Why Run With Your Dog?

Personal training for dogs. You’re kidding, right? Actually, no, we’re not. Research suggests up to 40% of our dogs are overweight, and they suffer from the same health complications that overweight people do. Veterinarians (including myself) are becoming more and more concerned about the increase in joint pain, heart disease and other obesity related illnesses in dogs. Hence, Pooch to 5k. Dogs can’t lift weights, or use the gym. If you’re going to increase their fat burning, you need to increase the intensity of their exercise. This means that a daily stroll just won’t cut it any more, it’s too laid back. The Pooch to 5k program will help you get your dog from doing nothing much to comfortably running 5km, over a period of 12 weeks.

Because you’ll be running with your dog, you’ll also get a great workout three times a week, as you train yourself to run 5km. Why not subscribe to our dog health and fitness newsletter and grab your dog, and you’re ready to go!

Jun
08

K9 Camp Challenge 3 – Just One Doggone Minute

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This week’s challenge came around quickly. The idea is to see where you can fit in fitness with your dog in your daily activities. By taking a minute here and a minute there, you can have a positive effect on your health and that of your dog.

I had to think hard about this. My day is filled with homeschooling my children – checking maths, doing science experiments and going on excursions. I’m not sure I could find anything there that could improve Guinness’s fitness. If I’m not doing that, I’m writing for my clients, and that too isn’t very exercise – friendly.

It was very timely then to find an article written by a veterinarian about conditioning exercises for canine athletes. Could I incorporate Guinness into what I already do?

Now, before you read the rest of this post, you have to promise not to laugh…I’m not co-ordinated at the best of times but when trying to exercise with a dog, well…

I regularly do squats and lunges to improve my leg strength, and I do them at odd times, like when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil to make myself a latte, or waiting for the toast to pop. Let’s not discuss the calorie count of lattes, I prefer to look on the positive side – more lattes mean more lunges and squats.  Here’s how I did them with my dog, using the suggested conditioning exercises in the article I read. There’s a reason I didn’t photograph this in my kitchen :-)

Firstly, the squats. I sat Guinness beside me, as in the first picture, and as I lowered myself into a squat, I asked him to drop. As I straightened up again, I asked him to get back into a sit position. As you can see from the picture, a liver treat went a long way to helping Guinness get the idea. According to the article, the repeated dropping and sitting is good conditioning for the muscles of a dog’s forelimb.

I always find lunges harder, because I have a tendency to fall over. I got myself into position, with Guinness again sitting beside me. When I lunged forward, I moved the liver treat forward to lure him into a stand position. As I straightened up and moved backwards, I asked him to sit. This is supposed to condition a dog’s hindleg muscles.

I guess I can see the point to the exercises, and done by themselves, they may be quite useful. However, trying to get Guinness to sit, drop and stand neatly, while watching my own posture and position, wasn’t easy at all. It’s hard enough trying to stay straight when I lunge, and make sure my knee is straight, but even harder with a Kelpie who is dancing around me after a liver treat. So, if I were to do this, I’d do my lunges and squats first, and then work with Guinness separately. I can still do that when I make myself a latte – I’ll just have have extra to make time for my dog’s exercises :-)

The other thing I do is stand on one leg on a rubber disc to improve my ankle strength, when I’m at the kitchen sink for example. I have recently seen pictures of dogs doing the same thing, so Guinness, look out – that’s next on your agenda :-)

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Categories : General

2 Comments

1

Lunges are painful but they are so great! LOL…I’m glad week 3 was great for you. We had a lot of fun too.
Whirlwind of Surprises

2

I can’t believe that all this time has gone by and I STILL haven’t managed to get any pictures of us in action. Le sigh… You always get them! Good for you!

I love how you incorporated cues for the pup into your exercises–that’s pretty slick. I may have to give that a try, myself!

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