Russell Hartstein, a certified dog behavior consultant and certified professional dog trainer with FunPawCare, tells BestCompany that meeting your dog’s needs is a multifaceted concern. Dogs need socialization, play, water, food, shelter, love, emotional support, training, behavior, grooming, medical health, and exercise.
In this article, we have a few suggestions from industry experts to help your dog exercise, while giving opportunities to play, bond, and get some of those emotional needs met.
1. Go exploring
Erin Clifford, Chicago-based Holistic Wellness Coach, and Rockstar Doggy Momma
"Expand upon your walking environment. It is great for dogs to experience new sites and smells. For instance, if you live near a forest preserve or state park, go hiking together. If you live in the city, go explore it. You can take your dog to different dog-friendly public parks or use stairs or hills to enhance your dog’s workouts. Hint: this is also great exercise for the doggy momma or daddy!"
2. Practice Yoga
Li-ran Bukovza, founder of Puppy Tip
"Practicing yoga with your dog not only helps with bonding and relaxation, but it also has some wonderful mental and physical benefits. There are many places offering Doga classes or you can simply learn some techniques and do it from the comfort of your own home.
Doga helps with relieving anxiety and promotes an overall sense of well-being, along with helping to stretch muscles, ease pain, and improve overall flexibility."
3. Take a hike
“Hiking is also a wonderful way to spend time with your dog: it allows for plenty of exercise, fresh air, and sensory stimulation. However, keep in mind this may not be the best choice for older dogs since it can put a lot of strain on their joints and paws.
Always be sure to hike on trails that are dog-friendly and remember to keep your dog on a leash. Also, check with your veterinarian as to whether or not your dog is in good enough shape for these cardio activities.”
4. Have fun in the water
“Swimming is great exercise for a pup of any age. Young pups love to swim, and it is great for a senior dog who is not as mobile or has orthopedic concerns. Many cities have local dog beaches and lakes. Plus, many year-round indoor facilities are popping up all over the country.”
Rob Jackson, president and CEO, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance
“Get wet! Try swimming, paddleboarding or surfing. Living in warmer weather? Most dogs are natural swimmers but some are not; luckily, lots of canine fitness centers are popping up and will teach your dog how to swim. What if you want to swim together? You might want to hit a dog-friendly beach and tackle the waves, and don’t forget to bring the paddle board—another great workout for both you and your pup."
BONUS TIP: Enjoy your ready-made running buddy
You thought you were only getting 4 suggestions. Check out this bonus suggestion:
"Go for a run with your dog! Recent studies show that exercising with a partner increases motivation and makes you more likely to stick with it. Why not make your pup your exercise partner? Here are four reasons why you should:
- Dogs don’t complain.
- It’s healthy. For both of you.
- Share a sweat session and a bond.
- Tucker your pup out!"
Stay tuned for more ways that pet parents can keep boosting their puppers’ wellness throughout more of the areas that Harstein outlined. For more on Hartstein, check out dog training in LA at funpawcare.com.