Canine Conditioning Tips for Endurance
Most dog owners believe that feeding a pup well and taking it out for walks and jogs is all that is required for the health and well-being of the dog. This is also justified when the dog has a good coat and stays away from infections and diseases. But most dog owners do not realize that there is much more to dog health.
Dogs need exercises to keep their bodies flexible and agile. Pups that are trained for a career in athletics, hunting, search and rescue, sledding etc. are given various exercises as a part of the training routine. These exercises help to increase the strength and endurance of the pups. Overtime, a need for these exercises has been identified in domestic dogs as well. There are trainings and diploma programs that are being designed and organized around canine conditioning that are help dog trainers and dog breeders in conditioning their dogs for higher endurance.
There are a number of exercises that can be combined to create an exercise routine for dogs to achieve different objectives like promoting joint and core stabilization, increasing the range of motion, improving strength and endurance etc. Before any exercise routine, however, it is important to do a warm up. This could be a five minute walk or a brisk full body scrub.Some of the exercises that can be practiced at home to improve endurance are –
1. Sprinting – Sprinting is a great exercise to increase endurance in dogs. To limit the exercise, two spots can be selected at a distance of 15-25 ft. from each other and the dog can be made to sprint between the two. The pace needs to be fast and at least 10-12 repetitions need to be done. Obstacle to jump over or crawl under can also be added to increase variety.
2. Alternate walks and Jogs – This exercise involves alternating walks and jogs between two points. To make the exercise fun, this can be done even on a regular walk or jog track where the dog is usually taken. The alternation can be done between a brisk walk and a slow walk or a brisk walk and a jog.
3. Play ball – More commonly called ‘go and fetch’, this exercise involves throwing a toy that the dog loves chasing and running with the dog to fetch it. This way, the dog sees it as a competition and even further enjoys bringing the toy back.
4. Dog treadmill – A dog treadmill greatly helps in building endurance in dogs. The running speeds can be adjusted to elevate the heart rate of the dog and as the exercise routine runs over a few weeks, the speeds and running time can be increased.
It is necessary to make sure that the dog enjoys these activities. If the dog shows lack of interest towards any of these exercises, a different one should be tried. Also, it is necessary to play along with dogs so that the dog connects with the owner. These exercises are fun and help improve canine endurance. And most importantly, they build a bond between the dog and the owner.