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Hunter’s First Gaiting

Hunter on Gait4Dog DogTread Dog Treadmill at Dr Kerry Facility in Golden Colorado Canine Fitness and Canine Rehab

Dogs Weight Pull? Serious Conditioning, Self-Confidence & Injury Prevention Programs are Keys to Successful Competition.

Introducing Hunter, a big Weight Pulling Husky x Malamute mix:

Last night we gaited Hunter on the DogTread treadmill, using the Gait4Dog computerized gaiting system. Shannon brought him to me for a routine gaiting and a comprehensive, preventative sports medicine examination. Hunter’s had no health concerns.

 Weight Pulling?

Dog Pulling is akin to a tractor pull. Dogs compete to see who can pull the most weight 16 feet. They pull a wheeled cart on an earthen surface, or a sled on snow. The handler has no contact with the dog during the pull, so it’s up to the dogs willingness to pull. Safety of the dog is of paramount concern.

 What makes a Weight Pulling Dog Successful?

Shannon describes training dogs for weight pulling, “I think the two most important things in training are the dog’s desire to listen to the human and confidence. Any dog can pull, it’s just trusting the human enough to listen and ‘come here’ and know that they won’t get hurt by the thing behind them.”


 What’s IWPA?

The International Weight Pull Association is a non-profit association that promotes the sport of dog pulling through well-organized, sanctioned events. The purpose of IWPA is to promote the working heritage of all dogs. The IWPA also promotes a program to keep dogs in good physical condition with a constructive outlet for canine competition.


Don’t Dogs get Hurt Weight Pulling?

As in any sport, owners with weight pulling dogs should realize that injury prevention is important. Since IWPA’s organization in 1984, no dogs have been hurt in competition. Shannon shares her weight pulling philosophy: IWPA and myself are focused on never letting a dog get hurt. According to the IWPA, in their 30 years of existence, no dog has ever been hurt doing weight pulling at their competitions internationally since the judges will stop everything to make sure the dog is ok”.

 2015 IWPA Championships:

Head to Estes Park, Colorado April.24-26 to see incredible canine athletes during the 2015 International Weight Pull Association (IWPA) International Weight Pull Championships. This is a benefit dog weight pull. All proceeds from this event benefit Colorado Children’s Hospital, specifically children with cancer.

HunterGLSIMG_4343What’s the Plan for Hunter?

I found abnormal Gaiting Lameness Scores after our initial gait assessment of Hunter. This active and healthy dog has no visible lameness and moves well during work and play. By providing early gaiting assessment, along with a thorough sports medicine exam, we can determine routes needed for injury prevention. I’ve recommended further testing of Hunter’s hips. He’s headed for PennHip radiographs and some soft tissue therapy. I will then create an individualized conditioning exercise program tailored for Hunter.


Brenda Halverson
Photo Credit: Brenda Halverson ~



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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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