Any movement your dog does requires energy. The way your dogs body generates energy is determined by the intensity and duration of the activity they are performing. Activities that require short bursts of high effort, such as sprinting or weight-pulling, require the body to produce large amounts of energy over a short period, where as activities like running or hunting require continued energy production over a longer period and at a slower rate. It is the energy systems of your dogs body that control these activities. That is why it is important for you to understand which energy systems your dog needs when you are conditioning them for better health and performance. As you can see from the picture below there are three main canine energy systems. The Phospagen, Glycolyctic and Aerobic energy systems
The Phosphagen energy system is important for dogs who carry out high intensity short duration activities that last between 5-10 seconds such as weight-pulling and sprinting. These kinds of activities need strength and power. An example of improving this energy system is sprint training on a High Resistance Carpetmill or with max effort Flirt Pole work.
The Glygolytic energy system is essential for dogs who perform moderate to high intensity activities for longer period of up to 3 minutes such as racing greyhounds. These types of exercises involve speed endurance such as interval training on a Slatmill.
The Aerobic energy system is critical for hunting dogs and/or service dogs who perform their activities for longer periods of time but at a low to moderate intensity. This involves aerobic endurance such as long distance jogging which can be done with your dog running along side you on a push bike or with the use of a Slatmill so you can track speed.
Having a good understanding of the energy systems will allow you to plan better conditioning plans for your dog that help them perform at a higher level. For example, if you have a weight pull dog you should only really focus on activities that involve the Phosphagen energy system. Doing activities that use the aerobic system for example will reduce their strength and power. Of course all dogs are individuals and some activities require energy systems that overlap. In these cases it helps to get some professional advice. In our 12 Week Conditioning Programs we can support you and tailor your dogs plans based on your needs.
Which energy system is most important for your dog?
The dog treadmill is the ultimate conditioning tool because it saves time when it comes to exercising your dog and it boosts your dog’s health and fitness. But which one is better the slatmill or the carpetmill?
The honest answer is they are very different! They are both mechanical treadmills which means the dog has full control over the workout and can stop at any time, unlike electric treadmills which is why we prefer slatmills and carpetmills.
There are 3 key differences between the carpetmill and slatmill and they are 1) Fitness adaptation 2) Cost 3) Space.
As you have probably seen, both treadmills look very different with the slatmill designed with rollers and slats which make it very free spinning and easy for the dog to move and the carpetmill using a ‘carpet’ for the running surface which means there is more resistance and the dog has to work harder to turn the treadmill. Because of this, the slatmill is best suited for dogs that need to improve their aerobic endurance fitness like hunting, tracking and long races. Where as the carpetmill is perfect for dogs who need more strength, power and lean muscle like protection dogs, weight pull dogs, catch dogs and canine athletic competition dogs.
Due to the difference in design there is a variance in cost. Our slatmills start at around $1000 and our carpetmill at $536.
Another major factor to take into account when choosing between a slatmill and carpetmill is space. For example the outer measurement of our Large Slatmill is 185x50cm and our Large Carpetmill is 170x60cm. Our slatmills are delivered part assembled with an instruction manual to help you to full assembly and our carpetmills are foldable and easily assembled in 1minute and 40 seconds.
There are four main pillars to canine conditioning in order to have success in developing your dogs performance. In this post we are going to take you through each one.
STEP 1: MAKE A PERFORMANCE BASED GOAL
For us canine conditioning is all about health & performance first and foremost. Sure, looks are nice but these are a byproduct of conditioning for performance and shouldn’t be the focus. The reason being once you follow looks or confirmation the results gets distorted, the exotic breeds are a great example of this distortion. A good example of making a performance goal is to set out to achieve a 4 metre wall climb, run a distance in a certain time frame or pull a certain amount of weight.
STEP 2: FEED THE RIGHT AMOUNT
It is essential to feed the right amount. Every dog is an individual, however a guideline which works is to feed a certain percentage per lb of body weight based on your ideal weight. For example if you have a dog who is 60lbs in weight and they are overweight you should feed them a serving of food that weighs 1% of their total body weight. If you want to maintain their weight feed them 2% of their total body weight and if they are underweight feed them 3%. Of course this is a guideline and every dog is an individual. Remember when it comes to judging a dogs weight you must be objective. You can do this by using our 5 point body composition chart.
STEP 3: TRAIN THE CORRECT FITNESS COMPONENT
This is probably the most commonly made mistake. Most people condition the incorrect fitness component. There are five key canine fitness components; Power, Strength, Endurance, Agility and Speed. You must know which one(s) you need and how to conditioning them. For example. if your competing for a weight pull competition you had better cut out any endurance work if you want your dog to achieve their highest weight pull potential. The reason being that endurance work encourages more type I muscle recruitment which is exactly opposite to the kind of muscle your dog needs to recruit when doing weight pull. They need Type II muscle recruitment. A weight pull dog should only ever really be training strength and power which involves activities such as heavy pulls and short bursts of power based sprints on a high resistance treadmill such as the carpetmill.
