5 Benefits Of Working Out With Your Dog That Make Both You & Your Pup Feel More Fulfilled
Whenever I dream about the future, I always picture myself going on long runs with my dog at my side. In reality, my dog Hank is way too interested in smelling every single leaf to go on anything resembling a jog, and I'm not sure I could keep up with him if he started sprinting after a squirrel. But while being a perfect running duo isn't in the cards for us right now, Hank and I can definitely still stay active together. According to at least one expert, the benefits of working out with your dog are numerous for both of you, so grab your pup's leash and get ready to tire each other out before bedtime.
Mark Van Wye, CEO of Zoom Room, a national indoor dog gym and training facility, says that the time you usually put aside for exercise can often be the perfect opportunity to connect with your pup. "The best way to begin is to understand your dog and her needs," he tells Elite Daily in an email. "Toy dogs need much less exercise than larger dogs; dogs who descended from conformation or show lineages need less than those with working dog parents; adult dogs need more than puppies; and so on."
Start by asking yourself what your dog enjoys most, Van Wye suggests. Is it running? Chasing? Playing fetch? From there, he explains, try to find ways to incorporate those activities into an exercise routine.
You can certainly stick to something as simple as a long walk or a brisk run together, but there are so many more options for sweating side by side. For example, Van Wye recommends checking out flyball, a sport in which dogs race, jump, and catch balls in a set course. Join a local league, or set up your own makeshift obstacle course in the nearest dog park. But if your schedule is too tight to commit to a competitive sport, keeping things simple still provides all of the benefits of staying active together.
It'll exercise your pup's curiosity
You've probably heard the term "curiosity killed the cat," but your perfect little pup is also a natural explorer. "Dogs are naturally social and curious, so exercise provides pups with a wide range of activities that get them out into the world," explains Van Wye, "exploring and taking full advantage of their natural migratory instincts." This could mean playing fetch together at the dog park, or even exploring a nearby indoor dog gym like the Zoom Room.
A workout can help strengthen your bond
It's pretty easy to guess that the more time you spend with your fur baby, the closer the two of you will become. But for a truly unbreakable bond, exercising together is key, says Van Wye. Having to work as a team will force you to interact on a new level, which will bring you more in sync than ever. "Not only does your dog reap the cardio and dexterity benefits of sports like dog agility, but the two of you enjoy an outlet to deepen the bonds of communication," Van Wye tells Elite Daily.
Exercise gives your dog a sense of purpose
Dog or human, everyone likes to feel useful and that they have a meaningful role in their community. Even the fluffiest pup wants to work for her treats, which is super adorable. "Nearly all dogs — but especially those from working lineages — love having a job to do," Van Wye says. "Even if you're not out actually herding sheep or hunting ducks, exercise and sports become the perfect stand-in for such occupations."
It helps them get out excess energy
Anyone who has a younger sibling or any babysitting experience knows that tiring kids out is key to making sure they go to sleep happily at the end of the day. The same thing goes for canine kids, according to Van Wye. "Dog owners quickly discover that a dog who gets plenty of exercise is one who ends the day blissfully tuckered, happy, and better trained," he tells Elite Daily.
TBH, it really just makes your pooch happy
We always have to whisper the word "walk" around my dog Hank because, if he so much as hears it, he gets so excited he almost explodes. Dogs love so many things in life: treats, snuggling with you, and barking at potential intruders. But staying active is truly something that gives them joy. "Yes, a tired dog is a happy dog," explains Van Wye. And a happy dog means a happy human.