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CREDIT @mrskittypride

 

The Amercian Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) currently reigns at first place on our list of ‘Top Four FITDOG Breeds’. Possibly the most controversial breed on the planet, the ‘Pit Bull’ is both loved and feared around the world, with the latter mostly due to ignorance. This breed is one of the few in the world that has stood the test of time as a working dog due to being bred specifically for performance and not confirmation (form always follows function), although that has sadly been changing rapidly recently. 

In todays blog article we are going to review the specific exercise considerations when it comes to helping your APBT perform to the highest level possible! 

To understand the APBT’s  requirements it’s essential that we review the breed itself. The APBT is a product of various breedings between the bulldogs and terriers of old. It’s was created to be the ultimate combat breed and its purpose was to engage in baiting activities ranging from dogs to bears. However, its most recent history (last 80-100 years) has seen the breed be used specifically for dog on dog combat which has developed the breed into a smaller more agile and highly driven dog ranging between 38-48 lbs. Dog fighting required a lighter dog that was able to be handled in the pit and also possess  the capacity to endure long bouts of 1-2 hours or more  of fighting. It’s this fine detail of the APBT’s history that has enabled it to become a great all round athlete with both Endurance, Strength, Agility and Power.

CREDIT @FLASHDRIVEK9KENNELS

Endurance

The APBT exhibits great levels of endurance in many different areas. Due to their high Type IIA & Type IIB muscle fibres including their highly efficient cardiovascular and respiratory systems the APBT have incredible speed endurance,  aerobic endurance and muscular endurance. This means they are able to maintain a high intensity of work rate for longer. This is unique compared to other breeds who generally lose intensity as the duration of the activity increases. It can be said that this endurance ability has been developed through needing to perform for long bouts in the pit. It’s important that today’s APBT still exercise their endurance in order to burn excess energy and maintain healthy. 

>>>Try Your Ballfit12 program

One of the best ways to boost endurance is through running related activities. Specialised Fetch training like our Ballfit12 Program is perfect because it uses the APBT’s natural high prey drive to develop endurance through the specific Ball based movements. Treadmill running is also highly beneficial, especially for those days when weather is poor. Our specialist Slatmill provides you with the ability to also track your dogs workout via our speed computer.

AGILITY

Canine agility is defined by a dogs ability  to rapidly change body direction, accelerate, or decelerate.  Canine agility was not only crucial for fighting dogs but is essential for most working dogs today involved in hunting, protection, flyball and of course the agility sport.

One of the best ways to  maintain and boost your dogs agility is through flirt pole conditioning.  The flirt pole  is one of the most dynamic conditioning tools because it works not only agility but also power and muscular endurance. However, like most tools, it’s not what you do its how you do it and so many dog folks use the flirt poleincorrectly. Use the following tips to flirt for agility:

  • Keep your dogs feet on the ground
  • No air time, jumping or landing (It’s impressive to look at but not needed and the risk out weights the reward)
  • Only circular movements to begin with until your dog is at least a ‘3’ on the Canine Body Assessment Scale.
  • Progress from circular movements to back and forth movements
  • Make sure you add in a rest period of at least 1:1 work to rest ration. So for example if they work for 1 minute then rest for 1 minute and continue is sets. Most people get this wrong and they get the dog too tired to the point where they are not increasing agility anaerobically but rather doing an aerobic exercise. This is a big error as aerobic exercise is proven to reduce strength and decrease agility.
  • As your dog gets more agile and is at least ‘3’ on the Canine Body Assessment Scale you can make the flirt pole sessions more challenging by adding resistance to the flirt pole session using a 4lb Weighted dog Collar. When used properly the Weighted dog collar is an ideal tool to help increase agility as it increases the speed of the Type IIB muscle fibres.
 
CREDIT @TEAMNOFEARWORKINGAPBT
 

Strength

The APBT is one of the strongest breeds in the world. Especially when it comes to relative strength which is defined as the most weight that can be moved by a dog in relation to their size (lb for lb). (Absolute strength is a  different type of strength). This is owed in part to the APBT’s significantly high type II muscle fibre composition and high bone density which is perfect for strength based activities such as Weight Pulling.

Use coupon code: ‘freeshipping’ when you order your harness now (Offer expires October 31st)

An added benefit is their drive and eagerness to please. Weight pulling is a perfect sport for the APBT not only because they are genetically and physically suited to it but also because the sport itself has so many benefits such as:

  • Increasing the handler – dog bond
  • Reducing hyperactivity
  • Increase lean muscle
  • Reduces risk of hip and knee injuries
  • Great for socialisation 

For more information on how to start weight pulling read our ”Weight Pulling” Article

CREDIT @ANTARALAREINADELSUR

POWER

Power is a canine fitness component commonly confused with strength although they are both two different elements of canine fitness. Power is all about speed. The definition of power is a dogs ability to produce maximal force in the fastest time possible. A great example of this is the Wall climb event.

APBT’s are significantly more powerful than most other breeds and it’s due to the reflexivity of their muscles that allow them to generate high amounts of force at a rapid rate. Additional examples of power training involve:

 

Got a question? Cool, feel free to post it in the comments below. Also if you want any specific advice you can contact us at support@fitdognation.com

 

Credit @beppe_dasco

If your dog is making steady gains but you just know there’s still more room for improvement then make sure you read this article carefully because we are going to share Three Tips for More Gains with your Fitdog.

 

TIP 1: Add MORE Fat!

Yes you’re probably wondering if you read correctly?! Why add fat when you want a leaner dog? Well unlike humans a dogs primary energy source is not carbohydrates, its fat! But not just any fat. High quality animal fat. You see, fats have many important functions…Not only do they provide energy, but they’re also necessary for the normal development and function of your dogs cells, nerves, muscles, and body tissues.  Fats help to regulate your dogs normal bodily functions, reduce inflammation, and help with nutrient absorption. Fats are an optimal source of energy for canines since: 

  1. Dogs get 2.5 times as much energy from fat as they do from carbs. 

  2. Dogs metabolize 90-95% of fat they eat 

HOW MUCH FAT SHOULD YOU FEED YOUR DOG?

