How A Dog Helps You Lose Weight
If you are one of those people that find it hard to motivate yourself to exercise like you should, enlist the help of your furry four legged friend, your dog.
Dogs love to go for walks. Even if you are not feeling motivated and up to a daily walk, your dog is still more than happy to follow you around with those puppy dog eyes waiting for you to give in and go.
At our dog's last vet visit, we were told our dog needed to lose a few pounds and were asked about how much exercise she got. Although we live in the country on several acres of land where our dog has the freedom to romp and play at will; our vet pointed out it's not the same as giving her daily exercise like a walk or run would. And, he only half-jokingly pointed out as he patted my husband's found stomach, it a daily walk with the dog wouldn't do my husband any harm either.
So a few month's ago the daily walks with our dog and my husband started. I go along on the walks but I don't actually hold the leash because our dog doesn't really walk, she pulls on the leash like an Alaskan sled dog because she wants to go faster and smell more things. I have a hard time controlling the dog when she's in the mood to pull on the leash like that, which is most of the time and she's not a huge dog, she weighs less than 50 pounds but she's strong enough to nearly pull my husband off his feet if he's not paying attention when she sees a rabbit or squirrel that she thinks needs to be chased.
At first the walks were only a mile in duration. Now my husband and dog, her name is Montana, walk three to four miles a day, walking for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. There are days my husband does not feel like going for a walk. But, Montana knows the routine at our house. After my husband walks in the door at night and has eaten she knows it is time for a walk. That's when Montana starts to act like she glued to my husband. She follows him around the house, dancing around him, licking his hand when she can, wagging her tail, and looking at him in that happy "we are going for a walk now aren't we" way.
Even on the nights he has looked at her and said "Montana, I don't feel like going for a walk tonight," the dog just tilts her head as if to say "But we have to go." Now that the dog is used to the routine of walking, my husband never lasts more than 10 minutes after saying he doesn't want to walk. He gives in and goes because he can tell how much Montana wants to go because like any dog worth its furry coat, she doesn't give in. She just keeps waiting and being excited about that walk and stays right next to my husband as a reminder that he needs to take her. Now, even if it's raining (or snowing) they go for a walk.
They have only missed a few nights and that was because it was storming with lightning. On those nights my husband rewarded the dog by playing a game where he chased the dog (yes, he chased her around the house much to her delight), and played a long game of tug of war with her to tire her out and make her not miss her walk too much.
Has all that walking helped? It sure has. When our dog got her shots last week she had lost two pounds. My husband has lost nearly 10 pounds over the last three months by going on the daily walks. He hasn't made any modifications to his diet or added any other exercise. Just the walking itself has resulted in the weight loss for him.
I'm not advocating that you get a dog just to help you exercise every day. But if already have a dog, get up off that couch and take him or her for a walk every day. It will be good for both of you. And, if you have been wanting to get a dog anyway and are ready for the commitment of caring for a dog and giving it the exercise it needs, then visit your local pound and talk to them about adopting a dog who needs a loving home.