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Dog Exercise Log: Weekly Program

DogLog_Exercise-GuidelinesCoaches and athletes use it to monitor performance. Researches refer to it as the key for consistent and permanent weight loss.  What is it? A Training Log. So does your dog need it? Well until your dog can read, maybe not – but it can help you focus on your dog’s physical and mental exercise needs.

What may seem like a recording of trivial data can be the basis for analyzing progress. But a second important reason to log your dog’s activity is to identify what may have led up to injury or illness…or an off day.

A plan – or in this case – a Dog Exercise Log is a great way to help you stay motivated and proactive with your dogs health.

Understanding how much and what type of activity your dog gets on a daily basis is not only important to their physical health, but also to their behavior.

So what should be included in your Dog Log?
Anthony Woerner, Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) and Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practioner (CCRP) recommends, at a minimum, to include the core exercise components of cardio, strength and flexibility. Alternating focus on different parts of the body throughout the week ensures that you are addressing physical fitness of the entire body.

Obedience skills are another important activity to include. Mental fitness exercises are often overlooked and equally important to your dogs well-being. Professional Dog Trainer Kathy Santo recommends practicing obedience skills at least three (3) days a week, but preferably five (5) days.

Tracking nutrition/diet components, calories in and calories can also be useful for weight management and dog athletes. Special tools like the Canine Gym App powered by SlimDoggy can make this task easier and more manageable.

*Review Exercise TABS below for more guidelines from our experts to help you create your own plan. Need help designing one specifically for your dog contact one of our Canine Coaches.

Companion Pets – Alternate Days
Performance/Competitive Pets – 5 Days a Week +

Canine cardio is performed with intensity. It should involve the aerobic system. This is not your evening or morning sniff stroll. This is a heart-pumping activity that is aimed at oxygenating blood.

The most typical aerobic exercise is called road work and can be accomplished with owner running, biking, skating, or on a scooter beside their dog. If an owner is not physically able to perform these activities then playing long-distance fetch, swimming, or a dog-specific treadmill can be useful to achieve the intensity needed for aerobic development.

Walking is always a good place to start for unconditioned dogs and owners – just remember to pick up the pace a bit and build gradually by about 5-10% each week.

Time: Varies with Breed, Age and Health – Aim for 20 minutes of continuous movement. High drive breeds aim for 45 minutes or more.  Your dog should be tired after a cardio session.

Rule of Paw: If your dog is sore, back off intensity. Always strive for purposeful movement. Watch for changes in gait or ability to perform.

Companion Pets – Alternate Days
Performance/Competitive Pets – 5 Days a Week +

The most common form of strength training for dogs is resistance training. In other words, the movement of a body part or parts of a dog is made more difficult with an opposing force. The opposing force can be body weight or exercise tool like balance boards or surfaces like the K9FITbone, FitPAWS balls, K9FITvest or bands. When properly performed strength training can provide great benefits to overall health.

Time: Varies with Strength and Conditioning – Start with 5-10 reps with goals of 20-30 of each exercise demonstrating good technique.

Rule of Paw: Encourage correct movements. Build gradually and progressively. Start small and increase slowly.

All Pets – Everyday

Stretching is essential to reducing injury and is a great way to warm up the body by increasing circulation. Ensure that you have reviewed proper stretching techniques with a professional to review joint movement and limitations.

Time: Warm up by doing 3-5 minutes of low intensity stretching and walking. This helps prevent injury by raising body temperature, making muscles more flexible and less susceptible to injury during a stretch.

Rule of Paw: To safely and effectively stretch general knowledge of joints and muscles, as well as joint movement and direction is important.

All Pets – 3+ Days a Week

Obedience skills not only help you to have a well-behaved pet, but can also provide life saving skills. A dog that comes when called, or stops on cue is much safer and allows you to enjoy many more activities. The combination of physical and mental exercises will also help your dog become more relaxed and calm.

Time: 15-30 minutes every other day is a great place to start.

Rule of Paw: If you aren’t sure where to start, seek a professional to help you work on basic skills. Ensure you are cuing properly to help your dog understand what you are asking him/her to do.

All Pets – 3+ Days a Week

Having fun with unstructured play is a great way to help you connect and bond with your pet on a deeper level. Sometimes we forget the power of simple play for us and our dogs. It helps us smile and relax to let go of stress in a way that is so simple.

Time: Fit it in as often as you can for as long as you can. Aim for at least 5 minutes. Great to incorporate after you have completed a structured task to signify your dog is done.

Rule of Paw: Keep it fun, refrain from challenging your dog or invoking dominance with some breeds.

Krista Wickens_PetZen Products_DogTreadAbout the Author: As a dedicated lifestyle athlete and co-inventor of the award winning DogTread® Dog Treadmill, CanienGym Gear K9FIT vest and the StayBall® Balance Ball, Krista Wickens has a unique understanding of the mechanics of fitness for both the human and canine body. As a former fitness product manager, Krista created best-selling products used by the biggest names in Human Fitness for such iconic brands as Reebok, Gold’s Gym and NordicTrack. Her love for animals, particularly dogs started on a Montana Cattle Ranch where she was raised. She trained her first dog Bear at the age of 7. These experiences have led to the development of a unique line of canine fitness products that are designed from a dog’s perspective and take into account the unique aspects of canine behavior and anatomy. Krista is also the co-author and producer of Treading for Dogs DVD and 30-day Dog Treadmill Training Program, please email for more information.

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