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Canine Fitness

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  • Canine Fitness

    Do any of you actively work on your dog's fitness in a training program? Or do you have an interest? OR.. does your dog get their fitness with you by walking?

    I'm just wondering how much of a growing trend this is. I compete my dog in agility and am venturing into other sports as well. She and I both need to get fitter even though we train and compete... a class a week and some backyard training which I'm not consistent about it not enough for either of us. My dog had gotten a little pudgy (which is amazing for a 3 year old border collie) and I realized that I am not doing enough. I just started competing her and my friends video taped our runs and I was horrified at my own weight..

    So.. I've joined weight watchers and have started doing some baseline videos of my dog jumping and our "fitness" work which includes my dog's progression.

    Would love to hear about your fitness journey or attempts with your dogs.. and any resources you can provide that help you. Also, I'm thinking of starting a blog about both my dogs.. I have no idea if that would be interesting to see a rank amateur work on this or not, but might provide some accountability?

    Any suggestions on resources, other blogs, youtube channels or content ideas to get me started would be appreciated!

  • #2
    This is an interesting question. I took my dog in for her annual stuff recently and the vet and tech really couldn't stop gushing over how fit and lean she was. She doesn't do anything but spend the day outside with me, but it's free range on a lot of space, so that provides a pretty good base--she gets to run hard when she wants, and generally several times a day. It's sure a lot harder if you don't have acres! When we lived in suburbia, I'd make use of the local playgrounds and send the dogs through the little castles and playscapes...was great for something interesting and different for mind and body!!

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    • #3
      I don't actively train my dogs for fitness but a lot of people in my breed do because they run their dogs in field trials. It is much easier when you have acreage! I run mine loose 2x a day but a lot of people actually "road" their dogs off ATVs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaX07Dlaz9w (Didn't watch this whole thing but definitely do not road 7 month old puppies...most vets would disagree with that recommendation). But this shows how they do it.

      If that's not an option, you might want to consider getting a springer attachment for a bicycle - https://www.amazon.com/Springer-Dog-...NsaWNrPXRydWU=

      I also know a lot of people do other specific fitness activities for agility, particularly to avoid injury. So working with a balance "peanut", doing lateral movement exercises, etc. Definitely search for some of those on the internet.

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      • #4
        My dog isn't in training, but I make a point of keeping her active.

        In the winter we skijor 3-4 times per week. The rest of the year she comes on my "easy" runs, I leave her at home when I'm doing hills or speedwork.Her favourite thing to do is to play fetch. Unfortunately it's hard on their joints so I keep it to a minimum. Whenever we're outside she's outside loose, so she at least 4 hours of unstructured exercise.
        In the summer she also comes paddle boarding with me. Not a whole lot in the form of exercise, other than she has to balance.
        Most weekends also involve some hiking or snowshoeing.

        The place where we've taken some classes does offer a fitness class. It's geared more toward balance and strength training vs cardio. Based on the videos I've seen it looks like them spend a lot of time setting up obstacle courses and having the dogs balance on exercise balls.

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        • #5
          Since my Sheltie had an FHO the other year to correct a broken and poorly healed femur, we've been more conscious of her fitness (also she's an air fern). We aim for 8-12 miles a week of hills at 3-4 mph, plus work on wobble boards, some PRM and ARM exercises from her PT. She just turned 8 and the vet said she is "a little athlete", with a good heart and surprisingly even muscle tone (before the FHO there was clear atrophy and even at PT there was still a little asymmetry). Her hind end awareness is still not great but it's better, working on Rally Masters signs has actually helped (I still hate the back up doglegs though).

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          • #6
            My Boxer keeps fit and is in good weight and shape according to her vet . We have acreage, she goes on her group walks, agility and obedience and my friend and I take her border collie and her to the beach to run and run and run.

            It is surprising how little they need in the way of groceries and I'm fairly careful on treats and hate it when my husband gives into her because I really do not like a begging dog. She gets 2-1/2 cups of pellets a day, divided.
            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post

              It is surprising how little they need in the way of groceries and I'm fairly careful on treats and hate it when my husband gives into her because I really do not like a begging dog. She gets 2-1/2 cups of pellets a day, divided.
              This is a good point. I would say my dog gets more exercise than the average dog and even still she has never gotten the “recommended” amount of dog food. She’d be overweight within a month if she did. She doesn’t get many treats either.

