Dog-owners: 5 exercises you can do at home with your pet

27th Nov 17 | Family

Involving your pooch in your fitness regime can go well beyond walkies.

fitness dog

As many dog-owners will know, a canine buddy can make keeping active easy, what with all the regular walks.

But trainer and national wrestling champion Keith McNiven, owner of Right Path Fitness, thinks it doesn’t have to end there – why not introduce some home workout routines roping in your pooch as your personal trainer? (Yep, it does sound a little barking, we know!)

“As well as these exercises keeping you and your pet fit and healthy, it gives you a further opportunity to bond. Just like having a spotter to motivate you into that last squat, your pet can give you the wilfulness to keep off those extra pounds,” says Keith.

Fun photo of a dog as a football referee (Thinkstock/PA)
Barking orders! (Thinkstock/PA)

Ready to get a wag-gle on? Here, Keith outlines 5 exercises you can do at home with your pooch…

1. Doga

Exercises with your dog (Right Path Fitness/PA)
(Right Path Fitness/PA)

“Doga takes downward-dog to the next level. As one of the more relaxed exercises, it works on the natural symbiotic relationship you have with your pet.”

How to do it: While performing the different poses, allow your pet to wander freely, as the ‘doga’ magic will work on both you and your pet, whether your pet is taking part in the poses or not. Dogs in particular copy their human’s breathing habits, similar to children. You’ll know if your pet is completely relaxed if it falls asleep on the mat next to you!


2. Plank and press the puppy

Man practising doga (Right Path Fitness/PA)
(Right Path Fitness/PA)

“How big or small your pet is (and how likely they are to sit still!) will determine how easy or difficult this one may be. However, it will tone up your biceps, triceps and stomach muscles, and your puppy will enjoy the ride too!”

How to do it: Lay front down on the floor and ask your pet to sit on your back (or ask someone else to put them there). Set your arms shoulder width apart, palms facing the floor, then push your body up off the floor. If you’re struggling, you can keep your knees down.


3. Waggin’ sit-ups

Exercises with your pet (Right Path Fitness/PA)
(Right Path Fitness/PA)

“This exercise is a great bonding experience for both you and your dog. They will be the motivation for you to continue, just as good as having a friend in your ear telling you to carry on.”

How to do it: Lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest, keeping your knees slightly bent. Ask your pet to come to you, and rest their paws on your feet. Raise your upper body off the floor by flexing your abdominal muscles. Touch your elbows to your thighs and repeat.


4. Reverse lunges with a twist

Exercises with your pet (Right Path Fitness/PA)
(Right Path Fitness/PA)

“It’s time to work while looking at your pet’s beautiful face. If your pet knows any tricks, this is a great movement to incorporate them, or a fantastic opportunity to teach them.”

How to do it: Make sure your pet is facing you. Take one large step backward and lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, and your front knee is directly over your front ankle. Use your front leg to push your body backward. Now, before lunging with the opposite side, get your pet to perform a trick, whether that be shaking their paw, or asking them to roll over, it gives you both intermittent breaks between commands.


5. Squat and sit

Exercises with your pet (Right Path Fitness/PA)
(Right Path Fitness/PA)

“It’s just like sitting with them on the couch. Except a fair bit more work… The closeness between the two of you during this episode will bring you closer together (literally) and will create a strong bonding experience.”

How to do it: Lean against the wall in a squat position, and either pick your pet up or get them to do some extra work and ask them to jump up. Slowly move your body up and down the wall, holding for 10 second intervals in between.

© Press Association 2017

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