I have been asked a couple of times to write a blog post about my sporting with my dogs. I hope that you get ideas from this post for your own life !
Some background information: I am the CEO and founder of FitDog Finland Ltd, a company manufacturing nutritional supplements for dogs. I have had dogs for 20 years and I have always been interested in sports and healthy living. This was also one of the reasons I wanted to found a company that develops wellness products for dogs. During the year I have had several different kind of dogs and I have trained them actively. Recently, due to various reasons, I am not training and competing actively but am focusing on enjoying my dogs in other ways.
During last year I have started to do triathlon and this summer I participated in two competitions. First was the olympic distance including 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. Last weekend I participated in a sprint race in my home town Turku, there I did 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.Triathlon is a great sport but in order to develop in it, one needs a lot of training. At the same time I have 6 dogs at home, 4 dachshunds, groenendael and malinois. So I have come up with different ways on how to combine the exercise for me and the dogs at the same time.
My youngest dog is a working line malinois, Tämä on Formula “Ässä”. He really is a formula and always ready to do everything with me. From my dogs he is participating most often to sports with me, in running, biking and swimming. With the other dogs, I mainly go for walks and running and also I use the kickbike to give more exercise to my dachshunds.
When I started to train triatlon in summer 2014 I could not swim free style more than 25 meters at a time. I went to the swimming hall and also trained in the open water, in the sea on our cottage. I use life vest for Ässä when swimming for a longer time. In open water swimming I use the wetsuit for myself which helps a lot in the swimming. And luckily Ässä acted as my bodyguard when I struggled to swim!
First times swimming
I have also used the kayak to train Ässä, this is lovely stuff !
My triathlon bike is such that I cant take my dogs with me when training. But I also have a mountain bike which I use in the woods and when driving here in the countryside. Then I take Ässä with me and he runs freely when I am biking, he just loves it! Luckily he obeys very well and I can control him when on the bike. It would be more difficult with the dachshunds I quess…
When running I might sometimes take even 4-5 dogs with me to run in the running belt. But this is rather difficult and heavy for my back so usually I only have the small dogs in the leash in the running belt and the big dogs running freely. I also love to run in the middle of the forest and then Ässä comes with me and runs freely. In addition to this we of course do the normal walks and wonder in the woods.
I recommend running belts for faster walking, running and skiing. Then you can have your hands free which is much more comfortable when exercising. I use the norwegian Non-Stop products for this.
Nowadays I am also enthusiastic for developing my mental capabilities. I do yoga and meditation almost every day. My dogs participate in this as well, in their own way….
To conclude I would say that it is possible to exercise in various ways with your dog. Most dogs enjoy running in addition to normal walking and why not do uphill training or climbing stairs also with your dog. The fact is that most dogs are in a better condition than they owners anyway…
I think the most difficult thing in exercising with dogs is that if you have many dogs and you are not able to let all of them run freely. Then you have to choose who gets to come with you and who stays at home. And of course in Finland, in winter time we need to give up cycling and open water swimming. But let’s hope that this winter we will have lots of snow to enable skiing and snow shoe walking !
I wish all of you a sunny continuation of the summer !
Luka, Ässä, Kiukku, Kerttu, Wilja ja Piki