Updated: Feb 10
It's time to get physical!" love it or hate it, "exercise is vital for your dog as it is for you. I try and work out every day, even if it is 20min. Exercising does make me feel better, and I have way more energy. I think the same for Sasha. I mix up the training and the fitness I do with her just as I do for myself. Making sure not to do the same repetitive movement over and over. The Pet Health Network points out that obesity can lead to future health issues like arthritis and heart and breathing issues and can even take two years off your dog's life. WOW!
I love talking to other pet professionals and reading articles from experts about pet health, Sasha and I have really been enjoying Trick Training along with a routine fitness program. Hence, I decided to share some fitness tips. Of course, always check with your Veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about beginning a fitness program with your pet.
Watch out for these fitness myths.
Exercise is excellent for both you and your dog! It can help your dog look and feel better and even make them less nervous when left alone, according to fitness experts at Texas A&M.
There are some misconceptions out there about weight gain or lack of mobility that can cause pet parents to ignore signs that their dog is less fit.
My dog is just getting old. Aging is natural, but that doesn't imply that problems going up or down stairs is normal. My Schnauzer, Shadow, was fit until she passed at 15 years old. The Vet was always happy with her condition. Sasha is 7 years old. We can sometimes struggle with weight, But I am keeping her fit. Her Vet was pleased with how "even" she was with her body condition. I also give her supplements, and one is for her joints. FLEXI K9
● Fitness and exercise are for athletic or overweight dogs. Even young or fit-acting dogs can benefit from an exercise plan. Think of fitness as preventing your dog from getting hurt. Keeping them overall healthier.
● It's Normal for senior dogs to put on a little weight. But, as your pup ages, gaining weight doesn't have to be a given. Good nutrition, fitness for fun, and regular exercise all work to help prevent it, too.
Fitness and exercise go far beyond weight loss. It helps your Fido improve cardiovascular health and develop strength, balance, and body control.
One point that's definitely not a myth: If you have concerns about your dog's well-being or reduction in mobility, or if you want to significantly increase your pet's activity level, a visit to your Veterinarian for a health checkup is your first fitness step!
Work at your dog's pace.
Moderation is key. When working on fitness with your dog, pick activities that match their fitness level, and allow them to choose when they have had enough for that session. They will slowly improve over time. If your dog is done for the day, let them be done so they continue to enjoy – not dread – their fitness sessions. If it's clear your dog doesn't enjoy or is uncomfortable with one of the suggested exercises below, like scary-looking stairs, choose another they enjoy.
Too much exercise can also cause problems, Petmd as sore muscles, wear-and-tear on paw pads, joint issues, and heat sickness, and your dog could begin to dread rather than enjoy their play sessions with you.
Some eager-to-please-you dogs may keep chasing that ball as long as you continue to throw it, so keep initial fitness sessions short and watch for signs of fatigue. You may need to be the one who says, "Time's up!" note- Be careful of what this can do to your dog's arousal level.
10 Fun Exercises for Canine Fitness
The following exercises are probably quite different from how you usually play with your dog. Remember that going for daily walks and other simple activities are also great ways to help your dog stay fit, but it is not the end all. You need to add in some fundamental fitness exercises.
1. Up and down stairs. I love this one on rainy days; outside, stair training can be fun too. When at a local park, use the bleachers to walk across. The different surfaces are great for novelty. Use both the seating area and where you rest your feet. Have your dog turn around on the stars and the bleachers for a level-up skill. FITBARK
2. Sit to stand. Getting up and down doesn't seem like exercise until you do it repeatedly. Standing up and sitting back down for 10 reps for adults and 5 reps for puppies and senior dogs. This task is essential for your dog's back, legs, and hip strength. Reward them with praise so they know they are correctly responding to your repeated cues. Observe your dog. What criteria are you looking for? Don't rush this exercise; go slow, and if you can, do it in front of a mirror to see your whole dog. Another great idea is to film your dog and then watch the video in slow motion. These are some of my favorite skills to teach my students.
3. Down to stand. Dog Push -up. This is a near canine equivalent of the human burpee, which is getting harder and harder to do with every birthday. It's a full-body workout for Fido! Work on the down and the stand separately, then put them together. You can work on having your of hold a stand for 10sec. Start with 1 sec and slowly work your way up. Look for my video coming soon.
4. Hide and seek. Calling your pup when you've hidden somewhere in the house is a fun game with many fitness benefits. I start our pretty easy to keep Sasha motivated. Then increase the difficulty. I always want her to find me. When your dog finds you have a party!
6. Walk, sprint, walk. Pace Changes: I think of this as canine interval training for energetic pups and people. This is a great exercise all around. There are so many reasons to do this. It will help your dog stay on task and is a perfect way to keep your dog focused on you. The best part of this exercise is that we can both take this at our pace.
8. The 3-leg stand. This is an excellent balance test, just as a one-legged stand is for humans. Any time you challenge how your pup distributes its weight, its under-utilized muscles will wake up. This is a new one for us. We just started this exercise. I totally love it.
9. Walk backward. I feel it is excellent for fitness, just like it is for us. Walking forward, backward, and sidewise uses different muscles. It also works your brain. Your dog will likely have a similar experience. Learning and practicing "backup" helps them use their muscles in a new way. This video is shared after 3 Leg Balance.
10. Teaching something new. Teaching your dog new tricks or standard good-citizen and safety skills like "sit," "stay," "down," "come," and loose-leash walking keeps them both physically and mentally stimulated. Have you tried Arm Weaves? We are crazy about all weave work. We use them for warm-up before we start our workout.
When you're looking for ways to improve your pet's health, always double-check the advice you find online – even mine! – with your Veterinarian or an expert source like the Pet Health Network https://pethealthnetwork.com/. You can find even more exercise tips here at AKC.
Got a great dog exercise or fitness tip? Leave me a comment. If you want to try a Trick Class for fitness, check out our online class starting in April.
Good Dog Concept Training LLC, Mount Laurel NJ 08054 - 856-905-1556