Honey Takes Friends to K9 Kamp

Kamp Kommandants Jodi of Kol’s Notes and Peggy of Peggy’s Pet Place have issued another fitness challenge for K9 Kamp. It’s to use fun and games to make you and your dog more fit. Learn more about the K9 Kamp challenge and enter to win great prizes.

I can’t think of anything more scary than going to camp by yourself.

Luckily, thanks to the regular presence of foster dogs in our house, Honey doesn’t have to go to K9 Kamp without canine company. And that’s a good thing. Because Honey’s favorite games (bitey face, doggie gladiators, chase, tug) are better with dogs than with humans.

Honey the Golden Retriever wrestles with Cooper the chocolate labrador retriever.

You do not have me pinned. My shoulder is still a millimeter from touching the ground.


Fitness Benefits of Dog Play

No one gives Honey a better workout than another dog.

Games of chase in our tiny backyard test Honey’s cardiovascular strength, coordination, and cornering abilities. Tug is a tough workout of her legs, core, and jaw. Wrestling makes her more agile as Honey daintily steps over the puppy she outweighs by 40 pounds. And you should see how fast a game of fetch goes when you have two retrievers in competition for the ball.

If you want a demanding fitness partner for your playful dog, get another dog.

Honey the Golden Retriever plays with Sally the foster dog.

C’mon, flip me over. You can do it.

But isn’t the K9 Kamp challenge about me and Honey getting fit at the same time? How does having Honey play with another dog get me into better shape?

Sorry to say I have no pictures of me being body slammed by two dogs, hopping on one foot to avoid stepping on the stray tails of dogs wrestling at my feet, or running with a tug toy dangling behind me to entice play. But believe me, when I actively engage in Honey’s play with another dog, I get exercise too.

So is there any reason not to add dog-on-dog playtime to your fitness routine?

Contraindications for Dog Play

I believe every dog park and every toy dogs use to play with other dogs should carry a warning.

Dog play may not be suitable for all dogs. Side effects may include tiredness, napping, and a look of profound satisfaction. Serious side effects in some dogs may include nervousness, snarking, and even dog fights. Do not institute dog play if your dog feels uncomfortable with other dogs or if he does not have the strength or conditioning to endure a challenging workout. Always make sure the size, energy levels, mood, and strength of dogs engaging in play are well matched. Or that the dogs are appropriately socialized to handicap themselves for a weaker opponent. Dog play should always take place under the supervision of an engaged owner.

There. That should do it.

Honey the golden retriever wrestles with Cooper the chocolate labrador retriever.

You think just because you’re bigger than me you deserve this spitty piece of rope all for yourself? I’ll show you!

Now I better go. Honey’s auditioning dogs for her new workout video.  I gotta supervise.

Your Turn: Does dog play have a place in your dog’s fitness routine? Are your dog’s playmates family members or outside dogs like in a dog park or at a play date?

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  1. Honey we have missed you in our FitDog Friday rotation! Glad you are back and with such great tips. Dog play is such a great exercise – good for cardio, core work (twisting & turning), strength (tug) etc. Unfortunately my senior Maggie & Jack are not big players – try as I might I can’t induce them easily. Unfortunately, I think too much time in cages leeched it out of them – but we work on it all the time. Any ideas on seducing a non-playful dog into playing are welcome. Maybe I should just have Honey come for a visit!

  2. Us three dogs and Mom rotate our fitness around, sometimes just two dogs, sometimes with Mom, sometimes without, sometimes alone…it is a complicated system right now with my little sister Bailie but once she gets a bit older she will be able to join in more family activities and we are excited about that. Dogs playing with dogs is the best workout there is for a dog in our opinion and it is so much fun too!

  3. Dog play definitely brings instinct to the surface and allows dogs to be dogs!

  4. Dogplay at our house is between the three canine members of the family. Callie and Shadow don’t play as much any more — their arthritic hips limit their comfort levels — the way they did as pups; but they enjoy short chase games inside our little house with Ducky almost every night when Daddy gets home and instigates “trouble”. Usually I’m the party pooper because the noise level hurts my super-sensitive ears.

  5. The elder Wieners idea of play is to throw a piece of old stale dust- fuzzy rawhide under the couch and watch me go fetch it before they chew the couch to ribbons. Which they have done. So I move pretty fast. I get applause.

  6. One of the local store owners has a dog that she takes to work and that dog gets along wonderfully with Mr. N. They wrestle and chase and body slam each other. I don’t know if I get any exercise out of it though. I usually have to stand very still because they like to play around my feet and I don’t want to step on one of them.

  7. One of the big benefits of fostering for me is having another dog for Frankie to play with. He loves his big, blokey, boy Greyhounds. It’s so good for them too as they learn to play hard and fast with something that isn’t a Greyhound as most of them probably haven’t ever interacted with anything else. I have to say the only extra exercise I get from this is following them around with a camera :(

  8. We used to go to the dog beach, but don’t really go anymore (after The Worst Walk We Ever Took). But we still like to work in play to Rita’s routine, so now instead once a week we go visit her boxer friend. They have a fabulous time playing! And then we all go for a long walk together. Every other week we try to schedule play with Rita’s cousin, Reggie. She loves to play – but now I like to be sure she only plays with dogs (and owners!) I know.

  9. Play can be the best exercise! Poor Ike tries to play with Kelly, and she tries but she gets too anxious and ends up barking at him and scaring him. I’d like to find him a friend to play with!

  10. What is doggie gladiators? Sounds like a fun game. Despite having two dogs, Maya & Pierson don’t play together often. Pierson is too dominant and Maya is too submissive. So when Pierson gets a too rough in a game, which is almost always immediately, Maya stops playing.

  11. Like those ‘conditions’ of dog play…Definitely should be posted at every dog park. Particularly the bit about the owner paying attention. Looks like your dog play worked well for all involved however!!

  12. Dog play is something usually missing for us…Gizmo best pals are much larger than he is and while they do play chase, real wrestling and bitey face aren’t suitable…His favorite dog play is when he gets to lead the trail hike, showing off all he’s learned about the forest like where the armadillos are hiding (he never forgets) Sometimes I wish he had a similar size friend to play with but so far we haven’t found one

  13. The two girls love to play fetch together….they have a cute routine where Sheba passes off the ball to Cricket who then brings it to me. But other than that, they don’t wrestle or play tug of war or anything like that since they have gotten older.

  14. My collie has a fear of other dogs, which I am working really hard to overcome (and hoping that our current change of events won’t set him back massively!) however the other day I took him with me to meet some lovely collies and the three of them played together. It brought a tear to my eye to see him chase around the field after these other dogs without a care in the world!

    I think your right, watching dogs play together is not only great for them but good for our souls!

  15. Our dogs wrestle, play bitey face, chase and tug of war. It’s one of the main reasons I wanted another dog, for companionship for Sampson.