Here’s a page full of dog exercise ideas for you!
Since exercise is a cornerstone for dog health, we consider it a means of preventing all kinds of illnesses and it therefore qualifies as a dog remedy.
As a dog owner, you have lots of control over how to exercise your dog. Best of all, it can be an exciting adventure!
Expand Your Options!
There are so many other interesting ways to exercise your dog besides playing fetch, taking him or her to a dog park, or just leash walking, that neither one of you ever needs to get bored or out of shape. A bonus, in our opinion, is that many of these options include training your dog to a higher level of obedience.
Most activities require some type of dog exercise equipment, some of which you can make yourself for a low cost following our instructions.
Others will require more of an outlay; often groups of people pool their resources. A number of activities offer competitions, from small, local events to the national or international level.
Following are some options to explore:
Backyard or Indoor Dog Exercise
A toy or rope is attached to a spring that provides resistance. It’s often used with one or more pitbulls but any dog that is willing to jump and hang on can use it to get a good dog exercise workout.
This used to be Comet’s favorite toy and our preferred way to exercise him when we didn’t want to go outside or had limited time or he was bored. Just BE CAREFUL how you use it with your dog since the dog will jump and twist a lot – warm the dog up first.
We actually have a set of plans for you to build your own manual dog treadmill. It’s designed so that humans can use it too!
The Great Outdoors
We’ve hiked with our dogs wherever we could, usually away from trails. Even some smaller dogs like Mitsu, the Dachshund Jo grew up with, and our Chiweenie, Pebble, hiked a surprisingly long way. Just remember to keep your dog’s comfort in mind and have them carry their own supplies if you can.
Comet learned how to deal with sharp rocks after cutting his paw the first time we ever took him on a hike. He became quite expert at scrambling up and down mountain slopes and ledges and enjoyed going ahead of us and then laughing at us slowpokes. Occasionally, we had to boost him up or help him down if the height of a boulder was too great. He usually tried to find a way by himself, which was great for his independent thinking skills.
There’s a lot of controversy about mountain climbing with dogs. We would advocate common sense. Our dogs have climbed to the top of many mountains with us, but these were climbs that did not require ropes or equipment of any kind. We also always check the weather before we set out since we don’t like dealing with rain, snow or ice.
Special Course Setups
Ongoing training is needed for your dog to negotiate an obstacle course off leash.
Agility courses usually include bar and tire jumps with wings, weave poles, a teeter totter, a tunnel and a pause table.
Dogs compete against each other in relay teams of four. Each dog has to jump over four hurdles, retrieve a tennis ball from a spring loaded box, then jump back before the next dog starts.
There are tournaments and a North American as well as a British Flyball Association.
For dogs that love to chase things.
Bicycle & Scooter Exercise
Hook your dog to your bicycle in a safemanner and have him or her trot alongside you for a good workout.
We suggest this be done no more than two or three times a week if all you have to ride on is pavement.
One or more dogs are hooked to the front of your bicycle and pull you along on command. Bruce offers good safety tips for both bikejoring and skijoring.
How about letting a dog or two pull you along on a scooter in areas with little traffic like trails and parks?
Safer for you than a bicycle or skis and just as much fun!
For urban environments where you may have to exercise your dog along busy streets, Mark Schuette offers a solution. He has developed an attachment to a sturdy scooter where a dog or dogs provide the power and you control the steering. Very little training is needed compared to regular dog scootering or dog sledding, but you will need to pony up some moolah.
Towing Humans or Carts
Dogs pull people (you need a well balanced cart and well-trained dogs for this) as well as haul goods. Smaller breeds pull toy wagons in parades or at costume parties.
If you enjoy cross country running, you can add to it by having your dog (or more than one) pull you along via a tow line attached to your waist.
If you’re an expert rollerblader or rollerskater looking for an extra thrill, this may be a fun way to exercise your dog. Again, you’re going to hook yourself to a dog that runs in front and pulls you along.
Fly along on cross country skis with one or more dogs pulling you. This has become a competitive sport!
This is how skijoring enthusiasts stay in shape when there’s no snow.
Also known as “Big Air,” this sport started accidentally in 2000.
Comet often followed us when we paddled our canoe.
Dog Exercise Wheels
Dog exercise wheels resemble the wheels used for rats/hamsters/gerbils, but are much larger.
At left is one in use at the Husky Homestead. Just look at that dog go!
Dog Walker or Carousel
Similar to the device used with exercising racehorses, sled dog trainers give their teams a workout when there is no snow.
It looks like some of the dogs are getting a free ride!