It’s important to remember that all dogs are individuals and vary based on their breed, age, gender, health and activity levels. However, Dr Ben Holding a greyhound nutrition expert recommends a daily fat intake of at least 40% Fats for elite performance dogs such as greyhounds. 

 

 

SO, WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES OF FAT?

Good sources of fat for dogs are all animal based fatty meats. The highest animal fat can be found in Beef, Lamb, Pork and Fish. Some of the best cuts of Fat are Organ Meat – examples include liver, tripe, spleen, sweetbreads, brain, intestines, Testicles, and kidneys.

Boost Your dogs fitness with a custom 12 Week Conditioning program 👉Learn More

 

TIP 2: INCREASE INTENSITY

Most people think a 1 or 2 hour walk is enough to keep your dog healthy and fit. The truth is walking is not enough to maintain your dogs cardiovascular health and certainly not enough to stimulate muscle growth or burn excess fat. The reason is walking is just not intense enough. It might be for you, but the average dog has two more extra legs than you and walking is just not a challenge for them! The harder you make the exercise the more their heart has to work to pump blood around their body which increases their metabolism and put them into a fat burning, muscle growth state. 

There’s many ways you can increase the intensity of your dogs exercise. Some of the easy ways are as follows:

  • Add a weighted collarFor as little as $70 you can add a weighted collar to your dog walk,  game of fetch or spring pole session to make it more challenging. The extra resistance from the collar stimulates your dogs testosterone levels (yes even bitches) and puts them in an anabolic state to burn excess fat and grow lean muscle.
  • Use a weighted harness This is one of the best ways to add strength and lean muscle to your dog. It not only increases your dogs gains but it’s also fun and improves the dog – handler bond.
  • Track your dogs work to rest ratio – The harder you make your dog work followed by short rest intervals the more they will burn fat. Don’t believe us? Give it a go yourself! Try doing a round of 30 second sprints followed by a 30 second rest repeated 5 times. That would give you a 5 minute workout. Compare that to a 10 minute walk and you would have burned more energy in 5 minutes than the 10 minute walk. The same is true for dogs! We have actually created the Ultimate 12 week canine Ball workout using this philosophy. >>>>>Try it Now.
  • Slatmill sprinting One of the ultimate intense workouts a dog can do is Slatmill sprinting. The reason being you can fully control the rest period of the dogs workout as they cannot get distracted. Plus its a workout you can do rain or shine!
Claim free shipping by October 31st on your Weighted dog collar. Use coupon: freeshipping

 

TIP 3: do ENDURANCE LAST, ALWAYS!

One of the biggest mistakes we see is when people start their dogs workout session with endurance based activities. Wrong! Why? Well, Endurance is defined by moderate intensity, steady state activity. Examples include spring pole, bike work, jogging / running, tug of war,  regular fetch and swimming. 

The problem is, this kind of exercise uses up your dogs phosphagen and glycolytic energy system. When this happens your dog goes into a catabolic state and won’t be able to burn fat and grow lean muscle effectively. That’s why you should always leave this types of workouts to the end of the workout session. To understand the canine energy system better read the full article here >>>>canine energy systems

That’s it for today! Comment below and ask us any question you like!

Keep Them Fit!

FITDOG NATION

 

P.S.

Make sure you grab your FREE Swing & Fling Ball. Just cover shipping

 

Credit @goldcoastk9

The Belgian Malinois currently sits in 2nd place on our list of ‘Top Four FITDOG Breeds’. Possibly the most universal working dog on the planet, the malinois is commonly referred to as the ‘maligator’ and rightfully so. This multifunctional breed is as serious as they come with a drive thats through the roof which allows them to be employed by military special forces and police departments worldwide.

In todays blog article we are going to review the specific exercise considerations when it comes to helping your Malinois perform to the highest level possible! 

To understand the Malinois requirements it’s essential that we know how and why the breed originally started. The Malinois is one of four varieties of Belgian Shepherd, which is part of the Sheepdog / herding family of dog breeds. This family of dogs is the result of selective breeding between the Bouvier des Ardennes , Dutch Shepherd  and  German Shepherd.

Being a herder by default, these breeds were originally created to herd livestock and guard their flock which means they needed to be very agile, fast, highly driven and possess incredible stamina. Today the Belgian Malinois is actually best known for being the ultimate police dog. The breed is used as a  working dog  for tasks including  detection  of odors such as explosives,  accelerants  (for arson investigation), and narcotics;  tracking  humans for suspect apprehension in police work; and  search and rescue  missions. 

 

Credit @simbathemalinois

As a result the Malinois is a medium to large sized breed best suited to agility and endurance based activities. They generally have a light frame which allow them to move quickly with great speed while also being able to maintain their workload for extended periods of time. 

AGILITY

Canine agility is defined by a dogs ability  to rapidly change body direction, accelerate, or decelerate.  This is a canine fitness component that was not only crucial for herding and shepherding but is also vital to be a successful police dog.

When being used for detection work a police dog is required to move quickly in physically challenging environments often in spaces that are not accessible to humans. During apprehension of a suspect police dogs need to be agile especially if the suspect needs to be chased through challenging environments and stopped.

