Winter Fitness For Dogs
Here in Minnesota, unless you’re a musher, winter is probably not your favorite season spend time outdoors exercising with your dog. Snow, ice and below zero temperatures can dampen the enthusiasm of even the most dedicated dog owner.
But your dog still needs exercise – and so do you.
Yoga, spinning and swim aerobics are fine for humans; but how should we exercise our dogs when the thermometer bottoms out?
Be creative. Long walks and fetch games are great when the weather is good. When its not consider taking part in some alternative activities with your dog. Hills nutrition recently publicized their PetFitTM program. The information on their website includes streaming video of physical trainer Gunnar Peterson coaching you on several conditioning exercises you can practice with your dog. Its great information – and its free!
The website also provides information on healthy lifestyle habits and weight management. I admit that I’m not a fan of Hill’s Science Diet pet foods, but the information they present in this program is good stuff. The only problem with it is that, unless you have an enormous, empty house (or a convenient heated training building), you’ll find that most of the PetFitTM program is best suited to outdoor activities.
If you’re interested in an indoor exercise program and don’t mind spending a few dollars, Christine Zink and Laurie McCauley (who are both DVMs) have an excellent video called “Building the Canine Athlete”. All of the exercises presented in the video are suitable for indoor work and many of them can even be done from a wheelchair. The video is available from our friends at Tawzer Dog Videos.
If you’d like to learn more about physical training for your canine partner, Tawzer has other videos by Dr. Zink as well as one from Dr. Pat Perkins, who provides helpful information on chiropractic, acupuncture and pre-performance stretching in a full day video presentation.
The Kids – Audie and Zip, working out at the training center.