I get emails or messages on Facebook daily asking me, is this safe or that safe or what do "I" think about "this" or "that". Although I do have an opinion, my first question is always - "What is your goal and how will the exercise help you achieve it". What I am finding is that many folks don't really KNOW what their goal is, they just think the exercise might be fun to train or it is "flashy" and their ego would like their dog to do it. Step away from what is new and shiny for a few minutes and consider the information below. Always remember when watching a video or seeing a photo, that EVERY exercise has foundation steps required to "build up" to a harder level. If you don't understand the foundation steps required for an exercise, ask the person who posted it. Starting at the foundation level is your dog's best chance for staying free of injury and learning how to engage the proper muscles to support strength training activities.
When considering an exercise for your dog, be mindful of these things:
In addition to looking at your dog, the handler must know a thing or two:
All of these things should be considered before starting any exercise program or trying a new exercise with your dog. Our dogs are amazing creatures and a good number of them will do whatever we ask of them, even if they think we are crazy. If you ask for an exercise that is beyond your dog's current level of fitness pushing them to much or to fast, will lend to injury.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all exercises are right or intended for all dogs.
Always remember to train the foundation behaviors that prepare your dog for higher levels of fitness. It is important to understand your dog's signs of fatigue as well as signs that it is time to increase to the next level.
CCFT - Certification
The information available out there is abundant but as an instructor for the CCFT program, I can assure you that it will teach you exercises philosophy, how to design a progressive fitness program, proper posture and position, equipment combination, how to assess your dog and others, signs of fatigue and will give clear boundaries for "taking it to the next level". The FitPAWS Master Trainer LIVE Program, together with the University of Tennessee online course, will earn you the first university backed certificate of Canine Fitness - CCFT.
Bobbie Lyons Online Classes - These courses are designed to teach proper form and function of each exercise for strength, improved performance and injury prevention.
Jumping Power - Strength training and program design specific to jump training - Enrolling 4/12
K9X Training - Foundation skills, progression of exercise, equipment combos - Enrolling 4/12
Injury Prevention for Psoas and Shoulders - enrolling in the Summer
Walk the Way - DogTread Treadmill Class - trot work and strength training - Enrolling in the Summer
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT