top of page

A balanced exercise program which impacts all 10 aspects of health uses 5 elements - it's just

Willy nilly never worked for anybody! That's why, when you started teaching your dog the skills she needed to learn (whether basic life lessons or all the various aspects involved in formal sport training) you had a GOAL in mind and a PLAN to achieve it. Fair for her - more fun for you

When the same Goal oriented approach is applied using the 5 elements for exercising, you can be certain that your dog is improving all 10 aspects of health / each region of the body equally AND, for those dogs who compete in sports, that the exercise choices complement the components of training in order to avoid isolating and overworking muscles = break down = repetitive strain injury = the #1 crisis for athletic dogs

The 10 aspects of health:

Physical (Gross motor) skills: Strength / Endurance / Flexibility / Stamina*

Fine Motor skills: coordination / agility / balance / accuracy / (power & speed)**

The 5 Elements for a balanced program:

STRENGTH: low / moderate / high impact ~ mild / moderate / high intensity using varied sets/reps (frequency) & duration. Strength training has the dog traveling over a short distance (Retrieves) many times = sets / performing the same exercise (Squats) repeatedly = repetitions / or for short periods (duration: max 3 minutes/session)

Plan for CORE strength separately, as it is a crucial aspect of conditioning which is often overlooked. It goes beyond healthy muscles – this region of your dog contains every aspect of his life support system! Digestion / Bowel & Bladder / Reproduction, all the glands which provide and regulate hormone production not to mention cardiac and respiratory systems. The spinal column is protected by the abdominal and para-spinal muscles! Spinal integrity is of primary concern because our dogs travel on a horizontal plane - against gravity!

A strong CORE is also the key to achieve enhanced Proprioception (for coordination, balance, agility & accuracy aka: SELF CONTROL).

One of the easiest and best exercises (and the one getting the most "buzz") is the Sit UP.

Just imagine the muscle contractions going on to maintain this position! Even the tail is hard at work helping to prevent the dog from tipping over backward!

PROPRIOCEPTION: is now recognized as the key to optimal health and PERFORMANCE! This is the body’s awareness of itself in space - at rest and in motion (we mention both as separate actions because each is controlled by two different areas of the Inner Ear – and will be significantly impaired if your dog suffers from chronic ear infections).

Here is the cool part - dogs with high proprioception experience increased mental well being, a greater ability to learn and develop coordinated, synchronized movement which results in strong bodies able to cope with whatever life throws at them.

Dogs with low proprioception show impaired mental well being, limited learning abilities and are left with restricted, uncomfortable movement that is uncoordinated, unhealthy and leads to injuries!

ENDURANCE: moderate / vigorous intensity levels. Conditioning has the dog traveling at a consistent brisk/fast pace for an extended period of time (max: 20-40 minutes, 3x/week) - alter intensity safely using the environment/terrain (flat, hills, sand, plowed fields, forest trails, stairs, water*...) rather than extending the duration.

When the intensity level increases (add hills or on sand), the duration decreases.

Flat work (running on level terrain) = 30 minutes

Flat work + hills + sand = 15 minutes

FLEXIBILITY: refers to the length and capability of a muscle to affect joint range of motion and the smooth, recycling of effortless energy and adequate shock absorption. Optimal muscle tone is achieved using stretches and movement at the end range of movement. Exercises are a combination flex/strength: max 3 minutes / session

MENTAL well-being: never under estimate the importance of PLAY to relieve stress and build confidence (especially for puppies/young dogs {high drive / athletes} and seniors). Dogs with impaired mental well-being use restricted, tense movement which leads to chronic, mis-use repetitive strain injuries

There is a detailed list of Exercises for each of the 5 elements to create a balanced program in our Workbook! Click on the book to go to Amazon for a "peek inside" and to order your copy today...

*Stamina also known as vigor, is the body’s ability to withstand illness and fatigue. This is the aspect of health which is lost due to a lack of fitness in one aspect or another which then weakens the body and leaves it at risk for illness or injury and should not be confused with Endurance

**Power/Speed our exercise model is based on one which improves/enhances the overall condition of your dog, therefor power & speed will improve as a result of practice so there is no need to focus on these aspects of health

Once you get into the habit of Planning your training/exercise sessions, the first benefit is realizing that doing LESS is MORE because now your efforts are BETTER focused ~ this also makes it easier to stay on track and adjust as your dog's needs change (due to age / weather / time limitations...)

Even if all you do is add some simple exercises to your daily Leash Walk, in no time at all you will find the extra effort it takes for a new habit to become second nature is paying off - you and your dog are now optimizing your time together WORKING OUT not just AIRING OUT!!

  • Facebook Black Round
  • Google+ - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
bottom of page