7 Workouts You Can Do With Your Dog

Having the determination to continue and keep up with training is probably the hardest thing when it comes to dog training. Starting out, you are excited and motivated. Your dog is a new member of the family and spending time with them is new and fun. However, after a while you will find yourself needing to choose between training and other things that need to get done.

After Odin joined my family, I noticed that the time I used to spend working out was now getting replaced with dog training. Which was fine, however, after a while I noticed that I started gaining a little weight and was going from being someone who ran/worked out 4 times a week to someone who hadn’t done a real workout (outside of hiking and walking) in months. So now I need to either choose to spend time training Odin or doing something else if I want to re-incorporate working out into my daily schedule.

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Instead of spending less time with Odin, I am trying a workout that includes him. This will ensure that I continue to spend time with and train Odin instead of letting life get in the way of his training. It would have been easy to give up training time with Odin and spend more time at the gym, however then I would be losing a significant amount of my determination. Incorporating training with my workout will ensure that we remain determined and continue to keep our eyes on the prize (his training goals).

After doing a quick search, I quickly found that there weren’t many resources for working out with your dog. So, the following includes some of the workouts I have started doing with Odin and I hope that you will be able to incorporate them into your workouts as well.

1. Running/Jogging – Probably the easiest and most straightforward exercise you can do with your dog.

2. Exercises While throwing the ball – This is another easy workout that can be done while you are playing fetch with your dog. Once you throw the ball, you have a little bit of time before your dog returns to you for the next throw. Utilize this time by doing a handful of push-ups, lunges, squats, jumping jacks, etc.

3. Leg weave lunges – You can have your dog practice their weaving skills while you do your lunges. Stagger your feet and have your dog pass through your legs then do your lunge. Then repeat while moving forward. This will also look pretty awesome once you both have it down. This is something I do with Odin while out on walks. If you have not mastered leg weaves, you can have your dog practice sitting next to you while you do your lunge. This will help reinforce your communication skills with your dog while you are doing something odd or out of the norm.

4. Wall Squats – While doing wall squats, invite your dog up into your lap. This will add extra weight to your exercise while also working on your dog’s balancing skills/muscles.

5. Doggy Lift Squats – This is a more advanced type of workout and I only recommend it if you know your dog will not go crazy licking your face while you have him up on your shoulders.

6. Doggy Squats – If you are not quite ready for the lift squats, you can just hold your dog while doing your squats to add extra weight.

7. Doggy Planks – Start doing a plank and invite your dog up onto your back for extra weight. This takes a little time to train, however it can be used as an impressive trick to show your friends. Or you can incorporate it into dog parkour.

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Some of these exercises will take practice to learn and perfect with your dog. However, once training is complete, you can enjoy a quality workout with your dog.

NOTE: Please ensure that you are doing a workout that is comparable to your athletic abilities and please take into account the size of your dog. I do not recommend trying to do any of the exercises that require you to hold your dog if you have a large dog such as a mastiff or a malamute.

 

 

Understanding Your Dog’s Body Language and Threshold

I know that a couple of posts ago I said that Odin was not going to be in training classes for a while, well I signed him up for some more that were added last second to the class schedule. We started an advanced obedience class last night that prepares dogs for obedience competitions. The class requires multiple dogs to be training in the same class which can be a little challenging for Odin as he gets reactive around other dogs (not aggressive, but frustrated that he cannot get to/play with the other dogs).

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Being able to read Odin’s body language is an important communication tool to have during these types of situations. I need to be able to tell when he’s reaching his threshold and respond before hand to ensure that he does not become reactive during class. Once a dog goes over their threshold, learning shuts down and their emotions take over. Once Odin goes over his, it is hard to get him to settle down and focus on me. By being able to recognize and read Odin’s threshold, I can ensure that he never crosses it.  I know that when Odin is about to reach his threshold, he becomes very focused on the other dogs and stares at them with his ears up and he is very alert. As soon as I see this I work on getting his attention back on me. In class, I do this by bringing out his rope and seeing if he wants to play a game of tug or I use his marker word “Yes” to bring his attention back on me and give him a treat. Both ways work at ensuring that he does not go over his threshold. When on walks, if we see another dog I wait for him to bring his attention back to me for a treat, if he does not then I will use his marker work “Yes” to bring his attention back on me. If he is still not responding, I know that it is time to leave the situation and will head away from the approaching dog.

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As your dog cannot verbally communicate with you, it is very important for handlers to learn what their dogs bodies are communicating. You can learn to read and recognize your dogs behaviors and evaluate what their body language means. This is especially helpful for dogs that are reactive, over-excited, anxious, fearful, aggressive, etc. as you can read when your dog is becoming uncomfortable and can remove them from the stressful situation.

Dogs communicate using body language signals that reflect how they are feeling. Learning these signals ensures that you know what your dog is trying to communicate. In addition, the best way to recognize if your dog is going to go over their threshold is by understanding their body language.

Image Source: Lili Chen, https://www.doggiedrawings.net/