Dogs are probably the most loyal and devoted creatures on earth. When their master is eating, they want to eat. When their master is sleeping, they want to sleep. When it’s time for their master to work out, however, we run into a problem. Dogs have different anatomy, and cannot do many of the same exercises that we can. However, there are many ways to exercise with your dog, and today’s article will concentrate on the reasons for doing so.
The Main Benefit To You: Motivation
It can be very hard to find the motivation to work out, and it can be even harder to keep going for weeks, months, and years. In many ways, motivation is what separates the fit from the non-fit. As such, anything that helps your motivation should be welcomed and used.
You might be surprised to find out that scientists have done some research on this specific subject. Here is one such study conducted by Purdue University. They found that those who exercised with their dogs reported a significant increase in motivation.
Because this was a self-reporting test, we cannot be entirely sure of why this happened. Many people might not even be aware of why they feel more motivated and might simply be taking their best guess. However, we think that these results are reliable because they are very consistent. Most of the test subjects said that they were motivated by the well-being of their pets.
Working Out With Your Dog Is Fun
If you’ve ever wrestled and play-fought with a puppy or any other dog, you know that dogs love to play rough. They have a natural love of exercise, and that love tends to be contagious. While a human might be exhausted after a brisk run, a dog will usually be at their happiest when exerting themselves.
In a way, this ties in with the motivation factor. It’s much easier to motivate yourself when you’re doing something that is fun. Not only that, but your dogs are likely to be much happier in general.
Dogs Are Reliable Partners
Let’s ask this question: What is the most annoying thing about human training partners? We’re willing to bet that your answer would have something to do with reliability. For one thing, it can be hard to find a good training partner. For another thing, it can be hard to find a good training partner that will actually show up to train with you. Training partners who make excuses and don’t show up for training sessions are one of the most irritating things that we can imagine.
Dogs don’t have this problem. As everyone knows, a dog will always be eager to go out for a run with their master. In fact, they might get irritated if you don’t include them in your activities. They don’t have jobs, they can’t get married, and they don’t go to school; which means they have no excuse to skip training!
You’ll Both Live Longer
As you may have figured out by now, we are trying to convince you of one thing: That exercising with your dog is a healthy option for both you and your dog. Obviously, a person (or dog) who is healthy will live longer than one who is not. This fact is so obvious that it requires no proving.
How To Exercise With Your Dog
As we mentioned earlier, this article is mainly focused on the reasons for which you should exercise with your dog. Still, this article would be incomplete without a few words on specific methods of exercise. It’s all about finding the areas in which human exercise and canine exercise can go together.
The most obvious exercises are those that involve walking, jogging, or running. Like all four-legged animals, the dog is built for running. As such, their endurance and speed will probably outmatch your own. Of course, some of this depends on the size of your dog. Longer-legged breeds can run much faster than toy breeds, who have to use many more steps to cover the same distance.
When running with your dog, use a strong leash and keep it short. You don’t want it to get tangled or snagged, as this will pose a hazard to both of you and mess up your workout too. Don’t use a choke leash, as you may be forced to pull hard on your dog to make them stop. For this same reason, we recommend the use of a harness rather than a collar. It’s easier on the dog and more secure.
When you are performing exercises that your dog cannot do, you can allow them to do a different exercise at the same time. For instance, you can combine tug-of-war with a bicep curl. Note that this will only work for large-breed dogs. Bully breeds are especially great for this purpose, as they love to play tug-of-war.
Get down on one knee with a strong rope toy in one hand. Give one end to the dog and let them get a good grip. Shake and wiggle it around to get them started and pull back to encourage. When they start to shake and pull on the rope, you can use that resistance to do bicep curls. You can also do an underhanded hammer curl this way. It’s a great workout for you and a fun little game for the dog.
As a final note, we should caution you that certain breeds are not so well-suited as exercise partners. We are mainly talking about breeds with extremely short snouts. These breeds, technically called brachycephalic breeds, have airways that are too small for their skull. There’s more to the story than that, but you get the basic idea. These dogs cannot breathe as well as others, and will thus become exhausted more easily. If you continue to push them, they could even pass out or die. So, if you have a pug-nosed dog, stick to short walks only.
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