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how your dog can help you reach your health goals

Posted Feb 22 2013 2:15pm
I can't believe it's been over a month since we adopted Jake !


Isn't he the cutest? His presence in my life has drastically improved my mood, my activity level, and in general, my day-to-day existence. I can look up from schoolwork or the hours I spend on job boards and see his smiling face. What's not to love?

One of our main reasons to adopt Jake was that I would have a running buddy. Since I had a dog growing up, I knew the many ways a dog can keep its people active, and I wanted that in my life! ( Check out this little vine video I did of our run routine !)

Sadly, I still see, meet, and hear about tons of dogs that don't get adequate exercise. If owners are lucky enough to have a yard, they'll let their dog out to play and sniff (all by themselves, whine!), but that isn't really a substitute for doggie- and especially human- exercise.

Here are a few ways your dog can keep you healthy
Go on regular walks with your dog. Depending on breed and energy level, your dog should be getting at least two square walks a day. Even if your dog does its' business immediately after going outside, you should spend at least 20 minutes outside together, walking briskly. Especially if your dog is alone all day (and you're stuck in a cubicle), you owe it to each other to get out, move, and get some fresh air.



If the weather's bad, make up the time you would have spent outside indoors! We like to play fetch, chase (in which we chase Jake around our coffee table) and hide and seek (in which one of us stays downstairs with Jake and the other one hides upstairs. Jake has to come find us. It's adorable. Rinse and repeat).

Incorporate your dog into your weekend plans. For us, this usually includes a long run or other outdoor activity. We also try to to take Jake to the dog park, which we love as much as him.

Run with your dog. It takes a little patience to run with your dog, but it is well worth it. Now, whenever I lace up, Jake wants to be by my side. He keeps the pace quick and my thoughts lighthearted, and puts enjoyment back into my runs, which is tough in the wintertime.



Take a class together! There are many types of classes that give both owners and pups good workouts. We're considering taking Jake to agility training in the spring, since he's so smart and athletic. I also recently started seeing signs around the DC area for Thank Dog Bootcamp  - fitness and obedience training combined! If you have the time and funds to commit to a program like this, the benefit to you and your dog could be huge!

For me, the bottom line is that many people go without a simple walk each day, and the number of dogs who go without is probably higher. You can help each other, get some exercise, enjoy your surroundings, and bond in a few minutes a day. And who doesn't want extra puppy cuddles? Because believe me, you'll be getting lots and lots extra once you sweat (or pant!) together :)
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