Being active as a family is a great way to stay fit. Including the family pet in your activities helps the family bond and share in the responsibilities of pet ownership. There are lots of ways to get active with your pets, both inside and out. It doesn't take any special equipment or skill. All you need is the desire to be active and to spend time with your family and pets.
Tag, You're It! - We all learned to play tag when we were just wee little ones. Your pets love to play tag, too, and if they're anything like mine, they are way better at it than we are. We start off our game by making a quick, playful motion towards our dog. That always gets a similar response back from her. After a couple of exchanges, we turn around and run, and she chases after us at full force. Once she gets us (which doesn't take long at all), we trade places and start chasing her. Since our dogs have far more energy than we do, the family members take turns so we can rest in between!
Swimming - Two of our dogs love the pool, but although they will get in on their own, they won't swim around on their own. We ferry them to the deep end and then let go and race back to the stairs. I'm always amazed at how fast my pudgy little pug can swim. She beats me about half the time.
Softball - Playing softball with a dog is a riot. Basically, your dog will run whenever anyone else does. You hit the ball and run to first base … your dog runs with you. You chase a fly ball into the outfield … your dog chases after it, too. Just be careful that he doesn't get underfoot!
Hide and Seek - My oldest daughter taught her Yorkie to play hide and seek. She makes him stay while she goes and hides. Once positioned, she gives the "Come" command, and he comes running to find her. Once he does, they both run back to home base. She hasn't taught him to be the hider yet, but she's working on it.
Monkey-in-the-Middle - My younger daughter and her husband live in a small apartment in New York City. There's not much room to run around, so they play Keep-Away from their Beagle by playing catch with a foam ball. They have to purposely drop it every once in a while to keep her interested, but it's a great way for her to get exercise in a small space.
Sharing the responsibility of pet ownership can be fun when the whole family gets involved. Being active together builds lasting memories and a happy, healthy family. And your pets will love you even more for it.
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