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8 Exercises to Do While Walking the Dog: How to Turn Your Dog Walk into a Workout

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by Dogster Team

running man and Siberian Husky

8 Exercises to Do While Walking the Dog: How to Turn Your Dog Walk into a Workout

If you’re taking your dog out to get exercise, you might as well take advantage of this time, too. A 15-minute walk might not do much for you as a human, but it can do a lot more if you’re willing to put in a few extra steps.

In this article, we aim to give you a few ideas on how to incorporate more of a workout into your walking routine.

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The 8 Exercises to Do While Walking the Dog

1. Jogging

You could go for the old classic, jogging. Jogging can be a very good habit to form and an exceptional way to burn off energy with your pooch. Most dogs are perfectly fine candidates for a light jog—and many need it.

Jogging is a great way to keep your heart rate up without overexerting yourself. Plus, a jog tends to be easier on the knees than a full-on run.

Even if you only jog with your dog for 15 minutes a day, you’re still burning roughly 170 calories—give or take, depending on your body. So, if you devote two jogs a day to your exercise regimen, you’ll burn somewhere in the ballpark of 340 extra calories per day!

Dog walker strides with his pet on leash while walking at street pavement
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

2. Lunge While You Walk

You don’t have to change up your whole routine at all! Just lunge to get to your destination. Your legs will be sure to feel the burn just a few steps in. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and test your limitations.

You might look silly lunging down the street in front of all of your neighbors, but it is a surefire way to get those glutes burning. On average, you will burn 6 calories per minute, which can fluctuate slightly based on weight and intensity.

So, you can see that it’s a pretty nifty workout to add to your daily walks.


3. Hiking

Hiking can be a great way to challenge you and your dog! They can experience all sorts of terrains, smells, and sights. You can really get your steps in where it counts. Try to go to areas that will challenge you and get your heart pumping!

If you’re new to hiking, you might wonder where to go. There are numerous state parks in every state, and there is surely one around your neighborhood. There are tons of free trails; some are pet-friendly and some are not, so you have to make sure to do your research before hiking with your dog.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hiking. Some trails are mostly uphill climbs, others are miscellaneous terrain, and others offer pretty flat, easy-to-maneuver walking trails. Always remember to bring poop bags and other supplies to clean up after your dog.

It will be your responsibility and your responsibility alone to make sure that you keep the park clean.

Jindo dog walking with owner outdoors
Image Credit: StudioPixs, Shutterstock

4. Changing Terrains

Try to take the road less traveled once in a while. Walking through the grass, rocks, or other unlevel terrain can actually be good if you and your dog are in good health. This will allow your body to balance and train you to use muscles that you might not use otherwise when you’re walking normally.

So, you could try to walk a normal paved path—and then maybe try some off-road adventures, like leisurely strolling through a grassy park or up the gravel road near your house—you know all the good spots. You just have to get creative.

Be careful when you’re walking with your dog to avoid any path that might cause injury to the paw. A gravel road can be very sharp and hurt your pup’s paw pads. While many large or physically athletic dogs won’t mind a little gravel, little dogs can be sensitive to terrain changes.


5. Uphill Routes

Instead of taking an easy walking route, try taking some uphill turns. This will raise your heart rate and help you burn calories. Plus, your dog will enjoy the extra exertion. You can wipe them out faster in shorter bursts.

Uphill walks are a great way to burn some calories while your dog expels a bundle of energy. These intense, short workouts can alleviate your dog’s pent-up energy and help you with your workout routine as well.

The number of calories your body will burn on an incline will depend on how long you’re walking, your body type, and sex. On average, a person will burn between 200 and 700 calories per hour when they are walking on an incline.

Silhouetted View of People Walking a Dog on a Hill against a Sky at Sunset
Image Credit: 1000 Words, Shutterstock

6. Add a Backpack

Try getting a backpack if you want to add a little weight to your journey. You can love all of your and your dog’s things so you can be prepared on the go. The extra weight will help you burn calories, so it’s beneficial in more ways than one.

