How To Exercise Your Dog
22 Ways!

Walking is often thought of as mundane. But there are many ways to spice up even the most basic of activities. We’ve compiled 22 ways anyone can exercise their dog.

May 23rd, 2019

Our dogs are active animals that love going outdoors. But you didn’t need me to tell you that. Perhaps Fido is already on your case about taking him outside!

It’s no secret that our dogs need exercise. Technically, we humans need exercise too, but somehow we manage to justify spending the entire day binge watching TV.

The canine body was just not built to stay idle all day. Dogs need to get their daily servings of exercise. Lack thereof usually manifests itself in destructive behaviors, and many dog owners have experienced this firsthand!

Thus, it’s important to get active with your dog.

A happy dog walking toward the camera with a huge smile.
Get out there with your dog, smile, and enjoy the world!

This article will introduce you to a TON of ways you can practically exercise your dog, suitable for high-energy and low-energy dogs and humans alike! If you’re bored of taking the same routine walk every single day, read on and try something new from this list. For most of you out there, I guarantee you there are at least a couple you haven’t done or even heard of before!

How Much Exercise Does A Dog Need Everyday?

Before we get to the list, here is one question I hear a lot from dog owners–how much exercise does their dog need everyday?

Realize that this is a pretty difficult question to answer. First of all, are you simply asking the daily time commitment you should put in to exercising your dog?

If so, that would also depend greatly on the modes of exercise your dog is getting. Do you do simple walks around the neighborhood, or do you also perhaps include a long, intensive session of fetch?

It’s hard to pin down exactly how much exercise your dog needs everyday, and it’ll be tough for someone to give you an accurate number for your unique pooch.

After all, your dog’s exercise needs are a function of many things–their activity level, breed, age, health, and many other factors.

However, I suppose that since I myself was also curious about this when getting Yuna, there isn’t much harm in offering some general guidelines.

Most sources, vets and professionals out there will recommend between 30 to 120 minutes per day of exercise in terms of active walking for adult dogs.

I understand this is a huge range. But it’s likely that the breeder or rescue you got your dog from already has an idea of activity level of your dog if you don’t know yourself. This will give you an idea of where to place your dog on that scale.

Specific scenarios call for modifications to this rule.

If you’ve got a puppy on your hands, your best bet is to do a lot of exercise in short quick bursts. One guideline from the UK Kennel Club suggests 5 minutes of exercise per month age, up to twice per day (meaning that if your puppy is three months old, that’s 15 minutes of exercise, twice per day).

If you’ve got a wise senior dog, one suggestion is to limit exercise at 30 to 60 minutes per day, perhaps in two sessions (15-30 min walks, twice a day).

How To Tell If Your Dog Needs More Exercise

The best thing you can do is try out some amount of exercise and see how your dog reacts to it. A good start would be to aim at at least 60 minutes of exercise per day.

Believe it or not, your dog will let you know if they need more exercise. Here are some telltale signs to figure out if that is.

Zoomies. Ever seen a dog just suddenly begin darting around the house faster than you’ve ever seen them run? They’re having a case of the zoomies.

Let's zoom!!!

If your dog is getting the zoomies multiple times per day, chances are this is a statement that they need to get out more. When all that doggy energy gets bottled up, zoomies are the release mechanism.

When your dog is destroying things around the house and finding “entertainment” on his own, you should spend more time exercising.

If your dog is consistently packing on the pounds despite normal food intake, get some more exercise. Duh!

And if you notice any extraneous barking, whining, or other unwanted and annoying behaviors, a trip outside may be just what your dog needs to calm down.

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Getting Too Much Exercise

If a dog has an exercise problem, it’s usually that they get too less of it. But that sure doesn’t rule out the possibility of the opposite happening as well.

Dogs that overexert themselves are likely to develop joint or bone problems, especially if they’re forced to continue walking or running when they’re clearly gassed.

If your dog is laying down during a walk, it’s probably time to go home. If you anticipate going on a long hike or other outdoor adventure with your dog, make sure your dog is up for the challenge. This means slowly building up their stamina to the point where you’re confident they’ll be able to handle it.

