Question: How do I fit 10-15 minutes of conditioning/fitness exercises with my dog, three to four times a week with trialing, training, and life’s crazy schedule.
Answer: IT IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE
Let’s looks at a few scenarios:
Scenario No 1: Handler has one dog and is involved in 1-2 different canine sports and works a full time job.
In this case, find time immediately after a walk in the am or pm to do your strength routine. This is a great time because your dog’s muscles are already warm. If you attend class 2 x a week, fit your strength work in on the opposite days. If it is a trial week, take a day off before and after the trial for mental and physical recover. On trial weeks you may only get in TWO strength days.
Scenario No 2: Handler has two or more dogs and is involved in 1-2 different canine sports and works a full time job. Same scenario as above only work with 2 dogs per day after an am or pm walk (to make sure muscles are warm). This is a great time because your dog’s muscles are already warm. I have 4 dogs and I work 2 dogs daily for a total of 20-30 minutes (10-15 min per dog). In this scenario you will get the most bang for your time if work one dog until their entire workout is complete before switching to another dog. If doing your dog’s fitness routine after a walk, the second dog will still be warm when it is their turn. Again try to do strength opposite a performance class day. If it is not possible to do strength opposite a performance practice day, keep the routine shorter (5 or so minutes) so soreness does not occur. I always subscribe to one day off before and after a trial for mental and physical recovery. This is good for both you and your dog. Strength routines can be twice a week when trialing.
Scenario No 3: Handler has a high level of commitments (family, kids, a job) and does 1-2 canine sports with 1-4 or more dogs. This one is ME. Often times my dogs get their workouts between 9-10pm at night after my kids are in bed and life has calmed down. I do have to warm up their muscles prior to working on strength exercises so it takes me 5-10 minutes longer to complete their routine. I warm up 2 dogs, and tag team them through exercises. Both dogs will do stability work, then two to three a strength exercises. This way I can keep both dogs warm and complete their routine. There is also times when I can complete their workouts at dinner time after an evening walk. This is truly ideal as then they are not getting more calories.
These are just a few scenarios to give you an idea of how it might work. If you do 10 minute trainers that is not the same as the mental and physical commitment of a weekly class. You can pair your strength workout with 10 minute trainers. If you have questions about how to fit in K9 Conditioning/Fitness into your life, please comment below or contact me. I would be very happy to help.
Low Impact Exercise that can be done most any time:
These low impact exercises can be done as part of your daily routine in life to keep your dog more aware of their body:
· Backing up (I back my dogs up down the hallway on a regular basis)
· Backing up over objects (UH, my kids leave stuff in the way and my dogs will back up over whatever is there. If nothing is there, I will toss a dog bed out for them to back over)
· Holding a square sit on a stool (while dinner is being prepared)
· Holding a sphinx down position (while dinner is being prepared)
· Go to mat and mat to mat and back up to mat
· Perfecting your warm up routine – all low impact active joint and muscle movements.
A proper warm up is one of the single most important thing you can do for injury prevention.
As you can see there is plenty that can be done on the FLY to remind your dog of their body and remind them to efficiently engage their muscles and if you work out a basic schedule and believe it is a priority, conditioning and strength training can and should fit into your schedule.
Bobbie Lyons, Cert CF
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT