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Beyond The Backyard

The 10 Best Ways To Live An Active Life, With Your Dog By Your Side Published in Melbourne, Australia by Pursuit Health Pty Ltd T: (+62) 417140169 E: Produced in partnership with Barx Active. Barx Active is a dog inclusive health and fitness community. Copyright Karen and Dan Uden 2014 The activities presented in this book are for informational purposes only. You should consult with a GP (for you) and a vet (for your dog) before undertaking any unaccustomed activity. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained in this book. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Internal content remains the property of the authors.

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Karen and Dan Uden Beyond The Backyard The 10 Best Ways to Live An Active Life, With Your Dog By Your Side Physical Fitness, Pets

It would be remiss of us not dedicate this book to our furry inspiration. To our darling Tux, ever the handsome gentleman, leading us on new adventures every day. -Kaz and Dan

Hi there, We are both Physiotherapists, and are the Directors of Barx Active - a dog inclusive health and fitness community, committed to helping you to live an active life, with your dog by your side. We are also the devoted parents of Tux, a Border Collie cross we rescued at 12 weeks of age in 2011. As dog lovers, we are always amazed at the strength of the human-canine bond, so one day we asked ourselves a question:

It’s not because of the dog (although they are an important part of it!). It’s not actually about the human either. It’s the Space Inbetween. The connection between a human and their dog is invisible, but incredibly tangible. A tilt of the head, a wave of an arm, a sniff of the air or a scratch of the chin, and the space in-between you and your dog conveys everything you both need to know. This two way bond, happening in that space between you and your dog, explains what all dog owners know-

‘Why is our relationship with dogs so compelling?’

This connection is truly special.

We feel that we have worked it out.

What better way to celebrate this ‘space

in-between’, than by moving, laughing and experiencing with your dog? This guide will show you the ten best ways to nurture your Space Inbetween, so that you can live an active and extraordinary life, with your dog by your side. Karen Uden Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist BAppSc(Physio), MMuscPhys Dan Uden Sports Physiotherapist BExSc, BPhysio, MSportsPhys Tux Uden Canine Bachelor of Fetch, Master of Bones

Contents Take a hike Do some drills Vary your cardio Go camping Take a class Walk your errands Plan a holiday Set a goal Form a pack Enter an event

4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22

Take a hike It doesn’t take long for the same old footpaths and parks in your local area to get boring for you and your dog. Break the routine, and get a lungful of fresh air. Plan a day hike, invite your friends (both the 2 and 4 legged variety), and then there is only one thing left to do…select a beautiful location! Some wilderness areas, such as National Parks, do not permit dogs, but fear not - there are many options available to you and your pooch. Generally speaking, all dog friendly hiking areas will require your dog to remain on lead. 2 to 3 hours is an ideal hike ‘day trip’ duration, giving you ample time to travel to the destination (ideally 1-2 hours away), sink your teeth into a decent walk, and then drive home again. This often equates to 10-15km if the hike is flat, or shorter distances if there are hills involved. If you and your dog are used to regularly walking at a moderate pace for an hour, this hike length should be achieveable.

To find a hike, you can hit up a reliable website like the Dog Adventures Blog, which specializes in listing and reviewing dog friendly hikes in various locations across Australia. You can also find valuable advice and tips for hiking with your dog. Check out Alternatively, you can let others do all of the hard work for you! Barx Active ( schedules regular dog friendly day hikes. Once you have booked, all you need to do is turn up at the designated starting point. The Barx Leaders will then supply the guide, first aider, company and jokes!

A hike is a brilliant way for both you and your pooch to get some great exercise, experience a beautiful new environment together, and escape the monotony of your local footpaths! Action Steps: 1) Select a date (or better still, a date every few months!) 2) Select a location 3) Get a reliable map of the hike 4) Invite your friends 5) Train for the hike by doing at a few longer walks of greater than an hour, before your hike. Increase the length of your walks

gradually to allow both you and your dog to adjust safely. On the day: 1) Check the weather forecast and dress to suit (eg raincoat or hat and sunscreen) 2) Check the hike map and make sure you keep it handy 3) Pack a daypack with snacks and water for you and your dog, a portable bowl for giving drinks to your dog, a basic first aid kit and a spare lead ‘just in case’. 4) Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return home. 5) Arrive, inhale, and enjoy!

Do some drills It is great for your dog’s well being to regularly have new challenges to learn. Why not include a physical fitness component for yourself at the same time?

Spending time doing drills together is not only great for keeping your dog stimulated, and for keeping you fit, but it also gives you a real sense of achieving something together, thereby nurturing the bond between you. Drills can be as simple as running in a zig zag pattern side by side, or as tricky as having your dog weave in a figure of eight around your legs while you do a squat hold.

