Sports With Your Dog!
Can't find a sports buddy? Why not ask your favorite four-legged friend? The result is a win-win situation: healthy for dogs and humans and it deepens the relationship.
The role that dogs have played in our lives has changed greatly over the last few centuries. Where dogs were formerly bred as guards or hunting tools, now they are often considered members of the family and friends for leisure time. Many dogs, however, miss the sense of purpose and activity they used to have. A lack of movement is detrimental to their health, sometimes leading them to become aggressive out of boredom.
If you yourself are athletic, simply take your dog with you when you work out! Spend time together and do something for your health.
Things to Watch Out For:
Not every dog breed of dog can do all sports. There's no golden rule, but if your dog has short legs, he is probably not made for endurance sports.
Match your activity level to your dog's health and fitness level, and adjust the intensity of your workout accordingly.
Every dog is different, so you should consider the personal preferences of the animal. Does your dog like some activities more than others?
Take your dog for a checkup before starting any training routines. The cardiovascular system and the joints play a large role in fitness, and you need to know if there is any activities you should avoid.
In order to successfully train together, your dog has to want to participate and should be able to follow commands. In addition, the dog should be allowed to run off the leash. Initially, it is still a good idea to use a leash and slowly train your dog to run beside you. Eventually you'll be able to leave it out entirely.
Dogs have bigger problems with the heat than humans do, so avoid working out at high temperatures and make sure to provide adequate periods of rest and plenty of fluids.
A Few Suggestions For Sports:
Jogging is a fun and easy activity to do with your dog, but not every breed can be a jogger. Pugs, for example, have much to small of legs to enjoy jogging.
Run only with adult dogs and start slowly. It is important that your dog can "heel" and always follows your commands. Also consider the type of path you jog on, meadows or soft ground covering is much better for the joints.
In-line Skating, Cycling, Walking
No matter what you do, it is important that your dog obeys commands, but this is especially true when cycling or inline skating as accidents could result in serious injury. There are special leashes for cycling that are very flexible and reduce the risk of accidents.
Swimming is the best sport to strengthen muscles, increase stamina and heart strength without stressing the joints. Some breeds have a natural inclination for swimming, like Golden Retrievers. Make sure to slowly introduce swimming to your dog.
Dogs enjoy a good game of football as it allows them to romp wonderfully around while having fun. Smaller breeds or old dogs may prefer another sport though. Football may not be as much fun for older dogs who can no longer move as quickly.
You can either use a normal football or buy a special dog ball.
During the winter many of the above mentioned sports are often not feasible. If you live in a snowy area, you could try cross-country skiing, as long as your dog can follow commands. Normally running in the snow is healthy for dogs, but you might want to protect their pads and paws with special shoes. If you are unsure what kind of shoes to use, check with your vet.
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