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Unleash the Fury - Exercise With a Dog

Okay, so you want to start running but refuse to use a treadmill because you believe breathing in the fresh air is half the point of going for a run.

But you're also nervous about running alone (your neighborhood is not the greatest).

Ever consider getting a dog? You'll both benefit from the exercise and companionship. A dog has to go out at least 3 times a day to relieve themselves - it'll be great motivation to get your butt off the couch, and get you both outside. Plus there is a new study that shows that dog owners are healthier than folks without pets.

You want to choose a dog that prefers an active lifestyle. And you should be committed to taking care of your dog for the rest of your life. This means giving your pet all the love, healthy food, and exercise it needs, because if you don't, your pet might get bored and look for other ways to keep busy and be "athletic" (aka - destroy your home).

Very important: Before getting a dog, you need to love running or jogging, and being outdoors first. Know that your dog will need to be trained to run, jog, or play with you. They'll also need to be at least 2 years old, because puppies shouldn't run long distances.

Want to know some great high-energy breeds to choose from? Then

  • Dalmation
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Greyhound
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Irish Setter
  • German Shorthair
  • English Setter
  • Collie
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Boxer
  • Rottweiler

All dogs require a lot of love, attention, and time to play around. But these breeds will love all the running around they can get.

Most small dogs, like Chihuahuas, are not built for distance running. And larger dogs, like Great Danes, are strong enough to drag you off balance.

Of course, all dogs have their own unique personality. Just because they are high-energy dogs, doesn't mean they'll love sticking to your strict exercise plan.

But owning a dog could be a great way to keep both of you healthy. Check out this book, it may give you some good tips on exercising with your pooch.

Fit's Tips: Start your running regimen slowly. Run half a mile every other day and build up gradually. Make sure you bring water along as dogs don't sweat like we do. And check your dog's paws for cuts before and after a run (they don't have the luxury of getting the newest Nikes).

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UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
All of you raise good points. However, it is good to select a dog that best fits your lifestyle, one that you can love and maybe even learn from (sounds nuts, but it's true!) And I think the list of dogs here are appropriate in terms of energy levels, but each dog needs extra research in terms of their personality.
cams cams 9 years
My boyfriend and I have an Australian Cattle Dog and she LOVES to go running- we can barely keep up with her. They are also extremely well behaved and VERY possesive (i.e.-they wont let anyone near you). The best part is that shes not too big. so cute!
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
We want a doggy SOO bad. But, we can't just get a dog...we need a fence in the back, invisfence in the front...and a kennel, you know, but if we put a kennel back there, we need to put a service door on the garage so we can put a dog door on it (in case THEY get cold - oh, yes, THEY, can't get one, have to get two.) So, looks like A dog is going to cost about $6,000 initially...that's before I have to replace my carpet!! Poor me, never getting a doggy.
Fitness Fitness 9 years
KayKay - I agree with that. I think people know owning a dog is a HUGE responsibility - they become part of your life and your family. But certain high-energy dogs would do much better living with a human family that loves to move and play.
kaykay kaykay 9 years
Toronado, why on earth would a remotely educated person get a dog JUST simply to exercize with. Given the typical person exercizes for 1-2 hours a day, isn't it a no brainer that there are 22 other hours in a day to spend with your dog? Also, why does it take a vet to reccomend a dog breed? I've "worked" with dogs for 20 years... I shy away from saying that I am a dog owner, as they are a part of my family, but I would never hesitate to recommend a breed if I knew the person well enough.
kevindineen kevindineen 9 years
A tired dog is a happy dog :)
Fitness Fitness 9 years
You should get a dog because you want the loving companionship you can only find in a dog. If you already lead an active lifestyle outdoors, getting a more active dog would better suit you and your new pet's personality. No, you shouldn't get a dog for the sole reason that you need to get in shape. That would be an awful reason - both disrespectful and insensitive to your new pet. A dog IS a huge responsibility, and no, I'm not a vet, but I am a dog owner and have a lot of friends with dogs. A dog can wreck a house for 2 reasons - not getting to go outside and/or not getting enough attention (I agree with you on that one). Dogs love to be with their owners and want to protect them. Whenever I'm getting ready to go outside, Bear always wants to come too. Our runs have become a special bonding time for both of us. And no, dogs are not constantly looking for ways to be athletic, but if you get a dog that is more active than other breeds (or a younger dog), they'll require more attention and time to run around.
Toronado Toronado 9 years
Allow me to stress to the UTMOST that getting a dog simply because one is too lazy to get out of the house for a jog by themselves is WRONG WRONG WRONG. A pet is a HUGE commitment, and you should consider getting one because you want the companionship ALL THE TIME, not just for an hour of jogging. What would happen if the plan backfired? You pawn the dog off in some shelter? "Oh well, I tried it but it didn't work, so I got rid of the dog." NO ONE should get a pet unless: - they genuinely desire the companionship of a pet for YEARS TO COME - they can afford to adequately care for the dog concerning ALL aspects of its life. - they're positive they're not buying a dog as an "experiment" to see if one'll help them get off their ass and exercise. That's a HORRIBLE reason to buy a pet! It's like buying black cats for Halloween, or bunnies for Easter. The logic behind it is ABSURD. Not to mention that ALL the breeds you listed do NOT require substantial amounts of exercise. No, they shouldn't lay around...but regular walks, playing with toys, runs around a fenced yard, and above all a GOOD DIET is more than enough to keep these breeds in top shape. Trust me. I've worked with animals for 6 1/2 years. I'm particularly disturbed by this tidbit: "And you need to be committed to exercising with your dog, because if you're not, your pet will get bored and look for other ways to be athletic (aka - destroy your home)." Pets are not constantly searching for ways to be "athletic"! If they destroy a person's home, it's because they want love and companionship! They want attention! Again you're implying that all the dog will be used for is exercise and NOTHING ELSE! When not out running, the dog's just gonna lay around the house? Nothing else? How can you even suggest such a thing?? Fit, I just have to say it: this is terrible, terrible advice. You are NOT a vet. And it is reckless to try and pass yourself off as one when, frankly, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. I know I'm being blunt. But this article ticks me off. PLEASE do your research prior to handing out advice that may do more harm than good.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
I meant teaching your dog to heel
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Teaching your dog is probably the most important things for running. Once your dog has learned to walk by yourside slowly up your speed of walking so that the dog learns to stay with you. Eventaully you can get up to a jog/run and they will stay by yourside. Any basic obidence class can teach this to you and your dog. I have a German Shepherd Collie mix and a German Shorthair Terrier mix. Both dogs LOVE running but my mom and I are not runners and never will be. We always take them to the local school and let them just run around in their field. They love because they can run as fast as they want, pee or poop anywhere, smell whatever and chase the birds. If we didnt let them do this they would so tear into each other because they get bored and they get tired of each other
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