Since I gave up the treadmill for the great outdoors, I’ve realized my dog and I aren’t cut out for jogging together.
Sure, she likes to run and chase balls (or run away from ocean waves!), but she’d rather take her time on the track.
Because she gets plenty of exercise and fresh air each day, we’re both okay with that.
However, whether it’s walking, jogging, or running, lots of people prefer exercising outdoors with their pets.
So, last week I asked Your Body, Your Mind readers to chime in with their advice on exercising with pets. Below are the most helpful tips they offered.
1. Up the Tempo
Sometimes, we just can’t go fast enough for our canine buddies, can we?
One reader from HumAnima CIC, a UK company that provides Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), says upping the tempo with her four-legged co-therapist Flossie helps keep them on the same pace and prevents Flossie from pulling her along.
Sure fire way to do that? Start out with a good run or game of ball!
2. Be Aware and Considerate
You must be aware and considerate of your pet’s needs.
Reader Cybil says her 9-yearold Doberman/German Shepard mix is great at walking and running with her, but they stick to nature trails because he’s afraid of cars and becomes skittish and distracted.
Pay attention to how your dog reacts to his surroundings and adjust your routine accordingly.
3. Get Creative
Reader Kenna takes things to a whole new level with her Shar-pei pooch pal and a Walkie Dog Bike Leash!
4. Be Flexible
Chopper and I don’t jog together, but we can still break a sweat!
I love to dance, and Chopper’s joined me in impromptu dance parties ever since she was a puppy. It doesn’t matter if it’s Dave Matthews Band or Katy Perry, my dog knows how to get down!
So, learn to recognize your pet’s likes and dislikes and work with them.
5. Don’t Ignore Your Cat!
Some of us might think exercising with a cat is limited to cat trees and mouse toys, but that’s not so says reader jconnolly, who started out with a small dog harness for walking and graduated to a pet stroller so both kitty and owner could benefit.
6. Be Prepared
She didn’t write in, but an outdoor-loving friend of mine is adamant about bringing fresh water and a collapsible water bowl whenever she takes her aging pooch out for an extended hike.
7. Be Patient
8. Pay Attention
This is my own advice: Don’t be distracted when you’re out with your pet.
The first morning Chopper and I hit the track together, we passed a man walking two dogs while he talked on his cell phone. His dogs were big and clearly not happy, and they barked, snarled, and snapped at everyone who walked by – including Chopper and me. The man paid no attention; he just talked and talked while his dogs strained against their leashes and lunged at us.
When you’re with your pet, be with your pet. Talking or texting or otherwise not paying attention is dangerous for you, your pet, and others.
9. Be Practical
Beth L. wrote in to remind us all that, just like we do, our pets have their own individual personalities. They have likes, dislikes, and their own tolerance levels. What’s good for one pet might night be good for the other. Don’t push your pet in the interest of meeting someone else’s expectations.
Your pet’s health and happiness in the main goal.
Do you have any pet exercising tips to add?
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From Psych Central's website:
Exercise And Pets: Do You Walk, Jog, Or Run With Your Dog? | Your Body, Your Mind (September 15, 2012)
From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: September 18, 2012 | World of Psychology (September 18, 2012)
Last reviewed: 15 Sep 2012