One of the best ways to not only maintain good agility but to also boost your dogs agility is flirt pole conditioning. The flirt pole  is one of the most dynamic conditioning tools because it works not only agility but also power and muscular endurance. However, like most tools, it’s not what you do its how you do it and so many dog folks use the flirt poleincorrectly. Use the following tips to flirt for agility:

  • Keep your dogs feet on the ground
  • No air time, jumping or landing (It’s impressive to look at but not needed and the risk out weights the reward)
  • Only circular movements to begin with until your dog is at least a ‘3’ on the Canine Body Assessment Scale.
  • Progress from circular movements to back and forth movements
  • Make sure you add in a rest period of at least 1:1 work to rest ration. So for example if they work for 1 minute then rest for 1 minute and continue is sets. Most people get this wrong and they get the dog too tired to the point where they are not increasing agility anaerobically but rather doing an aerobic exercise. This is a big error as aerobic exercise is proven to reduce strength and decrease agility.
  • As your dog gets more agile and is at least ‘3’ on the Canine Body Assessment Scale you can make the flirt pole sessions more challenging by adding resistance to the flirt pole session using a 4lb Weighted dog Collar. When used properly the Weighted dog collar is an ideal tool to help increase agility as it increases the speed of the Type IIB muscle fibres.
>>>Claim 20% OFF Your Flirt Pole
STAMINA

Aerobic endurance otherwise known as stamina is also a key fitness component for the Malinois. Herding dogs are known for their gruelling levels of stamina helping farmers sort sheep over distances covering 25miles+ of rough terrain a day. As a police dog the Malinois doesn’t require as much stamina as their sheep herding ancestors but stamina is still important. A police dog can generally work 8 hours a day performing a variety of tasks ranging from drug sweeps, suspect chase downs, and patrol shifts and they need to be able to maintain their workload. As a result aerobic endurance is important, especially the ability to maintain a high level of aerobic capacity.

>>>Order your Ballfit12 Program Now

One of the best ways to boost Aerobic endurance is through running related activities. Specialised Fetch training like our Ballfit12 Program is perfect because it uses the Malinois natural high prey drive to develop endurance through our specific 12 Week Ball endurance program. Treadmill running is also highly beneficial, especially for those days when weather is poor. Our specialist Slatmill provides you with the ability to also track your dogs workout via our speed computer.

>>>>Claim your FREE Slatmill Quote Today
STRENGTH & POWER

As we’ve seen, the malinois is a naturally agile dog with great stamina due to its shepherding history. However, the Malinois is evolving now into a more specialised police dog and more specifically used as a protection dog around the world. Although their drive and agility make them top choice for close quarter combat style protection work they generally lack in strength and power making them more vulnerable against intoxicated, armed suspects who are not afraid to fight a dog. As such the Malinois needs to increase their physical ability and stopping power by increasing their strength and power. This will help them strike the bad guy with more impact on the takedown and allow them to wrestle stronger while in a grip.

Strength and power are two very distinct canine fitness components. Strength is your dogs ability to generate high force independent of time. Power is the amount of force your dog can produce in the quickest time possible. Both are high intensity activities but very beneficial for a Malinois.

Credit @marens_working_dogs

 

STRENGTH

Weight pulling is a great example of strength based activities for the Malinois not only because it will help them become stronger without the added heavy excess body weight but also  because weight pulling itself has so many benefits such as:

  • Increasing the handler – dog bond
  • Reducing hyperactivity
  • Increase lean muscle
  • Reduces risk of hip and knee injuries
  • Great for socialisation 

For more information on how to start weight pulling read our ”Weight Pulling”Article

POWER

As we have seen already, power is related to strength but the key difference is speed. Increasing your Malinois’ power will help them jump higher, launch and strike harder and build an impressive lean physique that can withstand more punishment from a suspect. Some good examples of power training involve:

 
FINAL THOUGHTS

The conclude the Belgian Malinois is a dynamic and versatile breed who is naturally agile, highly driven with great stamina. Due to its recent transformation from a sheep dog into a police / protection dog its important that emphasis is placed on improving strength and power capabilities. The next generation of Malinois require more physical resilience and strength to withstand punishment in altercations. 

Boost Your dogs fitness with a custom 12 Week Conditioning program 👉Learn More

For more specific individual conditioning check out our 12 Week Canine Conditioning & Nutrition Programs or contact us at support@fitdognation.com

That’s it for today! Comment below and ask us any question you like!

Credit @oceanstate1980

The American Bully is one of the fastest growing breeds  and currently sits in 3rd place of our ‘Top Four FITDOG Breeds’.

In todays blog we are going to review the specific exercise and conditioning considerations when it comes to getting your American Bully in the best shape possible.

To understand the American Bully’s health and fitness requirements it’s important to know the breed’s origin, make up and ideal application. Despite its popularity no one really knows for certain the exact breeds and percentages that were used to create the American Bully.  Originally started in the USA in the 1980s as a companion dog it’s said the main breeds used include the American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier with strong influences from English & French Bulldog including a variety of Mastiff related breeds such as the Cane Corso and Dogue de bordeaux.

Initially the American Bully had no breed standard until recently, and although there are now officially four main types of American Bully, it’s important to note that there is great variation even within the four types and many breeders still do not agree to the standards.

For simplicity though,  this review will be referring to the non-extreme versions of the American Bully which would relate to the Standard / Classic types.Pit Bulls VS American Bullies | MVP Bullies

Although a companion / family breed, some American Bully’s have proven their ability in a variety of sporting and working applications ranging from Weight pulling, Athletic competitions, Personal protection and Therapy work. In general the breed is a bigger, bulkier and a more extreme version of its ancestor the Amercian Pit Bull Terrier but without the drive and dog aggression.

It’s fair to say the American Bully carries High amounts of muscle mass, heavy bone structure and is considerably shorter in height than their body length. This is both an advantage and disadvantage. 

