We all know how important it is for us to exercise, stay in good shape, and eat right to live longer and healthier lives.
OUR DOGS NEED THIS AS WELL!
Dogs have various roles and activities that they engage in that require different fitness needs to stay in good condition, live healthier lives and avoid injuries. K9 Fitness can help prevent injuries from occurring!
Some dogs participate in sports like agility, rally, lure coursing, dock diving, nose work, competitive obedience or ring sports.
Some are working dogs like police, search and rescue or explosive/narcotic detection dogs.
But many dogs have the important role of being our beloved companion who love to run and play at the park, go hiking in the woods, jog with us, catch a ball in the back yard or are expert couch loungers.
This is where K9 Fitness comes in to save the day . . . well, actually . . . to save the dog!
K9 Fitness is a balanced conditioning program consisting of strengthening, flexibility/stretching, endurance, balance/proprioception (body awareness) as well as warm up and cool down exercises. The key is a balanced program.
The exercises you do with your dog will depend on their activities, but there are some basics that most dogs can, and should be doing regularly.
K9 Fitness exercises are easier to do than you think, and you're probably already doing many of them and don't even know it!
For example, teaching your dog to do a balanced sit (back feet lined up under the hip and sitting up straight) or a balanced down (sphynx position) and holding the proper position for 5-10 seconds helps build core strength. Core strength is very important to help decrease the onset of spinal pain, reduces the potential for iliopsoas (groin area) strains and soft tissue injuries, as well as helps provide support for the rest of the body.
These are obedience exercises we do with our dogs on a daily basis but did you know they are also K9 Fitness exercises?
When you're at the park or hiking and your dog is going uphill, he is using his core and is strengthening his rear legs. K9 Fitness!
Body awareness is also important because it helps him know where his body is and allows him to walk, trot, jump, catch a ball or Frisbee with spatial awareness. Walking over various surfaces and on downed trees or telephone poles are all good ways to improve body awareness and increase coordination. Dogs that don't have good body awareness are at a higher risk of injury.
Of course there are other important aspects of a balanced fitness program that must be included to gain the most for a good conditioning plan. An assessment to determine strengths/weaknesses and any potential health/age related issues help provide more information. The key is to get started on a fitness plan for your dog and help build a stronger bond, have fun, build confidence in your dog so he can live a longer, healthier life as well as help prevent common injuries!
For more information or to visit a class, please contact me! email@example.com