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Fitness is as important for puppies as for adult dogs.

Puppies can benefit from fitness exercise by helping them coordinate their nervous system, have good body awareness, and mentally challenge them.  

There are some cautions with puppies as you work them. 

First be patient and have fun!  Puppies are like kids in learning.  It takes time to allow them to figure things out with repetition and treats. They will learn what you are asking with consistent action and rewarding when they do it correctly. Rewarding is a whole different topic that I will write on later or give some references.  Have FUN!  Puppies are about play. So play with them and bring out your inner child again.   

Second be aware of their joint health. Puppies have growth plates on the end of their bones that allows them to grow tall and strong. Growth plates are soft areas at the end of long bones, like the femur and humerus, with rapidly dividing cells regulated by hormones that slows down at puberty.  If those growth plates are injured while they are growing the dog is more at risk for arthritis later in life.  What can you do?  Allow your puppy to play at their own pace. DO NOT run long distance with your puppy unless you have a cart or sack to carry them when they get tired.  Allow the puppy to run when they play at their pace so they can stop when tired.  DO NOT jump with them.  Allow them to play and jump at their own level so they can rest with fatigue.  Gentle play is best until the growth plates close about 1-2 years depending on the size of the dog.  Puppy culture has a great brochure with guidelines as to what activity to work with your puppy as they grow up.

Exercise fun with your puppy

Fitness exercises like elevated stand and step overs are great basics to start with your puppy.  They begin to work on balance and it mentally challenges them so they are tired for you.  As these exercises become part of their routine they will have a stronger body and foundation for play, work, or competition.

Mentally challenging a puppy is also part of a fitness program to help them work out problems.  Freeze a kong with baby food flavors like chicken, turkey, pumpkin, and squash to give them when you have a project to work on.  They can work on the frozen kong and it is a reward for being good while you work.  As they manipulate the kong with their paws it will stretch out the joints and strengthen them up too.

GO have FUN with your puppy! Let us know what exercises they like best.

Stronger Dog Stronger Bond!

 

Does your dog really need a workout routine?

  I thought this was a crazy idea a few years ago, I mean they are dogs and they know how to take care of themselves.  Right?

Dogs use to live in packs where they would play bow, weave, wrestle, and chase each other.  This was more apparent to me as I watched a friend’s pack of dogs playing in the yard.  Today dogs live in a household of one or maybe two dogs so they do not get the same play that their predecessors did.  As a result they are becoming injured at an increasing rate when jumping off the couch, bed, or out of the car.

What can you do?  If you are a pet parent or owner that truly wants to create a healthier dog then it is very simple steps you can take.  Canine physical fitness is a new field in the animal world.  It consist of people that have anything from a little training to lots of training and it is your job to research those people so your dog does not get injured in the process of helping them become stronger. You can find ‘My Story’ on another page.

You researched and found an canine fitness trainer your dog trust and relates to your needs.  Give them a call to have a quick consult to see if it is a good fit to work together and then get started.

Here are 2 exercises that will help to start improving your dog’s health today. 

  1. Front feet up or elevated stand- ask your dog to step up on a low solid step to shift their weight to the hind legs which will help strengthen their glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and gastroc muscles.
  2. Step over sticks- ask your dog to step over sticks on the ground as you are on walks.  This will increase the proprioception in their feet to help them be more agile.   Read more on proprioception on my previous article ‘Proprioception, What is it’
Front feet up or elevated stand

If you want video instruction jump over to our Facebook page for a video pinned at the top of the page on how to do the above exercises and more. These are easy to add to your routine on a daily walk by stepping up on a curb and holding it.  These are simple ways to create a stronger canine and improve your animal human bond.

Leave us a comment on how your exercises are going.

Update: If your dog does sustain an injury they are recovering from, here is a good article on how to make both your lives easier during the healing time.