Creating the Habit of Exercise for Your Dog

general fitness Jun 23, 2016

Creating new habits, such as consistently working out with your K9 athlete, takes a plan. We want you to make progress and reach your goal without becoming discouraged, so we offer these 3 tips for making your dog’s fitness training a routine part of life.

Keep it Simple (Motivation isn’t enough)

When a new behavior is really easy, you don’t need much motivation to do it. When a behavior is difficult, much more motivation is required. At any given moment, motivation can change. So we recommend you keep it simple.

Start with small achievable goals. Rather than committing to a general goal like working out every day, try to identify and commit to achievable habits, like working out two days per week or adding balance training into your current routine. The smaller and simpler a habit is, the easier it will be to do without having to rely entirely on motivation.

Reward the Small Goals

The positive emotions that come with accomplishing these small goals will fuel additional goals. So, when working out with your dog, first, recognize the fact that you did the workout with your dog! You took the time out of your busy schedule to help your K9 athlete stay free of injury and enjoy his sport for longer. Good job! But don’t forget to celebrate that your dog actually did the workout. Make sure to reward your dog frequently so your dog stays engaged and wants to work out with you. So, congratulations to both of you!

Pair the Workout with an Existing Routine

When acquiring a new habit like working out with your dog, look for a place in your life where you can pair it with an existing behavior. So if you go for a walk with your dog in the mornings, pair a workout with the walk. The workout should be done AFTER the walk and serves as a reminder to do the workout with your dog.  The ingrained behavior (taking your dog for a walk) is the launching pad for the new desired behavior (do a workout) with your dog.

Feeling like you are successful in these small goals will encourage you to keep going along the path to new habits and new behaviors that will have a positive impact on your dog’s health and wellness.

 

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