STEP 4: CREATE A PERIODIZED PROGRAM
Finally and most importantly, you need to make a periodized program for your dog that is at least 12 weeks long. What does that mean? A periodized program is a conditioning program that manages your dogs rest, workout intensities and duration’s. You see, you cant just make it up as you go along. It needs to be planned and organised otherwise your dog can become over trained or go ‘stale’. When this happens the risk of injury increases and your dog is less likely to peak. For example, when we write our 12 week Canine Conditioning programs we plan light, moderate and hard days which are rotated. We also factor into our programs rest days and active recovery days.
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In our last blog post we showed you how to check your dogs ideal body weight. In this blog post we will help you check if your dog is getting enough exercise? This is critical as 59% of dogs are obese , here are some breed specific exercise guidelines to make sure your giving enough exercise!
Our guidelines are breed specific and this is essential because even if you have a spaniel that is not a worker and does not flush and retrieve, their physiology and energy systems will still be set to flush and retrieve game. If you do not provide the right amount of exercise for your dog it could result in a host of issues, including weight gain, behavioural problems and anxiety disorders.
For example, spaniels typically require 2+ hours of moderate intensity activity. Moderate intensity activity is defined by the dog working at 60% of their maximal capacity. Moderately intense activities include running/fast jog. In the case of fighting/combat breeds, they require on average 2 hours of high intensity activity. High intensity activities require 80%+ of a dogs maximal capacity. Examples of these kinds of activities are intermittent sprints, wall climb and weight pulling.
How much exercise does your dog need? Comment below!
PS. Ready to take your dogs fitness to the next level? Check out our SHOP for our most popular fitness tools!
There’s tons of discussion online about what is fat, starved or fit. Unfortunately in 2017 the American Pet Products Association found that 59% of dogs are actually obese!
You probably KNOW how to keep your dog fit & healthy but most of the general public does not. In fact you may have been told your fit dog is ‘starved or abused’ so we wanted to give you the 5 point body composition chart to use as proof that your dog is healthy!
Obviously this is a general guideline and this differs slightly with certain breeds. For example, the running and sight hounds generally come up as underweight due to their natural disposition to have a low body fat and muscle mass percentage. However, there is never an excuse for any dog breed to be emaciated or overweight so please study the 5 point body composition chart carefully and hold yourself accountable to your dogs health!
PS. Ready to take your dogs fitness to the next level? Check out our SHOP for our most popular fitness tools!
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The benefits of using a dog treadmill are endless; working dog enthusiasts use them when preparing for athletic / sporting events, confirmation fanciers incorporate them for show ring practice, veterinarians use them for gait analysis & rehabilitating from an injury, dog trainers use them for behaviour management and many dog owners use them as an all year-round conditioning tool when the weather is bad or the dog parks are too busy.
Although there are many different models of dog treadmills on the market today, they can all generally be classed into two different categories, either motorised (electric) or non-motorised (manual).
Motorised Dog Treadmills
Motorised treadmills are basically what you would find at a gym or sports & fitness store. They are electronic motor driven treadmills and the speed and duration of the workout is controlled by the handler. Many motorised dog treadmills also come with a powered incline and a speed-o-meter with timer/distance tracking. They vary in price from $1000 – $5000 depending on the model and brand.
Pros: Reliable power.
Cons: The most expensive, do not support a natural gait, heavy, can be dangerous as the dog is not in control, the speed is capped and they can be noisy.
Non-Motorised Dog Treadmills
The non-motorised dog treadmills can be classed into two different designs; a slatmill or a carpetmill. The slatmillis made up of a number of slats which are joined together in a loop and positioned over a set of rollers. There is normally an attachment point for a harness, and barriers on either side so that the dog remains in position and avoids injury. The dog is in complete control at all times and the slats only turn when the dog moves. Many slatmills on the market also come with a speed-o-meter and timer/distance tracking system. Their typical cost is between $800-$4000.
Pros: Promote natural gait, are not as expensive as electric treadmills, the dog is fully in control and they are very free turning.
Cons: Fairly heavy, can still be quite expensive and noisy.
Like the slatmill, the carpet mill is also 100% powered by the dog and is similar in appearance to a slat mill except its generally all wooden in construction. There are no metal parts and the bed of the mill (the track the dog runs on) is simply a board between two wheels with a carpet going around it for the dog to run on. This mill is not as “free-turning” as a slatmill and therefore the dog has to work a lot harder to move the ‘carpet’. Most carpetmills have an incline option and come with a speed-o-meter time/tracking system. They figure in the range between $400-$600.
Pros: The most cost efficient of the three dog treadmills, the least noisiest and lightest in weight.
Cons: Not as free turning so the dog has to work harder.
