A New Year, A New Way To Exercise With Your Dog
Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS - www.pethealthnetwork.com
It’s the beginning of the New Year and no doubt many have vowed to exercise and get into shape. But do you look at your dog and feel guilty that you’re working out instead of playing with him? For those who love to multi-task and spend time with their dog, here is a quick 4-exercise workout you can combine with training and play sessions with your dog.
Designed by Hideshi Okamota of Hideshi’s FitnessGarage (www.FitnessGarage.us), this workout is meant for elite athletes as well as past couch potatoes with dogs. As a physical therapist, and former NCAA track couch, football conditioning coach, and coach to several Olympic athletes, Hideshi’s philosophy is to work the many inner muscles that form the support framework for your larger muscles. As a result, these exercises improve your conditioning, decrease the likelihood of injuries and increase your athletic performance dramatically. You can perform them alone in this short routine, in between 400-meter running intervals with your dog, or as part of a longer cardio workout.
How Does your Dog Work into the Exercise Routine?
For this set of outdoor exercises you will be working simultaneously on the down-stay exercise for your dog or playing fetch, or alternating between the two. For instance you can have your dog lying down while you exercise and reward him frequently enough so he stays in a down-stay or you can play fetch and get as many repetitions as you can in while he’s running.
What’s the benefit to incorporating your exercise into your dog’s training? You turn the most boring dog-training exercise ever—the down-stay— into a fun routine. As an added benefit, all of the odd exercise movements you’ll be making that would usually serve as big distractions to your dog now become his cue to stay in a down-stay longer since they are often followed by a reward. The benefit of combining the down-stay with fetch is that you’ll still have something to work on if your dog gets tired of fetch before you’ve finished your portion of the exercise routine.
What You’ll Need
For this workout you’ll just need treats for your dog. I generally use my dog’s daily allotment of kibble so that he won’t get fat. You’ll also need a location where it’s safe to have your dog off leash or where he can play fetch. And of course you’ll need water for your dog (and for yourself) so that both of you can stay hydrated.