7 WAYS TO WORK OUT WITH YOUR DOG

Your favorite canine just might be the key to keeping you fit.

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GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR DOG

Make sure your dog is cleared by your vet



Make sure your dog is cleared by your vet for any activity you embark on and be sure to watch your pet for signs of discomfort, pain or fatigue, counsels Tracy James, a Santa Monica, California-based exercise instructor and dog trainer who offers fitness classes for humans and dogs at her company, Feet & Paws.

For outdoor adventures, pack food, water and sunscreen if your dog is light coated or hairless; take frequent breaks to rest, refuel and rehydrate; and give your dog time to warm up and cool down before and after strenuous exercises, especially in extreme weather.

HIKING WITH YOUR DOG

Hitting the trail with your four-legged friend can provide a powerful cardio workout.



Photo: Brandin T.

Before you lace up, make sure dogs are allowed where you’re headed and research whether leashing is required.

Even if it’s not, unless your dog is super well-trained, a leash will prevent pup from inadvertently upsetting other hikers, chasing after wildlife and damaging off-trail habitat.

Make sure your dog’s flea and tick meds are up to date (pre-treat him before hitting the trails if not).

After your hike, check your dog’s paws to make sure nothing has gotten stuck in them.

And clean up after your dog, either burying or packing out waste in plastic bags.

MAKE YOUR DOG A RUNNING PARTNER

Dogs can “help you keep your pace and push you to do a little more than you normally would



Photo: Sam Lion.

When you grab your shoes and head out to pound the pavement, you may want to grab that leash, too.

Some dog breeds are more suited to long-distance running than others.

If you have a brachycephalic (short-snouted) dog, such as a pug or bulldog, or a puppy whose bones are still growing, stick to short sprints around the backyard or park.

For dogs that enjoy longer runs, start with a long leash walk or a brief run around the block and add distance gradually.

Take care not to push your dog past his comfort level. “You wouldn’t just go run a marathon,” Calepino says.

“You have to build up to it.”

BIKING WITH YOUR PUPPY

The right equipment can make biking with your dog safe and fun.



Photo: Anastasia Shuraeva.

In most cases, you’ll want an attachment that leashes him safely to your bike seat so he can run alongside as you pedal.

Don’t hold the leash in your hands while holding the handlebars; that increases the danger of being pulled off-course and losing control.

It goes without saying that you’ll want to avoid busy roads and adjust your pace to what is comfortable for your dog.

If it’s slower than you want, change gears to make it harder on yourself.

Don’t forget to praise your pooch for being a great biking companion.

HOW TO SWIM WITH YOUR DOG

Start in shallow water, where your dog can feel the bottom, and stay close.



Photo: Bethany Ferr.

Not all dog breeds take to the water with equal ease.

Long-bodied, short-legged dogs like dachshunds may struggle. If your dog is reluctant, don’t push it.

Still, with proper training and gentle encouragement, many dogs can keep you company in the water.

Start in shallow water, where your dog can feel the bottom, and stay close.

Gradually encourage your dog to go deeper.

For peace of mind, train your dog to swim using a canine life vest with a handle so you can maintain control of the situation.

PADDLEBOARDING AND CANINE-FRIENDLY WATER SPORTS

If your dog likes to swim and responds to commands, paddleboarding or kayaking is a great way to work out and bond.

Choose equipment that provides enough room, stability and traction for your pup (and use that canine life vest with a handle).

Introduce your dog to the paddleboard gradually: First practice standing together on the board on solid ground, then ease him into the water with you bit by bit, rewarding him with treats, encouragement and praise.

TAKE YOUR DOG TO DOGA, PILATES AND STRENGTH TRAINING

Photo: Tyler Kissner.

Fitness teachers have found creative ways to incorporate pooches into everything from squats and lunges to downward facing dogs (naturally) and warrior poses.

While finding a doga class might be the easiest way to explore yoga with your dog, you can also give it a try on your own.

Teitelman suggests starting by sitting quietly and meditating for five minutes with your dog nearby.

“It’s about you and your dog connecting through shared energy and being in the present moment together,” she says.

HOW TO SKI WITH YOUR PET

Not for beach dogs!



Photo: Benjamin Lehman.

Skijoring is having a moment. This snowy sport—in which you don cross-country skis and your dog pulls you along on a towline attached to a harness—is great exercise for both humans and canines.

But take note: Even if you have all the right gear and are ready to do the training, not all dogs are suited to this serious winter workout.

“You want dogs that are good with cold weather,” says Calepino. When you head out for skijoring, “you wouldn’t take a beach dog.”