12 easy ways for you and your puppy to exercise together

Puppies have very high energy levels. They need regular physical activity and mental stimulation. Exercising is always fun with an accountability partner like a little pup. Making sure your new puppy gets enough exercise is great for their overall health and an effective way to decrease bad behaviors from boredom. If you have a puppy or are considering getting a puppy, please read on for 12 easy ways for you and your puppy to exercise together.

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1 – Throw a Frisbee

We often forget about frisbee and if you are like me, it’s probably because you are not great at that whole hand-eye coordination thing. But, most active dogs love playing frisbee. A big, plastic, flying circle object going all over the place for your dog to chase is great exercise. It’s a great exercise for you too to be running around chasing that frisbee and burning your calories off.

What you need: Just a Frisbee and an open field or backyard.

Human Calories Approximately burned in 30 minutes playing frisbee: 200 calories

2 – Tug of War

If you are playing tug of war with your pup, be mindful of those puppy teeth. Wes and I used to play all the time using this rope and the first time it had blood on it, I freaked. Just know that puppies lose their puppy teeth just like humans do so don’t get too alarmed if you see some blood on the rope. It might just be your pup’s teeth coming out. Always double-check inside their mouth to be sure though.

What you need: A great rope that is the appropriate size for your dog. Small Dogs love this rope here. 

Check out the very large rope here if your dog is weighing in at over 80 pounds. 

Human Calories Approximately burned in 30 minutes of Tug of War: 220 calories
dog walking with woman

3 – Morning and Evening Walks

Walking has so many benefits for both you and your dog. Dogs know instinctively that a walk is good for them. Your pup will love their long walk because it gives them a chance to explore by sniffing all the things, keeps them healthy and their weight down, and also you get to bond with your furry friend. Not to mention, you can turn on a great audiobook like this one.

What you need: A good leash and harness that fits your puppy 

Human Calories Approximately burned in 30 minutes walking: 120 calories at a leisurely pace but don’t forget all those steps you will be tracking and we all love to close our rings (if you use an apple watch) or a step tracker.
Wes walking on the Hollywood stars

4 – Dog Park

A dog park might not be accessible to everyone but more and more dog parks are popping up. Many apartment complexes are building them as part of the community and their amenity package. You can also do a quick Google search for dog parks near you and you should be able to find one plus their reviews. Your local park might have a dog park or dog-designated area where you can take your furry friend. Some dog parks even have obstacle courses for your dog to exert their endless energy and enjoy some fun games.

Wes and I used to go to the dog park all the time and he loved it. Just be mindful of other dogs and any aggressive behavior you might see. As for yourself, you can take on stationary squats or lunges to get a quick leg workout in. If you are tracking your steps, go ahead and sidestep it out. You might look odd compared to all the other dog owners standing around watching their dogs, but you will have stronger legs in no time!

What you need: A travel water and food bottle for your dog will be perfect to keep in the car. 

Also, you might want to grab a towel in case your puppy gets a little muddy at the park. 

Human Calories Approximately burned for 100 squats: 32 calories

5 – Hikes on the weekends 

Dogs love the great outdoors. Nothing brings your dog more joy than being let off leash into the wilderness. Just be sure they are trained and will come back to you without getting hurt. Going on a hike every day is usually not feasible but once a month or every weekend taking on a hike with your pup will for sure tire them out. Find the friendliest US National parks for your dog here. You can always google dog-friendly hikes near your zip code as well for a quick day hike. Be sure to go at your own pace and be mindful of the altitude that you are going up. You and your dog mustn’t get joint damage from too many hills!

What you need: Hiking gear for you and your dog. 

Special gear is usually not required just be sure to take water for both of you.

Human Calories Approximately burned for a 1-hour hike: 300 calories

6 – Jog around the neighborhood 

Small dogs and big dogs can run. The amount of time and length they can run will vary. Just like us humans, we have to work out to be able to run for a long time. Be mindful if your dog has short legs or if their breed has common knee issues. Some dogs might just want to do sprints too! Either way, a little burst or slow jog will tire you and your puppy out.

What you need: Running shoes for you and travel water for your dog

Human Calories Approximately burned for a 20 min jog: 300 calories and lots of steps!

7 – Good Old Fashion Fetch 

Most all puppies will love to chase a ball or get something and bring it back to you. This is great exercise if it’s rainy outside and you need an indoor activity too. Getting a core workout is a great way for dog owners to get their exercise in during fetch. Lay on the floor and just keep sitting up as your dog brings you back their ball or toy. Just be careful they don’t run into anything breakable if you are playing inside. If it’s a nice day outside, of course, head outdoors and get some fresh air with your pup.

