Downward Dog: Working Out with Your Furry Friend(s)

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Your dog will never make you coffee but still offers plenty of positives. And, as we brace for an unusually daunting winter, maximizing your dog’s potential as an exercise buddy could be just the thing for cold-weather joy. Walks and runs? That’s rookie stuff. Pro-level dog-ercisers give their pups and their fitness a boost with advanced moves like plank passes.

Getting your dog up to speed on weighting your push-ups or providing the advanced sit-up assist may take some work—and more mass than a shih tzu can offer—but you’ll both benefit, and anyway what else do you have going on to fill the dark hours ahead? Starting a happy, healthy routine now will pay dividends through the months of short, cold days—for you and your best friend. We have ideas.

  • First up: cuteness. Isn’t that a big part of the equation? We’re not convinced that tug-of-war biceps curls are the peak of exercise effectiveness, but they look like a good time, and watching this pup’s tail wag while he amps up his workout partner’s lunges is a gas.
  • If goats and babies can do it, surely your dog can jump on the yoga train, too. Maybe there’s a doga (Seriously. We know.) class in your area and, if not, you have plenty of online resources to draw from.
  • Squats are one (always challenging, super-effective) thing, and they become even more productive when you turn them into a floofy, wriggling balancing act. Good for puppies and full-grown German shepherds, although we recommend working up to the latter.
  • If it’s alliterative, it’s got to be good. And if nothing else, this pup Pilates video includes a puppy so adorable just watching it exist will lower your blood pressure. Which is almost like exercising.
  • Can you get a full-body workout by integrating your dog in place of much less cuddly dumbbells and aggressively cantankerous kettle bells? In theory, yes, and here’s evidence, complete with adorable puppy, fitness-goal model, and snarky voiceover to keep in mind of some of the pitfalls of exercising with pets.

Good luck, happy exercising, and may your dog be much more into your endeavors than these jokers. And if dog-ercising won’t help you attain all of your fitness goals, Hancock Wellness Center can help! Check us out in Greenfield, New Palestine, or McCordsville.

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