than anything else: exercise and you. And while dogs and exercise for humans aren’t always an ideal fit, there are plenty of activities you can do together that will benefit all parties involved. Dogs can be strong training partners, as they’re energetic, full of enthusiasm and of course, adorable. From trail running to yoga, we outlined five activities that’ll help your four-legged friend become your new favorite workout buddy.
While these can all be scaled, note that not all breeds are suited for the same levels of strenuous activity. Be sure to consult a trusted veterinarian in your area if you’re unsure about whether or not your dog can partake in a specific workout.
This one is probably the first that comes to mind. Trail running is a great workout you can enjoy with your dog. If you’re already an avid trail runner, be mindful that your dog is going to need some time to get in shape, too.
Start slow, make sure you carry water for both of you and remember the trail conditions need to be friendly for your pup (not too hot and not covered in sharp rocks or plants). Also, pay attention to the rules on whether or not your dog needs to be leashed—this protects both your dog and others who are enjoying the same trail.
You don’t have to have a water dog to enjoy this activity with your four-legged friend. Paddle Boarding is a full-body workout that’s especially beneficial for increasing balance and core strength (read more here), and adding a dog adds a new challenge and layer of fun to the whole experience.
Stay close to shore at first, as it might take a while for your dog to get used to sitting still and not jumping off. Also, consider buying a life vest specifically for dogs to protect them in case they fall off and make a swim for it.
Dogs love frisbees, humans love frisbees—it’s the perfect match! Disc golf is a great activity for both dogs and humans, as it’s often played outside in parks, requires lots of walking (and exploring if your aim isn’t great) and focuses on hand-eye coordination and depth perception.
We know disc golf frisbees can be pricey, so be sure to bring an old, dog-friendly one so your pup can join in on the action between shots! And like other activities on this list, make sure you’re bringing water, snacks and a comfortable harness for your dog.
No, we’re not expecting your dog to do a sun salutation flow with you, but yoga, especially outdoor yoga, is a workout that’s totally dog friendly. If you’ve ever rolled your yoga mat out with your dog nearby, you know how they immediately become interested and want to check out what’s going on. Begin your practice, and let your dog get involved however they see fit—child’s pose, downward dog and face licking included.
Not sure where to get started? We’ve outlined 11 yoga poses for a full-body workout.
Bodyweight exercises have long been a favorite for everyone from professional athletes to novices at home. But by adding your dog to the mix, classic moves like push-ups, squats and lunges become a little more interesting and a whole lot more fun (for the both of you).
We found a guide to seven bodyweight exercises you can do with your dog, and like the author says, “for her, it’s just like playtime, while I get 53 pounds of furry, wiggling resistance to shake up my routine.” Of course, the type of dog makes a big difference—you’ll obviously get a different workout with your Jack Russel versus your Golden Retriever.
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