You can get an excellent backpack that will take all of your dog’s supplies and make them easy to access. But, there is an alternative as well. You could also get a doggy backpack. If you have a small to medium-sized dog that gets tuckered out on long walks, get them a doggy backpack! Having a doggy backpack for them can be a terrific way to keep them going while adding a little extra wait for your journey.

You can get them a backpack online or in-store, but we highly recommend shopping around before deciding.


7. Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts can be a good way for you and your dog to put a little extra movement in a walk. First, it can give you a goal, which can make things a lot more fun in general. Next, you can get into it with your dog, motivating them to find new things.

This can encourage you to bend, squat, and make a whole slew of other movements that will help you burn calories. Your dog will enjoy using the thing they love most—their nose!

woman walking labrador retriever in the park
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

8. Track/Time Your Adventures

You can track or time your adventures to really help motivate you to be more active during your walks. Try setting a goal to complete the walk in a certain amount of time, then walking more briskly to get to your destination in a shorter amount of time.

This can help you ramp up your heart rate, allowing your body to burn more energy. You might get to the point where you want to add more length to your daily journey or speed the walk up more and more.

Often, having a smart watch will help you keep track—but you can use other devices like your phone to keep a log of your activity.

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Other Things to Consider

What Is Your Dog’s Activity Level?

Your dog’s overall activity level says a lot about how you can exercise with them. For example, if someone has a Belgian Malinois, they will take all the exercise you can give them. They will be right there waiting by the door when you grab the leash and keys.

However, smaller dogs naturally have less stamina because of their size difference. Some of them can also tucker out quite quickly or even have breathing problems due to the overall structure of their face.

For example, brachycephalic dogs such as Pugs, Boxers, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and English Bulldogs all have the adorable pushed in faces and droopy jowls we love so much. However, their overall facial structure can make it pretty difficult for them to breathe, which can impact overall exercise. So, it is important to ensure you have the correct breed for the job before you start exercising with your dog.

Also, it might be a little bit difficult to exercise while you’re first starting out walking and training your dog. Untrained dogs are not aware of how to properly walk on a leash which means they will be tugging, pulling, jumping, and doing a whole bunch of other things that make it quite challenging for you. It might be best to wait until your dog is fully trained and equipped for well-behaved walks before you start trying to add in additional exercises.

dog running with its owner at a marathon
Image Credit: singkam, Shutterstock

Have Appropriate Gear

If you were going to exercise with your dog, you’re going to want a few things. Having a tote or a backpack full of goodies will definitely be a must.

If you’re doing any high intensity workout, you’re going to want to have water for both you and your dog on hand to give yourselves a little refresher. Staying hydrated during workouts is totally essential. You can get collapsible water bowls for your dog so you can fill them up on the go and flatten it back out to stow away.

Having the appropriate harness is essential as well. Collars are not sufficient for walks since they pull on the neck and sometimes make it very easy for dogs to slip out. Instead, harnesses are better since they evenly distribute the weight throughout the body.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that all harnesses are made alike. Some harnesses are flimsy with cheaply made straps, raising questions about safety during walks. We highly recommend buying a quality, well-made harness to prevent any mishaps or incorrect sizing.

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Conclusion

Exercising with your dog can actually be a terrific way to burn more calories and get a workout in where you wouldn’t have one otherwise. Daily walks can be extremely great to keep up with, but they don’t necessarily have the physical impact we want when we’re serious about getting fit.

Luckily, there’s many ways to incorporate changes in your routine to really make you feel like you’re exercising appropriately. Keep in mind that your dog should be compatible with whatever exercises you choose. If you have an overweight, unhealthy, brachycephalic, or otherwise unsuitable candidate, you might have to exercise without your pooch.


Featured Image Credit: travelarium.ph, Shutterstock

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