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              • #8
                If you've ever considered online classes, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy has a great array of fitness classes they offer each session: https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.co...un-and-fitness

                While not explicitly a fitness class, this Jumping Gymnastics class (https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.co.../courses/11652) is also a really terrific resource for helping put together a fitness/strength training routine for agility dogs. I'm not sure when it's going to be offered again, but I'd say it's worth keeping an eye on the schedule to see if it pops up.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  GoodTimes - you would be surprised how much paddle boarding and core work makes a difference in dogs... I've started doing some of that work with my dog and even the little i'm doing now notice things that have gotten a little better.

                  I've started documenting her progression.. no idea if the average person would find that interesting or not, but hoping its accountability and a record of what we are doing...

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                  • #10
                    I don't have an exercise routine for my dog per say, but I really dislike a pudgy dog. I alternate days of walking 4-5 km with off leash play in a couple spots during the week. Every couple days I run her along side my bicycle about 5km. She comes for hikes with me on the weekend as well as short trail rides with the horses. She gets a quick off leash run in the morning before work but I doubt that does anything for her as she just rolls in the grass and sniffs things.
                    "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".

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                    • #11
                      I work on my dogs fitness with walks, agility, and playing. We don't have any specific rules or anything but between her having had mild pancreatitis twice, and having torn both ACL's (had TPLO surgery both times) I am careful to make sure her weight stays in check. Recently she started getting "hitchy" at agility but we worked on strengthening and conditioning. Power walks, and balance on the Bosu ball. I also make sure she gets lots of exercise that she enjoys, playing frisbee, and ball.

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                      • #12
                        I don't do anything specific with mine either, just because we have enough land where he keeps himself fit. We have a large hill that he runs up and down several times a day as well as running around the field. That seems to keep him fit enough for agility. But I know plenty of people who work on core strength with peanuts and balance balls. There are classes that you can take in our area - if you live close to a big town there might be some out there if you look for them and i am sure there are plenty online.

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                        • #13
                          I probably have the fittest Mastiff ever lol. We live on several acres that back to state forest land (where I've never seen another person in the 12 years I've lived there) so he gets a lot of walking. He also goes to work with DH and I at our tree nursery at least 5 days a week and loves to run the aisles or run along side us if we're in the gator. He also requires a daily dose of big ball (aka horse sized jolly ball) that we have to throw for him to fetch about a million times a day ( I throw it down a hill so it goes farther and we don't have to throw it as many times lol). We're getting ready to go camping for the weekend- I'll be competing (endurance ride) but DH and pup will be hiking pretty much the whole time.

                          "Traditions are basically just peer pressure from dead people"

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Since I wrote this, my dog actually had a scary "injury". I had let the dogs out one night and my BC was lame... she ended up being fine and I kept her on limited activity.. just as I let her play around again in the yard, I watched her crash and burn in the wet grass when she was playing with my puppy.

                            Meg stood up and held her leg straight out and was screaming...I carried up the stairs and in the house with her screaming the whole way. She settled down and was able to start putting weight on the leg.. it was so early in the morning, my vets office wasn't open so I texted a mobile vet neighbor and he said he'd come later in the day.. turns out she had pinched a nerve.

                            I took her for some chiro and massage and we now have a very definite plan to help her and work on her core... I didn't realize how weak her core really was so hopefully this stuff will help.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by knightrider922 View Post
                              Since I wrote this, my dog actually had a scary "injury". I had let the dogs out one night and my BC was lame... she ended up being fine and I kept her on limited activity.. just as I let her play around again in the yard, I watched her crash and burn in the wet grass when she was playing with my puppy.

                              Meg stood up and held her leg straight out and was screaming...I carried up the stairs and in the house with her screaming the whole way. She settled down and was able to start putting weight on the leg.. it was so early in the morning, my vets office wasn't open so I texted a mobile vet neighbor and he said he'd come later in the day.. turns out she had pinched a nerve.

                              I took her for some chiro and massage and we now have a very definite plan to help her and work on her core... I didn't realize how weak her core really was so hopefully this stuff will help.
                              Eee! I hope she's doing better now! Is dog chiro and massage similar to equine? Like how they do it?

                              I saw when my dog blew both ACL's (two different times)...running in the yard. First side she was chasing a deer. Second side, about a year later, chasing a frisbee.

                              Also- kinda unrelated, but not totally....I work at a nursing home and we have a facility dog. She is almost 13 year old yellow lab. We've had her for about a year and she's gained A LOT of weight I have been telling people not to feed her and stuff but when you have everyone at work feeding her its hard. But I started giving her cosequin since she's been staying with me (only since Friday night!) and she already is feeling better I think. Way less stiff and seems to have more energy? So it really is amazing when they are feeling better they do more!

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