Dogs love the outdoors, and dog owners who engages in outdoor activities with their pets not only keep their dogs happy and well behaved but can also improve their own quality of life. Researchers from Michigan State University found that two thirds of dog owners went for regular walks with their pets, and that 60 percent of those who took their dogs on regular walks met or exceeded the federal criteria for moderate or vigorous activity, according to the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Getting outdoors with your canine friend is a great way to bond with it and give it some exercise, and here are just a few great outdoor activities for you and your dog:
For many energetic dogs, going for a walk is never quite enough exercise. For active dogs such as these, going for a run is often the only solution. One of the easiest ways for you to get your dog running and active is to take it running behind your bike. Devices like the Bike Tow Leash allow your dog to safely run alongside your bike so it does not risk getting a leash entangled in your bike or pulling you off balance. Biking with your dog requires many safety precautions, especially if you take the dog on urban bike rides, but seeing your dog running happily alongside you is an extremely rewarding experience.
On a hot summer day, going for a swim to cool off with your dog can be a lot of fun. If you decide to take your furry friend for a swim, keep in mind that not all dogs are natural swimmers. Introduce your dog to the water slowly, and monitor its behavior carefully. It’s highly recommended that you get your dog a canine life preserver such as the Paws Aboard, even if it takes to the water easily, as swimming can quickly tire out even the most active of dogs. Some breeds of dogs such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors love the water so much it can be hard to get them out, and taking them swimming can be a positive and fun experience for both of you.
Dogs can barely resist sticking their head out of a car window to feel the breeze in their faces. It should come as no surprise then that many dogs love off-roading. With the right gear, taking your dog out on an ATV can be safe and fun for both of you. Many companies, such as Dusty Dawgs, produce canine carriers for ATVs that allow your canine companion to safely sit in the front or the back of your ATV and come along for the ride, and are built with many sizes of dog in mind. In order to use these carriers, however, you will need to add a rack from a company like MotoSport. If you head out mudding, grabbing a pair of dog goggles can allow your pet to enjoy the ride without getting mud in their eyes.
For those who simply want to mix up the routine, taking your dog out for a hike in the woods can be the best way to add a little more exercise to the daily routine. Just be sure to always bring extra water and food for your pet when you go hiking. As you get your dog used to the increased exercise of hiking, you may even have it carry its own water in a dog backpack. Slowly increasing your dog’s pack-load can increase the exercise intensity, so be very careful never to overload your pet. Some dogs, like Great Danes, were bred to carry a load, but dropping 30 pounds of water and snacks on your Pug is probably not a good idea. In the end, hiking is like any other outdoor activity you engage in with your pet – always consider their safety and comfort first.