Dog fitness training leads to healthier dogs and happier humans


Pets all recognize the same health benefits of physical activity as humans: increased performance, decreased risk of injury, reduced stress levels, better sleep patterns, and a stronger body and mind. healthy. With over 50 percent of dogs in the United States overweight and 20 percent of those considered clinically obese, it’s clear that dog fitness products are a growing market. In addition to health issues, common behavioral issues and issues such as anxiety, boredom chewing, unwanted barking, and more urgent behavior issues can be linked to a lack of exercise and training. .

Before starting any fitness program with your dog, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian. Dogs with pre-existing injuries or health conditions, including obesity, should be treated under the direction of a veterinarian and / or rehabilitation professional. It is important to note that dogs under 18 months of age should not perform repetitive actions. Exercising and practicing skills or performing high impact behaviors such as jumping can damage growth plates and muscle structures that are not fully developed.

One of the simplest forms of exercise is walking. The American Kennel Club developed the Fit Dog program to encourage dog owners to exercise regularly. Walking is considered a safe activity that improves muscle strength and promotes weight loss. Retailers should provide walking equipment that allows freedom of movement in the forelimbs, such as harnesses with a Y-shaped design in the front. Loose leash walking tools such as front attachment harnesses to handle pouches and multi-function leashes can help dogs and owners have a more enjoyable walk. The AKC also offers a Fit Dog Instructor Program which includes a six-week group class program that can be used to teach fun fitness classes. These classes include exercises such as puppy push-ups and fitness exercises on balance equipment to enhance training.

You may be familiar with yoga balls for humans, but there are also inflatable exercise equipment designed specifically for dogs. The Blue-9 Pet Products Propel Air platform is new to the market. In fitness, shape matters. That’s why the company designed the Propel Air platform with Pro-Gridlines to help dog owners and trainers develop a sense of fitness. Good form is imperative in any good conditioning program. Without proper form, some exercises can do more harm than good.

Three key areas to focus on are the top line, front and rear limbs, and weight distribution. The topline or spine should remain neutral, not withered or overly stretched. The forelegs and hindquarters should be at a natural distance front to back and left to right. The front legs should be below the shoulders and the hind legs below the hips. Avoid exercises that encourage the dog to have a wide back stance or to appear like a “goat on a rock”. The dog’s weight should be distributed evenly. Any sign of weight loss or lameness is a sign of pain or weakness and should be treated by a veterinarian.

Simple fitness exercises stimulate the dog’s brain and body, helping to fight boredom and eliminate problematic behavior. With the right equipment, fitness becomes simple and easy.

Why Should We Use Balance Equipment With Our Dogs? We do bicep curls with weights in the gym. It works our main engines, but who hears of bicep tears as an injury? It’s rare. Torn rotator cuff and ACL injuries are much more common. These are just two stabilizing muscles located in our joints. By working on the balance equipment, we not only engage the main motors, but we also engage the stabilizer muscles and tendons that are most often injured.

This also applies to dogs. When they work on balance equipment, we will ask them to perform static postures in position and a simple weight transfer. As they progress through their conditioning journey, we can develop more challenging skills that also engage the primary drivers by doing exercises like puppy push-ups.

Retailers should consider carrying items designed to improve the fitness of dogs. Balance gear and gear designed to help teach loose leash walking can inspire owners to begin their canine fitness routine. Dog trainers, boarding and pet day care owners should consider offering Fit Dog classes or group walks to their clients and students.

Whether your dog is a weekend warrior or a canine athlete, increasing daily exercise is sure to lead to healthier dogs and happier humans.

With formal education in dog conditioning and bodybuilding, Jamie Popper has been in the pet training industry since 2011. She is a Certified Therapy Dog Evaluator and has worked with the Orlando Health Therapy Dog Program on program and program development. Since 2015 Jamie has dedicated herself full time to Blue-9 Pet Products, where she is involved in the development and overall growth of the business.

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