Six Reasons Your Dog is a Better Workout Partner than Any Person You Know

Roxanne Hawn

Canine Workout Partner

With obesity a rampant problem for people and dogs, it’s no wonder weight-loss researchers look for every possible – and practical – advantage. If one small thing means more people stick to a diet and exercise plan and that those people see better results, then that’s important stuff to know.

For close to a decade now, weight-loss researchers have known that people who take on healthy living and fitness goals, alongside their dogs, do better. They are more likely to stick with a walking plan. They are more likely to lose more weight. And the dogs? They often lose 15% of their body weight too.

It’s good for people. It’s good for dogs.

I’m not saying your best human friend or your neighbor or the people you see at the pool or gym might not provide motivation and encouragement. I’m just saying that the solution might be much simpler. The solution may lie in the many ways dogs make better workout partners.

1. Dogs make going for walks more fun.

Smiling, wagging, trotting along at your side, dogs turn something you might consider a chore into something joyful.

2. Dogs make us proud.

Everyone secretly thinks their dog is way better than any other dog they know. Right? Being out in public with your dog often swells the pride you feel in having such a faithful companion. Look out, world! Here we come.

3. Dogs take attention away from us.

It’s true. When you are out walking and exercising with your dog, nobody is looking at you. So, if you feel at all self-conscious about your current fitness level, don’t worry. Taking your dog for a walk is a little bit like having an invisibility cloak. Just be careful in traffic.

4. Dogs don’t take no for an answer and never talk you into not going.

Once the routine is established, your dog isn’t going to let you forget when it’s time to take a walk. And he isn’t going to distract you with creative reasons to skip a workout.

5. Dogs don’t make you feel bad about yourself.

You know as well as I do that even our closest family and friends can say or do things that cause hurt feelings when we’re trying to lose weight. Your dog won’t do that.

6. Dogs don’t sabotage your efforts.

No bags of fast food. No candy in the pantry. No sprawling buffets, luring you to eat more. Enough said.

Share your story!

What kinds of exercise do you and your dog do together?


Kushner RF, Blatner DJ, Jewell DE, Rudloff K, The PPET Study: people and pets exercising together. Obesity 2006 Oct; 14(10):1762-70.

Becker M, Kushner RF, Fitness Unleashed: A Dog and Owner’s Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together. Three Rivers Press 2006

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