Motivation for getting fit and healthy is difficult to find. We all get stuck in our ruts, not wanting to wake up. It is tempting to come home to the couch and watch Netflix. You put too many hours in at the office. You have to It can be different. What if I told you being active I the most important aspect to having well behaved dog? Under-exercised dogs are more prone to boredom. Dogs will find something to occupy their time if it isn’t you. That time my just be spent shredding your couch to pieces. Dogs need to stay active for their physical and mental health.
First Things First
Sometimes just getting out of bed is the hardest thing to do in the morning. Our pups need us to be there for them and knowing that is the biggest motivator of all. They don’t care if it’s the middle of winter or summer. They need to get out and move. Have you ever said walk to your dog and experienced the frenzy of getting them ready with their tails wagging and their paws tap tapping? Knowing that is all the motivation you need.
Nova is a completely different dog since we got into the routine of going on walks, riding our bike and going to the dog park. Before she was destructive, always on the counters, in the trash or something else. Some people even called her DUMB. She’s currently napping in the corner of the living room exhausted waiting for dinner time. A well behaved dog is a tired dog. Today we went inside a store and everyone was saying how smart she is and how well mannered she is. The thing is no one knows how much exercise I put into her to get her to that point.
Maybe you’re not used to being active. THAT’S OK. Don’t try to do everything at once because you will get demotivated before you barely begun. Dogs provide lots of great little spurts of activity throughout the day. Teach your dog fetch or tug of war. It will help you get your heart rate up and your body used to moving around. You don’t have to be super fit to walk your dog for 15 minutes in the morning. Its ok to not have the perfect body but have a super active dog. Take them to the dog park. Let them run and play with other dogs to get in their physical fitness for the day. You took the right step by getting outside and being with them.
You don’t need much to get out with your dog.
There are some things I never would have experienced without my dog. I know I never could have made it up South Mountain, jumped a small canyon and slid down a natural rock slide without her. She wanted to keep going so I pushed through. She loved every minute of the hike. It was great for her socialization. She refused to stay in a backpack. Without her, I would have turned around at the huge crack in the rocks we had to jump over. Some other things I would not have done is go to Salt River and teach her how to swim. Its great cool water and sometimes you can see wild horses if you get there early. We didn’t see any that day but she swam for the first time ever.
Exercising with your dog can be FUN. I like to ride my bike with my 2 year old Alaskan Husky, Nova. She loves doing what she was bred for. It’s the one time Mom says ok, PULL. RUN as fast as you can. We will ride around the block before she’s pooped. They need proper support. Start out slow and let them get used to the bike. I watched a few YouTube videos before we started doing it. She only pulled me off once and I survived it.
Figure Out Your Routine
ROUTINE! The most important thing changing lifestyle habits is creating a routine. Not all routines are the same and that’s OK. just make one and stick to it. It’s really easy press the snooze button again and skip your morning walk. It helps to create a routine that includes your dog. Just get out of bed. It doesn’t matter if your only getting a five minute walk in that morning. Do it. It will become more and more routine. It will become second nature eventually. Your pup will thank you later with good behavior.
WALKING! We also like to walk super early in the morning since it gets HOT here in Arizona. (why yes she does GREAT in the heat, but that’s another story…) It works best for my schedule for us to walk in the morning when it is cool. I don’t want her feet getting hot or me either. If you can’t walk in a good temperature they make dog booties to protect them from the heat or the cold. No excuses. They need that walk for mental and physical stimulation.
Wait For The Benefits
Good behavior is definitely one of the benefits for exercising your dog aside from you becoming more fit. However, keep in mind these benefits do take time to show up. Don’t worry if they cry the whole way to the dog park or embarrass you by jumping up on the park bench. My dog still howls until I open the car door. Although she has stopped jumping up on the tables, she embarrassed me TODAY by screaming in the Dutch Bros line because someone went ahead of us. She is serious about her puppachinos. The point is, if you never expose your dogs to life they won’t know what is acceptable. Expect pulling at first. Expect screams and yells. It’s life. Above all, keep going!
As you gain more trust and focus in your dog you can start doing more activities. Some examples of other physical activities you may want to try out with your pup is stair running, roller blading, soccer, dog yoga, hiking, trail running, running, kayaking and paddle boarding. The activities you can do with your dogo really are endless. Let me know what kind of things you do with your dog to stay fit!