My Dog the Personal Trainer

With bitter cold and a busy schedule, I’ve gained a few pounds. But it’s not my dog Honey’s fault.

She’s an excellent personal trainer.

Mike lifts Honey the golden retriever.

Really? You couldn’t invest in a set of weights?

Whether I like it or not, Honey won’t let me go too long without a workout.

Here are a few of the exercises she makes me do:

Dead Dog Lift – Although Honey will sit, lie down, stay, come, close a door, or get a toy on cue, she does not know how to make room on the couch. As a result, I get to practice my dead dog lift as I shift her fuzzy butt to the side so I can sit down.

Honey the Golden Retriever lying on the couch.

What? You want to sit here too?

Puppy Ab Crunches – Usually I wake up before Honey does. But if I make a mistake and sleep in, she’ll place her front paws (and sometimes her whole weight) on my stomach, forcing me to tighten my muscles to keep my spleen from being punctured by her toenails.

Mutt Run – Honey is a lovely walking partner. Unless I’m in a hurry. Then she suddenly decides to freeze her feet to the pavement. The only way I can get her to end the walk is to break into a run which gets her excited enough to follow me home.

Kayak Paw Stretches – Honey takes up a lot of room in the cockpit of my kayak. So we both fit, I have to swing my legs to the outside of the boat. Great way to stretch those quads. Hopefully kayak season will return so I can work on my legs again.

Honey the golden retriever in a kayak.

What do you mean if I’m not going to paddle I should lie down and shut up?

Dog Toy Moguls – Training doesn’t end after dark. A late night trip to the bathroom involves dodging the round squeaky toy at the foot of the bed and swerving wide around the crate before zooming back in to find the door without hitting your nose on the jamb. These midnight drills have certainly improved my agility. 

Retriever Stair Stepping – Honey barks to go outside. I walk her downstairs and let her into the backyard. She rolls around in the snow and plays with her tennis ball for ten minutes before coming back inside. I return upstairs to my work. A few minutes later she barks again. This time she wants to go outside to take care of the bodily functions she forgot about while she was playing with her ball.

When you count the steps over the course of the day, it’s the equivalent of climbing the Eiffel tower ten times. No, really.

Hand Mouth Coordination Workouts – Honey knows that when I’m cooking or preparing her food, her place is on a pillow at the other end of the kitchen. But to keep her there, I occasionally toss her a tasty tidbit. Yes, she’s a good catcher. But if I want to keep her on her pillow, I need to make a good toss.

Honey the golden retriever walks in deep snow.

And don’t forget my favorite: resistance walking.

I long for the days when we walk for miles. Or get to practice our kayak stretches.

But for now, Honey the personal trainer will keep me working out whether I want to or not.

Your Turn: What’s your dog’s favorite exercise for you?


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  1. Honey is quite a character! Dead dog lifts indeed.

    Our younger dog does his part to make sure we get our steps in every day. When outside, he will come to the door and bark to be let in. But he doesn’t always come in. Sometimes, we go through this three or four times. Sometimes, though, we give in and we bribe him with a treat. Who is training who, eh?

  2. HA! Very cool to read about your personal trainer pup 😉 Our two pups Missy & Buzz keep me agile, for sure ~ I’m retrieving their toys that have been stuck under couches or other pieces of furniture on a daily basis!

  3. hahaha! love that first pic!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  4. She is watching out for you. Good job Honey!

  5. Well, we still walk despite the cold and snow, but I must admit the distance is way down. When it is bedtime, Jimmy “pretends” he’s too tired to manage the stairs to bed. So I carry his 34 (probably 35 due to reduced activity) pound bulk up the stairs. Arms and legs get a workout! On movie night, it’s a two flight workout as the big screen is in the basement. And because we aren’t getting as much time outdoors, we play “ring around the pool table”, Jimmy running, Wilson and me chasing. There is also indoor fetch in the basement as well. It involves lots of tugging so more arm work-outs. Then of course there is the weekly agility class, lots of walking/running.

    That sounds like a lot, but I feel so out of shape right now!

  6. Honey’s the perfect workout partner! Haley loves to help with stretching exercises when I get on the floor. She runs to get a toy and enjoys trying to play keep away with my feet or just growls and tempts me to grab her toy. Very relaxing, haha!

  7. What a good job you’re doing Honey!
    Dante and Ziva will bounce off the walls nuts if we don’t get a good exercise in, so they help keep me in shape because I can’t slack off or else punishment means an eaten rug!

  8. Mom calls us her fitness buds as we are always there and ready to go and do whatever at any time. Sometimes she pushes us, sometimes we push her. We are one great team!

  9. There’s the walks where I take on all 4 dogs and they work my upper body strength as I control multiple leashes attached to very strong dogs. I also do a lot of walking around our property to gather the Pullers and throw them around for the dogs (arm/shoulder work out).

  10. Aw, Honey knows what’s good for you and her! Ducky’s favorite exercise for us is a game of chase in the back yard. I throw the small Kong Bounzer across the yard for her to go fetch and then she turns it into her favorite game. Callie likes to play keep away, too; but she’s easier to catch than Ducky. Shadow likes fetch.

  11. I get the most exercise getting up and down out of my office chair when I’m working at home, to walk through the kitchen and let the dogs in and out. Even that doesn’t happen quite as much this time of year, but I dread to think how much I would weigh if I didn’t have dogs. Oh, and then there’s the getting up to walk to the window or door to see what they’re barking at…which is usually nothing. I’m glad to think they’re just looking out for my health!