Credit @lionslairkennels
Strength

The American Bully is one of the strongest breeds in the world. Especially when it comes to absolute strength which is defined as the most weight that can be moved by a dog in a single effort regardless of their size or weight (Relative strength is a  different type of strength). This is owed in part to the American Bullys significantly high type II muscle fibre composition and high bone density which is perfect for strength based activities such as Weight Pulling.

An added benefit is their long, low slung body which can be an advantage when doing weight pull as it gets them lower to the ground with more pulling traction. Weight pulling is a perfect sport for the american bully not only because they are genetically and physically suited to it but also because the sport itself has so many benefits such as:

  • Increasing the handler – dog bond
  • Reducing hyperactivity
  • Increase lean muscle
  • Reduces risk of hip and knee injuries
  • Great for socialisation 

For more information on how to start weight pulling read our ”Weight Pulling” Article

Credit @the_dog_house_mcr

AGILITY

Unlike their Pit Bull ancestor the American Bully generally lacks agility. Canine agility is defined by the dogs ability  to rapidly change body direction, accelerate, or decelerate.  This is mostly due to the heavy, exaggerated frames that they posses. Like a truck or a lorry which can pull or carry heavy loads in one direction, turning fast and rapidly like a formula 1 car can be a challenge  due to the excess structure that’s involved. 

Boost Your dogs fitness with a custom 12 Week Conditioning program 👉Learn More

One of the best way to boost your dogs agility is flirt pole conditioning. The  flirt pole  is one of the most dynamic conditioning tools because it works not only agility but also power and muscular endurance. However, like most tools, it’s not what you do its how you do it and so many dog folks use the flirt pole incorrectly. Use the following tips to flirt for agility:

  • Keep your dogs feet on the ground
  • No air time, jumping or landing.
  • Only circular movements to begin with until your dog is at least a ‘3’ on the Canine Body Assessment Scale.
  • Progress from circular movements to back and forth movements
  • Make sure you add in a rest period of at least 1:1 work to rest ratio. So for example if they flirt for 1 minute then rest them for 1 minute and continue in sets. Most people get this wrong and they get the dog too tired to the point where they are not increasing agility anaerobically but rather doing an aerobic exercise. This is a big error as aerobic exercise is proven to reduce muscle mass and decrease agility.
Building Lean Mass

One of the most effective (and safest) ways to build lean mass is straight line sprinting. This is because sprinting in one direction ‘Straight line’ does not involve the risk of the high forces to the ACL ligament that multi directional free sprinting can add. Sprinting on a Slatmill or Carpetmill provides the most safety for your dogs ACL. 

Our fast spinning Firepaw Slatmill Learn More Now
ENDURANCE

The most common questions we get asked from Bully owners is how to increase their dogs stamina. Firstly, the Bully is not built for endurance. A dog of this size and mass is just not suited to long duration activities and events. Sure you can improve it but they will never be an endurance dog. That being said the way to improve endurance without the risk of injury is to slowly progress your dogs workouts with ample recovery. 

Overall the American Bully is best suited to strength based activities and should focus on improving agility in order to reduce the risk of injury. Though it is not best suited to endurance activities, the best form of weight management and lean mass production is straight line sprinting either on a Slatmill or Carpetmill or via Fetch training. Just make sure to progress all workouts slowly and do not incorporate any air time / jumping based exercises until your dog is at least a ‘3’ on the Canine Body Assessment Scale otherwise you run the risk of ACL injury. 

Credit @the_bully_pound

For more specific individual conditioning contact us at support@fitdognation.com

Stay tuned for our next blog article which will review specific conditioning considerations for the Belgian Malinois

Comment below and let us know of any other breed(s) you want to add to this list!

Keep Them Fit!

FITDOG NATION

P.S Check out our top 3 most popular conditioning tools right now >>Top 3 Conditioning Tools

 

Credit @teamtaura

Anyone who tells you conditioning is easy, is either lying or doesn’t know. Sure it’s simple but it’s certainly not easy. And here’s the thing:

”Although the princples of canine conditioning always remain the same, they apply differently based on the breed”

In a recent blog we outlined  the‘Top Four FITDOG Breeds’. If you missed it you can read it here:

>>The Top Four Fitdog Breeds

Today kicks off a series of blog articles based on breed specific considerations starting with the Retriever.  Before we dive in lets remember the main reason for conditioning is to improve a dogs fitness. The definition of canine fitness is; the ability of a dog to perform a specific function or skill. We believe that apart from being much loved companions, that all dogs thrive when they have a specific function [yes we are also fans of functional working dogs] 🙂

[The powerful physique of a working retriever]

So, lets start with the retriever. This has to be one of the most diverse breeds in the world, not only because they have proven competency in multiple sports and jobs but also because there’s just so many varieties [six and counting] 

Essentially the retirever is part of the gun dog family and was originally bred to support hunters find birds and bring them back undamaged. For this sort of job, they not only needed the strength and agility to work over rugged landscape or tough water but they also needed the stamina to maintain the work load for up to four hours+ at a time. 

Gundog training class: overweight gundogs - The Field
[Birds can weigh 2-4%+ of a retirevers body, great power is required on return]

The result has produced a dog that is naturally high in energy and requires at least 2 hours of moderate intensity exercise a day. The retrievers greatest asset is their aerobic endurance. They can work at a low to moderate intensity for what seems like all day. Fetch is a great example. They just keep on coming back for more.

However, their biggest area for improvement is power.  Power is defined as a dogs ability to produce the maximum force  in the quickest time possible.  During a shoot, retrievers are required to perform powerful sprints when being sent for a bird and to return with the bird quickly depsite it weighing up to 2-4% of the dogs body weight.

Labrador Retriever Breeds
Mainstream example of a retriever.

Unfortunately we are seeing fewer examples of retreviers who retain both their natural stamina and power,  this is possibly because working styles of retriever are currently in a decline. Instead the mainstream examples are generally overfed, underworked and naturally have poor stamina.

