A book titled Fitness Unleased - A Dog and Owner's Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together found it's way to HAWS. I was immediately interested, being the advocate I am for the Four-Footed-and-Furry exercise partner. Hey, having a dog to walk helps you keep that same-old, same-old New Year's Resolution! This book agrees, and is a great tool to get you both started on a new fitness routine.
For the record, I do walk the walk on this topic - literally. My husband, myself and our 2 dogs are daily evening walkers, and on weekends I also join their twice-daily walking schedule. (Monday thru Thursday the a.m. walk is done at 5:30 - not for me! But I'm happy to go at the more SANE hour of 8am Friday - Sunday....)
At times, we get the strangest looks - especially when all 4 of us are bundled up beyond recognition and still out there moving. During snow storms, rain and frigid spells we especially like to look around and ask "Where IS everybody?!?!" (The putting on of the dog booties is a worthwhile hassle, trust us!)
Don't get me wrong, I don't always enjoy this routine. Many days our 9-year-old greyhound and I are of the same mind: seriously, the couch looks a lot better right now! But we definitely notice we are all more stiff if we don't go, and that extra cookie isn't so guilt-inducing once we've done a lap or 2. (This is the part where I tell you to ADOPT 4 PAWS FROM HAWS or, if that's not an option, BECOME A VOLUNTEER DOG WALKER!)
"Having" to walk the dog can be very motivating. Our primary source of that these days is our 12-year-old fuzzy mutt - a HAWS alumni. We've always suspected she's part Border Collie; she's always ready to go (dog owners, you all know what it's like having to spell certain words - we can't even say anything that RHYMES with "walk" without her running to get her leash). Lately, tho, her after-walk routine has us shaking our heads in amazement. She'll give us about 5 minutes to settle in after returning from our nightly exercise before...grabbing her favorite squeaky toy and running up and down the hall with it. Even better if one of us stands at either end of the hall way so it becomes a game of keepaway!
(I think in the dog-to-human-years comparison, a 12-year-old dog is equivalent to a 65-year-old human. We're not there yet, and she is NOT going to show us up.) But, really, we just got home....
To summarize, there is yet another role a pet can play in your life - personal trainer. Just don't teach them how to use a whistle.
By the way - in January & February we have several dog-centered seminars and classes. Check out our Events Calendar for puppy and dog events (play and exercise are a big part!), along with lots of other fun things to do at HAWS!