Don’t Be a Fool: Celebrate National Canine Fitness Month in April
When you think of canine fitness, you may think of daily walks around the block, a jog around the park or a regular game of fetch. These are all good options on routine days when your main goal is to combat a sedentary lifestyle and too many (empty) calories that can cause weight gain and eventual health problems. But when you’re looking for a new activity to spice up your fitness life with your dog, consider some of these fun new trends. You will both be entertained and motivated to keep those feet moving!
Dog Yoga – Dog yoga, also commonly called Doga, is an emerging trend combining the practice of yoga with – you guessed it – dogs! While not all dogs can do every pose, the focused attention and effects of the movements can have benefits for you both.
- Bonding: When you work together on a pose, you’re also building trust in your relationship. The benefits can spill over into behavioral training in other aspects of your daily interaction.
- Health: The stretching and other moves in a Doga practice can increase strength, balance and even cardio fitness for your dog. These efforts can improve circulation and provide a safe exercise outlet for injured or overweight dogs,
- Relaxation: It may take some time, but consistently practicing yoga with your dog can lessen anxiety and stress in you both.
Paddle Boarding – If you enjoy paddle boarding and your dog loves water, consider taking your pup with you on your next adventure. If you’re new to the sport, take some time to get comfortable with the basics before bringing your dog. Choose the right fit for your combined weight, your needed amount of stability, enough traction on the deck pad, and a board with durable construction. Fit your dog with a reliable life jacket (with a handle on top), even if you consider him or her a good swimmer. When you’re ready, make sure you have plenty of treats on hand, do a couple of dry runs to let your dog get used to the board, and then go for it!
Flyball – For the competitive dog who loves to play ball and is motivated by the chase, flyball is an exciting option. It’s an organized sport involving teams of four dogs and four handlers each. Flyball is a relay race where one dog runs over a series of jumps, triggers the release of a ball and catches it, then races back over the jumps to their handler, while the next dog in line starts their turn. Dogs of any breed (or mixed breed) who is older than 15 months can compete. If your dog is social and you enjoy team sports, flyball may be just the ticket.
If we’ve piqued your interest but none of these options seem like a great fit, the AKC has a fun quiz you can take for more ideas. And if you decide to try out a new activity, we would love to hear about it the next time you bring your pets in for daycare, boarding or a refreshing spa day!