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.