Another possible sign is wear and tear on paw pads. If you look at your dog’s paws and notice flaps of skin or any area that is red or swelling, tone down the exercise and see a vet.

To conclude, your dog will communicate to you whether he thinks he’s getting too little or too much exercise. It’s up to you to pay attention and make adjustments accordingly.

Ways To Exercise Your Dog

So that’s out of the way–now we can get to the fun part. We’ve compiled 22 ways anyone can exercise their dog. Some of them are easy to incorporate into your everyday schedule, while others are incredibly niche and more suited for the adventurous.

Whatever you choose, make it fun for both you and your dog. The point of this article is to show that exercising your dog doesn’t have to necessarily be thought of as a chore.You have more options at your disposal than you may think.

1. Walking

This is the most basic, and should be done everyday with no exceptions.

A dog in a stylish coat on a walk.
Like my coat?

There are different types of walks. You have the short potty breaks–perhaps 5 to 10 minutes in length where you just take a quick lap around the block and allow your dog to relieve himself.

Then you have the longer walks designed for actual exercise.

Walking is often thought of as mundane. But there are many ways to spice up even the most basic of activities. You may choose to head to the local park, dog-friendly beach, or off-leash dog park to socialize with other canines.

Bottom line is, change up your walking locations! Walking your dog is literally a free ticket for you to explore a new area of your neighborhood so there’s no reason to always repeat walks.

Getting The Right Gear

Since you and your dog will be spending a lot of time walking together, you should invest in solid walking gear. This means a collar or harness and a sturdy leash.

To make sure you know what you’re looking for, we’ve done articles on what to look for in a collar and what to look for in a harness. Oh, and if you’re not sure which route to take there, we’ve done an article helping you decide on that too .

A dog looking toward the upper right, smiling and showing off her collar.
I love my collar!

Can’t forget about the leash! There are a ton of materials, lengths, and even types of leashes out there. To help you navigate it all we’ve compiled all the useful info you need to know in one article.

Prioritizing Proper Leash Walking

After you’ve got the right equipment, you’re ready to get out there! But while walking your dog may seem straightforward, it may be difficult at first to get your dog walking properly on leash.

There are a lot of owners who dread walks because the dog walks them or exhibits other bad leash manners. This, in turn, leads them to not do it consistently, leading to a spiral of other problems.

Teaching your dog to walk properly on leash could be an extremely long article on its own. This article does a good job of outlining the steps and dealing with particularly stubborn pullers.

Making The Most Of The Walk

Improving your dog’s fundamentals will help make walking more fun and enjoyable. This means improving recall, fundamental obedience, and proper socialization with other dogs.

You should also make it enjoyable for your dog as well. Did you know that there are various little things us humans do that actually ruin the experience for them? We can literally call them pet peeves!

One of these is not allowing sufficient time for them to sniff around and choose their toilets. Where a dog uses the bathroom is a big deal! Always keep a balance between allowing exploration and moving on with the walk.

2. Hiking

If your dog is healthy and able, try a dog-friendly hike. It’s truly one of the best activities for active dogs!

A dog sitting in front of a brilliant snowy mountain and frozen lake.
Isn't this scenery just breathtaking? This is your reward for completing a hike with your dog.

Before getting all excited about bringing your dog on a hike, be realistic about it first. Check to see if your dog is up for the task.

Certain health issues or breed characteristics can make hiking impractical. For example, brachycephalic breeds (short-muzzled dogs) such as pugs are at higher risk of heat stroke than longer-snout dogs.

In addition, very young puppies or very senior dogs have weaker immune systems, and or may not have the stamina to complete a hike.

Consult a vet if you’re on the fence about this. Best to know early before you’re up in the mountains!

Preparations For Hiking

A hike is going to be a lot more involved than your average walk outside. There are a number of preparations you’ll have to make for your dog and for yourself.

For Fido, you should first and foremost make sure he’s got some flea protection on. Out on a hike, bugs are all the more common.

