HIIT for dogs

Fitness buffs around the world have been exalting the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), a method which, according to several peer-reviewed studies, is extremely good for weight loss and maintaining cardiovascular health. The idea behind it is that rapidly switching your workout from low to high intensity manages to effectively exercise both your anaerobic and aerobic fitness. That’s great, you may say, but with a highly energetic dog that needs a daily walk/jog, how can I have the time to do these HIIT sessions for myself, let alone FeatherBeard the Old English Sheepdog?

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COMBINE THEM!

Add the odd HIIT session into your typical exercise session with your dog. Whether your typical session is a jog or some fetch, there’s a way to integrate some intervals into your routine so both you and FeatherBeard can feel the benefits.

Here’s a brief clip of how you might perform this, this can be done on hills, inside, the beach etc.

For owners with high energy dogs, try jogging and sprinting with your dog in a heel. For some dogs, the sight of you running will be enough to motivate them to keep up with you. For others, running with a high value treat or toy might convince them to join you.

Of course not all dogs will be willing (or even capable) of sprinting at full capacity alongside their owners. My own dog Halo was one such pup.

For Halo, no amount of calling would convince her to move at anything above a trot. I was curious to see if I could get her to willingly (and happily) enter a canter. I started practicing rolling treats across the ground at home paired with an exuberant “get it!”. I also began to play recall games where I would suddenly jog away from her and call her to me (with treats at the ready of course). After building up these behaviours inside, we moved our practice outside and after a few months of practice she gallops like a brumby (in her own mind anyway!).

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So please consider how you can incorporate some HIIT into you and your dog’s routine- even if it’s simply rolling some treats around the house.

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