When it comes to starting a canine fitness program, often times people struggle with where to begin. What kind of equipment do you buy? What exercises are right for your dog? How often should you exercise? What happens if your dog gets injured? How do you prepare your dog for specific fitness goals? These are all valid concerns and the best way to answer these questions is to hire a certified canine fitness professional.
Below we will cover the top five reasons hiring a canine fitness professional is the best thing for you and your dog.
One of the first and most important reasons to hire a canine fitness professional is for their Knowledge and expertise.
Those who have dedicated their time and resources to becoming a canine fitness trainer have the knowledge to design and implement a fitness program that is specifically tailored to you and your dogs needs.
Each trainer is taught how to assess the skills and ability of their clients and make sure they are building the foundation they need to be successful.
Canine fitness is not assessed in a single dimension. We look at the dogs and their abilities in multiple dimensions including cardiorespiratory fitness, balance, strength, flexibility, and mental fitness. Looking at a dog’s ability in each of these areas allows for a more comprehensive program.
Additional knowledge in anatomy, life stages, program design, proper use of equipment and techniques, foundation movements and progression, and knowing when to refer to a veterinarian or other health professional makes having a professional by your side invaluable.
The second reason to hire a canine fitness professional is Accountability.
Commitment to an exercise program is hard enough for us as humans, but add your dog to the mix and that may add another level of difficulty. Having a professional by your side can help you commit.
Research shows that having a one on one personal trainer not only changes people’s attitudes about fitness in general but it also increases the amount of time engaged in physical activity.1 Whether it’s training for an event or a lifestyle change, a professional is committed to you and your dog’s success to the program. They are there to help you stay on track and encourage you through each step in the journey. They will check in on your dog’s progress and be there to answer any question you may have along the way. Having a cheerleader in your corner will help you stay committed.
The third reason to hire a professional has to do with Consistency.
Taking on the task of a new fitness program for your dog can be difficult. How many days a week should you exercise? What should you do on those days? What goals do you want to reach before the next competition? Consistency is at the root of many of these questions. A professional will design a custom plan with specific exercises each day of the week. They will incorporate rest days and give you resources to track and record your progress. With the plan written and mapped out for you, you can be more consistent with the program. It takes the guesswork out of planning what to do and when.
Individual attention highlights the fourth reason why having a professional in your corner is so important.
There can be a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to canine fitness. Each dog, like each person, is an individual. While there may be concepts that apply to the general population, nothing beats the individualized attention and care that a trained professional can provide.
Like people, dogs have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their fitness level. There are dogs that might be pros and jumping, running, or swimming. But, can they sit and stand in a way that encourages proper form and engagement of the abdominal muscles? Sitting seems like a simple task, but when broken down into its various elements it can reveal areas of strength and motor control a dog may need to work on to optimize other aspect of their fitness.
When working with a professional, a full assessment will be done and the program will be individualized to your dog’s level of fitness to assure they have the foundational skills needed to be successful in any endeavor.
Rounding out the top five, hiring a canine fitness professional gives you a place to Start.
Knowing where to begin and where the journey will take you is half the battle. A canine fitness professional will be that sounding block for a lifetime of health and fitness for your dog. Once empowered with the knowledge and skills that comes with working with a canine fitness professional the sky’s the limit.
Learn More about becoming a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer
About the Author: Genevieve Cahill, founder of Modern Animal Behavior has been a Certified Veterinary Technician for 15 years. All throughout her life she has been very passionate about two subjects, fitness and behavior. She completed her two undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Communication and is now pursuing her Masters Degree in Companion Animal Behavior Counseling. Recently, Genevieve found a way to merge her two passions via the FitPAWS Master Trainer/ University of Tennessee Canine Fitness Trainer program and her masters thesis work researching how exercise enhances learning/behavior in shelter dogs. Genevieve believes that behavior and exercise can be completely intertwined and is passionate about bringing that message to pets and their owners. Genevieve’s background as a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and her many years as a Veterinary Technician have prepared her to jump right into this up and coming world of canine fitness.
1McClaran, S.R. (2003). The Effectiveness of Personal Training on Changing Attitudes Towards Physical Activity. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 2, 10-14.