5 Activities to Help Exercise Your Malamute!
Alaskan Malamutes are a working breed, so it’s essential they are properly exercised to prevent them from becoming overweight, bored and destructive. Unlike their close relatives the Siberian Husky, who were breed to run shorter distances faster with a light sled-load, Mals are built to carry heavy loads on sleds over a long distance. However, not everyone has the right climate or budget to take up traditional mushing, so here’s some great ideas for exercising for canine companion! These can apply to any energetic dog and you will notice a great benefit to their health and temperament.
Conditions like hip dysplasia are common in large breeds so please make sure you check with a veterinarian that the below activities are appropriate for your pooch!
Hiking and Backpacking!
It’s so easy to turn a long walk into something more challenging for your Mally and it has practical benefits! A well-fitted doggie backpack can be loaded up with reasonable weights, items or bottles of water to increase the benefit of short or long walks to your dog. And it saves you carrying those things in your backpack too! And with so many beautiful places to hike in the UK and dog friendly pubs to rest at, every adventure can be different!
Scootering and Urban Mushing
If you’ve always liked the idea of sledding but don’t have the right climate why not consider urban mushing? You can do it all year round, it’s great exercise for your dog and it’s super fun for you as well! You will have to put in a little bit of time training your dog to respond to direction commands, but nothing beats the feeling of the wind in your hair whilst your faithful friend(s) runs free! Urban mushing does require investment in some equipment such as harnesses, gang lines and appropriate collars (you can get a full list of required equipment here) and of course the urban alternative for a sled. Scooters are a very popular choice, and rigs provide the closest experience to sledding you can get in our UK climate!
For the avid runners among you, or for those looking to improve their own health and fitness, there’s no running partner more motivational than your dog! Any breed of dog can do CaniX and you can start by running as little as 2km at a time, to get you and your dog used to it. Overtime you can build this up to around 5km, which will take about 30 - 40 minutes. The equipment needed for CaniX is fairly minimal - good, supportive trainers are important (for you, obviously), a well-fitted harness (for your dog) and a CaniX line to attached to a waist belt on you, so you can run without holding a lead. Some excellent starter kits are available online.If you and your pooch love life in the fast lane, why not pop on a pair of rollarblades to spice things up a bit?
Keen cyclists will love this one! Bikejoring is riding a bike with a dog (or multiple dogs) pulling you. It offers slightly more control and comfort than other forms of urban mushing, but make sure you invest in some proper safety gear (helmet, even elbow and knee pads if neccessary). Again, you will need to teach your dog to obey commands - especially ‘STOP’! There’s also very little investment needed equipment-wise as a sturdy mountain bike will be appropriate for most bikejoring adventures. As per urban mushing you will need to invest in gang lines, neck lines and harnesses - decent starter kits are available online. You may want to consider purchasing some little booties (awww!) for your dog as well, to protect their paws from abrasive surfaces such as gravel.
Okay, so this could be one for hot days where your pooch is feeling a little lazy, but it’s a fun and relaxing way to exercise your core strength and bond with your dog. Just make sure your pooch wears a life jacket and that the conditions on the water are nice and calm! SUP boards start at around £400, but you can easily rent one from your local watersports shop for anywhere between £10 - £20 for one to two hours!