Top Tips for Retrievers:

Make sure you exercise them at a moderate intensity for at least 1-2 hours a day 4-5x a week. Moderate intensity activities involve:

Incorporate power based activities at least 2x a week. Power based conditioning includes:

 

For more specific individual conditioning contact us at support@fitdognation.com

Stay tuned for our next blog article which will review specific conditioning considerations for the American Bully

Comment below and let us know of any other breed(s) you want to add to this list!

 

Keep Them FIT,

FITDOG NATION

P.S Check out our top 3 most popular conditioning tools right now >>Top 3 Conditioning Tools

 

[Credit @teamtaura]

We recently shared the first key to adding bulk to your dog. If you missed the article read it now:

”The Ultimate Canine Bulking Recipe”

The next key to adding more bulk is Muscle Fibre Recruitment

What is muscle fibre recruitment?

Simply put it’s your dog’s ability to tear and remodel their muscle. But not just any muscle. You see your dog has 3 different types of muscle fibre. They are anatomically known as Type 1, Type 2A and Type 2B. When it comes to building muscle you want to focus on remodeling your dogs Type 2B.

[Credit @great_star_apbt]
WHY TYPE 2B

All dogs have muscle but why is it that only some breeds like pitbulls and american bullies have a more bulkier harder body look? Well, it’s because they have a higher percentage of Type 2B muscle than other breeds. This is due to their past history being selectivley breed for activities that require more 

[Credit @k9harkin]
How to build Type 2B MUSCLE?

In order to stimulate your dogs type II muscle fibres you must focus on high intensity activities. These are activities that focus on fast, powerful and rapid movements. Such activities are short in duration and involve your dog giving as maximal effort as possible. This is because it forces your dogs body to use phosphocreatine energy pathways which stimulate testosterone (yes even bitches have it) which will increase they muscle growth.

Here is a list of High Intensity Activities that you very easily do with your dog.

[In order of most bulking to least bulking from top to bottom]

Although all dogs have the ability to add more muscle, some breeds can do it more naturally than others. The most simplest and cost effective way to add more muscle is by playing High Intesity Fetch with a fetching Ball. We recommend the Swing & Fling Ball because its long rope will allow you to throw it further than your average Ball. Right now you can order one for FREE just cover Shipping. Plus when you order you will instantlu receive two of our most popular canine conditioning books which also include our 12 Week Flagship Conditioning & nutrition program.

>>>Claim your FREE Ball Now

Keep Them FIT

FITDOG NATION

 

Comment below your thoughts! If you have any specific questions email support@fitdognation.com

YOU Control Your Puppy's Structural Growth and Factors for Arthritis and Dysplasia - TheDogTrainingSecret.com - TheDogTrainingSecret.com

So you got a new puppy and you’re excited to develop and nurture them into the best they can possibly be. But you want to know what age  you can start conditioning?

Before we dive in, it’s important to remember the purpose of exercise conditioning. Essentially, its to develop your dogs fitness. Our definition of fitness is the ability for a dog to perform a specific task or skill. All tasks take effort, no matter what it is, whether its fetch, treadmill or weight pulling.

They key to conditioning young dogs and all dogs for that matter isn’t only necesarily what activity you’re doing but what intensity you are performing the activity at.

Most dogs mature at the age of 2 years old. This is the age their anatomy and physiology are fully developed and can withstand maximum levels of intensity. Until then, we recommend that exercise conditioning is no more than 50-70% of their maximum effort.

 

Recommended Intensity defined

Intensity levels can be rated at either low, medium or high intensity. As all dogs are individuals and all activities are different, you need to use common sense but here is an example of intensities based on the activity of treadmill work.

Low intensity treadmill work: Involves your dog walking at a pace that’s between 10-40% of their maximum effort.

Moderate intensity is defined as your dog exercising at 40-60% of their maximum effort such as a fast walk or jog.

High intensity treadmill work would involve your dog working at 80%+ of their maximum effort such as a fast run or sprint.

 

but WHAT ABOUT STUNTING MY PUPS GROWTH?

We are happy to inform you that the commonly held belief of stunting a pups growth with exercise is a myth. Sorry to offend anyones beliefs but this is an old wives tale that developed in the 60’s and 70’s in response to the new sport of human body building in the USA. This belief was then adopted in dog communities who incorrectly applied  it to do dogs. Since then this myth has been debunked and various scientific research papers have proven this theory false. But do not take our word for it, read the references at the end of this article.

[Credit @dankroftk9]

SO, WHERE DO I START?

Eight weeks old is when training should start. Remember your goal is not only to get your dog fit but also to introduce them to the world they are about to grow up in. That includes the environments they will be training in, the equipment they will be using and the animals they will be around.  Initial exercise conditioning should start with positive reinforcement of the equipment to be used.  You can start this the moment your new puppy arrives in your home. Do not wait until they are 6 months or older to start. Get started right away.

Why?

Simple, the earlier the better. Dogs learn from repetition and consistency. A dog that learns to walk on a Slatmill at 8 weeks and has consistent training will be set for long term success. We start by teaching puppies basic obedience skills on the treadmill such as sit and down. This prepares your puppy for treadmill manners later on when they are able to work harder on the mill. By starting these behaviors early you will help your dog retain the behaviors over the long term because these months are their formative months for learning.

TOP TIPS

Remember every dog is an individual, use your common sense. Make sure you do not do any high intensity activities (80%+) until your dog is at least 2 years old. You can start exercise conditioning from 8 weeks old but make sure its no more than 50%-70% of their maximum effort. It should also be based around fun, informative sessions that will help build your dogs behavior and trainability.

 

Comment below and let us know your thoughts!

For help and advice feel free to contact support@fitdognation.com

Keep Them FIT,

FITDOG NATION

 

References

Faigenbaum, A.D., W.J. Kraemer, B. Cahill, J. Chandler, J. Dziaos, L.D. Elfrink, E. Forman, M. Gaudiose, L. Micheli, M. Nitka, & S. Roberts (1996). “Youth resistance training: Position statement paper and literature review.” Strength Cond. J. 18(6): 62–75.

Azeem, K., Al Ameer, A. (2010). “An Effect of weight training on sprinting performance, flexibility and strength.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 44:i22.

Barr MJ, Sheppard JM, Gabbett TJ, and Newton RU. (2014) “Long-term training-induced changes in sprinting speed and sprint momentum in elite rugby union players.” J Strength Cond Res 28: 2724- 2731.

 

 

[Credit @bully_knights]

One of the most common questions we get asked is: How can I add more muscle on my dog?

To add more muscle you need two key elements More Energy and More Muscle fibre Recruitment

When it comes to more energy you need to make sure your feeding meals that will pack more weight on your dog so your dog has enough energy to actually create new muscle tissue. 

Enter: Satin balls.

Satin Balls are the ultimate bulking canine recipe,  especially useful for dogs who struggle with adding weight like shepherds, herders and greyhounds. They are also perfect for dogs who are in a malnourished state or picky eaters!

They are intended as a supplement and not as a meal replacement because although they contain essential macronutrients for muscle growth, they do not contain all the micronutrients needed for a complete balanced meal.

You can feed them post workout, between meals or as an addition to a meal.  Homemade Dog Food for Weight Gain Recipe (Satin Balls Recipe)

Ingredients:

    10 lbs of high-fat ground beef 
    1 lg. box of Total cereal
    1 lg. box oatmeal
    1 jar of wheat germ
    1 1/4 cup olive oil or flax opil
    1 1/4 cup of unsulfured molasses
    10 raw eggs AND shells
    10 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin

Instructions:

  1. Mix together well in a huge bowl.
  2. Form into balls or patties.
  3. Serve them to your dog raw.
  4. Store them in zip-lock bags in the freezer.
  5. Thaw them one at a time when you’re ready to serve them.

Recipe Tips:

  • Serve everything raw – that way none of the nutrients are destroyed in the cooking process!
  • Mix it in a big bowl – the whole thing is going to be one big gooey mess!
  • For oatmeal, select any simple brand with no flavourings. You can also select one that is a cheaper generic brand. 

 

Try them out and let us know your results!

Got a question? Comment below or shoot an email to support@fitdognation.com

Keep Them FIT!

FITDOG NATION

 

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[Credit @kea.the.berner]

Hydrotherapy is a form of physical activity that uses water resistance to increase fitness and / or rehabilitate injuries and relieve pain.

How does it work?

Hydrotherapy uses water to also rehabilitate injuries your dog might have and to also relieve pain. It’s especially beneficial for dogs who have injuries such as a torn ACL, hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, arthritis, or dogs who have been paralyzed or lost a limb.

Hydrotherapy takes advantage of the buoyancy, resistance, viscosity, and hydrostatic pressure of water to provide an extremely low impact workout for a dog. This type of therapy works because, essentially, you provide weightless activity and remove the added pressure of gravity.

The buoyancy of the water reduces the tension on your dogs body which means it’s a very low risk of exercise conditioning and also perfect for recovery and rehabilitating injuries. It is also a natural form of anti-inflammatory therapy due to its ability to reduce swelling in body tissues.

[Credit @look_its_leia]

 

Types Of Hydrotherapy For Dogs

There are four primary types of hydrotherapy for dogs, all using different types of equipment and serving specific purposes. Consult with your dog’s vet to see which best suits your pup’s rehabilitation needs.

Underwater Treadmill

This type of hydrotherapy is the most common form for dogs and is best suited for those with joint issues and arthritis. It relies on a treadmill encased in a glass or plastic chamber. Once the dog enters the chamber, the door is shut, and water fills the chamber to the level just above the dog’s legs.

As the treadmill starts to move slowly, your dog will begin to move. The water provides resistance enough to strengthen their joint muscles but takes away the stress of gravity, which makes this a low-impact exercise.

Whirlpool Therapy

This type of therapy is used for dogs who are recovering from major surgeries and is great for pain relief. Think of this method as a Jacuzzi, but for dogs.

A dog would be put on a harness and lowered slowly into the pool. The water level depends on where the injury is located on your pup.

Once the dog enters the water, the warm jet stream inside the whirlpool effectively massages your dog’s injured muscles. The water jets create a deep effect on the injured joints, which gives the needed relief to your pooch.

[Credit @bentley_the.bully]

Dog Pools

This type of hydrotherapy provides resistance enough to help the range of motion for a dog who might suffer from arthritis or degenerative joint issues. It mainly targets certain parts of the dog’s body, such as their elbows, chest muscles, limbs, and shoulders.

The size and depth of the pool will largely depend on the therapist or vet and what type of joint issues your dog needs to work on. Most of the time, your dog will wear a floater or might be on a harness if they are not too fond of water.

They would also have the assistance of a therapist by their side at all times to monitor their movements in the water.

GENERAL SWIMMING

And finally general swimming also counts as a form of hydrotherapy. It is advised that it’s performed with dogs who can already swim (many are natural swimmers if introduced from young) Also ensure you select swimming zones that are clear of disease, pollution and free of any lurking dangerous animals / predators. 

 

What Are The main Benefits Of Hydrotherapy?

Besides the benefits of relieving pain and rehabilitating joints, there are other added benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs, including:

  • Relief of pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Alleviation of muscle spasms
  • Increased range of motion
  • Promote blood circulation
  • Tissue healing
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Gait modification
  • Faster recovery from injuries

final thoughts:

Hydrotherapy is safe, beneficial, and reliable. It’s important you perform it by professionals who have experience and training in handling dogs for swimming. If your dog is injured, it is recommended you seek the help of a hydrotherapy specialist and not perform it alone.

