Kick off 2023 by expanding you and your dog's horizons!
New Year's Resolutions often involve solo activities like the gym, running, or swimming... but we know better than anyone that involving your canine companion in your activities is much more fulfilling, both physically and mentally.
Below are our top 5 suggestions for activities to try in 2023!
Camping is a great way of disconnecting from your screen, connecting with nature, reducing stress and increasing fitness.
Bringing your dog along not only offers enrichment for your dog, but mental and physical stimulation that they simply cannot get from their everyday walks. Dogs find wonder and joy in every little thing on the trail.
Assuming that you're camping in a temperate country, all you need to bring along for your dog is some treats, some toys, some food, poop bags, a harness/collar and leash, a tie-out stake and a doggie sleeping mat or tent - most of which you'll already have at home.
With a bit of planning, camping is an easy excuse to experience some new scenery and sights with your best friend!
Your dog is a brilliant motivator for exploring new places! Take them anywhere new and their nose will be to the ground, with their tail wagging.
Even if your dog isn't up to a longer hike yet, a short, slow and steady hike does wonders! Sniffing and exploring is a great outlet for energy and brilliant for enrichment.
For humans, a hike improves cardiovascular health, while strengthening your core.
A hike, especially in warmer weather, needs to be well-planned, but luckily you'll have almost all of these supplies at home. This includes water, a packable dog bowl, treats, toys, a harness or collar, a long-line leash, and booties depending on the terrain.
Ensure you check the weather and temperature to assess whether it's safe to go on the day.
It may take some planning, but a hike with your dog is always rewarding!
Following on from a hike, the next step could be to take your dog backpacking!
We know what you might be thinking - this doesn't sound suitable for smaller breeds. The good news is that dog backpacks are suitable for all breeds, as long as your dog is not carrying more than 25% of their own body weight.
Working dog breeds, which were bred for a specific purpose such as herding or sledding, love having a job to do. While we may not have enough snow for a sled, or enough farm animals for every dog to herd, a backpack could be the trick!
Putting your dog in working mode helps them focus, and is proven to help certain behavioural issues. It's also a great workout for your dog, building muscle and strengthening their core.
Having your dog carry their own gear also lightens your own load if you're hiking!
Most dogs can carry a load, although it's worth checking with your vet. Start off small, and have your dog wear them on an everyday walk, before taking them on a hike!
Paddleboarding & Swimming
Most dogs love swimming! A lot of our favourite breeds were bred to work in and around water, and so nature equipped them with the tools to enjoy the water. For example, labradors have a water-resistant outer coat to dry off quicker and keep them from getting soaked, and they also have webbing between their toes to help them swim.
Swimming is a holistic exercise that works every muscle. It provides numerous health benefits, such as strengthening your dog's heart, decreases inflammation, and improving circulations.
Whether you're joining your dog in the water, or accompanying them on a paddleboard, there's plenty of physical benefits for you too!
This activity is one of the very few joint-friendly, low-impact sports you can try with your dog. For dogs struggling with joint issues or hip dysplasia, this is especially beneficial.
For humans, standing on a paddle board or swimming is a great total body workout, no matter which you choose.
Treats, towels, a leash and a waterproof toy are essential, and we would also highly recommend a dog lifejacket.
Canicross has risen in popularity over the years, with it now being one of the most popular dog sports - and for good reason!
Not only do you get to take up running, but your dog gets to join in safely - your dog's speed and movement is completely controlled, making it suitable for most breeds (though do consult with a vet to ensure your dog is up for it!)
Canicross is brilliant for strengthening your dog's muscles and preventing obesity, and can even help fight hip dysplasia as the exercise strengthens the hip area.
All you need is a bungee lead, a suitable canicross harness, and we would recommend a suitable running belt as this is much better for your back! Introduce your dog slowly, and don't expect perfection right away.
P.S. one of our favourite brands, Non-stop dogwear, has some great tips for starting canicross here.
These activities are our best picks for you and your best friend! We hope you and your pooch get the most out of 2023, and try some brand-new activities!