Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but that doesn't mean they can't all be fit! In this guide, we will discuss how to get any breed of dog in shape. Whether your dog is a tiny Chihuahua or a large Great Dane, we have the tips you need to help them stay healthy and active. So whether you're just starting out or you've been trying to get your dog fit for years, or for those already into coursing, Fast Cat, or Fast Dog sports, our lures will help you and your dog get in shape and chase harder and faster while having a blast, read on for the ultimate guide to getting your furry friend into shape!
WHY GET YOUR DOG FIT?
Pretty simple, even if it's not for sport or competition, your dog should have at least a basic level of fitness to stay off the vets' table! You want to prolong the dog's life, and more importantly, ensure the dog has the best possible life, getting fit is also fun and rewarding for any dog, plus it means they're interacting with you or another person training them, this is critical for their mental health too.
Finally, before we get into the 9 methods to get your dog fit, make sure you are providing enough opportunities for your dog to play outside. Dogs love to run and play, so give them plenty of chances to do just that. Plus it builds a great bond and trust between you both. A healthy dog is a happy dog, and by following these tips, you can help your dog live a longer, healthier life!
So let's get into it!
1 : WALKING YOUR DOG part 1
How long should I walk my dog?
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get your dog movin'g and groovin'. All you need is a leash, some walking shoes, and plenty of time! But don't walk on hot days, and always be looking ahead for dangers such as glass or aggressive dogs off their leash.
The amount of walking exercise your dog needs will vary depending on its breed, size, and age. A good rule of thumb is to walk your dog for 15 minutes for the first few days, then build up to at least 30 minutes per day, most dogs are happy to go for 1-hour walks.
2 : WALKING YOUR DOG part 2 (walking machine)
To avoid using the weather as an excuse, indoor walking machines are a great addition to your training arsenal.
The best machines are the ones with soft start, and rubber belts. Look for walking machines with adjustable speeds, some dogs don't do well with high speed at first.
Start your dog out slow, walking them just a couple of minutes the first time. Build up their time on the machine gradually to avoid injury. Some recommend no more than 20-30 minutes per day on the walking machine.
You can also find machines that can elevate to create an incline, and also ones that force the dog into a run. Stick with the branded companies, so you're covered with any issues the machine may have, or as simple as needing to change the belt.
3 : RUNNING WITH YOUR DOG part one
If you can't justify the investment into a running machine, then running with your dog is an option. But just like people, not every dog is cut out for running for too long, so do all the previous steps first to build a good level of fitness. Also, before you lace up and head out the door, make sure that your pup has plenty of energy and isn't prone to joint pain or other health problems.
If you're both ready to start running together, take it slow at first. Start with a five-minute run and work your way up to longer distances. Always be on the lookout for dangers such as cars, bicycles, and other dogs.
4 : RUNNING WITH YOUR DOG part two
If you're looking for a more challenging workout, consider running with your dog in tow. Not all breeds can keep up with a human runner, so make sure that your pup is physically capable of completing the run.
Before you head out, train your dog to stay by your side while running. This can be done by walking them next to you and rewarding them when they stay close. Once they've mastered this skill, take them on short runs and gradually increase their distance over time.
5 : FREE GALLOPING YOUR DOG
A free gallop is a great way to let your dog just be a dog, sniffing and sprinting at will.
Finding a safe place for your dog to gallop is key. A large, fenced-in park with plenty of room to run is ideal, but make sure the area isn't too crowded and that your pup always has you within sight.
When you're first starting, keep an eye on your dog's behaviour. If they seem overwhelmed or start to chase after people or animals, it might be time to head back home.
And for greyhounds, particularly race dogs, a free gallop is a great way to break the monotony of the kennel life. Again, a large safe area to twist and turn is key. Using a ball or a football is also great to stimulate the dog, and this will also help with bonding and mental health.
6 : SPRINT LANE RUNNING
Pretty much all pets won't have access to these facilities, so this is more for greyhound trainers. But for those outside of the greyhound industry, sprint lanes are generally 2 separate 100-150M x 3-5M side by side running lanes, covered in sand or sawdust or fine dirt. 1 dog is put into each lane at a time, and they run back and forth trying to outdo each other.
This is fine for gaining or maintaining general fitness, but each dog will only go as quick as the slowest of the two. We highly recommend trainers cease this type of training, and install a lure system in the middle of the lanes.
Our main reason for this, and yes, it's based on years of experience, is that you're teaching the dogs to chase each other. They need to be chasing a lure and not a tail. So at a minimum, you should be doing 80% solo with the lure and 20% with another dog without a lure, this will ensure your dogs chase properly at all times, particularly in a competition, trial or race. The same goes for whippet and lurcher trainers that use this method or similar to.
The added advantage of using a lure system in sprint lanes is the fact you'll be able to control each dog's workload, speed, tempo. As well as do focus training by stop/starting the lure to keep the focus at its peak. And by watching the one dog at a time, you'll pick up on lameness or anything related to soreness or a fresh injury, which will prevent more serious and possibly career-ending injuries in the future.
7 : STRAIGHT OR SLIPPING TRACK
If you're lucky enough to have or to have access to a straight or slipping track, then here are some basics you can do to get fitter and chase harder.
Again, your pet or dog won't have access to these facilities, so this is more for greyhound trainers.
A straight track is a perfect place to teach your dog how to chase a lure at full speed, unlike in sprint lanes that are more stop and go. You can start by walking them down the track to get them familiar with it.
Once they're ready, start them on a short sprint on the lure system at around 200M, then increase their speed and distance gradually over time.
Eventually you'll have them over at least a short course distance for racing, but if space permits, go out as far as you can, even to 500M regardless if its a 400M dog, this isn't a race, it's building fitness and strength (condition).
In addition to fitness, you can add a starting box and practice jump outs and short 150M sprints to replicate 1st splits. Repeat it at least 3 times per session, but remember to correct the dogs box manners if need be.
This will bring them to full fitness, and if you don't have access to these facilities, then find a park, paddock, or a field to do the same thing, except you'll have to set up and pack up.
8 : PARK, PADDOCK OR FIELD LURE TRAINING
If you're near a park or have a paddock or large yard/field, then you'll really get more out of your dog!
This is great for getting your dog used to running around in open spaces. Start by walking them around the perimeter of the paddock or field. Once they've become comfortable, start them on a basic straight course with your lure system.
Then get creative to help build muscle and fitness, by setting up a course in different shapes.
And use longer distances or do more laps as the dog gets fitter, this will also increase the drive in the dog and those times will start coming down!
9 : SWIMMING YOUR DOG
Walking and running dogs is the most common way to build fitness, but swimming is great for dogs with joint problems, or dogs coming back from injury.
Swimming is also a great way for dogs to get exercise without putting any strain on their joints. Not all breeds of dogs are good swimmers, so it's important to make sure that your dog knows how to doggy paddle before taking them into the pool. Some easy ways to teach your dog how to swim include walking them through shallow water and throwing toys or treats into the pool for them to fetch.
Dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy, and there are plenty of ways to provide that exercise. Whether you use a dog lure system, enroll them in canine fitness classes, or just let them play outside, your dog will thank you for it! And who knows - you might even have fun in the process!
Renegade Dog Lures offers the best products to help get any breed of dog fit while providing a lot of rewards along the way.
If you're still not sure how much exercise your dog needs, consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you create a personalized fitness plan for your pet based on their health and activity level.
Check us out on Facebook at Renegade Dog Lures too for more ideas!!!
Or if you’d like to discuss a training regime that involves one of our lure systems, then please contact us by phone, or email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help create a plan for your dog.
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