Summer is almost over and the rainy autumn days are already upon us. Sitting around for ages without exercise: we can already see the winter weight gaining coming. Luckily, there are a few easy and fun ways to keep you and your dog fit, during your daily walk! With some nice exercises and small adjustments, you can turn your dog walk into a real work-out.

What can you and your dog handle?

Before you start a heavy hiking workout, it is wise to consider what you and your dog can handle. Slowly build up the training for both of you, so that you do not overstrain your muscles, and you can keep a close eye on what your dog can handle. Because not all dogs have the same stamina: a German Shepherd will love to run with you for a long time, but a Pomeranian with short legs will be less happy to do it. You should also discuss your training plans with your vet, as s/he will be able to advise you on what is best for your four-legged friend.

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Pick up the pace

The first step in turning your dog walk into a work-out is simple: pick up the pace! Build it up slowly by speeding up the pace in intervals. Start with a brisk walk and then gradually increase the pace until you are walking at a brisk pace for the entire walk. You will notice that this already takes a lot more energy! Do you want to go one step further? Then regularly alternate the brisk walking pace with a bit of jogging or running, provided that your dog is happy with this, of course.

In addition, always keep a close eye on your dog when walking. Give him or her enough time and space to sniff from time to time and, of course, to do his business. If your dog is distracted for a moment, there is no need for you to stand still. It is the ideal time for a little exercise!

Exercises during sniff and pee breaks

Don't be afraid of strange looks from passers-by during this step: in time, they will be jealous of your toned body! Depending on the surroundings, you can use your dog's sniff and pee breaks to build some exercises into the walk. Time for some squats or standing push-ups against a fence or wall. It may look silly, but it will keep your muscles warm and give you strength as well as cardio training! For the same reason, don't let your dog stand still for too long. Especially when you alternate your brisk walking pace with running, it is important that your dog's muscles stay warm so that they do not start to ache.

Terrain is more important than duration

Do you run a lot on flat, paved paths? A good way to add an extra challenge to your walk is to add varied terrain and elevation differences. A brisk walk along a forest or dirt track is harder than a cycle path. If you add some hills to your walk, you will often discover muscles in places where you did not expect them 😉. With this additional activity, you build up your strength and endurance. Always keep an eye on your dog, of course, as it is harder on him too.

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Add some weights

Are you looking for even more of a challenge? Or do you have little time for a brisk walk through woods and over hills? Then add some weights to your walk. If you have a hands-free leash, you can carry small weights in your hands. There are also weights you can tie to wrists and ankles, and for the really tough, there are whole vests that add weight. Start light and work up to a weight that you find comfortable.

Stretching and drinking after your workout

Working out is hard on both of you. You will perspire a lot and your dog will pant a lot. So, always take plenty of water with you. You can replenish your fluid levels and both of you can cool down with some cold water. Stretch your body well after a heavy work-out and use this time, for example, to train your dog immediately. The ideal time for 'sit' and 'stay' commands.

After this vigorous work-out, you will probably both be tired. Is your dog still running around the house? Time to spice up the walk! If you notice that you're at your limit, you can choose to walk to a dog park, for example. Here your dog can run around chasing balls to burn off some extra energy. If this is at the end of your walk, you can combine it perfectly with your stretching exercises!

 

With these tips, you can turn even a short walk into an intense work-out. Regular walks with your dog will not only strengthen your body, but also the bond between the two of you. In addition to your own training, you can, of course, also schedule some playtime for your dog (so that he can expend even more energy) or use the short exercise breaks to teach your dog commands. You will see that your dog will become your best fitness partner!