Feel like getting fit but don't have the will power to exercise alone? Have you given up on finding a friend to motivate you? Need a companion to exercise with to make working out fun? Well finding the perfect training partner may be easier than you think! We asked Nicole Beasley of Planet K9 Dog Training, Richard Moore of Sports Plus Fitness (personal training) and Dr. Emma Whiston (veterinarian) to design a program that will get you and your dog fit at the same time.
This exercise program is designed for healthy adult dogs only. If your dog is a puppy or has health problems please ask you local veterinarian to modify this programme to suit your dog. Remember to always have fresh drinking water available for your dog and allow your dog to work at their own pace'. - Dr. Emma Whiston B.VSc.
Start your work out with a game of soccer. Even if your dog is not initially interested in the soccer ball you are likely to gain his attention if you kick the ball around enthusiastically by yourself.
Leg Weave. To begin, use a food treat or toy as a lure to encourage your dog to move under your leg as you walk forward. As your dog moves in the right direction provide praise and a reward. As your dog's movement becomes more fl uent remove the lure and reward for longer sequences of leg weaving.
Sprints. Ask your dog to sit and stay while you throw the ball as far as you possibly can. When the ball lands give your dog the cue 'GO' and race each other to the ball.
Skipping. Now this exercise is certain to raise your heart rate. Firstly, you will need to teach your dog to jump up on cue. To do this hold a favourite toy or a food treat above the head. Say 'skip' and praise and reward as they jump up towards the lure. Now practice jumping with your dog as you give the cue 'skip'. When you and your dog have mastered jumping up together it is time to introduce the skipping rope.
Go Round. This will give you a chance to slow down and get your breath back. Teach your dog to run out and around an object such as a tree or goal post. Initially you will need to stand close to the object and use a toy or food treat to lure your dog. Give the cue 'Go Round' and as your dog moves around the object praise and reward. Gradually increase your distance away from the object.
Weaving through cones. If you train your dog in agility this exercise will be fairly straight forward. If not visit our website www.advancepet.com.au click on obedience and training and look up 'Teaching the Weave Poles'. As your dog becomes more competent at weaving through the cones add an extra set for yourself.
Jump over legs. Begin with your foot resting up against a solid support , such as a tree. Encourage your dog to jump over your leg using a food treat or toy. As your dog becomes more reliable gradually move away from the support. If you have trouble keeping your balance you may wish to keep using the support.
Jump over arms. This trick is taught the same way as the previous trick. Begin with your arm up against a support such as a tree. Gradually build up to having your dog jump over one arm - run around behind you and jump over your other arm.
Jump through your arms. Find a solid obstacle such as a tree or wall. Ask your dog to sit and stay while you place their favourite toy or a food two body lengths away. Crouch down next to the tree and form a circle with your arms. Encourage your dog to walk through your arms to reach their reward. Gradually increase the height at which you ask your dog to jump.
Exercise Nine & Ten
Jogging Forwards & Backwards. To teach your dog to walk backwards make a short corridor using a solid wall and your plastic cones. Hold a food treat or toy in front of your body to get your dog's attention. Gently step into your dog and say 'back'. As they move backwards, praise and reward them. The cones will help to keep your dog moving backwards and forwards in a straight line. As your level of fitness increases try this exercise working up and down a slope.
Gentle stretches for your dog It is important to only stretch when the muscles are warm. Always move and stretch a dog's limbs in their natural range of motion. Stretch your dog slowly and gently and only stretch the limb to 75 per cent of its stretching capability. Hold each stretch for no longer than 20 seconds. When you release a stretch gently return the limb to its original position. If your dog shows any signs of discomfort while stretching stop immediately and talk to your veterinarian.
*As your level of fitness increases repeat this circuit up to three times with a two minute break in between each circuit. Stretch at the end of the third circuit.