If you require some ideas and inspiration, check out these videos: barxercise/barxercise-videos/

Action steps: 1) Select a new drill to learn each week 2) Break it down into smaller steps 3) Spend 5 to 10 minutes, twice a day practicing 4) Give your dog lots of love each time he or she gets the task right 5) Once you have learned a few different drills, put them together as a ‘fitness and challenge’ routine

Vary your cardio It’s the end of a long day and you’re tired…but those puppy dog eyes gazing up at you coax you off the couch and outside.

It would be easy to do the same old walk to keep your pooch satisfied…but you will both be so much better off if you choose to vary your mode of cardio based transport! Challenge yourselves to moving in different ways. Can you take the bike

while your pooch trots along beside? How about you both head to the beach for a swim? Even short bursts of jogging inserted into your walk can be exciting for both your body and your dog.

Action Steps: 1) Aim for 3 different ‘modes of cardio based transport’ for you and your dog each week 2) Start with smaller distances and build up over 4 to 6 weeks 3) Celebrate each new adventure with some quality tummy scratch time afterwards!

Go camping Getting away from the daily grind and into the ‘great outdoors’ is a brilliant way to nurture your soul and your bond with your dog. There are many dog friendly campgrounds around, and these are often cheap or free to stay at.

Check out au. Search by ‘desired features’ and tick the ‘dog’ box to find dog friendly camp grounds.

‘things that go bump in the night’ don’t start a turf war. Having your dog inside the tent near you is great for all!

Some caravan parks also welcome dogs, so if you prefer ‘glamping’ (more glamorous camping with a caravan or cabin, toilets and showers), then this could be the way to go.

Action Steps: 1) Pick a week or weekend to get back to nature – try to avoid public holidays and school holidays to ensure a quieter environment 2) Select a campsite or caravan park location that is a manageable driving distance away 3) Book it if it can be booked (some campsites cannot be booked ahead of Make sure that you have a closed, secure area for your dogs to sleep at night, so that

time – generally only an issue in school holiday and long weekend times) 4) Tell your dog so they can start getting excited Don’t Forget: 1) Bedding, bowls, food and biodegradable poo bags for your dog 2) Long rope or cable to secure your dog 3) First Aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellant 4) Drinking water if no access to water supply nearby 5) Check for ticks on your dog each day 6) RELAX!

Take a class If your dog staring at you sitting on the couch doesn’t get you moving, then perhaps signing up for a class might. There are many options for activities that you and your dog can do together. Make sure you pick something that challenges both of you mentally and physically. ‘Barxercise’ are outdoor group fitness sessions for you and your dog. These ‘boot camp’ style sessions are not just dog friendly, they are dog inclusive, so you have your fitness challenges to complete, and your dog has challenges to complete as well. Check to see if there is are sessions being run in your area:

‘Dog Dancing’ is gaining popularity Don’t know what dog dancing is all about? Check out this video of Ashleigh and her dog Pudsey, who WON Britain’s Got Talent in 2012!

and all dogs involved are treated with the utmost respect. Google can help you to find a club near you, or try:

Agility and Flyball are other great activities to participate in together. They are less active for the human, and more focused on the dog. Dog Obedience Clubs often run training for these disciplines.

In Dog Dancing, a human and their dog learn a series of synchronized moves and cues in order to progress to performing a routine set to music. It is easy to see that the dog thoroughly enjoys the process,

Action Steps 1) Choose a class that you and your dog would like to try, and that is run near you 2) Check online or call to find out time, location and cost 3) Book yourself in 3) Turn up and enjoy 4) Don’t worry if you and your dog are overwhelmed at first – it is normal to feel confused to start with! 5) Stick with it – select one or two new skills to focus on and practice each week.

Walk your errands Do you think of dog walking and grocery shopping as two separate things? Do you meet your friends for coffee and leave your dog at home?

It is easy to jump in the car to rush off and get things done, but your dog would simply love to help you out with these tasks. Grab an empty backpack and your pooch on a lead, and walk to your local supermarket. Tie your dog up in a safe place, and then fill your bag with supermarket goodies and power walk

home with your happy dog and your extra load. Meeting up with a friend? Suggest a ‘walking catch up’, and then bring your dog along to share the furry love with your friend (even better if they have a dog too). You can talk as much as you like, and you will all benefit from the walk.

Action steps: 1) Think of one errand a week that can be converted to a dog-friendly version 2) Make sure your dog is comfortable to be tied up for a short period of time if required 3) Treat yourselves to something special on your ‘doggy date’, like a Latte for you and a special dog biscuit for your pooch

Plan a holiday There is nothing better than a relaxing getaway…and your dog deserves one too. Heading to a new place can be a great way for you and your dog to bond, providing new sights and smells to explore.

There are now many great dog friendly accommodation destinations. From motels to cottages and bungalows to mansions, your dog is as welcome as you are, if you know where to look. A great place to start is a website like Dog friendly accommodation places often book out, especially at peak times, so do some research and book ahead for a holiday you and your pooch can look forward to.

Action Steps: 1) Search for dog friendly accommodation online 2) Book it in advance 3) Repeat once a year (at least)!

