Is your dog looking a bit round around the tum? Does a 20 minute walk take twice as long as it used to? Or maybe it’s you who could be doing with a little reshaping? If so, it’s time for you two to get properly moving.
There’s lots of way you and your dog can exercise as a team of two. Not only are you guaranteed to have fun, be fitter and leaner, but you’ll both also have more energy. What’s not to like? So what are the sports you can do as a twosome? Well, take a look at the following:
A sport for all dog breeds, Cani-cross is running with your dog harnessed to you. He or she goes in pole position (ie at the front) and you shout commands from the rear. There’s a whole dictionary of commands specifically for the sport. Not only is your dog getting exercise, but also using her or her brain at the same time. Just as you would with jogging, start off with small distances then increase as you both start to feel stronger.
Equipment: a dog harness, long bungee-type lead and waist hip belt for you.
This is like Cani-cross with the difference being you’re cycling rather than running with your dog. Again, it’s suitable for all breeds, although probably best for bigger dogs since the bike will add weight. Again, like Cani-cross this involves commanding
your dog from the rear, with a special in-built lingo to learn. It’s done on bike trails in the countryside, since road cycling would prove far too dangerous. Expect a few bruises in while your dog gets used to running with the bike; a quick or wrong turn by your canine friend and you’ll be on the ground.
Equipment: same as for cani-cross, with bike
More of a pulling activity for the dog than Cani-cross and Bike-joring, Roller blading involves your dog propelling you along the path while you wear skates (just make sure they keep at a steady pace or go whizzing). This is a particularly fun activity, but one in which your pooch will be getting more exercise than you. And don’t feel guilty about him or her having to haul you along. Most vets agree that pulling strengthens your dog’s muscles, making them more supportive and cushioned – which particularly helps breeds prone to hip problems, such as German Shepherds.
Equipment: roller blades, dog harness, bungee-type lead and waist hip belt.
Different to the other sports we’ve mentioned in the sense this is a team event, Flyball involves getting your dog to jump over four obstacles, pick up a ball from a box it has to trigger, then race back over the obstacles again. When he or she returns, the next dog goes. This is a relay race where two teams of 4 dogs each, compete against each other. There are more than 200 Flyball clubs currently in the UK and its popularity is steadily increasing. No wonder – it’s great fun and suitable for all breeds and sizes of dog. This has the added bonus of you both making new friends.
Equipment – box, tennis balls, jumps
The above are just a taster of some of the growing number of sports you and your dog can get involved in. Doing one of the above activities together is a great way to get fit, protect against illness and make your bond even stronger. When are you going to get started?