We’ve all read articles that tell us that having a dog and enlisting him/her as a walking partner is a good idea. If you have ever owned a dog you already know that a dog is always ready to walk with you, and they are more reliable than your human buddies.
They never say much about what happens if you have a sluggish dog. My large Wolf Hound mix is never going to win any speed or agility contests, but she is available for walks 24/7. We do several long walks every day and hike on weekends, but I would never go so far as to call it “speed walking” or even exercise walking. I still have to go to the gym if I am going to work up a sweat. She loves to wade in puddles and sniff every bush and fern in the park. We jog at times but the only reason she tolerates that is that her walk is as fast as my slow jog. Not all dogs love a long run, but they need exercise as much as we do.
I was delighted to find a couple of articles that had really good tips for turning a morning stroll into a real workout. Mindy Berry Walker, writing for the Sunday USA Weekend supplement (April 20-22, 2012) suggested that wearing a backpack filled with 5 lb weights (I guess that could hold true for both you and the dog) would help you burn more calories. She also recommended doing some intervals. I like to speed-walk/jog using intervals and short bursts of speed are acceptable to Fido too, so that might work. The idea that I hadn’t considered was doing some push-while the dog is sniffing. I agree that doing standing push-ups against a tree would be less alarming to the dogs than if you dropped to the ground. Another suggestion that I thought was really great was playing fetch with your dog. Instead of just throwing the ball and rolling your eyes because he/she doesn’t bring it all the way back to you…try racing the dog to the ball. If you do this 5-10 times you will get a workout too and your dog will think you are really cool.
A second article featured in The Herald (Everett, Washington: June 23, 2009) had a couple of more cool ideas. He recommended the interval walking also, but thought some side shuffles, lunges and light jogging would add a little something extra. The author also suggested setting up an obstacle course in your yard with stations where you could do a pull-up, some push-ups, stair stepping, and anything else that you can come up with. If you run around like a crazy nut your pet will think you are playing and be glad to join you.
So, what do you think? Surely I am not the only one with a lazy dog.