When it comes to exercise we often forget that time spent with our pets, whether it be on walks or throwing the ball, is also considered movement and therefore exercise! Incorporating your dog into your daily training can be beneficial to both you and your pet for a multitude of reasons. A huge one is that it’s just fun! Who doesn’t love seeing a puppy smile in the middle of exercise?? For me training with my dog has become my favorite part. Even when I’m weight training at home, my dog is always by my side and ready for me to throw the ball between my sets.
So besides having fun, what are some of the other benefits to training with your dog?
1) Good for building cardio health for you and your dog!
Did you know you should be walking your dog 3-5 times a day? This is to ensure your dog gets time to potty, but also it’s really important for your dog to get outside and smell the world. ⅛ of a dog’s brain is meant to interpret scents! Beyond getting in those good sniffs, walking is good for building cardio health for both you and your dog. It helps keep you both at a stable and healthy weight and improves heart health. Even walking at a moderate pace (for you) is a great speed for your dog. So if you’re a slow walker, don’t fret and you'll notice improvements over time.
2) Helps fight off disease for you both!
When you build your heart health and maintain a healthy weight, you are also reducing your risk of disease. Cardio reduces your risk of many heart and liver diseases, keeps you at a healthy blood pressure, improves energy levels and keeps your cholesterol regulated. Who wouldn’t want to do something easy to reduce your chance of getting sick?!
3) Lowers anxiety
When it comes to both you and your pet, getting in those walks is a great way to lower anxiety. If you have a pet that is high in aggression and anxiety, walks can be the key to calming them down. Oftentimes dogs feel unsafe when they are confused about their environment. Giving them the opportunity to smell and understand the world around them, can help them feel more safe and no longer like they need to be on guard. This can often help combat aggressive behavior!
For us getting outside for walks can help break up our day and revitalize us in the midst of a stressful day. A lot of people are also low in Vitamin D and getting outside will help improve those low energy levels that can make getting work done more difficult!
4) Good at building a bond between you and your pup!
Especially when you’re dealing with a rescue animal, they can often be hesitant to bond with their owner. They may fear abandonment or abuse. Getting outside the home and taking walks is a great neutral place to go with your animal. Especially a good walk in the woods without a lot of other dogs. They can learn to trust you and build positive experiences with you. You’ll also be making your own memories with your pet and growing closer to your pet too!
5) Helps your dog to be more social!
This is especially important for dogs who have not been previously socialized and may have some aggression towards other dogs and people. Getting outside is a neutral ground for your pet to interact with others. They won’t feel like they need to protect their home and hopefully you can teach your dog to not fear the world! This is so important so that you can have people at your home with less anxiety about how your pet will behave with strangers, which allows you to be more social too!
6) Built in motivation for you
What better accountability partner is there than your pet??? Knowing your pet needs those 3-5 walks a day is a great way to make sure you are getting in movement throughout the day. While some people just let their dogs out to pee real quick, taking them on a walk is the best for you both! One of the hardest things for people can be getting in some movement in the day, especially as cold weather approaches, so take your dog for that walk, even if it’s just a few minutes!
Building a healthy lifestyle with your pet will help them to live a long and happy life and will pay off for you too. So enjoy those walks and watch your dog come to life while exploring the world! And while you’re at it, find a way to incorporate your dog into your other workouts too!
Until next time… and remember healthy lifestyles are for both you and your dog!