Starting a Fitness Program for Your Dog

So, you’ve decided to get started with a fitness plan for your dog, and hopefully yourself.  If there have been far too many treats and nights sitting on the couch watching television, your pup may have a few pounds to lose.

Pug on scaleTo start a fitness plan for Fido, follow the same common sense steps that are recommended for humans who have been inactive.

1. Get a health check.  Your veterinarian can check your dog and give advice about an appropriate exercise regimen, with respect to the dog’s age, physical issues (e.g., hips) heart, and breed or type.

2. Set goals. Remember the behavioral principle of shaping. You might begin with a walk to the mailbox on Day 1, Day 2 walk part of the way down the street, Day 3 walk around the block, etc.

3. Choose exercise that is appropriate for your breed or breed type. If you decide to start jogging and your dog is a 12-year old Basset, find a human friend to run with you. This activity is not a good match for your dog. If you have young Labrador Retriever that you can’t keep up with, walking may not provide enough exercise for this fit, active canine. In this case, having your dog fetch a ball might be a good idea.

4. Watch for any signs of over-exertion.  Know the signs and symptoms of over exercising and don’t over-do it.  We’ll talk about monitoring and measuring exercise in the next blog.

Do you have a regular fitness routine for your dog?

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About Canine Good Citizen

AKC Canine Good Citizen Director, Author of the AKC's official CGC book, "CITIZEN CANINE"
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