According to some studies published and referenced by the American Heart Association and the Spanish Heart Foundation, those who live with a pet, especially a dog, tend to have better physical activity habits, compared to those who do not have one in their life . Specifically, walking the dog accounts for 54% of the recommended daily physical activity level, so it all adds up.
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Walk with your pet
Dogs are happy if they perform activities next to their owner. And, in addition, exercise in its proper measure is beneficial for both.
Due to the obligation to go for a walk with him a few times a day, the owner is forced to go out and, therefore, spend less time sitting. As a consequence, by reducing the time related to a sedentary lifestyle , the risk factors for diseases associated with it are reduced in the same way.
The pathologies that see their risk factors reduced are, above all, those of cardiovascular origin. Blood pressure, cholesterol and weight figures obtain the direct benefits of going outside, accompanying the pet.
Walking, running, cycling…
What is evident is that not by having a dog at home, the risks are minimized, but rather you have to be proactive. What begins as an obligation ends up being a habit, which is the objective that we must keep in mind. You start by going for a walk and, sometimes, you end up by going for a run or cycling accompanied. In this case it is also important to take into account the race of our “fellow sufferer”, since not all of them are prepared for the effort to which we can submit them.
In general, medium-sized dogs are the ones that adapt better to the race since both their joints and their weight will allow them to keep up or who knows if it will be the owner who will have to follow the dog? If the dog goes without a leash, you have to be very clear and be very sure that he is not going to separate from his owner. In the event that he goes on a leash, if he is tied to the bicycle, the risk of falling or that the leash becomes entangled exists, so the rapport must be maximum.
If the leash is for running, there are already special accessories that keep the two “runners” connected. It is a set made up of a harness for the dog, a belt for the owner and what is known as “the shooting line”, which is the material that unites both.
This is how “canicross” practitioners go out for a run, which is a modality derived from “mushing” (dog sled) introduced in Spain 15 years ago, but which has been practiced in Europe for many years. There are canicross competitions, but there are also groups whose objective is to go out and enjoy the sport, the scenery and to be able to share it with your “most faithful friend”.
On the other hand, having a pet can not only be positive to prevent and minimize risk factors for health, but there is a study published by The American Journal of Cardiology that relates a greater survival of people after a cardiac event, when compared with patients without a dog at home.
Most practiced sports with the dog
We are going to summarize some of the human-dog sports that cause the most furor. Whatever sport you choose to practice with your pet will strengthen the bond and allow you to have a good time. For that, you always have to work positively with the animal and bring some succulent rewards.
It consists of running with the dog. To do this, the dog needs a harness system that can be attached to its owner’s belt, as we have already mentioned. In this way the dog and the person are united. This cannot be done with just any strap, but we need a special strap with cushioning . The dog should be ahead of you and never the other way around.
To perform this sport, the dog must be in good health and not be forced to run more than it actually can. It is an ideal sport for medium and large dogs, which are the ones that will enjoy it the most.
Choosing the route is also relevant to avoid damage to the paws, pads and joints. We do not recommend areas with ice, or paved areas in full sun, or that have a steep slope.
It is a sport with different levels of difficulty, so you must find the one that best suits the animal, depending on its size and agility.
It consists of a circuit of obstacles that the dog must overcome as quickly as possible, guided only by the voice or signals of its owner and making the fewest mistakes. We can use: fences, seesaws, tires, tables, slalom, walkways and rigid, flexible or blind tunnels. These types of obstacles must be approved and suitable for use, since otherwise the dog could suffer an injury.
Agility has quite exhaustive rules, so whoever is interested in practicing it, it is recommended that you first take a look at its competition regulations.
Rally-o: obedience sports
It is a sport that is suitable for all ages of the animal, including older dogs. It is based on the dog’s obedience and has three levels:
- Initiation: the dog performs the exercises on the leash to check that it understands basic commands such as: “sit”, “jump”, “turn” or “stay”.
- Advanced: a series of exercises that include a jump are performed. The dog is off leash.
- Excellent: it is the most difficult level. It incorporates at least one jump and requires greater precision in the coordination between the animal and its handler.
Dock jumping or dock diving
It is a canine water sport of British origin. The dog has to jump to pick up a toy that is thrown into the water by its owner. There are two categories:
- Ultimate Air Jumpin: The dog that jumps the farthest wins.
- Ultimate Vertical (vertical jump): a toy is placed vertically, several meters from the water. The dog with the greatest vertical jump to reach the prey will win.
It is the search modality of people with dogs through their sense of smell. In it, the dog can discriminate different odors and look for a specific person following her trail after smelling one of her clothes. It is a sport suitable for dogs of all ages, except for brachycephalic dogs (dogs with flat noses), since they barely have a sense of smell and are not good trackers.
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