In addition, you should make sure your dog is capable of following the trail etiquette for the hike you have planned. In most cases, this means walking well on leash and being properly socialized should you run into other dogs and people (you definitely will).

Some other “Petiquette” guidelines are listed here!

Make sure your dog follows proper trail guidelines!

As for your own preparation, expect to bring along some supplies for the hike. Here’s a laundry list of possible things you should consider bringing along:

  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Snacks/treats/sustenance
  • Clothes & Booties
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Medication

Some items, such as water, are obviously essential. During your hike, take frequent breaks to offer water to your dog.

Some of the items will depend on the condition of the hike that day. I’ve always found that bringing along a towel is useful post-hike since many trails are wet and muddy, and you need to protect your car from muddy paws!

The nice thing is that perhaps your dog can carry some of this stuff on his own! Yes–dog packs do exist!

Just make sure you don’t let your dog carry more than around 20-25% of his own body weight.

Making Sure The Trail Works For Both Of You

If you’re just getting into introducing hiking to your dog, don’t expect them to just magically be able to handle advanced hikes just because you think you’ve got an active dog!

Always start slow. Set up a trail-training regimen if you’re looking to get serious about it. Allow your dog to build up stamina over time so you can one day conquer those tough trails.

Choosing a suitable trail is very important. Nowadays, many people leave reviews about various hiking trails online on sites like AllTrails. Read up on them to check conditions during the current time of year–they can change drastically season to season.

Be sure the difficulty of the trail suits both of you.

And finally, don’t forget to double check that it really is a dog-friendly trail! There’s nothing like arriving at the trailhead only to find that you can’t bring Fido along (you should never leave your dog in a car, so you’ll just have to sadly head home).

3. Running or Jogging

Running or jogging is another good option for keeping you both exercised. If you are a frequent jogger already, that’s great! It only makes sense for you to incorporate your dog into that routine.

As with hiking, you must check if your dog is fit for jogging. Breed, age, health, weather etc. are all determining factors.

Secondly, do not assume that if your dog can handle a hike that they can handle a prolonged running session. The two activities are at entirely different paces for your dog.

This is especially important because you should never drag your dog along in a collar on a run if they are fatigued. This is extremely unsafe and potentially deadly for some dogs.

Considering all that, many dogs are eager for a run alongside you. Most city dogs don’t get the luxury of running around, so this will be a great alternative to keeping your dog excited about going outside.

Running Equipment For Dogs

While you certainly can go with the same gear you use for normal walking, many prefer a hands-free leash when it comes to jogging.

Rather than hold onto the leash the entire time, hands-free leashes usually feature an adjustable loop in lieu of a handle. These normally go around your waist or across your torso.

The part of the leash that attaches to your dog is the same as with any other leash. You’ll just have to decide whether you’re using a collar or a harness for your runs.

My personal recommendation would be a regular harness, especially if you’re not sure how your dog will perform on the first few runs.

Perhaps they’ll feel the extra adrenaline during the jog and suddenly lunge at some distraction. A sudden pull on the neck at running speed could badly injure their necks.

That being said, your dog ideally already walks well on a leash before you attempt to run with them. A bad leash walker will become a nightmare on a run!

Types Of Running

You should cater the types of jogging and running you do with your dog, for your dog.

There are short runs you can go on just to break a sweat and get your dog some exercise. And then there are the longer distance jogs–perhaps you’re training for a marathon.

Whatever you pick should not be too strenuous if you’re first starting out. Start slow, go at your dog’s comfortable pace and pay careful attention to him.

If at any point your dog appears tired, don’t force them to continue.

After exercising, always make sure they’ve got access to fresh water and then allow them to cool down and rest.

4. Swimming

The perfect summer activity with your dog! What better way to spend a hot summer day than out on the beach, lake, or dog park with a big body of water for your dog to chill out in.

A wet Labrador after a refreshing swim on the beach.
Wet dog alert! Could do the doggy shake anytime!

Swimming is something many dogs were naturally trained to do. Certain breeds are natural swimmers, while others may be unwilling to even dip a paw in water.

Moreover, it’s just a joy to watch a dog smiling as he doggy paddles effortlessly along. Could your dog be any happier than in that moment?

