Creative Exercise Routines for Your Dog

Have you heard of Dog Skijoring? It is where a cross-country skier will attach themselves to one, two or three dogs. The person would use the dogs’ desire to run to aid in their skiing. The sport originated in Scandinavia and is a favorite event in North America.

You do not have to enroll in professional competition to enjoy this activity. Many people will attach a long leash to their dog’s harness, put on skis and off they go down the snowy lane, yard, or hill. In the summer months, they would use rollerblades and cruise on down the boardwalk.

Canicross is another human and canine sport. It originated in Europe as an off-season exercise for sled dogs. Instead of skis, the person will run with one or two dogs, on special harnesses, over a long distance. In the United States, you can see individuals running down the sidewalk or in the park with their dog on a leash. This exercise is a mini-version of Canicross.

Keep in mind that some dogs cannot endure strenuous activity. There are larger breeds that hunt, run, track and pull. And, there are smaller breeds that are more like lap dogs. You may have an older dog or one that has a physical condition that prevents them from exercising too much.

PetMD suggests one to two hours of “daily activity” for most dog breeds. Daily activity can include walking, running and playing with your dog. If in doubt, check with your veterinarian before trying a new exercise routine.

Are you tired of walking your dog around the same block time after time? Here are some other canine competitions that you can adapt to your dog’s exercise routine.

The Dog Agility Course contains hurdles, ramps, and tunnels. You can buy this equipment from pet retail stores like and Once set up in your yard, your dog will be jumping, climbing and crawling to the end of the finish line.

Disc Dog Competition is throwing a frisbee and having your dog jump into the air to catch it. In my version of this sport, I would throw the frisbee to my partner to see if the dog could intercept it. Believe it or not, my throwing skills have made it easy for Sparky to catch the frisbee more times than my friend.

Canine Freestyle is a choreographed music-based event. My version would be to move the table in my living room, to create a dance floor, turn up the stereo and boogie to the music. Sparky would be jumping and barking in tempo.

Dock jumping is a competition to see which dog can jump the farthest into a body of water. My version would be going to the nearest lake or pond and getting my toes wet. Sparky is not that fond of water. To me, bathing her is a strenuous physical activity.

Other events include herding, tracking and “luring” competitions. You can adapt any of these courses to suit your dog’s daily exercise needs.

The time you spend with your dog should be fun and enjoyable. In fact, it is the time when the bond between you is the strongest.

If you have a routine that you would like to share, please leave a message in the Comments Section of this page. I would love to hear your ideas. Thanks, Donna.

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash.