Work out … with your dog!

Weekend Edition

It's hard enough for me to find the time and motivation to hit the gym on a daily basis, let alone ensure that my dog Peanut gets a good, brisk walk every day. Finding that extra hour to walk my dog is a challenge and, at times, an inconvenience. Every now and then I will neglect Peanut and just open the back door for her to go for a short run in the yard. I feel bad saying that, but I'm sure many other pet owners can relate. Certainly being a "good" pet owner -- meaning one who doesn't ignore a pet's physical health -- is not easy. Time is of the essence, and with work, travel, relationships, family responsibilities and other commitments, it can be tough. So when I heard about a "dog boot camp," where I could get a good sweat along with my furry little friend, I was on board!

Thank Dog! Bootcamp in Burbank, California, combines weight training and cardiovascular training with dog obedience training in an hour-long workout. Co-owners and certified dog obedience trainers Jill and Jaime Bowers allowed me and Peanut to sign up for the 7 a.m. workout to see what the concept was all about. What a great way for both of us to get a good workout, and for Peanut to receive some much-needed obedience training.

The morning of our boot camp, Peanut could sense something was different. I didn't just open the back door and tell her to run; instead, I grabbed her leash and my running shoes, and we were both ready for a workout. The fitness training was a challenge for me, but Peanut didn't seem to break a sweat. (Jill Bowers mentioned, however, that dogs sweat through the padding on their paws, which was news to me.) It was the obedience lesson that gave Peanut a run for her money. "Sit," "down," "stay" are simply not in her vocabulary. That's just another thing to add to my list as far as becoming a better pet owner. But we both had a great time, and after one session, I was definitely sold on the dog-boot-camp idea.

Unfortunately, this class is only offered in Burbank. The moment Thank Dog! opens a location in the Maryland area, I will be sure to sign up. It's a perfect solution for a dog owner with limited time, like me!