Obviously, swimming is an activity suited for dogs that naturally love swimming. But with careful guidance and patience, you could potentially turn your aquaphobe into a strong swimmer too.

Learning To Swim

Swimming is not natural for all dogs. Many dog owners test their dog’s initial reaction to a body of water and conclude right then and there whether or not they are a swimming dog.

However, the truth is that most dogs, even Poms and Chihuahuas, can learn to swim if done properly.

Hint: It’s definitely not by tossing them into the water and letting them learn to stay afloat the hard way! As with everything else, take baby steps and strongly praise any and all progress.

This excellent article outlines a sample training plan to raising your own elite dog swimmer.

Along the way, just remember that dogs, like us humans, excel at different things. We all have varying degrees of success with different activities.

Post-Swim Must Knows

Let’s face it, a lot of the water that dogs swim in may not be entirely clean. If you’re at a dog-friendly beach and your dog goes for a swim, many other hounds have shared that ocean!

It’s well-known that after each swim, no matter what the quality of the water, you should clean and dry your dog thoroughly, especially inside the ears.

The first time Yuna went on a swim I overlooked this fact and she was punished with a yeast infection… not fun. I learned this lesson painfully–now that you know you should avoid it!

5. Playing Fetch

Another classic. This one may be one to pay attention to if you are not particularly eager about getting in exercise yourself (hint hint).

Fetch is probably the greatest way to get your dog exercised with minimal effort on your part.

Other huge positives include building trust between you and your dog. It also makes exercising fun and purposeful.

And it’s awesome because while health restrictions may have disqualified some pets from the previous, more strenuous activities, just about any dog can get really excited about a game of fetch.

Teaching Fetch

Some dog owners, myself included, have had to face the crushing reality that their dogs just don’t have the fetch instinct (and I have a Labrador! A Labrador!!).

You see, fetch is a multi-step process that dogs don’t really know how to piece together by themselves. They need to first run after a toy, know to pick it up, know to bring it back, then drop it on command.

Teaching fetch really is an art. Since Yuna isn’t really into toys in general, I was surprised when I first learned it starts with the most basic of basic things–getting your dog to even have interest in the toy.

This means even getting your dog to look at the toy to start, and rewarding that. That’s how tiny you may need to break these baby steps down!

We’d love to do our own article on our experiences teaching fetch, but there are some excellent resources out there giving step-by-step guides on how your dog can master this game. Here is one such article from the American Kennel Club.

Know that because fetch is quite complex, it can take weeks to months before your dog can reliably fetch at your local park with no distractions.

What Should Your Dog Fetch?

As you teach your dog fetch, realize that what you use to play fetch with is very important. Most dogs like balls, and there actually is a science to picking one suitable for your dog.

The most important consideration is that the size of the object should be easily handled by your dog’s jaw. Nothing too heavy or too large, yet nothing too small that your dog could accidentally swallow the object.

This is why tennis balls are perhaps the most popular. However, with them, it’s possible that your dog could get bored of your regular throws.

You’ll need additional equipment to help launch balls further than your arm can handle! Consider an automatic dog ball thrower to maximize the fun and exercise you can get out of a game of fetch (for your dog… obviously not for you).

Personally, I use plushies for fetch because those tend to be Yuna’s favorite.

wink!

6. Frisbee

Want to take your game of fetch to the next level? Try frisbee!

Frisbee is truly a leg up from fetch because of two main reasons: many dogs don’t understand the concept of catching something in the air, and the movement pattern of a frisbee is much tougher to comprehend.

You can’t really blame them. Even humans have a tough time catching frisbees consistently!

This is another one of those things that many dog owners think their dogs either have in them, or don’t. And this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Considering that your dog probably already knows how to fetch before you begin teaching frisbee, you may be surprised how quickly your dog can learn… with the right training approach!

Teaching Frisbee

Teaching frisbee is strikingly similar to teaching fetch in the beginning. Start by getting your dog interested in the frisbee, and then reinforcing the classic “take” and “give” commands.

