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Work out like a dog

Work Out Like A Dog is the world’s first exercise class in which humans exclusively perform exercises normally reserved for dogs.

Our slightly barking bootcamp is designed to raise awareness of just how important exercise is for dogs’ health and happiness. High numbers of dogs arrive at our rehoming centres with behavioural needs stemming from boredom, lack of stimulation, and because they simply haven’t been exercised properly.

All of the exercises in the 45-minute aerobic and conditioning workout for humans have either been adapted from a dog’s favourite exercises or have been directly inspired by man’s best friend by qualified PT and fitness instructor Born Barikor. The routine combines full-body strength training with high intensity cardio bursts to tone, improve endurance and fill participants with positive energy – in much the same way that regular exercise helps our four-legged friends stay not just physically but mentally healthy too.

A man throws a ball for a dog

Top tips for exercising your dog

  • Swot up! Different breeds enjoy different activities; Labradors love to retrieve so fetch is perfect, while huskies were bred to run, so are likely to enjoy joining you on a jog. Even mixed breeds inherit strong instincts, so do your homework to ensure your dog gets the most from its walks, and try different games to see what they enjoy doing most.

  • How fit is your dog already? If they aren’t used to vigorous exercise, they’ll need to work up to it. Older may dogs have less stamina and be more prone to injury. If in doubt, ask your vet.

  • Know when to stop. Remain vigilant even if your dog is young and fit; some won’t want playtime to end, even if they’re exhausted. If you see signs your dog is tired start to wind them down. Walk home at a gentle pace; they benefit from post-workout cool-downs too!

  • Have the right kit. Use toys which are designed for dogs, as some (such as Frisbees) created for humans may have features which could hurt your dog. Buy from a specialist pet supplier to be sure. Also use the correct sized toys – large dogs can choke on small toys. Have water with you, especially in warm weather.

  • Play safe. Only ever leave your dog off the lead in large open spaces, away from roads, and if you are confident it will come when called. Stay conscious of other dogs nearby.

  • Don’t forget to HAVE FUN! This is great bonding time for you and your dog, enjoy yourselves! (And you might even get a bit fitter to boot.)

Thinking of adding a dog to your family? Make sure you choose the right breed for your lifestyle. Read our top advice first.

Bored of the same routine? We’ve got lots of ideas and advice for new ways to exercise your dog’s mind and body and strengthen the bond between you too. Try a new game today.

Fancy running with your dog? Check with your vet first, and read our tips on getting started. Ready, set, GO!

— Page last updated 26/04/2018