The new year means a new you, right Fido? While we love our furry friends just the way they are, if the collar is fitting a little snug since the holiday season, maybe it’s time to up their exercise routine. Getting fit doesn’t have to mean running marathons or employing a "pawsonal" trainer. Whether your pooch is a couch potato or a jumping Jack Terrier, these eight pet-friendly activities will have you both looking and feeling your best in no time.
Posted by Billy Francis
Just after the Frisbee (originally named the Pluto Platter) was invented in the 1950s, canines adopted it as a lifelong pal. It definitely has joined the tennis ball in many pups’ “claimed items” pile. This bond was strengthened by the birth of Disc Dog, sometimes known as Frisbee Dog. Most organizations break the sport down into two main categories: Toss-and-Fetch and Freestyle. The former is a throw, catch and retrieve competition held on a 50-yard field of play while the latter is a freeform choreographed routine. The ultimate maneuver in Freestyle is “the dog catch,” in which Fido leaps to catch the frisbee and his human partner catches him in the air.
You don’t need to be a pro athlete to toss a Frisbee. This casual sport encourages healthy activity for two- and four-legged players of all levels, and can also improve your mutt’s coordination and agility. Start by using the disc as a bowl for treats to get your pooch interested. Next, roll the disc along the ground for her to retrieve, and reward her with a treat when she returns. Then, it’s time to start throwing. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, find a Disc Dog club near you.
2. Mountain Biking
Mountain biking with Fido gives you the chance to explore new places, feel the adrenaline pumping and do something truly unique together. This epic sport can be incredibly rewarding, both physically and mentally, but it’s important to take it slow. Start with short, slow rides on a leash at first to get him used to being next to the bike, and make sure he’s responsive to voice commands before letting him off leash on the trails. Let Tom Wragg and his four-legged trail runner, Ruby, show you how it's done.
Canicross is a style of running in which you’re attached to your canine by a bungee cord. It’s a great way to get fit with your dog while allowing him greater freedom of movement. Sign up for a pet-friendly race and invest in a Canicross Harness, which is designed to attach to your waist and the dog’s chest. This allows him to pull you along as he runs, giving both of you a better workout. Find out everything you need to know about Canicross in our interview with Dawn Richards, owner of CaniX, a British-based Canicross events company.
Doga, or yoga with your dog, is more than just a passing fad. This form of yoga has numerous benefits for you and your pup. It's a fantastic way to bond with your best friend while engaging in a low-stress physical activity, and also helps you both relax and focus on each other. Learn more about this unique sport from the founder of Doga in Europe and ease into a new fitness routine in 2020.
Just like humans, exercise isn’t every dog’s favorite pastime. Chilled out Chow Chows and lazy Labradors may need just a little more persuading to get active, which is where bootcamp comes in. Woofinwaggle in Raleigh, NC, provides fitness classes for people and pooches of all breeds, skills, ages and abilities. With the motto “Get Fit, Get Fluffy,” this fitness center and dog spa will leave you both panting with classes designed to whip you both into shape. “Your dog is by far the best workout partner you will ever have! Dedicated, loyal and always eager,” says Woofinwaggle owner Carol Frasso. Venture Active in San Diego, CA, also offers pet-friendly bootcamps along with other activities.
6. Stand Up Paddleboarding
Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is an awesome way to get fit and explore new places from the water. Get Fido used to your board on dry land before heading to the lake, river or ocean. There are many benefits to this self-propelled sport. Paddleboarding can help strengthen your arms, legs, back and shoulder muscles, improve flexibility and increase core strength. As for your dog, she can improve her balance on the board. If you’re looking to get out on the water, check out these 13 paddleboard adventures around the world.
7. Participate in a Canine 5K
Turn that morning walk with your dog into a morning jog. Before you know it, you'll be running with your best bud every day. Better still, you can join thousands of fellow two- and four-legged runners around the country and register for a dog-friendly 5K near you. These nine epic races range from pet-friendly one-mile dashes to 100-mile tests of endurance. If you complete any of them, go ahead and take a victory lap for achieving your (and Fido's) fitness goals.
Surfing the swells is a full-body workout, from tip to tail. The sport requires endurance, upper and lower body strength and some level of skill. Has Fido have never shredded the seas on a board before? Check out these five radical dog surfing schools that will teach you how to paddle out and catch a wave with your Xtreme canine. Not all dogs are cut out for life on the open waves, though, so make sure your four-legged compadre is comfortable in the water and on the board before taking him for a lesson.
How will you be getting fit with Fido in the new year? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
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