Not every dog can say that he’s been to 11 countries. My best friend, Deuce dog, has traveled with me to…
the Czech Republic,
and of course his birthplace in the USA.
It is also true that not every dog owner can say that he or she would want to travel by train with their four legged friend to 10 European countries. But I choose to do so because I think he is a great travel buddy, and we have fun exploring new places.
Even though you may not be inspired to bring your Fido on every road trip and weekend getaway, there is an even more important way to make your pup a part of your daily life. One of the most important things you can do for your dog is to make sure he or she gets plenty of exercise! I see way too many pups penned up in fenced yards all day long, or only going on one walk per day on a leash.
In honor of National Dog Day on August 26th and from the bottom of my crazy dog mom and fitness fanatic heart, I have made a list of all the ways I love exercising with Deuce dog.
This is my favorite activity to do with Deuce dog! I love it because I enjoy being outside and spending time on the trails, and it is a fairly easy way for Deuce dog to get tired out from plenty of exercise. He runs ahead of me, sniffing and scoping out the trail. I always let him off of the leash whenever possible, but he knows to come back when I yell because otherwise he has to go back on the leash. While we lived in Slovakia, Deuce dog and I went for a walk in the woods near my house at least 3 times per week. In Amsterdam, we have discovered the 5 kilometer dog zone loop at Westerpark, which is more of a long distance walk, as there is no elevation change, but I still consider it to be more effort than a simple walk in our neighborhood.
When I run with Deuce dog, I do not pay very much attention to my time. Instead, I see it as interval training because he is constantly forcing me to stop so that he can smell something or use the restroom. Then he forces me to sprint when he sees something interesting ahead of us. I also need to use a lot of upper body strength to hold him back from going after cats, dogs, or motorcycles along our route.
Every single day, if we do not do some other form of exercise, we go for a walk. What I love about walking with Deuce is that doing so forced me to explore the area where I am at in such a deeper way. I get to know all of the cafes and restaurants near my neighborhood, and I have more time to notice small details about the houses and apartments. It is common for someone to begin speaking to me while I am on a walk with him or to start petting him. I have gained lots of great local tips and met lots of friendly strangers this way!
Fetch with the Ball Launcher
The ball launcher is the greatest invention ever because it allows you to throw the ball for your dog without putting your hand into lots of slobber! But from a physical activity standpoint, it is also great. I sometimes take Deuce to the park with the ball launcher, and in between throws I do 10 squats or I hold a plank, or I do triceps dips on the bench. Then he brings the ball back, I throw again, and then repeat a circuit of 3 or 4 moves each time he fetches.
This one is a bit harder to do together with your dog, since dogs are not allowed in most public pools. Because Deuce is a labrador, he absolutely loves to swim. My favorite place to take him to swim is at a beach or a lake where I can enjoy the water too. However, even when that’s not possible I try to find opportunities for him to go for a swim. It is great exercise and good for his joints!
Usually, I do not ask Deuce dog to join me while I do 30 minute yoga videos at home, he just decided to join in. I have to stay more focused during challenging balance poses as he walks around me, and I have to avoid running into him as I change poses. Then we compete to see who can do a better down dog, and of course, he always wins! Several cities are now offering dog specific yoga classes, I hope that Amsterdam gets in on that trend soon! If not, I just might become an instructor.
Ok so admittedly, Deuce dog is not very good at this particular winter sport, but I feel as though I have to include it after seeing how much my friend Andrea and her dog Ozzy enjoy it! First, Andrea does alpine skiing to climb the mountain on her skis and Ozzy stays nearby. Then, Andrea zips down the mountain and Ozzy runs at a full out sprint to keep up. If you live near mountains and snow, why not take your dog with you at a dog friendly ski area or for cross countries skiing or even snowshoeing?
Proof of the one (and probably only) time I took Deuce alpine skiing at Chopok… all the snow & the sticks & the skiers were too much for him… but he sure was tired out afterwards! And we both enjoyed the gorgeous scenery & the company of our friends @andreamelichova & Ozzy!! #deucethedog #winter #snow #skiing #mountains #slovakia #bestfriend #outdoors #sporty #athletedog #dog
To sum it up, almost every athletic endeavor you can do outside of the gym can be done with your dog. It is super important for your health and your dog’s health that you exercise together! I hope that some of these ideas will inspire you to be more active with your pup! Here’s a great graphic I found from Puppy Spot which provides even more inspiration for getting active with your pup this week.
And if you are looking for your next workout buddy, Puppy Spot has got a lot of absolutely adorable four legged friends located here. Warning: #puppiesfordays