Karen B. London
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Getting Fit With Your Dog
Skip the gym!
Is this Newfoundland puppy better than a gym membership?

A recent study in Great Britain found that people with dogs exercise more than those who work out at the gym. The difference was considerable. People with dogs exercised for an average of eight hours a week compared to the two hours a week of people going to the gym.

The researchers speculate that the difference may be because more people (86 percent) enjoy the time that they spend walking their dogs compared with the 16 percent of people who say that they enjoy going to the gym. Perhaps the fact that walking our dogs is generally a positive experience accounts for the observation that people are more likely to walk their dogs when short on time than to go to the gym when similarly busy.
So, if you love walking your dog, but are not so crazy about going to the gym, you are in good company. The combination of lots of little walks and some longer walks during the week can really add up to a considerable amount of exercise.



Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Carolyn | January 29 2010 |

That would be me. I LOVE walking, hiking, kayaking, and biking with my dog. When I was a kid, each of us in the family had to "walk the dog"... the dog got 5 walks daily, rain, shine, snow or ice. That "habit" has stayed with me all my life. Gym memberships bore me silly.

Submitted by cowdog | January 31 2010 |

I agree! Yet I also know several people who spend hours at the gym each day and then come home and don't walk there dogs (the dogs are usually obese as well) and complain that their dogs are "crazy" or "tearing apart there house." When asked why they choose the gym over walking the dog they say that "walking the dog just isn't enough exercise" or that there dogs have horrible leash walking skills and they can't walk them.

When I got my cattledog x a few years ago I realized it was a necessity that I run with her to meet her exercise needs(and to keep me sane). After lots of work on training her not to bite my heels and herd me,she's been a mostly perfect running partner-always eager to go out and loves to run. I say "mostly" because being a dog there are the occasional sniff stops, bathroom stops, and an occasional jerking pull to get at something REALLY good.

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