The cost of hydrotherapy varies depending on your dogs current status such as their age, breed, injury etc.  On average, sessions cost of between $40-$60 per 30 minute session.

What do you think of hydrotherapy for dogs?  Comment below and let us know!

Keep Them FIT!

FITDOG NATION

Massage Therapy | Kelsos Blackburn enjoys his massage and lo… | Flickr

Because of the time restraints in today’s fast paced society, an important aspect of conditioning a dog is often neglected or cut short. I refer to the rubdown. Many experienced dogmen of the past gave their dogs 30 minute rubdowns daily because they had the time to spend and they were able to perceive the benefits of their efforts.

Today, there is a tendency to place more emphasis on the actual conditioning activity, followed by a very brief rubdown or no rubdown at all. When you are busy and have had a hard day at work, it is very tempting to cut your dog’s conditioning short. If you cut it short one day, you’ll do it again another day. It becomes easier and more tempting to end the workout before you are supposed to. We are all creatures of habit. (attitude) of “well, I’ll just quit a little early today, one day won’t matter,” then you are cheating your dog. You certainly don’t want your dog to quit a little early when his time comes. If however, you discipline yourself and have a habit of never cutting back on a dog’s program (in fact if there is doubt about the time, add a couple of minutes) then it gives your dog an edge.

It is true that the most important factor is your dog’s inherited drive, but the handler plays a very important role in competing in weight pulling, schutzhund trials, wild boar hunting, tracking, or whatever – a dog’s owner tends to feel let down if his dog runs out of endurance and doesn’t perform to his maximum potential. Well then, perform your part to the best of your ability and don’t let your dog down. I’m referring to an esoteric, unique relationship between man and animal that is difficult to express in words, but to me, is what Dogs are all about.

Canine massage therapy to undergo clinical trials | Vet Times
In any event, since the rubdown is at the end of a dog’s workout, and because most people do not realize how extremely important it is, (they think it’s just something that is relaxing to the dog and establishes rapport with the dog, but that’s it, or they don’t think of it at all, they just do it because “you’re suppose to”), this is the part of the conditioning program most frequently cut. Knowing however, how vital a rubdown is if you desire to maximize the benefits of conditioning, can help provide the stimulus to live up to your duty to a fit dog.
The importance of the rubdown is perhaps more apparent if we understand what it accomplishes. A proper rubdown puts the animals body in a balanced metabolic state. Metabolism as defined here is “the busily process of transforming assimilated food into protoplasm (water, lipids, carbohydrated, and inorganic salts), breaking down protoplasm into waste matter, producing energy growth, and replacing worn out tissues.” The metabolic state is in chemical balance when an animal is not sick and activity is normal. If you understand the chemistry of muscle fatigue you can dramatically alter the negative side affects of grueling conditioning that makes a dog stiff and lame. When conditioning becomes demanding, overstressed fatigued muscles cause a disturbance of the metabolic chemical balance by not allowing the muscles enough time to relax and allow proper inflow of fresh blood to nourish the tissues.
Dog Massage Classes | The Academy of Pet Careers | Ash and Oak
Lactic and carbonic acids accumulate in the muscles and surrounding tissues more rapidly than they are eliminated. These acids, particularly lactic, cause muscles to cramp and become painful and the dog will limp. Carbonic acid is carbon dioxide in tissue fluid. Lactic acid is accumulated glycogenic the muscle. The glycogen is eventually flushed out by flowing blood and tissue fluid though the lymphatic system, which is responsible for flushing out toxins and fluid wastes (such as carbonic and lactic acid) that accumulate in muscle, tissues, and blood.
After an extremely hard conditioning session, this process can take anywhere from a day to 3 days, especially if the dog has had 2 or 3 days of hard work without a rest break, or at the beginning of a conditioning program for a dog that doesn’t receive regular daily exercise. A properly applied and though rubdown will expedite the flushing out process and alleviate the pain by relaxing the muscle and stimulating a supply of oxygen rich blood to the area where it’s most needed. A dog instinctively knows this when he vigorously lick his wounds, bruises, or any sore, painful area. The pressure from his tongue stimulates blood flow and research has accomplished this.
Canine Massage for Greyhounds | Paw Vida Holistic Therapies

In a research project to study the effects of massage on muscles, rabbits (animals that use their rear legs extensively) were used. Black Indian ink was injected into their leg muscles after which they were left to their normal daily routing. One group of rabbits had their legs massaged daily while the other group did not. Both groups were fed the same food and interacted together. After a month the legs of all the rabbits were dissected and the muscles studied. The leg muscles of the non-massaged group were stained black in the area of the injection site. The muscles of the massaged rabbits however, were pink with absolutely no trace of the Indian ink anywhere in the body! Indian ink is used in making tattoos, it has a lasting stain.

There is also research available on the effects of massage on muscle endurance. In one study a man curled a 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) barbell to exhaustion; which for him was 840 times without interruption. His arm was then massaged for 5 minutes after which he lifted the same weight 1100 times in the same manner without fatigue! Another study found that a person capable of doing 50 pushups will after a 5 minute rest, be able to do about 10 more. the same person, however, can do about 35 to 50 more pushups if the muscles are rubbed down during the 5 minute rest interval. This indicates a nearly complete muscle recovery rate in 5 minutes!

The studies were conducted at the turn of the century, but it took many years for the athletic world to pick up on the importance of the rubdown. The east athletics. Their olympic track team began using leg massage in the 1950’s and achieved repeated success. now all track teams of olympic level use it. Boxers have used rubdowns for years. Many human athletes receive an extensive rubdown just prior to competition. This pre-competition rubdown strengthens metabolism and the athlete has more energy. Some rub or massage an area called “stomach 36″, which is a pressure point located 4 fingers down the knee on the outside of the leg (side of the calf muscle).

