Exercise and Dogs: Making it Fun

There are many exciting things brewing in blogland. Things revolving around dogs and exercise and new challenges. A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I have been feeling lethargic and more than a little doughy these days. I complained about how difficult it is to get enough exercise for myself while also spending time with Shiva. It appears the solution is nigh.

Recently, I was contacted by Brandon Sera, who works with Great American Property Management selling dog supplies.  As a proud Beagle owner he knows how difficult it is to find new and challenging activities that humans and dogs can enjoy together. He has come up with some creative ideas and is eager to share them with you.

I am proud to present, Rescued Insanity’s very first guest post!

When it comes to exercising with your dog, relatively few owners look any further than walks and games of fetch.  But why bore your dog?  Or yourself for that matter? There are many more interesting ways to keep your pet fit, and to bond with them at the same time.  Here are five unique and exciting ways to exercise with your dog that you may never have considered.

A swimming dog! Bet you never thought you'd see that around these parts, eh?

1. Cycling/Rollerblading

This is a great activity for active dogs that need a good cardio workout. However, for your own safety, cycling or rollerblading with your dog leashed beside you should only be attempted with dogs that are well-trained and easily controlled. Start off slow
and get them accustomed to running safely beside you. Practice turning
and controlled stops in a wide open space such as a parking lot until you are
both comfortable. Once your dog understands what’s expected of them, you can
safely cycle or blade with them charging along beside you.

2. Swimming

Swimming is an excellent exercise for men and women and it goes the same for dogs. It works out all of the dog’s muscles and is amazing for them since it is such a low
impact workout. Being a low impact exercise makes it ideal for older dogs that
might have harder times doing other activities. The dogs can doggy paddle
around while you wade in the water or even play fun games of fetch and swim the
toy back to you.

3. Soccer

It may sound strange, but this is a fantastic activity for your dog. Growing up I played a
lot of soccer and also happened to have a couple of very large and active
Dobermans. It was such a perfect fit. Our male loved to play goal, attacking
ball after ball that we sailed his way and our female, more of an offensive
player, would follow the ball up and down the field endlessly. Way more fun and
interactive than fetch, though watch the slide checks, they can really take you
out at the knees if you’re not watching!

4. Dog Parks and Beaches

There are times when your dog needs to blow off some energy when you have none. Dog parks and beaches are a perfect solution. If you are anywhere close to a beach that allows dogs, I highly suggest you give this a shot. It’s very similar to a
normal dog park but so much better. Some dogs absolutely love running in the
sand and playing around near the water. Parks and beaches are perfect ways for
dogs to socialize and be able to do exactly what they want to do. Another nice
amenity that most dog parks and beaches have is water and dog waste clean up kits readily available.

5. Hiking

Hiking in a large area, especially one that allows dogs off leash means that you can both enjoy the great outdoors at your own pace. While they race back and forth, you get to continue along at your own pace. Even if it’s a short hike, remember to bring plenty of fresh water and dog waste bags for your furry companion.

Like biking or swimming or any activity with your dog, you have to pick an activity that you both enjoy otherwise you’ll end up with every excuse not to do it. It’s your
responsibility to care for them, so pick exercises that you both love so that
you’ll both look forward to getting out and being active.

Thanks to Brandon for taking the time to write this fun post. There will be more exercise-related articles coming soon as I join other pet bloggers in a grueling challenge this fall. Be afraid. I know I am.  

27 thoughts on “Exercise and Dogs: Making it Fun

    • Me too! Shiva loves to explore new environments and when we go hiking with her I find myself slowing down more to appreciate the little things I may not have noticed otherwise.

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  1. I don’t own a bike… and my dog is afraid of water. Obviously we do the dog park thing all the time, though! 🙂

    My dog definitely does not get enough exercise, and neither do I. Too bad The Spouse plays racquetball instead of soccer.

