Turning Your Dog into Your Training Buddy

Recently I wrote a post on how a dog can be your best walking partner.  The same can be true for a little bit of total body workout too.  You can incorporate these moves into your next walk with your favorite walking partner.  Don’t worry; you can do these in your own backyard if you don’t feel like putting on a show for the park!
The only equipment you need is a 5 or six foot leash for your pal (a retractable leash isn’t recommended since you’ll want to keep your dog close to your body), small healthy dog treats and some baggies to do a little cleanup along the way of needed.
1. Side Squats
a. Stand with feet together, arms at sides, with your dog sitting beside you
b. Step your left foot out to the side and sit back keeping back straight and bending at knees (be sure to never go past your toes)
c. Hold for 5 seconds, using glutes, press through heels to stand back up
d. Then do 5 squats on right side
2. Walking Lunges
a. While walking your dog, step forward with left leg and lower your body into a lunge
b. Don’t allow your forward knee to go past your toe
c. Hold for 5 seconds, then bring your right foot in to meet your left as you return to standing
d. Next step forward with the right leg, continue alternating sides for 1 minute
3. Shuffle Side Step
a. With your dog at your side, step with left foot out to the left side and bring right foot to meet it
b. Repeat so that you are traveling to the left 5 times and then to the right for 5 times
c. Do this for 1 minute
d. If you can let your dog off the leash, toss a ball in the direction you’re shuffling so he can fetch while you shuffle!
4. Sit up and fetch
a. With the dog next to you, lie on the ground with your knees bent, heels on the floor
b. Hold a tennis ball in one hand and place you opposite hand behind your head
c. As you use your abs to sit up half way, toss the ball
d. Hold this position as your dog fetches the ball
e. Then slowly return to start
f.  Switch hands repeat for 1 minute
For a printable workout example click here: Walk The Dog Routine

This Could Be Your Best Walking Partner…

Need help staying motivated to go out for a walk?  This is good news for your dog!  Research shows that dog owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and that simply walking your dog can lower stress, boost self esteem and even burn over 900 calories a week!  Don’t have a dog of your own to walk?  You could have a neighbor like me…I have 4 dogs…walk one PLEASE!  There are also plenty of animal shelters that would LOVE your help too.  Visit ASPCA.org to find a shelter near you.

Here are the reasons why a dog could be your best walking partner:

  1. He’s always ready to go!  It’s tough to bail on your walk when your dog is counting on you.  There are some studies showing that dog owners that walk their dogs are more consistent exercisers and show more fitness improvement than people that walk with their friends.  Dogs never make excuses as to why they can’t go for a walk; a little weather doesn’t bother them!
  2. He pushes you to improve.  Since dogs are curious by nature they push you to walk a little further, take a different route or maybe move a little faster!  A University of Missouri study found that the speed of walkers with dogs increased by 28 percent over a 12 week period compared to 4 percent for those with human companions.
  3. He’s the best wing man EVER!  Having your dog with you can make starting up a conversation easier.  Adding a social aspect to your walk improves your health in just that many more ways, such as keeping loneliness away and lowering your stress levels.
So if there’s any takers, these guys would love a walk!
Left to Right (Front) Josie, Shadow
Left to Right (Back) Nina, Max