No one treadmill type is ‘better’ than the other, it depends on your set up, finances, your dog and your goals. We really like non-motorised treadmills like the slatmills and carpetmills because we like the fact that the they mimic a dogs natural gait better and the dog is in complete control being able to stop when ever he wants to or accelerate / decelerate on his own at different intervals without needing to control it on a speed monitor. We feel this makes the workout more effective when doing interval sprint training and also makes it a lot safer reducing the risk of injury.
Keep them FIT!
Check out our online shop for some of the best models of slatmills and carpetmills on the market right now!
Today, the treadmill is the most popular piece of fitness equipment and can be found in homes and gyms around the world. Recently, a variety of dog treadmills have hit the market and have gathered much attention. But where did this effective fitness machine come from?
The Ancient Roman Treadmill Crane
The first treadmills can be traced back to the 1st century AD. The Ancient Romans used a ‘tread mill’ or “tread wheel” to lift heavier weights by incorporating the treadmill to replace the winch in their cranes. Men would walk within the wheel itself and because the treadmill had a larger diameter, they were able to lift double the weight with only half the crew. These tread wheels were later adapted to create rotary grain mills and were also used to pump water and power dough-kneading machines and bellows.
Treadmills for farming and domestic chores
During the 1700s-1900s farmers were in need of a consistent source of power. Instead of relying on natural sources like wind and water which was unreliable they found that a treadmill could capture the “brake” power of a horse. According to historian Brian Wells , “the unit of measurement of force of strength necessary to operate these new stationary machines became known as “horse power” based on the average pulling power of an average draft horse.” Smaller treadmills were also created to accommodate animals like dogs, sheep, and goats in order to tackle domestic chores such as churning butter, grinding stones, fanning mills, cooking meat and separating cream.
Dog Treadmills for exercise
The first dog treadmill marketed as a dog exercise device was patented by John R. Richards, of Oak Park IL in 1939. The design similar to Nicholas Potter included a harness and was not motorised. The first human treadmill was not invented until 1952, when Dr. Robert A. Bruce got the idea to put the treadmill belt to use for humans to walk on. He used it as a stress test to monitor and diagnose various heart conditions. It was not until the 1960s that the treadmill was commercialised as an exercise device for humans. Since then there have been constant innovations in treadmill design and function for both humans and dogs. For dogs, the treadmill is no longer a way to automate farm and domestic chores, it is now a very effective exercise tool that promotes health, fitness and working dog performance. Its also excellent for solving issues like hectic schedules, poor weather, busy streets and crowded dog parks.
Although there are many different types of dog treadmills on the market today they basically are split into two main categories. Do you know what they are? Reply below if you think you do 😉
Keep them FIT!
PS. Click here to check out our latest state of the art dog treadmills
This weeks FITDOG of the week reminds us that its not just the bull breeds and terriers who can look and perform good. We are pleased to announce that Jesse Cortez’ German Shepherd ‘Quddus’ is this weeks FITDOG of the week. Heres an interview we did with Jesse.
High quality nutrition is paramount to a healthy fit dog, especially one that works. The carbohydrate debate is a controversial one in the performance dog arena. Therefore we decided to do some research and present some facts.
According to the National Research Council and compared to the other two major nutrients — protein and fat — no carbs are considered essential for a healthy canine diet. Dogs don’t need corn, wheat, barley rice or potatoes, either. Yet surprisingly, carbs represent the dominant nutrient found in most dry dog foods.
Most dog feeds are too high in carbs: Carbohydrates are used in abundance in most dog feeds for many reasons, but primarily they are included because they are a relatively inexpensive source of energy and can help to keep the price of dog food more affordable. Carbs are not inherently bad, but they should make up 1/3 or less of the daily calories for most normally healthy pets.
Low carb feed is recommended for the average dog. Carbohydrates aren’t bad for dogs; in reasonable amounts, they can actually provide a practical source of energy. However, the issue lies in their quantity. Using a dogs ancestral diet as a model, the total amount of carbs consumed by a dog’s evolutionary predecessor is significantly less than what’s become the norm for today’s kibbles. One sensible source estimates natural carbohydrate consumption for a dog’s ancestors at around 14 percent of their total diet. Yet on average, today’s dry dog foods contain somewhere between 46 and 74 percent carbohydrate!
A low to moderate carb feed is recommended for elite performance dogs such as greyhounds. Dr Ben Holding a greyhound nutrition adviser recommends a 25% Protein / 40% Fats / 35% carbohydrate based diet for elite performance dogs such as greyhounds.
What’s your take on Carbohydrates?
1) Lindblad-Toh K, Wade CM, Mikkelsen TS, et al, “Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog”, December 2005, Nature 438 (7069): 803–19
2) Brown S., Taylor B., “See Spot Live Longer”, 2007 Creekobear Press, Eugene, OR USA, pp 51-61
National Research Council, National Academy of Science, “Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats”, 2006 Edition, National Academies Press, Washington, DC, p 317