Set a goal Research shows us humans are far better at sticking to a health and fitness program if we have a goal. Research also shows that our dogs are far happier if they have a new skill to learn. Make sure, therefore, that you and your dog always both have something to work towards. Set a goal for yourself, set a goal for your dog, and then help each other to achieve them.

Some examples of human goals: • Run 5km non stop • Drop 2kg • Do 10 push ups on your toes, not knees • Last 1 month without chocolate

Some examples of doggy goals: • Learn to wait at doorways until invited through • Reach a weight loss goal that the vet has set • Learn to walk backwards on cue • Learn not to jump up on people

All human and doggie goals can be achieved by breaking the end result into smaller steps, practicing regularly, and progressing gradually.

Form a pack Most of us are aware that dogs are pack animals at heart, but sometimes we forget that us humans are too.

Joining a community that combines a love of dogs with another active interest of yours, can become a wonderful central point and support in your life. From forming a Monday night dog walking club, to joining a dog friendly fitness class, you and your dog will both benefit from the social and motivational support involved. Although most of us do more connecting online than ever before, we often forget the importance to our soul of also catching up regularly, in person, with like-minded people.

Some examples of fun, dog inclusive communities • Pooch to 5k, ( a dog inclusive running community • Obedience Clubs, who form a community around learning new training skills with your dog • Barx Active, who runs dog inclusive fitness sessions and hikes • Dog surfing, a community of dog loving surfers who train their dogs to join them on their board

Action Steps: 1) Think of an activity that you like to do with your dog 2) Search online to see if there are any groups around that like to do the same 3) Reach out and make contact – the hardest step to take is that initial one! 4) If you can’t find a group you like, create one!

Enter an event What better reward for the effort that you and your dog put into keeping fit and active than by joining forces in a fun event?

The buzz of a professionally organized event, combined with the bond that you and your dog form through conquering something as a team, will guarantee an experience not to be forgotten. Plus having that date looming in your calendar

will ensure your motivation to train is ship shape! Your event could be a an obedience competition at your local Obedience Club, a Fun Run that allows dogs, or The RSPCA Million Paws Walk.

Action Steps: 1) Choose an event 2) Register for it and pop the date in your calendar 3) Start a training program with your dog to gradually build up the skills required for both of you

Your dog loves you, protects you and lives in anticipation of the next moment they can spend by your side. You are a healthier and more balanced person when you make regular physical activity a part of your life. So you owe it to yourself, and you certainly owe it to your dog, to put some planning, effort and excitement into building an amazing, active life together. Grab a handful of these tips, and weave them into your life. You and your dog will never be closer…of that, we are certain. We love to hear about your favorite ways to stay active with your dog, (and we love seeing your photos) so we welcome you to email us at to relive your adventures with someone who totally gets it! Much love and pats

Karen, Dan and Tux

About Karen

Karen is a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, former aerobics instructor, and Assistance Dog Puppy Raiser. She is also the author of ‘Before Your Break – Simple Steps to Injury Proof Your Body‘. Karen graduated as a Physiotherapist from LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia and subsequently completed a Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy. Karen has travelled interstate and overseas with sporting teams and has developed a number of education programs in fields such as core stability training, fitball use and injury management. Karen has developed her canine experience through obedience, flyball and agility training, plus extensive reading about, and watching of, canine behaviour. Over a lifetime of learning and education, Karen nominates her rescue dog Tux as her most awesome teacher.

About Dan

Dan is a Sports Physiotherapist, Exercise Scientist, Ironman and lifetime dog lover. Dan graduated with a degree in Exercise Science and Physiotherapy from Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. He subsequently completed a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy at LaTrobe University in Melbourne. He has worked with the Australian Triathlon team, the Northern Ireland Institute of Sport, and Bath Rugby Club. Dan survived his childhood and teenage years thanks to his beloved German Shepherd Sophie, and while Sophie frolics in the great dog park in the sky, Tux has become his number one partner in crime.

About Tux

Tux is a short haired Border Collie, crossed with who-knows-what. He likes long walks on the beach and peanut butter. Tux was rescued by humans Karen and Dan at 12 weeks of age in 2011, and forged an early career in hole digging before shifting his focus to unstuffing anything stuffed. Tux likes to stay fit by going on runs with dad, running beside mum’s bike, or by retrieving his red rubber ball as many times as any human will throw it.

About Barx Active

Barx Active is a dog inclusive health and fitness community, committed to helping you to live an active life, with your dog by your side. At Barx Active, we have created better ways to be active with your dog. Barxercise sessions are outdoor group fitness classes, for people and their dogs. They are not just dog friendly, but dog inclusive, meaning the humans have fitness challenges to complete, and the dogs have their own tasks to complete as well. Barx Hikes are beautiful wilderness day hikes that are, of course dog friendly Barx Events are fun runs and adventure races that you can train for and compete in with your dog.

Beyond The Backyard  

The 10 Best Ways To Live An Active Life, With Your Dog By Your Side

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