Tales of Teddy

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Teddy’s Tales: Fit Dogs

A lot of people go running with their dogs on the Heath. Proper, serious running – the kind that you can’t do in a pair of jeans. It’s starting to make me feel guilty. Is this something I should be doing with Teddy the Miniature Schnauzer, to help him get more out of his day? More out of his life?
Take a look at website SlimDoggy and, among the information on dog health and diet, you’ll find suggestions for me-and-my-dog fitness regimes that range from high intensity (carefully centred on the Tabata Protocol ratio of rest/effort) to cross training (hind leg drills included) and performance enhancing plyometric drills.
Perhaps my favourite article, though, is entitled Fitness Tips I Learned From My Dogs: Have Fun. The gist of it is: exercise with your dog, break it up with some fun stuff and involve friends.
I am relieved to say that this is one fitness regimen we follow to a T. On the weekend we take long family walks, involving as much football as one small dog, two boys under the age of ten and one middle-aged man could wish for (which happens to be rather a lot).
From Monday to Friday we take a leisurely walk to school (30 minutes) with lots of chatting (children and I), sniffing (Teddy) and lead-training (all of us in turn) along the way. Then Teddy and I take a more vigorous trot home via the Heath (45 minutes), where we come across many of those committed runner+dog combos. Here, Teddy and I make our own commitment to exercise+fun, regularly interrupting our brisk walk for plenty of ball throwing (me), ball chasing (Teddy) and ball retrieving (Teddy and me – Teddy has just beaten me to the ball in the photograph, above).
I return refreshed (I’m the one walking), Teddy returns zonked (he is the one running, an endlessly enthusiastic ball-chaser). I’m shelving the guilt. For the moment, fun works.

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