Even the best athletes will eventually start to lose a step. All those miles they’ve run will start to wear them down, the hits they’ve taken will catch up, and the little aches and pains will become chronic. This is true for our canine athletes as well.
This is why I was so happy that Loki and I were able to attend a recent FitPaws seminar with Bobbie Lyons. Hosted by Dogtown in Graham, Oregon, this gave us the opportunity to see some ways to help get dogs in shape, and keep them there. Bobbie has been training canine fitness for fifteen years and is one of the country’s premier trainers in dog fitness.
Thirty of us* attended the two-day course focused on helping dog trainers add fitness to our training offerings. We looked at ways to design routines, inspire beginners to keep at it, and develop our own skills in fitness training.
Loki, as always, was eager to do his part. While he is not familiar with the exercises Bobbie asked for, he was definitely game to try. One of the great opportunities for me was to feel the way other newbies taking a class will feel when their dogs aren’t sure what we’re asking of them. It was a real change of pace for me to be on the receiving end of a training lesson instead of delivering it!
So, why would you want to enroll in a canine fitness class? Well, just like people, dogs that aren’t exercising regularly can begin to lose muscle mass. Older dogs who are spending too much time on the couch can begin to feel a lot more of the effects often earlier than a dog who is active enough to keep those muscles active. It is also a good way to keep weight off your dog. Remember, some estimates of obesity rates in adult dogs here in the USA put it over fifty percent! This is important in all pets, but especially in those larger breeds which may have a tendency toward hip issues in old age. Not only does a work out keep your dog physically active, but learning new routines with new challenges will help keep their minds sharp, too. Finally, it is a fantastic opportunity to bond with your dog, and who doesn’t want that?
If you want to learn more about what Bobbie does or think you’re ready to dip a paw into canine fitness with your dog, , check out her website, www.pawsitive-performance.com. She travels all around the world giving seminars. You can also visit the FitPaws website for all kinds of information about keeping your dog healthy, happy, and fit!
*I am always interested in social paradigms and shifts. In this group of thirty dog trainers, there were only two men, including myself. Three if you count the K9 Fit Team assistant facilitate the seminar.