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Benefits of Canine Conditioning and Fitness
We all know the benefits of working out and eating healthy foods for humans, so it should come as no surprise that fitness and conditioning for dogs has a host of health and behavior benefits. Dogs, much like humans, have better overall health and longevity and fewer behavioral issues when they take part in regular exercise and structured fitness activities. Here are some of the benefits of canine conditioning and fitness.
Prevents Injuries and Rehabilitates
Just like with human beings, being in good shape can help keep dogs from injuring themselves. Working muscles through regular physical fitness stabilizes dogs’ weak areas, protecting them from injury. Dogs gain increased balance and awareness of their body’s position, so fitness prevents falls or running into objects. Conditioning can improve your dog’s reaction times and control over his or her movements. Exercise also gives your dog better trunk and core strength, improved range of motion and elongated muscles, further warding off injury.
If your dog needs to rehabilitate after an injury, illness or surgery, there are specialists that help in the fields of veterinary rehab, orthopedics and physical therapy who can recommend rehabilitative services and physical fitness routines to get your pup up and moving again. But don’t just guess about what your dog needs. Get a recommendation from your veterinarian when trying to help your dog regain mobility after an injury.
Aids in Better Behavior
One of the causes of undesirable behaviors in dogs is boredom and loneliness. Bonding with your dog during conditioning or fitness programs can strengthen your relationship with your dog and make him or her feel more secure, alleviating some behavioral issues. A well-exercised dog is a happy and well behaved dog. When a dog is receiving the physical and mental stimulation he or she needs, the dog is less likely to participate in behaviors like chewing, digging holes and excessive barking.
Structured canine fitness, like dog sports, teach your dog to follow basic and advanced commands. This not only helps your dog learn to listen to you, it teaches you how to best communicate with your dog as you work as a team in these organized activities. This relationship translates to outside of the doggie fitness world when you need your dog to sit, stay and perform other desirable behaviors at home.
Improves Overall Health
Just as humans benefit from regular physical fitness, dogs need exercise to help maintain their weight and condition their bodies. Overweight dogs can develop health issues related to their weight. They can develop diabetes, heart conditions, joint problems and more. And just like humans, dogs’ metabolisms slow as they age, as does their desire to play, so we need to be even more conscious about getting older dogs the exercise they need to keep them healthy and living long lives.
Cardiovascular exercise is important for dogs as it strengthens the heart and lungs and burns calories to keep dogs fit and lean. Strength training helps dogs develop muscle mass to keep dogs energetic, improve their metabolisms (muscle burns more calories than fat) and protect their joints from injury.
Head of the Class Dog Training provides many classes designed to help your dog stay in shape. Our Phys Ed for Fido is the perfect place to start if you think your dog could use some extra exercise, stimulation and fun. Contact us today for more information.
Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.
Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer. Lisa is also a certified FitPaws Master Trainer and K9 Fit Club instructor, as well as ACE certified Group Exercise Instructor and Yoga class instructor (for humans).
She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, Lisa works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.