Personal trainer has 4 legs

Teddy, the trainer, taking his client, Ed, for a walk. JORDAN BLAKE/CONTRIBUTED
Teddy, the trainer, taking his client, Ed, for a walk. JORDAN BLAKE/CONTRIBUTED

My husband, Ed, has had trouble sticking to an exercise regimen.

He’s not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calculated that nearly 80 percent of American adults don’t get enough exercise.

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Ed has worked with personal trainers who kept him focused and on task, but this was only effective to a point.

The workouts weren’t always consistent. Work, chores, family obligations or the weather played havoc.

So Ed stopped working with personal trainers and tried to workout on his own.

In theory, it sounded good. Make your own schedule. Choose the exercise you want to do on a particular day.

But in practice, Ed didn’t always have the motivation. No one was there to “kick him in the butt” to get moving.

It was obvious to Ed that he needed to go back to a personal trainer.

He wanted someone who was hard-working, energetic and enthusiastic. Someone who wouldn’t let him off the proverbial workout hook.

Where did he find that trainer? His backyard.

Teddy, our rescued lab.

The pooch is always up for a walk. With gusto, he plays fetch. When we’re up at Lake Michigan he’s the first ready for a romp in the water.

Teddy won’t take excuses for not exercising either.

Ed’s personal trainer has figured out the difference between workdays and weekend days.

On mornings when Teddy hears his mom complementing his dad’s attire he knows he’ll have to wait to take a walk.

On mornings when Teddy doesn’t hear his mom complementing his dad’s attire he knows those days are for long morning walks.

The lab follows his fearless leader around the house. If Ed sits, Teddy sits next to him.

This behavior doesn’t stop until Ed takes “his boy” for a walk.

The pooch is all business on these walks.

Teddy doesn’t saunter or meander off the path. He walks purposefully and at a brisk clip. Teddy doesn’t stop unless it’s to leave his “calling card.”

He takes Ed on at least 30-to-40-minute walks throughout our Bellbrook neighborhood. They cover about three miles each time.

At Lake Michigan, Teddy and Ed take a least four long walks a day.

Walking daily, says Yasmine Ali, M.D. at, for at least 30 minutes can help with human weight loss as well as weight maintenance. The doctor also wrote that dog owners walk more than non-dog owners and are better at keeping a daily exercise schedule.

Teddy keeps Ed on a tight schedule. Weekend mornings are for dog walking. Work day evenings are for dog walking. Only bad weather or a special event will interrupt.

Ed’s trainer doesn’t solely rely on walking for exercise.

Each evening after dinner, Ed sits down to relax and read the paper.

Teddy doesn’t believe in catching up with current events until a game or two of fetch-shake-tug-chew is played, so he brings his dad pull toy after pull toy.

At this point, Ed has two choices: Ignore his personal trainer or play fetch-shake-tug-chew.

Ed always chooses the latter. surveyed pet owners and found that 93 percent of dog owners de-stress by walking their dog.

Ed has solved many a work problem on his walks with Teddy.

Overall, Ed is pleased with his new trainer.

Teddy’s schedule is always open.

Most importantly, the cost is quite reasonable. A few treats and tummy rubs and Ed’s bill for the session is paid in full.

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

Joint activities for owners and dogs

1. Walking

2. Swimming

3. Running

4. Fetch