8 Ways to Make Exercising with Your Dog More Fun

Exercising with your pooch makes for more than just tail wagging. Just like you’ll lower your blood pressure, build muscle, feel less stressed, be happier and strengthen your bones, your fur fam will too! 

To make exercising with your dog more fun and safe, here are some summer safety tips and 8 ideas to get you started on building a healthy lifestyle with your furbabe in tow.

Hot Weather Exercise Safety Tips

Before we add some spice to you and your pooch’s exercise routine, here are some safety tips to keep in mind during the hot Arkansas summer and early fall seasons. 

  • Always carry plenty of water for Fido and yourself during outdoor adventures.
  • Watch for signs of heat exhaustion in your pup, which include:
    • Excessive panting
    • Increased heart rate
    • Confusion or disorientation
    • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Look up what exercises may be best for your dog based on his or her breed. Not all breeds are built for all activities, so be sure your pup is up for the task! For example, short-snouted friends such as pugs shouldn’t participate in endurance activities and need more frequent breaks while Greyhounds are suited better for short, intense bursts of activity.
  • Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pooch’s health before beginning an exercise routine.
  • Avoid going on W-A-L-Ks in the heat of the day, opting instead for earlier morning workouts or late afternoon outings 
  • Scope out some cooler, shaded areas to take your pooch instead of full-sun spots, such as shady parks and wooded trails.
  • Make sure your pooch has fresh water and a place to cool off post-workout.

8 Tips for Doggone Fun and Safe Workouts

#1: Let your dog choose your walk route

Variety is the spice of life! Give your pup some control by letting their curiosity control the walk. They’ll likely lead you to new places, discover new smells, see new sights and meet some new four-legged friends along the way! Just make sure to be their safety guide when crossing streets, walking alongside busy thoroughfares, and be sure to go at either dusk or dawn to beat that party-poopin’ heat. 

#2: Mind Exercise at Home: Hide Her Favorite Toy

With stay-at-home orders in place, there is a need to shake up our routines and do activities that spark creativity and get our brains going. Try this exercise with your dog to train her brain!

Tell your pampered pooch to sit and stay while you go hide her favorite toy. Hide it under a bed, somewhere upstairs for some added activity or in a room less traversed. Then allow your doggo to go find the toy and bring it back. Treats are optional when trying to get a little exercise in – some praise and head pats will work just as well! 

#3: Spice Up Your Fetch Game

If your pup is a naturally energetic bundle of joy, this one is for you. You can make sure your furriend gets enough exercise by incorporating their HIIT workout with yours! 

Take your dog for a normal round of fetch using a ball or their favorite toy. Throw it as far as you possibly can, then proceed to do several rounds of burpees, situps, pushups and/or lunges while your pooch fetches their toy and brings it back. Repeat until you are both pooped! 

Be sure to keep your pup out of the direct heat and always have plenty of water on hand for you and your furbabe. Choose a shaded, enclosed area to keep your pup safe and focused on their playdate. During any outdoor activity in the summer, be vigilant of your precious pup for excessive panting, increased heart rate, confusion or disorientation and vomiting or diarrhea. 

#4: Hiking With Your Hound 

It’s no secret that the Natural State gets its name from the abundance of beauty found all over Arkansas! The Arkansas State Park system alone offers 300 miles of hiking trails, with many others to be found and enjoyed as well. 

You can use Google Maps to find a great hike near you in Arkansas, including hikes that are great for our young or old furbabies with limited mobility or endurance. 

Please be sure to go during cooler parts of the day. While shade will help with keeping your pup cool, challenging hikes can lead them to become overheated. Keep your pup safe and go later in the afternoon or earlier in the morning. 

#5: Try Your Paws at Trail Running 

If your pooch is built for running, taking your woof on a trail run is a great way to add some fun to your routine while getting some exercise with your dog. Some breeds that are likely up for a good trail run include Weimaraners, Border Collies, Vizslas, Dalmatians, Australian Cattle Dogs and Doberman Pinschers. Please consult your local veterinarian before starting any exercise routine with your fur babe. Remember, all pups are different! 

Explore shorter trails during cooler parts of the day and add length for endurance as you progress. Always make sure your pup is cool enough, well-watered, and watch out for signs of heat exhaustion during and after your outdoor activities. 

#6: Go for a Swim

Every woof has his or her unique personality; different strokes for different furry folks, eh? Some dogs LOVE the water. Some of our top water-loving furriends at the Lounge include Standard Poodles, Labrador and Golden Retrievers and English Setters.

If your pooch loves to swim, try taking him or her to the lake for a good round of fetch in the water or you can even play in the backyard in a kiddie pool. (It’s what we do at our summer pool pawties!) 

Some safety tips for our swimmers include: 

  • Try to take things slow and make sure your dog likes water and swimming in shallow water first.
  • Teach your dog how to safely get in and out of each body of water.
  • Be cautious of wild animals when in natural settings.
  • Take a trip to a vet immediately if your dog experiences any sickly symptoms post-water activity.

#7: Exercise Solo and Send your Dog to Doggy Daycare

If you’re in the mood to get some exercise alone or during a hot day, drop your pooch off at Hounds Lounge for a day of play at doggy daycare. Enjoy a long bike ride, run up the Arkansas River Trail in Central Arkansas or the Razorback Regional Greenway in Northwest Arkansas, then come back for your pooch, complete with his signature #houndsloungehangover. 

You’ll both have a ton of fun during your respective activities and also feel like snagging some couch cuddles afterward!

#8: Downdog: “Doga” Style

Quarantine has been tough on many of us, and all of the change can affect your dog, as well! You can help your pooch keep calm by including him or her around you as you practice yoga.

Find a soothing class on YouTube or join a Zoom class with your favorite local yoga studio. Breathe. Flow. Repeat! Your pooch will be relaxing with you as you breeze through your mindful workout.  

Prioritize Health for Your Furbaby and You!

In difficult times, it’s important to make time for our wellbeing. With a little creativity and effort, we can turn activities that can seem daunting into truly memorable moments with our fur fam. Use these tips to make exercising with your dog more fun and safe and start feeling the benefits immediately! 

P.S. You don’t have to have a reason for your pup to enjoy a pawty at Hounds Lounge. Whether you’re running some errands, need some quiet time at home, or just want your pup to go have some good ‘ole fun, all locations are open during regular business hours for full and half days of doggy daycare, grooming appointments and overnight stays. Stop by soon! We miss you!