In the human world the term “cross-training” is used quite often to suggest that doing different types of strength, balance and coordination training helps to improve performance. The canine world works much the same way.
Canine conditioning or cross-training exercises are a great way to keep your dog in shape, encourage weight loss, maintain current weight, keep your dog mentally and physically challenged and reduce the chance of injury through strength, flexibility and weight distribution training. Participating in K9 Conditioning or fitness exercises just 10-15 minutes 2-3 x a week can go a long way to improving your dog’s stability and performance.
When you are training and developing a dog’s skills, canine strength training HAS to be part of your program if you are interested in participating in performance sports long term and without injury. Your dog’s structure, confidence on equipment, speed in which they are traveling, awareness of their rear legs, how to efficiently use their core and STRONG supporting muscles around their joints all play a part in keeping your dog in the game.
Some of the ways you can participate in “cross training” your canine athlete:
· Learning a proper warm up and cool down strategy to improve joint mobility before exercise or performance
· The use of FitPAWS inflatable equipment for strength and balance training. Knowing correct body position is important to maximize the benefits of using this type of equipment.
· The use of Canine Gym equipment such as the K9FITbone, K9FITVest (weighted or cooling) and the K9FITTug
· Trick training for balance and coordination – body position is again very important here.
· Using a Dog Tread Treadmill for sustained trotting to build endurance
· Cavaletti training – spacing between the poles and height of poles are very specific for improving gait and forelimb and hindlimb reach.
· Swimming your dog, straight, and turning in both directions and using all four limbs
· Flexibility training - stretching
It is our job as handlers to go the “extra mile” and learn how to design a program for our canine athletes. If you are unsure of what to do, seek advice from someone who knows.
Check out my online classes (enrolling NOW) to find out more about K9 Conditioning and how I can help you design a program for your dog. I offer in-person private lessons in the Portland, OR area AND ONLINE private lessons through video exchange. Bring K9 conditioning to your town by scheduling a workshop. Contact me today to learn more.
Bobbie Lyons, Cert CF
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT