How To Choose Your Pet’s Fitness Path

Category: Pet Friendly San Diego, Tips & Tricks, Winter 2015 402 0

does your dog

Say Om!

It isn’t called downward dog for nothing. Dogs can stretch and bend with the rest of us, but those best suited for yoga are more relaxed, less active, and likely a little older. What’s most important when doing yoga with your dog is your energy. “If you’re calm, your dog will be calm,” says Dawn Celapino, founder of Leash Your Fitness, who has seen all breeds at her bay-front yoga classes. “We always get their excess energy out first with a walk and obedience work like sit and stay. Making dogs think is always a good way to tire them out.”

Take a Hike!

Hiking trails abound in San Diego County. If your dog has a long endurance level and a nose for trails, he could be the perfect hiking buddy. “It’s important to choose a trail that suits both your and your dog’s fitness level, and work your way up together,” says Graham Bloem, owner of Specialty Dog Training. “Hike early in the morning to beat the heat, and always bring enough water for you and your dog, as well as a charged cell phone.” Keep him on a leash and by your side at all times to protect against wildlife (particularly coyotes and rattlesnakes), abide by San Diego leash laws, and avoid a hefty fine.

Go for a Jog!

If short bursts are more your speed, ease your dog into a faster jog. Just like you wouldn’t go from couch to 5K in one day, you should start out slow, building speed and distance over time. Don’t discount a little dog’s ability to go the distance, but do consider respiratory limitations of certain breeds with flat faces, such as pugs
and bulldogs.

Hang 20!

There’s nothing cuter than a dog on a surfboard. Some dogs, particularly those with a low center of gravity, are naturals, while others need a little more encouragement. “Introduce your dog to the surfboard in your living room first with a motivational treat,” says Peter Noll, founder of SoCal Surf Dogs, a group of surfing enthusiasts who like to hang 20 with their pups. “Then move on to a pool or lake before you hit the ocean.” And always, Noll insists, make sure your dog is wearing a well-fitted life vest.

Training Tip: “If your surf dog is bailing from the board too soon, try having him catch a wave backwards,” says Noll. “It’ll reduce his urge to run forward into the water.”

Rent a Kayak or SUP!

For dogs that love the water but can’t quite catch a wave, there are other watersport options. Celapino and Noll both kayak with their dogs, and Noll has even started SoCal SUP Dogs for the stand-up paddleboarders  who want to share their SUP with their canine companion. “SUPing is easier to learn than surfing,” Noll says, “and even though the dog is just standing there, he’s still getting exercise, and so
are you.”

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