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Canine Functional Fitness Progressions with DogTread Treadmill

DogTread_KerryFisherExercise Progressions are the Key to Achieving Fitness

 What’s the Key to Improving your Dog’s Fitness?

Canine Fitness can only improve if your dog exercises! Exercise programs should become more challenging over time. This is known as exercise progression – a progressive overloading of the body’s neuromuscular, skeletal and mental systems over time in order to improve fitness. Did I say “over time” twice? Perhaps that’s because it is an important concept!! Body and mind adaptations occur gradually.

 Safe yet Challenging

Just as humans should not jump into an extreme training program, our dogs should start their exercise programs slowly. If not, injury is sure to happen. It’s best to see a professional canine fitness coach to obtain a canine fitness assessment first.

 Functional Conditioning

Canine exercise programs should include training Movements as well as Muscles. Functional movement should be the goal of every fitness program with attention to safety, body alignment and effectiveness of each exercise. Arthritic dogs are able climb the stairs once again. Service dogs can continue to do their work as they age. Performance dogs attain greater achievements with fewer injuries.

 What are some Examples of Fitness Progressions?

When you start a fitness program with your dog, your canine fitness coach can challenge your dog through adjusting variables. Variables changes might include the number of repetitions (reps) of each exercise, the number of sets each group of exercises is performed, the duration (time) that each position is held or exercise length (as in minutes trotting on the DogTread treadmill), whether the dog is working with gravity or added weights, how long the rest periods are between reps or sets, and whether an exercise is performed on the ground or with added balance challenge using balance equipment.

 How to start Canine Treadmill workouts?

First take some time to introduce your dog to your new treadmill. This may take 2-3 sessions of 5-10 minutes. Once your dog is comfortable on the dog treadmill, begin with a walking workout: start with an appropriate warm up which could be a 10 minute brisk walk outside first thing in the morning. Now immediately move indoors to a 10 minute brisk walk on the DogTread treadmill. (Be sure your treadmill is long enough for the size of your dog.) Then slow the treadmill down for a cool down of another 10 minutes.

 When to add in Progressions with Treadmill treading?

The recommendation of increasing challenges to exercise workouts is to progress by about 10% per week. This is a good guideline; your dog may be able to adapt and move faster during some weeks yet needs more time during other weeks. Keeping a fitness journal for your dog may help you determine if you over-challenged your dog. Remember rthat est days can be very beneficial; on these days you can always go for a walk and work on behavior cues.

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Dr-Kerry_FisherAbout the Author: Kerry Fisher, DVM, CCRP ~ your Canine Fitness Expert. Throughout her career as a veterinarian, Dr. Fisher has focused on “Pre-hab and Rehab” for animals, pioneering therapeutic & conditioning exercises with FitPAWS Equipment. She owns Canine Rehab ~ Canine Fitness Unleashed!, a Colorado based Canine Gym with Injury Prevention and Canine Rehabilitation services. She has a passion for and experience with Sports Medicine for sporting, search & rescue, performance, working and hunting dogs. Dr. Kerry also has unique concepts for working with senior canine fitness, weight management, pain management, and behavior modification through exercise. She provides educational hands-on seminars and workshops worldwide. Do you want to take your dog’s fitness to another level? Let’s Get in Touch for a Fitness Assessment and Coaching for your dog. Dr. Kerry uses the DogTread Treadmill-Gait4Dog integrated software system for early Lameness Detection and monitoring the progress your dog is making during the course of rehabilitation. Injury prevention is key! Dr. Fisher is an athlete herself, enjoying endurance triathlons, mountain biking, bicycle touring, backpacking and telemark skiing. She biked, camped and toured 4,000 miles across the Northern Tier of the USA with her yellow Labrador, Mr. Mitchell. 2015 brings some challenging events to her plate: Ironman Arizona (140.6 mile event) and Leadville 100 mountain bike race (103 mile race at 10,000 feet+ elevation). As founder of Grit Gals, Kerry blogs to share her training tactics for these intense races. Human Fitness and Canine Fitness intertwined – to help you and your dogs reach your goals.

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