Use the frisbee to lure your dog around your body–really get them comfortable around the disc.

Then, move on to very close-distance tosses and catches. Just do a quick toss of the frisbee right in front of your dog’s nose, and get them to snatch it from the air.

This is all part of a general four-step process to teaching your dog how to play frisbee as outlined in this article. It describes how to progress through the steps, and encourages you to slowly increase the distance of throws as your dog gets more comfortable with the frisbee.

This is a concept that can take a while for your dog to learn depending on their athletic and learning abilities.

But it will be well worth it to have a dog that is a master frisbee catcher!

7. Agility

Agility is not for the faint of heart! It’s perfect for dogs that just love being active, and love a good challenge.

Yuna was a little scared of getting onto the tree trunk, but she overcame her fears.

In addition, many argue that agility is the best way to build that super strong bond with your dog. Agility is extremely interactive–you’re constantly guiding your dog through an obstacle course and success will depend on the strength of your cooperation.

Many people are hesitant to begin agility because they think it takes a large investment into setting up an obstacle course at home.

While that may be true, those who are lucky to have backyards can easily set up basic agility courses. But for the rest of us, the good news is that there are agility classes all over the world.

The idea of agility is to lead your dog through a set of obstacles. The most common ones are tunnels, hurdles, weaves, seesaws, and more.

Think your dog may be good at agility? Don’t hesitate to start and ruin their potential!

Getting Started With Agility

Teaching agility is a long process that should probably begin in the home. This is because fundamentals such as attention, obedience, recall etc. are tested to the limit out on the agility course.

So before you even decide to buy equipment for the backyard or sign up for a local agility course, try these ten tips to practice agility at home with your dog first!

Once you’ve gotten these fundamentals down, here comes the fun part: turning your backyard into your own personal dog agility course!

The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to buy the BEST weave poles or the BEST tunnels–they can get expensive.

There are many ways to put items you may already have stashed away in your garage to good use.

For example, things such as ski poles or even toilet plungers can make weave poles! The great thing about the Internet is that there are tons of hacks or DIY solutions out there for agility course substitutes–here is one such article to get you started.

Introduce the course elements one at a time for your dog. You’ll inevitably progress at different paces for each type of equipment–the important thing to remember is to encourage success throughout the process.

It’s normal for your dog to get intimidated while in a tunnel, or feel uncomfortable going up a seesaw.

Teaching agility to your dog is a long but fruitful process. It has been proven time and time again to get dogs to improve behavior, calm down, and stay fit.

How To Exercise Your Dog Indoors

Maybe it’s a chilly winter day, or a hot and humid summer day. Either way, conditions aren’t ideal for exercising your dog.

Feeling lazy?

Wouldn’t it be great to have a few exercise techniques up your sleeve that you can carry out at home? The following ideas are perfect for exactly this!

8. Tug of War

Pretty much every dog will require a solid chewing every now and then.

Tug of war is a very simple game that many dogs will just get. It’s very natural for dogs to use their mouths to interact with things. And it’s very simple for you as well!

All you really need to do is make sure you use a suitable toy.

Figure out what kind of toys your dog likes, and buy one that’s high quality. You’ll need it if you’re set on putting it through a couple tug of war sessions.

Choosing a good toy is essential for this exercise as it must ideally be durable and flexible.

While you’re playing tug of war, mix it up with some indoor fetch or keep away! After all, we want to get our dog moving as much as possible during the process.

Is Playing Tug of War Safe?

Many dog owners express concern over whether or not tug of war is safe. Some think it breeds aggression.

At first glance it may seem that you’re reinforcing destructive, pulling behaviors in your dog.

In reality, I think of it more as allowing your dog a legal outlet for playing rough. Tug of war is the one time during the day where your dog is allowed to roughhouse, and they’ll begin to catch on to this as you play tug with them more often.

Definitely discourage such behavior when it’s not being done in the context of interactive play.

So, done the right way, tug of war actually yields many potential benefits such as improving confidence in your dog.

It also trains obedience, since you should instruct them to only grab and pull at the toy on your command.

9. Hide And Seek

How about a game that will exercise your dog both physically and mentally?

You may argue that a prerequisite for this activity is a house large enough to make the game interesting for your dog. Indeed, if you live in an apartment, this option may not be as viable, but it’d still be fun to try and test your dog’s smarts!

Everybody knows how to play hide and seek. Simply tuck yourself away in an unseeming corner of the house, call your dog’s name, and try to have him find you! Be sure to have treats ready when he does.

A warm photo of a human petting a dog's head.

Your dog will have to rely on their ability to follow scents to find you. This is great for allowing your dog to excel at the things he’s naturally good at.

10. Scavenger Hunt

Want to take your game of hide and seek one step further? Try some “nose work” or scent games such as scavenger hunting.

In general, giving your dog something like this to do has numerous positive effects outside of just improving their intelligence!

You’ve got many ways to carry this out. Perhaps instead of serving your dog’s dinner in a bowl like every other time, scatter food pieces around the house and have your dog sniff it out.

Perhaps you could have your dog start at one corner of the house, and follow a kibble trail toward the bowl that contains the rest of dinner.

Or, you could scatter them randomly around the house or even in the yard.

The ultimate goal is to turn meal time into an opportunity to get your dog moving and thinking. They’ll be exercised both physically and mentally like this.

A dog holding her head up high while sniffing, showing her Disney collar and Mickey hanging plush toy.

The great thing about adopting habits like this is that you could later transition to sniffing out toys rather than food. All you need is for your dog to understand the concept of the game, and you can bring out this game anytime it gets too uncomfortable to exercise outdoors.

11. Indoor Obstacle Courses

This is like the indoor version of agility, but without the need to get extra equipment, and without the need for your dog to get super riled up.

Because of the more limited running area indoors, indoor obstacle courses are designed more as a mental game for your dog. But depending on how you choose to set it up, it can get physically demanding for your dog as well.

The beautiful thing is that just about any household object can become part of the obstacle course.

Legos, cardboard boxes, books, even Gatorade bottles–@pino.the.corgi will show you as he navigates through specially designed mazes!

You can combine obstacle courses with another activity such as a nose work game.

Utilize the furniture around the house to make it interesting! Hide treat pieces under tables, or turn chairs into obstacles for your dog to navigate around.

12. Dancing

A dog dancing is just the cutest thing ever. It also stimulates your dog both physically and mentally and again builds a great bond between you and your dog.

A dog balancing on her hind legs in order to reach for a treat!

There are a couple types of dog dancing, believe it or not!

First off, there’s heelwork. This is where your dog must stay glued to your side the entire duration of the dance. As you can probably tell, this is a very obedience-intensive form of dog dancing.

If instead you think your dog would be great at expressing themselves without your guidance, consider the other type–freestyle!

Realize that dancing is really just a collection of smaller tricks. For example, you might train your dog how to stand on their hind legs for extended periods of times.

The possibilities are endless. Weaving through your legs. Spinning around in circles. Backtracking. Handstanding. Take each one as a separate trick using separate cues. You won’t get very far just saying “dance”!

13. Treadmill

Interested in bringing the walk indoors? Dog treadmills do exist!

A treadmill is great for getting in that classic walk under non-ideal weather conditions.

However, it will definitely take your dog some time to get used to. You’ll need to train your dog to use the treadmill properly and supervise them the entire time. Dogs should never be left alone on the treadmill–they could get hurt!

To get started with this, make sure your dog is on leash, and hold it yourself. Do not tie them to the treadmill!

Use the leash to guide your dog and to make him feel more used walking as if it were a regular outdoor walk.

Encourage your dog to take steps when the treadmill starts moving slowly. A good suggestion would be to hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose such that they’d have to take a step or two to reach it.

Generously praise any initial success on the treadmill! You really want to encourage your dog to enjoy the process and not get freaked out by it.

Don’t get discouraged if they jump off and are not interested. Try again later, and continue setting them up for success.

Once your dog becomes a treadmill star, don’t forget to warm them up and cool them down, just as we humans would do.

14. Utilize a Play Center, Indoor Dog Park, or Play Date

Being indoors doesn’t mean just being indoors at your house.

The previous tips were focused on getting one-on-one quality time with your dog while incorporating different forms of exercise.

This one encourages canine socialization!

With @scoutgoldenretriever

Perhaps there’s there’s an indoor play center or dog park in your area. They may contain other dogs looking for playmates as well as obstacles and toys your dog can interact with under a roof.

Whenever you choose to use a public facility, make sure it’s safe. For example, there are many ways you can evaluate whether a doggy daycare facility is worthy of looking after your pup, from staff qualifications, to general cleanliness and policies regarding vaccinations and behavioral checks.

Sometimes, it’s not the facilities but other dogs that are the problem. There should always be a way for you to monitor your dog as they play, and the facility should intervene if a fight is about to break out.

And hey, if you’re not satisfied with any nearby dog play centers, you could organize a playdate with another doggy friend. Chances are your house is already dog-proof, so what’s inviting one more to enjoy the afternoon indoors?

Special Activities For Adventurous Dogs And Their Humans

Now that we’ve covered a lot of the classic outdoor and indoor exercise ideas, we’ll turn to some more niche forms of exercise that fewer people have ventured into.

A dog with the confused head tilt look in front of the UW broken obelisk.
Are you ready to have your mind blown just like Yuna here?

As we move toward the end of the list, there may be some options here you’ve never heard of but would love to try out. Embrace being adventurous and bring your pooch along for the ride!

15. Kayaking

Kayaking with your dog is an amazing experience. Of course, you’ll definitely have to do all the work with the actual kayaking, but this is super fun to do with your dog nevertheless.

Your dog doesn’t necessarily have to just sit still in the kayak as you paddle. They can hop in the water and swim alongside you so that you both get a decent workout!

Even if they aren’t the swimming type or they simply hate water, most dogs will enjoy being with you and taking in all of the sights and smells the water has to offer.

Since we live right next to the beautiful Lake Union in Seattle, kayaking was one luxury I was able to do with Yuna shortly after adopting her.

A dog resting her head on a kayak as she takes in the view of the lake.
Yuna taking in the view as she leaves all the kayaking duties to me.

Yuna was probably still getting used to her new life at the time, and she was reluctant and scared to get into the kayak at first. This may be true for your dog as well. Give them some time to get used to it.

And before setting out, ensure the water is still!

Just in case your dog does end up swimming, make sure they’ve got a life jacket on regardless of how pro of a swimmer they are.

Also, ensure they’ve got rock solid recall so you don’t spend your entire kayaking journey chasing after your dog.

16. Letting Your Dog Walk You

Yes, it’s bad to allow your dog to lead you on walks. You should always be the clear leader, but what if you just allow one exception to the rule?

Perhaps you’d be surprised where your dog, his nose, and his whims will take you!

The idea of allowing your dog to walk you seems to have picked up in popularity recently, in no part thanks to big media giants like Buzzfeed.

It’s bound to be a great eye-opening experience for you as well. The amount of things owners learn about their dogs from this activity is priceless.

C'mon hooman! Let's go up these rocks!

Maybe you learn that your dog knows the way home. Or maybe you find out that they actually have no idea where to go unless you’re leading them.

Of course, if you do this it’s always good to make sure to check the map so you don’t get entirely lost.

17. Cycling

I am not a cycling guy myself, but an overwhelming amount of sources out there suggest cycling with your dog as an excellent exercise activity.

And for good reason too! If your dog seems to handle jogging with you a bit too well, cycling is probably an even more stimulating option.

Your dog will have to have exceptional behavior outside and follow your lead at all costs. It will be all the more difficult to guide them with both your hands steering the bike.

It’s all the more important to make sure your dog is fit for this activity. Small dogs (under 30lbs) or unhealthy dogs could get severely injured if you’re not careful.

It might be a good idea to find someplace you know to be relatively car and human-free to begin teaching your dog to follow you on a bike. A garage, or quiet suburb neighborhood is a good start before you hit the streets and trails.

18. Stand Up Paddleboarding

Yet another great adventure for all the water lovers.

A dog climbing a tree branch in front of a beautiful beach.

As with kayaking, your dog may be anxious or confused at first. Before you even go, start by familiarizing your dog with the paddleboard in the days leading up to the trip.

This means laying out the paddleboard out in the house, for your dog to sniff and explore. By the time you get out on the lake, it will have been a familiar scent. This is a great tip for introducing any foreign objects or equipment to your dog!

After you slowly work your way through getting your dog on the board and performing basic obedience commands on it, you’re ready to set out on an adventure!

As with many other advanced activities like this, it will take your dog time to get fully comfortable with.

Definitely account for the possibility of your dog jumping off the board into the water. Have them wear a life jacket always.

19. Dock Jumping

Got a dog that just loves the water way too much? If they’re not afraid to leap into your backyard swimming pool, you could try getting them into dock jumping!

Certain doggy events during the hot summer days will have this activity setup for eager, active dogs to try out.

Dock jumping is essentially the dog version of long jump. A handler throws a toy off of a dock, and the dog will jump as far as he can in an effort to get it–and it’s all swimming pool below. The competition is to see how far off the dock they can leap.

This is the first of many special dog sports suited for those athletic dogs among us.

20. Flyball

Just as with the last tip, you’ll notice that we humans like to invent dog versions of our own track-and-field events.

Flyball is the doggy equivalent of a relay race!

Dogs who love balls and who are agile will absolutely adore this sport. As it is quite physically intensive, be sure to consult with a veterinarian if you have doubts on how suitable your dog is for this game.

A dog looking goofy and happy on a sandy beach.

The race works as follows: dogs must run over four hurdles to hit a “flyball box” at the end of the hurdles. Upon contact with the box, it will eject a ball. The dog must catch it, and return the ball back across the four hurdles to the start line. Then, the next dog goes. There are four dogs total per team.

Flyball is an excellent way to meet other dogs and their owners. It is a collaborative effort between all dogs and all humans on a team.

21. Skijoring

Dubbed by Bloomberg as Winter’s Wildest Sport! You’ve just got to try out skijoring if you and your dog love going crazy in the snow.

The idea is you get yourself in some skis, your dog into a harness, and attach the two of you together! Check out the specific equipment you’ll need.

Skijoring in a nutshell is just skiing with your dog. There are competitive skijoring races in North America and other areas of the world, but most people just enjoy training their dog to pull them around on skis. It’s a case where pulling on the harness is desired.

Notably, there are no signaling devices to control your dog during skijoring–they must be motivated by their own desire to run, and respond to your voice for steering and direction.

You don’t need to be an expert skier, although you’d probably want to be at least an intermediate skier to account for your dog’s sudden jerks.

Also, your dog doesn’t have to be a huge Husky to enjoy this activity. Any medium to large dog (~35 lbs and up by AKC recommendations) can learn skijoring!

22. Treibball

(It’s pronounced “Tribe-ball”)

Treibball is kind of like soccer. Your dog “herds” a number of inflatable balls into some nets as quickly as he can.

This sport, like many other dog sports, were invented to play along with the characteristics of certain dog breeds. Like skijoring was invented to allow sled dogs an way to show off their instinctual strengths, treibball is a relatively new herding sport.

Your dog doesn’t have to be a herding breed to excel at this sport!

In fact, if your dog loves balls, or chasing things period, they can learn treibball.

The great news about this sport is that it’s a relatively lower energy sport compared to some of the other options on this list. The American Treibball association proclaims that “if your dog has a nose or shoulder, he can play treibball”.

To me that sounds like an invitation to get started!

Conclusion

A dog posing in front of the brilliant Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR

Hopefully from this article, you learned that there are a ton of ways to exercise your dog, no matter the activity level of you or your pooch.

Now, you officially have no excuse not to get out there and make sure your dog stays fit and healthy.

Maybe you’ll decide to pick up a new activity after reading this. Do let us know which one you think would be your new favorite!

You also don’t want to miss out on Yuna’s Instagram for daily updates, and free dog tips every other day!