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    • I own a bike but I haven’t ridden it for years. We dragged it all the way out here from Alberta and I have yet to get on it once. Saaaaaad. I really should try this with Shiva, will a helmet and elbow pads of course.

      How much exercise is enough? It’s hard to say. Is it possible to get the right amount?

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  2. To tire dogs out I think we should remember also the importance of mental stimulation! Whenever I assist at or teach a clicker class of any kind–Basic, Agility, Reactive Dog–the dogs are all sprawled out pooped at the end of it. Working for a click and a treat, really thinking about how to get that human treat dispenser to work properly, really exercises a dog brain! A few minutes of review of puppy pushups or a few tricks like high fives or spins just before bed can really make a pooch plotz out. While not a substitute for exercise, it is a great supplement for those days when you just can’t make it for a long enough walk or soccer game! 🙂

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    • I agree 100%. Mental stimulation is a lot more tiring than traditional exercise. I can never hope to tire Shiva out physically – it’s just not possible. But I can try to tire out her brain. Whenever people compliment us on her large roster of tricks I always joke about how they were so necessary to retain sanity. Hers AND mine!

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    • Hey, I bought my dog her own tent. I am in no position to judge! I love that Mesa loves her pool so much. She’s so cute. 🙂

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  3. Elli and I are training for bikejoring! I just got her a pull-harness and we’re super excited to start working with it. 🙂

    Seeing as I’m not able to run, podiatrist said so, and running is Elli’s favorite thing to do, it’s the next best thing.

    Also, I’m hoping she’ll learn to distinguish between the hardware we use — harness = pull, collar = walk nicely, hah.

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    • That is so cool! I’ll have to look into that. I don’t mind running every once in a while but I cannot keep up with my dog. Bikejoring sounds like it could be more fun for both of us. I’d have to re-learn to how ride a bike first. I know they say you never forget but…

      I’m looking forward to hearing how it all goes for you!

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  4. Cali loves hiking (and so do we!!) She also loves playing basketball and soccer with my hubby (but she always seems to “kill” the ball!!) and he also used to play roller hockey with her . .she’s and excellent defensedog 🙂

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    • Rollerhockey, eh? That sounds like something my PH would be into. It’s so cool that your husband brings along Cali!

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  5. Super post. I offered a prayer one day in our group for me to get more exercise “as I have lots of company (15-17 dogs) to walk/run, whatever with.” While we don’t live near sand, from experience, I like the idea of a beach – walking and playing on sand takes way more energy than a smooth road or path. An adoptable Beagle here, Molly T., enjoys “tennis ball soccer.” With this encouragement, I can elevate our soccer to more than my sitting at my desk and kicking her tennis ball; she is an ace as goalie. Thanks and congrats on the guest post.

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    • I love taking Shiva to the beach. But we usually only go in the off-season as most beaches are not dog-friendly. Sunbathers tend not to love dogs leaping over them in the sand. But in the spring and fall it is one of my favourite places to walk. We are lucky to have many nearby to choose from.

      Tennis ball soccer! I love the creativity. 🙂

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  6. I love hiking with the dogs, but I’m not sure why it’s that important for them to be off leash. Our girls are plenty tired after hiking with their leashes on. I’m laughing pretty hard about the idea of rollerblading with a Greyhound, though. I guarantee that I am NOT coordinated or fast enough to pull that off!

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    • We hike with Shiva both off-leash and on and either way it’s a lot of fun. It’s great to get out to new places and explore nature. Whether restrained or not I think dogs get a lot out of the experience. I love reading about your hiking adventures. I don’t think anyone could say your girls are under-exercised!

      LOL. My PH goes rollerblading with Shiva. Mostly he just holds the leash and gets her to pull him around. I don’t think I am that coordinated either!

