A good exercise program should address specific needs. This is true for both people and dogs. These needs prompt the solutions which will help your dog reach his goals.
The best canine fitness programs will include understanding many variables and how best to put these together. These variables include things like strength, cardio, flexibility, sport-specific training and more. Then understanding the integration of frequency, speed, intensity, duration, of exercises. Finally, your dog’s environment and nutrition are also considered.
A skilled Canine Fitness Coaches, Trainers Athlete Specialists will also understand canine anatomy, physiology, sports physical requirements. These are essential components in designing a program your dog can benefit from and enjoy.
Some basic rules to consider when putting a good canine fitness program together include:
1) It’s about Control
Know your dog’s limits by starting at a level that you know your dog is comfortable in. Your focus should be on his ability to perform controlled, powerful movements.
Repetitions, distance, speed etc may be added gradually from this point. Your main aim is the quality of the movement of the exercise.
A caution: many sporting or working dogs have lots of drive and will go above and beyond what they may be conditioned to do.
Excited and uncontrolled movements often lack good form. Your job is to help your dog perform a controlled activity and avoid injury.
2) Never be Boring!
Mix it up and make it fun.
Exercises are generally performed a few days a week. Alternate the days working with various muscle groups. This will help keep you from overtraining a specific area and will add variety to your dogs week. Alternating days and muscle groups may include forelimb training on one day and hind limbs another.
Mix up your dog’s the activities with a selection of balance platforms, poles, tunnels. Keeping it fun will help avoid overtraining and loss of motivation for both you and your dog.
3) Stretching to reach your goals
Stretches AFTER exercise are important to maintain muscle resilience and flexibility. They promote circulation, ensuring oxygen reaches all parts of the body. Stretches also improve range of motion of working joints.
Most people forget about the importance of stretching both for themselves and their dogs.
Expensive equipment is not always necessary for a canine fitness program. However, there are some tools that help enhance canine fitness programs and assist with consistency.
Your first focus must always be on the safety of your dog. Look for equipment that helps your dog achieve the best movements in an exercise. Look at providing safe footing surfaces.
5) Track and Measure
Performance and goals keep us aware of what we are trying to achieve.
Spontaneity is also healthy but a fitness goal provides you with structure and direction.
Make sure your goals are realistic according to your sport and your dog’s breed and performance structure. Make of note of tracking and measuring your dog’s progress.
As a Certified Canine Athlete Specialist, I am here to help you. At The Biokinetic K-9, I help you assess your dog according to his performance structure, breed and sport.
We consider your dog’s current fitness condition, your sport and your lifestyle when drawing up a program. We help you track and monitor progress easily and even send progress reports to your veterinarian should this be necessary. Fitness training just got super easy!
Contact me to discuss a training program for your canine athlete. I ensure that you have a balanced fitness program that you can follow and enjoy.