Stomach 36” stimulates the adrenal glands and provides energy for exhausting workouts. I know several people who give their dog 20 or 30 minute rubdowns just prior to bringing them to a working dog trial.

Probably the most important contribution a professional rubdown gives to a dog’s condition is that it relieves stress to the central nervous system {CNS} and allows the CNS to handle more pressure. If a rubdown is given in conjunction with a shampoo and rinse this is particularly true. 

When shampooing the dog you should apply the massage techniques outlined further in this article. After rinsing, it takes sat least 30 minutes for the dog’s coat to dry while you hand rub, if you don’t towel dry. Do not put your dog away wet. Rubbing him dry assures you that you spend adequate time. After a hot demanding workout, the shampoo and massage is highly refreshing as well as relaxing. what it does is it rejuvenates the CNS. You’ve heard the expression that a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, the weakest link in a dog is not his muscles; it is not his lung power; it is the dog’s CNS.
It is my personal opinion that when time is spent with a quality rubdown as part of the conditioning process, that the dog’s “nerves” are stronger and the handler/dog bond is strengthened even further.

 

The rubdown procedure that I like is next. Many people who are serious about the rubdown will make a little table about waist high to put the dog on while massaging. Before the rubdown after a workout, get a damp sponge & wipe off the froth on your dogs muzzle (he should have froth if he’s been properly exercised) and wipe around his eyes, back of his ears, under his chin, groin area, and the butt. Begin by scratching him behind the ears and manipulating his jaw muscles. I like to rest the dog’s head on my knee while I do this, they love it. I relax myself during the rubdown. I believe your frame of mind is transmitted to the dog. I breath slowly using the diaphragm techniques I have learned in meditation. Quite often, I hum and this seems to relax both of us.

What is Dog Massage and How Will Your Pitbull Benefit From it?
There are several ways to apply the message:
1. Stroking– This is when you glide your hand smoothly over the fur. Very little pressure is needed. This promotes venous circulation, stimulates the nervous system, and transmits energy (believe it or not) to the animal.
2. Friction– With this method you exert more pressure and your hands move in a circular motion. It promotes a deeper arterial tissue circulation than stroking, and it starts lymphatic flow. I find that the firmer hand pressure of friction relaxes the dog more than stroking and I generally begin massaging with friction and the bulk of the rubdown entails friction.
3. Kneading– A great deal of pressure is used here. You move your hands rhythmically over the dog’s muscles, kneading is primarily used when massaging the large muscle areas, squeezing and lifting the fur and muscles. Work in short circular patterns. This method pumps nutrient fresh blood into the area massaged and flushes out the toxins as I have explained.
4. Pulling and rotating joints– This phase helps maintain flexibility, strengthens ligaments and tendons, and boosts production of sensorial fluid (lubricating fluid found in joint cavities and in tendon sheaths).When you and your dog are relaxed, rub your hands slowly from the top of his head down along his vertebrae to his tail stroking several times. Rub and knead the neck muscles on both sides with circular motions at first, then rubbing back and forth. Work down to the base of the neck where the head meets the first vertebrae with small circular movements. Do not lift your fingers as you move down his back. After you have the back a few minutes, reach under his front leg with your right hand and begin with his left shoulder, pulling down across his chest all the way back to the top right stifle up high in the gut, then right down the right side, of the leg muscle. Do this going back and forth, one side then the other. keep your fingers together, not spread while stroking. You are much more effective that way because the heat and energy in your hand becomes concentrated. Try it on yourself and you should be able to discern the difference. You then roll the dog over on his back and scratch his belly. Stroke his belly with circular motions, which should keep going toward the chest. gradually work up the chest, and as you get to this massage, stimulating the abdomen, is very important because it will help clean out your dog. The digestive process becomes more efficient, production of gastric juices is aided, and urination is increased. Medical science research has shown this to be true. Understand this, the muscles receive no nutrition until the food is digested, assimilated into the blood, and then quality of nutrition received by the body parts depends to a large extent on the quality of the blood and lymph circulation. By massaging the chest, you clear the central lymph node of toxic build up and open up the system to flush out wastes accumulated in the muscles during heavy conditioning. Spend a good amount of time in this area.

How to Massage A Dog: Canine Massage And Its Benefits

Next, lay the dog on his side. Take his front paw in your hand and gently rotate it first in one direction, then the other. Pull gently on the paw to stretch the tendons. Sometimes I take each toe between thumb and forefinger and squeeze firmly. Grasp the bottom of his leg like you would hold a baseball bat and gently squeeze then rotate your hand back and forth slowly, so that the heat of your hand will penetrate. Always talk to your dog in a quiet conversational tone while doing this. It will establish rapport with him. work your way slowly up his leg kneading and stroking. Most of the leg-massaging with the fur, the feeling being that this is more comfortable to the dog. Contemporary dog massage technique calls for you to do the opposite. You always massage toward the heart. This squeezes out the lactic acid and other toxins and does it the most expeditious way. You’ll be going against the fur, but my experience concurs with what I have read. The dog enjoys the massage just as much as if you went with the fur.

When you get to the shoulder muscle, spend some time kneading. Then hold his leg and rotate the shoulder joint. You can then start on the rear leg. You then go to the bottom of the rear leg, just as you did with the front, and massage it in a similar manner. Knead the tibias and metatarsals. This is the area above and below the hock (part of the dog’s rear leg that stick out like an elbow). When you finish, turn the dog over and repeat on the other side.

The rubdown cannot replace conditioning for getting a dog into shape. There are no shortcuts, only long cuts. But do not cut the rubdown short; it is an important aspect of conditioning.

Article By Bob Stevens.