What you need: Something for your dog to fetch. 

Or lots of people love an automatic fetch device for their pups. 

Human Calories Approximately burned for 10 minutes of core: 70 Calories

8 – Swimming

Teaching puppies to swim early is a great idea! Unfortunately, Wes hated the water. He was also bottom-heavy being a puggle so that probably had something to do with it. Pugs and Bulldogs are notorious for not being fans of water. But if you have a retriever, poodle, or Newfoundland they are very obsessed with the water. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise for both you and your puppy and burns a lot of excess energy.

What you need: Swim stuff for you and your dog

Human Calories Approximately burned for 30 min of treading water: 300

9 – Disc Golf

If you are unsure what Disc Golf even is, check out this article on what the game is all about. For a simple explanation, it’s small discs like frisbees that you use to try and hit targets. Like in golf, there are a certain amount of throws you get to get into the target. My husband Wes loved this game together! Wes ran around off-leash and chased the frisbee as it was thrown toward a target. You can find disc golf courses using this website. 

What you need: Disc Golf Discs

Human Calories Approximately burned for a round of disc golf: Up to 400 calories and 7K steps
Wes after disc golf

10 – Playdate

Grab a friend and their dog and go hang out on a field. Playdates are not just for kids but dogs like them too. If your dog loves to be social and has a favorite buddy, they will love that you arranged a playdate for them. You can meet at the dog park, an open field, or in your backyard. During the playdate, you can play fetch with the dogs, run sprints alongside them, do some squats, or just relax while the pups play and you share a fun drink with your human friend.

What you need: Just your dog and their friend

Human Calories Approximately burned during a playdate: Up to 100 but if you sit back and relax maybe negative 100 with snacks!

11 – Remote Control Cars 

Something about small moving objects can get a dog going. Just be sure that it’s not an expensive remote control car that your dog is chasing. Your kiddo might already have one that they play with and your dog can run around with them in the house. Not all parents are fans of this one if the dog or kids start knocking things down but the flat surface of a kitchen floor is ideal. As for your workout, think of it as an exercise for your kiddos that gives you a break.

What you need: An inexpensive remote control car 

Human Calories Approximately burned to play with a remote control car: If you are only sitting down and moving your thumbs, maybe 5.
wes playdate

12 – Stadium Stairs

I saved the hardest form of exercise for last! Stadium stairs are good for you and your dog as long as you don’t have bad knees. Finding a local high school that has a football stadium where you can go run their stairs on a weekend is perfect. Your four-legged friend will love it and be so tired after a few climbs up and down.

What you need: Sturdy shoes for the human and lots of water for your dog

Human Calories Approximately burned running stadium stairs: Up to 800 calories for 1 hour

Important things to consider when exercising with your puppy

A good rule of thumb is to rest when your puppy is panting heavily. Be mindful if your puppy has any health issues that would restrict how much exercise they should get. For example, puppies who have heartworm must restrict their exercise until the heartworm has been treated fully.

New puppy owners should also know that a puppy’s joints need time to develop so you must be mindful of the amount of physical exercise you are doing with them to reduce injury risk. Some large breeds like Great Danes and Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia so it’s a good idea to be mindful of their exercise routines as well. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise for dogs with joint problems or arthritis. A good rule of thumb is to try an exercise for no more than 5 minutes and see how your dog responds.

Benefits of exercising with your puppy

We all know that as humans, getting exercise and moving our bodies each day is important. Getting a puppy can help make sure we get outside and get our Vitamin D and all of our steps in too. A puppy will for sure keep you moving and help you meet your exercise needs.

Let’s review 5 great benefits of regular exercise with your puppy:

  1. A great way for you both to stay at a healthy weight 
  2. Exercising with your pup helps reduce their destructive behaviors and promotes good behaviors
  3. A pup and its owner get to explore and try new environments together and build their bond with one another
  4. Helps with basic commands when puppy training
  5. It’s a great time


However many minutes of exercise you and your puppy take on together will be fun for you both. Physical activity is great for mental health and staying healthy in the long run as your dog ages. Try a little bit of new exercise at a time to see how your puppy adjusts and then choose your favorite that you enjoy doing together. Mix it up with a walk in the morning and a hike on the weekend. The good news is, regardless of what you are doing with your puppy they will enjoy your company.

Comment below if you have tried these exercise activities with your puppy or dog.


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