By Robbie Alexander, NSCA-CPT, APDT
Whether you want to or not, when you become a dog owner you are deciding to become more active. If you already have an active lifestyle, you are deciding to embrace a new method for maintaining your athleticism. Your dog’s high energy levels could be very useful for building and maintaining your physical and mental strength. The charming, as well as the annoying, behavior patterns your dog demonstrates will always be a direct result of the work you decide (or not) to invest in developing his behavior. Let us consider a few ways dogs can influence both our mental and physical wellbeing, and vice-versa.
As a professional dog trainer and a functional fitness professional, the puppy/owner fitness formula is always at the foundation of my training programming for “difficult” dogs. The next time Rex’s energy is driving you insane, consider these facts:
- Statistics show that dog owners are more likely to accomplish and keep fitness goals than those who don’t own dogs.
- Research also has shown that dog owners are more likely to schedule 150 minutes of walking time into their week.
- Dog owners who put the minimal work necessary into exercising their dog(s) and mentally and physically exhausting their pup, have been proven to have one-third the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. I’m sure this has much more to do with the sanity associated with a tired dog than with being more fit, but you get the idea.
- Studies have also shown that petting, talking to and playing with Rex reduce stress and increase the presence of good-feeling chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.
Goals, Plans & Actions
Routines in dog training, as in any walk of life, are priceless so try this one on for a couple weeks.
1Walk/run with Rex every day. Remember that hills are like resistance training for dogs.
2Five minutes of training one skill, high repetitions should always follow the walk.
3Always feed Rex his meals after his training session. Not the other way around. Demand a calm “sit” before giving him his bowl.
Depending on your dog’s breed and temperament, this routine can be more beneficial than you think. If Rex still shows very high energy levels in the evening, do the routine before his dinner as well and work a different skill in his evening training. This will prove to be the best sleeping pill for your pup’s crazy energy. Your dog’s success is based on your patience and persistence. Good luck!
Remember, real wealth begins with inner health.
You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness or nutritional program to determine if it is right for your needs. This publication offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read in this article. The use of any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.