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  7. I started to ride with my dogs, but it isn’t a work out for me, as you have to be careful not to go too fast. Sure, Barbie can run 70kph at a sprint, but she can’t stop as fast as the bike can. We generally don’t get over trotting pace which is about 10-15kph. I get more of a workout if I run with her at this pace. Bender is difficult to bike with as he has a short attention span and a lower centre of gravity – so much more leverage on the bike if he wants to stop or sniff.

    Offleash isn’t necessary for hiking, though in rough terrain a long line is good (I found this out with Bender as he will instantly jump massive 4ft high fallen trees and if his leash is too short and I’m not on the ball then it’s all bad!) Also there isn’t many places we can hike in Australia with the dogs off leash, as on leash is the requirement because of all the cute furry native animals that dogs scare.

    Soccer is a no-no with Bender as the ball will be punctured in minutes. Barbie might be into chasing the ball though if it goes fast enough! I will have to try it.

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    • I haven’t tried biking yet and I am a little afraid. Shiva is great on-leash and when we run together she stays beside me but I don’t know that I trust her to do so when I’m on a bike. It’s a completely different thing. There is also the added level of danger of being on the road. Perhaps I should check out one of our city’s bike paths.

      Off-leash or on I think hiking is a lot of fun. I would think in Australia I’d be too scared of the deadly creatures to let my dog off leash very often. I wouldn’t so much be worried about my dog scaring them, more the other way around. It just wouldn’t seem safe. In Nova Scotia we don’t have deadly snakes to worry about. The worst thing that could happen is if Shiva encounters a porcupine. So far we have avoided that particular disaster.

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      • We do quiet streets, wide paths or the principle shared path which goes past our house.

        You are totally right about poisonous beasties. Unfortunately the risk of being bitten by poisonous beasties is always there when the dog is outside, in the yard or out hiking. And if you live somewhere there are evil Cane Toads, you have to be extra vigilant because a dog just has to mouth one of those to die from their poisoning 😦

        I am fortunate that neither of my dogs have much of a drive for anything that isn’t moving and right in front of them. Most snakes don’t move much… they bask in the sun, and a lot of the time they are gone before we get near them (they are big on avoidance), so they are there but we never see them, and my two wouldn’t bother seeking them out.

        The dogs disturb the habitat of a lot of small, bouncy marsupials, which is why they are banned from all National Parks. Now that I have a greyhound I also have to be wary that she could potentially catch these critters if she wanted to. Her offleash time is limited to the beach, the river shoreline, and parks that are not near busy roads (or that have fences).

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  8. Soccer!! *awesome* why didntithinkofthst?! Kol and I arehugefansof exercising together. Somehow having my little Puggle buddy along for the ride makes the whole thing seem less…awful. Great post!!

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    • I agree. I only exercise when it’s fun. I have long since sworn off the gym since I despise it and I just won’t go. Maybe if they had human/dog gyms I would think about it again. That at least would be different!

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  9. I bought Beryl her own soccer ball after she stole a couple from kids practicing at the park. But it’s not the same, Mum!! And it doesn’t get used. I don’t really think she needs to lose any weight anyway, lol. Frankie could stand to lose a few pounds, me more than a few!

    I’d like to try cycling with Frankie but want to get one of those doggie attachment thingys first. We do go walking most days and to the beach as often as possible, but it’s mostly for running around. Frankie does quite a lot of swimming after sticks in the river but doesn’t like swimming in the sea.

    As Kirsten suggested, we need to do more mental exercise these days. That’s slipped a lot the past couple of months!

    Another thing I’d like to try with Frankie is pulling me on a scooter, lol.

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    • The mental stuff has slipped for us too. The summer is just so busy and I haven’t made the time, unfortunately. It makes me feel guilty.

      Exercise isn’t about losing weight. At least, not in my opinion. But it’s good to be active. While Shiva doesn’t need to lose anything she does need a lot of exercise so she doesn’t bounce off the walls. We walk every single day but it’s not always enough and walking in the same areas can get boring for me, if not for her.

      The dog attachment things are such a great idea. I’ve always wanted to try one as well.

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