Agility – Why Should Dogs Have All the Fun?

Honey the Golden Retriever rolls on the grass.

If you don’t practice your balance, you just fall over. Hey, this is kinda fun.

As K9 Kamp Komes to a Klose (I am not going to miss all the K’s; there is a reason they’re worth 5 points in Scrabble) I find myself wondering what fitness really means.

If you read through the posts of my fellow kampers, and even my own, you’ll find a heavy emphasis on aerobic and strength training. But what about the other forms of fitness? Balance? Flexibility? Agility?

Dog Agility vs Human Agility

Honey and I have brought everyday agility activities to our walks just by finding weave poles, jumps, and tunnels all around us.

But they don’t do much for my fitness. And this K9 Kamp, we’ve taken on the special challenge of increasing my fitness more than Honey’s.

Then I got it!

I’ve been hanging around with dog people so much that when I hear the word agility, I automatically think of the equipment we see in a dog sport arena. But our regular walks challenge my agility plenty, from dodging potholes and uneven sidewalks to the more natural obstacles we find off-road.

Here are a few fitness challenges from walks we take around our neighborhood every day.

Balance Beam (downed tree trunk)


Honey the Golden Retriever smiles while standing on a tree trunk.

You think you’re so hot balancing on this fallen tree. But can you jump over my feet without falling?

Sorry you can’t see me traveling the full twenty-foot length of this downed tree right up to where it is five feet off the ground. I will say that walking the downed tree, up hill, while taking pictures and holding a dog leash did give quite the fitness challenge.

It’s also a great test of your dog’s loose leash walking skills.

Balance Ball (rocks)


Honey the Golden Retriever crosses the rocks at the side of Fall Creek.

This walk would be much easier if someone would set these rocks with some nice mortar.

Every rock is balanced on another. You never know which ones will stay still and which ones will move under you.

And one might even hide a big stinky fish that will attract your dog, causing you to run after her or risk a face plant in the rocks.

Incline Board (more rocks)


Honey the Golden Retriever poses in front of Ithaca Falls.

Oh, I was supposed to walk on the rocks so I didn’t get all wet and muddy? Oops.

The strangely angled rocks test my flexibility. Trying to walk the edges of the creek without getting my feet wet challenges my sense of balance and agileness.

Somehow I think it would be easier if I had four feet. And if I had wash and wear paws.

Rock Climbing Wall (140 foot rock gorge)


Honey the Golden Retriever poses in the Fall Creek Gorge.

Yeah, I’d like to see you tackle this. I’ll just wait here, if you don’t mind.

Are you kidding me?  I’ll pass.

With soft, layered stone that crumbles in your hand, rock climbing is not a good idea in Ithaca.

Fitness All Around

Honey and I are lucky that we have this amazing fitness center just five blocks from our house. And there is no membership fee.

Do you have fitness challenges in your neighborhood? Maybe you just need to look at things in a new way to see them for what they are.


Thank you to our K9 Kamp Kommandants, Jodi of Kol’s Notes and Peggy of Peggy’s Pet Place for inspiring me and Honey to find new ways to be fit together while strengthening our friendship. 

And thank you to Kamp Kounselors, Kolchak, Felix, and Kelly for being such good fitness examples. 

Your Turn: Can you think of any places in your neighborhood that test your fitness in a new way?
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  1. Now THAT’S what I call a walk!! I love Honey’s smile, especially in that first picture :)

  2. Pamela, you’ve done a great job at coming up with creative challenges for yourself – well done. I love the shots of the falls – brings back memories of home. (and Honey is of course as pretty as ever!) Thanks for joining the Hop.

  3. That is so true … if you look at things differently you can fun with them. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. I like the way you’re seeing everyday objects in a new way…Especially that rock climbing wall….In the neighborhood we try to walk all the retaining walls and out on trails we both hop up and walk all the down logs we find…I need to start looking for more things like this

  5. Love your fitness challenges and your photos! We have a big hill in our neighborhood — actually a couple of really long uphill roads. It’s a huge test of my stamina — I’m still huffing and puffing while Rocco happily cruises along — but hopefully if we keep doing it I’ll actually be able to breathe through the uphill parts!
    Your pals,
    Diane and Rocco

  6. I am so glad you wrote this post. I have seen for a long time that hiking is Chester and Gretel’s version of agility. It takes a lot of balance and coordination to climb over rocks, jump over streams, walk on logs and navigate rock and uneven surfaces. I know that all of this “agility” has increased their core strength and helped to protect their fragile Dachshund backs.

    • At the falls the other day, I saw a woman lifting her little dog (about Gretel’s size) over every rock and step. It was a shame. The dog was quite capable of handling the small obstacles. But his person never game him a chance.

      Athletic small dogs rock!

  7. That walk on the tree trunk with the camera is true blogging dedication! I bow to you (and your agility skills)!

  8. Mike Webster says:

    From the Husband:
    For the record, I too have had my own K9 Kamp regimen. I set my mind to dodge, with both great stamina and great agility, any attempt Pam and Honey have made to get me off the couch.

    • Sue @ The Golden Life says:

      Mike, you sound like my husband. I was shocked the other day when he actually agreed to go go with Callie, Shadow, and me for a walk at the park.

  9. I would rather go to your “fitness center” than a gym any day! What a beautiful spot and all that balance work is great! We mostly have lots and lots of steep hills in our neighborhood!

  10. I may have to write the urban counterpart to this post. We don’t have pretty rocks and downed trees for the most part, but there are steps and ramps and other things to climb on, over and under.

  11. Beautiful pictures by the waterfall! Where is it?

    We have an award for you on our blog! :)

    • The falls are Ithaca Falls about four blocks from my house. It’s one of 150 in our area and two right in the downtown.

      Wanna visit? The NY Finger Lakes are a fun place to vacation.

      And thanks for the award. I’m heading over now.

      • I think we have been in that area for dog shows. If we ever make it back, I will let you know. :)

        I love waterfalls, as I’m sure you can tell by my posts last month. But we don’t have too many in our area.

  12. Beautiful photos:-)


  1. […] (Pamela is going to be so disappointed that I wasted a chance to use a k.) Faced with a human that wanted to get more active and a pup that didn’t need to lose weight, Pam & Honey tackled Kamp with a unique perspective. We loved hearing about their kayak adventures and their fun take on agility. […]