Every dog needs a little R and R, right? This can be a confusing topic for those whose dogs train and compete in canine sports.
What exactly does a rest day entail for your dog as a canine athlete? What can your dog do or not do on that day? Why does your dog need it? Is a rest day different from a recovery day?
The Active Rest Day
A rest day is a day that your dog uses to physically and mentally recharge. It is a full day off, not just a few hours or an evening. Your dog's body will use this time to repair tissues.
A rest day is ideally an ACTIVE rest day in that your dog will maintain some degree of activity instead of just lounging all day. Active rest days are more accurately called active recovery days in the context of canine fitness and sports.
Benefits of An Active Recovery Day
Without effective active recovery days, all the rewards and benefits of fitness training can be negated. There are specific physiologic benefits to an active recovery day.
The Fast Start Fitness program was created to help dog owners squeeze canine fitness into their busy lives.
This program provides a broad based, general fitness program that any healthy dog can begin by simply following the step by step exercises. Previously this program was only available to those who had purchased a K9 Fitness Solutions membership subscription, but now it is available to anyone.
The program begins with teaching your dog common fitness movements. From there, the program moves into the foundation of the K9 Fitness Pyramid:
Most importantly, strength training - the single most critical aspect of any fitness training program - is included. With specific strengthening exercises, it provides a solid approach to using body weight resistance for strength training in your dog.
This program is divided into 2 phases, each 6 weeks long....
There are 10 essential steps to having great workouts with your dog. If you follow these 10 steps, you will increase the effectiveness, increase the safety, and increase the enjoyment from each and every workout with your dog.
The first 5 steps, as we discussed previously, are:
STEP 6: GET EQUIPPED. Equipping your canine home gym will vary with your location, your goals, your budget and many other factors. But you will need at least a few pieces of equipment to really achieve your fitness goals. In many cases, you can make or use items around your home. You will find it easier to achieve your fitness goals if you dedicate these items for your dog gym. However, investing in high quality, canine conditioning equipment is wise for the serious athlete.
STEP 7: KNOW YOUR FITNESS GOALS We are talking SMART goals here. Different from your motivation, now you need to make your goals SMART: specific,...
There are 10 essential steps to having great workouts with your dog. If you follow these 10 steps, you will increase the effectiveness, increase the safety, and increase the enjoyment from each and every workout with your dog. Here are the first 5 of these Essential Steps, taken from our K9 Fitness Journal.
Step 1: Motivation.
The first step to a great workout with your dog is understanding why you are doing it. What is your reason for fitness training with your dog? Is it to enhance performance? Or reduce the risk of your dog getting injured? Or maybe, you want to prepare your dog for your sport so your dog can have a long, and successful career. Try to hone in on your number one reason.
Now you need to know what motivates your dog. Is it the high value food? The tug of the toy or the toss of the ball? Is it your undivided attention? You need...
Stable versus Unstable: which is the best for strengthening?
Many dog sports enthusiasts train their canine athletes in fitness with the goal of reducing the risk of injury and increasing longevity in their sport, as well as hoping to improve their dog’s performance.
Studies support that strength training is the single most important component of fitness training to keep your dog injury free and thus able to compete for a long time. But there remains a great deal of confusion regarding strength training in dogs and just how to do it.
Strength training is a type of training that increases strength by gradually increasing the resistance the muscles must overcome.
In people, strength training often involves the use of external weights (think dumbbells, barbells, weight machines) and occasionally just body weight resistance (think push-ups, pull ups, and sit-ups.) In dogs, this is most often done using body weight resistance, but can also be done using external weights like...
Videos are one of the most helpful, but often underutilized, tools that a canine sports competitor has available to improve performance. Performance in agility, fly ball, dock diving, conformation, herding or whatever your chosen sport, can all improve with the use of frequent video reviews. Videos are tremendously helpful in identifying performance issues, miscommunication problems, and weaknesses. For instance, in agility, reviewing video of how your dog is doing the weave poles in particular, can really help identify spinal or front leg issues that might be brewing in your dog. These video reviews not only help identify potential problems with sport specific skills but also provide feedback in your dog's fitness training progress.
We, at K9 Fitness Solutions, recommend that videos be reviewed often. Even when no issues are apparent, a quick video review may help identify minor issues before they become major problems. A video created and reviewed on a regular basis also...
Canine fitness is an ever growing area and the volume of information available is increasing quickly. With the rapid growth in the field, there are more and more exercises to choose from. The trick is sorting through it all to find what applies to us and our sports, as well as knowing what our dog should be doing. What works for one dog may not work for our dog at all.
But how do we wade through the mass of exercises and information? What’s the best workout, the best routine for our dog?
To help navigate through the mountains of information, we have created “Road Maps” through the K9 Fitness Pyramid.
The K9 Fitness Pyramid shows us how the components of fitness build upon each other and provides a general order for working and building fitness in our dogs. Exercises are broken down by the category, or categories, of the Pyramid that they support. But to get a more specific fitness program that best suits our dog, we need a bit more...
The Klimb platform is a great dog training tool that we use frequently in canine fitness. In this quick video, we show you how to add a yoga mat onto the Klimb for added traction during your canine exercise and fitness sessions.
Clean off the Klimb to get all of the dog hair, drool, etc off of it. Let dry.
Trim the yoga mat to the surface of the Klimb using scissors. It's better to cut a little too small, if you're erroring one way or the other.
Glue the yoga mat down using a spray adhesive. Use in a well ventilated area or outside. Start in the middle of the yoga mat and the Klimb. Wait one minute to dry.
Trace around the edges and corners using a pen, push hard, and you can follow along the edge/corners. Trim with a pair of scissors.
Use spray adhesive around the edges of the yoga mat.
Let dry for 24 hours.
Note that there is now a mat available as an accessory for the Klimb platform if you choose to purchase one...
Why do we focus so much on your dog's form while doing fitness exercises? Why is it so important?
The answer is very simple – the results depend on the dog’s form. You should care about proper form if you care about the intended results. Doing an exercise with the right form is the only way to consistently achieve the desired results, and that is why we focus on form with every exercise we teach. If you want to make your dog stronger, faster, more agile, or even just more aware of his body, then you must achieve the correct form with each exercise in your dog’s fitness training.
Canine fitness training is more than simple parlor tricks. Every single exercise your dog does should be done with a specific purpose in mind.
You should know the purpose and it should fit with the overall goals you have for your dog. The purpose should be a physical reason. The purpose may include goals like:
Creating new habits, such as consistently working out with your K9 athlete, takes a plan. We want you to make progress and reach your goal without becoming discouraged, so we offer these 3 tips for making your dog’s fitness training a routine part of life.
When a new behavior is really easy, you don’t need much motivation to do it. When a behavior is difficult, much more motivation is required. At any given moment, motivation can change. So we recommend you keep it simple.
Start with small achievable goals. Rather than committing to a general goal like working out every day, try to identify and commit to achievable habits, like working out two days per week or adding balance training into your current routine. The smaller and simpler a habit is, the easier it will be to do without having to rely entirely on motivation.
The positive emotions that come with accomplishing these small goals will...