The same thing happens year after year! The mild temperatures of spring boost our craving for outdoor activities, and we suddenly see an opportunity to get back into shape for the summer. We are desperately looking for different workouts, new training plans and diets to get fit. But we actually don’t have to! As dog owners we have a great advantage. We are lucky to have our own personal fitness trainer, on four legs! Here’s what you need to know about spring training with your dog!
Your dog as personal fitness trainer
Working out can be difficult if you don’t have a partner. You might find that you are missing out on exercise sessions, leading to inconsistent fitness results. However, if you have a fitness partner, or maybe even a personal trainer, you will probably find more motivation to get your workout done. But who said that your training partner has to be a human being? Believe it or not, your dog can be a great fitness trainer and workout partner. Unlike a human companion, your dog will always be ready to get up and go. You’ll never find anyone who loves to exercise more than your four-legged friend and that enthusiasm of dogs can really be contagious. And since dogs also love having a daily routine they can count on, your pup will be more than happy to remind you when it’s time for your daily exercise. Studies have actually shown that dog owners are 34 percent more likely to exercise regularly and to be fitter and healthier than people with other pets, or no pets at all. (Research from Michigan State University)
Spring training – not just for you!
Exercise is essential to our health and well-being but has many benefits for ours dogs as well. Daily runs and activity will help maintain your dog’s weight, improve muscle tone, and build endurance. Additionally, daily activity is beneficial to your dog’s mental health. Dogs were born to run and play! They love to be active and running makes them happy. It allows them to explore the world through sights, sounds, and smells. Exercising together also gives them the joy of spending more quality time with you while doing something fun. It allows them to release energy, making it less likely that they will use that energy in destructive ways, like chewing up your shoes – And this will make YOU happy!
The perfect spring training
A happy and healthy lifestyle with regular exercise is important for both you and your canine companion. But in order to get the best out of your training, you have to do it right! Many workout principles that apply to humans apply to our dogs as well. For the perfect training you have to be aware of…
- Warm-up & cool-down! Begin all workouts with a warm-up period of brisk walking or easy jogging before running or other exercises. Even a dog bred for running cannot immediately start out on a lengthy run. You have to start out slow and light before you go on a 5 km run. Don’t forget a similar cool-down after your workout
- Rest & recovery are essential to improve the fitness of both you and your dog. If you just started your training, it is wise to run with your dog every second day, allowing time for muscle recovery and to avoid injury while building endurance.
- Certain dog breeds are better running companions than others. Some dogs were bred to perform different jobs, which means each breed has its own strength and endurance for exercise. Large dog breeds may be more suitable for longer runs than smaller dogs.
- How far, how long, and how often? The number of km, minutes, or hours you want to run with your dog is determined by the dog’s age, size, breed and body strength. It is important that you are aware of your dog’s limits when exercising. Dogs, like humans, have physical and mental differences that influence performance. If you keep an eye on your dog’s behavior it is simple to figure out if he or she is comfortable with the amount of training. Running each day is often not a problem for younger, healthy, athletic dogs, as long as the workouts are not successively intense. If you for example run a hard, fast, 8 km run on Tuesday, an easy 4 km recovery run would be perfect on Wednesday. A longer run, around 15 km, should be followed by a slow, comfortable run. If your dog shows any signs of muscle soreness after a longer exercise session, or lacks his usual enthusiasm for going out running, it is time to take a day off or to go for an easy walk. If you are a beginner, you can start out with easy workouts and easy routes, three times a week. If both you and your dog feel comfortable with the amount of training, you can add another day and an extra km to your schedule. It might take a few weeks, but soon you’ll have a training plan that both you and your dog enjoy.
- The weather! Always keep the weather in mind before your next outdoor activity. You may feel comfortable running on a hot sunny day, but don’t forget that your dog is wearing a warm, furry coat. If it’s too hot, your pet could suffer from health complications or get injured. Conversely, running when it’s too cold or icy can be very hard and uncomfortable for your dog – especially for the paws.
Dehydration. Always make sure your dog is hydrated while running. Pack a bottle of water for you and one for your dog. Be aware of your dogs behavior and make a few water breaks.
Spring training with your dog
As a dog owner you have lots of great workout possibilities. If it’s running, Frisbee games, ball games, biking or walking, there will definitely be something for both of you. And the best thing is, when you exercise with your dog you might discover new areas as well as new kinds of sports and games.
Would you like to see your dog’s activity level? Or track your running routes?
Fitness & activity tracking for pets
With Tractive MOTION you can track the health and activity of your pet 24 hours a day. The device tracks movement and activity and categorizes your pet in one of three categories, ‘lazy’, ‘moderately active’ and ‘active’. Tractive MOTION will let you know whether or not your pet needs to be more active.
Tractive Dog Walk app for pet owners
With the Tractive Dog Walk app you can track the daily walks with your beloved friend. The app will show you the exact route, the distance and the duration of each walk or run. You can also take photos of your walks and share your workout moments with friends and family.
Download the Dog Walk app for iOS and Android and start walking!