There are so many facets to strength and body awareness training that it is important to use the “team” approach applying information from the dog owner, veterinarian, rehabilitation professionals, physical therapist and fitness instructors.
It is important to recognize subtle changes in how the dog moves or performs exercises. As a Fitness Coach, I don't diagnose injury, but with a careful eye on the dog’s movement, it allows me to refer to a qualified professional.
Who is the team:
Some situations where a referral is needed:
If a dog has been performing strength and body awareness exercise regularly and does happen to get injured performing their sport or chasing a ball, then dog is already trained to do exercises similar to those recommended by the rehabilitation practitioner. This speeds up recovery because the dog and the handler have an understanding of what is needed and they do not have to go through the initial learning process. A dog that has been performing fitness exercises has been exposed to different pieces of equipment and training any new exercises is much more efficient.
Performing a proper evaluation and reviewing a medical history on each dog helps to address what exercises to perform and if a referral needed. The list below addresses key points to consider:
Each client receives a written lesson plan for their dog after each session, detailing how often to do each exercise, instruction for each exercise (including photos and video support) as well as observations or tips to work with the dog. A copy of this lesson plan is sent to the veterinarian or rehabilitation professional, if needed. These records are also saved in a client file for future reference.
Perfect dogs for K9 Fitness
Referring clients to a qualified professional when needed improves communication with professionals in the field and fosters a “team” approach to K9 Fitness.
Bobbie Lyons, Cert CF
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT