Fitness Fundamentals

What do you do to keep your dog in shape? It doesn't matter whether your dog is doing sports, is a service dog or just your best friend, fitness is as necessary for our dogs as it is for us.

Fitness is a dog’s ability to perform physical activities both static and dynamic.  These activities generally require endurance, strength, flexibility, balance and coordination as well as a general awareness of the environment those activities are being performed within. Fitness usually denotes the engagement in a combination of regular exercise and inherited talent and ability. 

Fitness is also a measure of a dog’s ability to carry out those tasks he is assigned whether in the sporting, working, service or companion arenas. That measure is one of vigor, fatigue and energy. Fitness generally measure one’s capacity for directed movement.


Degility® is a sport in Germany started a few years ago for the purpose of taming Parkour for all ages and sizes of dogs. 

Degility® is a mixture of fitness, agility and parkour.It is not a sport of speed and excitement. 

Degility® addresses precision in connection with concentration and emphasizes confidence in navigating the challenges of the equipment employing motor skills and coordination not seen in other sports.

Degility® is a combination of Agility and Mobility. It promotes concentration, confidence, coordination, strength, balance, and motor skills. Degility ensures a fit and healthy dog . 

Degility® is suitable for dogs and people of all ages . Puppies, senior dogs, dogs with three legs or other disabilities and even dogs with arthritis or other hip issues can practice Degility and succeed.

Degility® involves overcoming common and uncommon obstacles. Mazes, ramps, moving tables, suspension bridges and anything you can imagine and create.  

Degility® is recommended by physiotherapists and behavioral therapists . With Degility the quality of the life andhealth of your dog can be restored and enhanced.

Skill Related Fitness

In traditional sports training, there were basically five areas that were focused on.  These areas are strength, endurance, flexibility, body composition and aerobics. Some people add reaction time and agility to this list. Personally, I would also add posture.  All the exercises used in training for any particular sport concentrated on one or more of these areas.  Skill was increased only in doing the activity itself.  The thought was that if you had the “basics” and the “talent” that the skill would just magically appear with practice.

I remember those days.  In the winter instead of being in the freezing cold pool (the heater pilot was always blowing out), we would do land exercises involving weights, pulleys and gymnastics.  Except for the pulley systems, nothing involved the actual skills in swimming the different strokes, and even the pulley system wasn’t like moving through water.  I did have one coach over a summer in 1967 that practiced skill related fitness.  All our exercises were done in the pool and all related to some movement that we did in swimming any of the four strokes (breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle). 

Functional training strategies now take advantage of encouraging exercises that mimic the skills of the sport within the fitness sessions. The difference between skills during training versus learning skills while doing is that field skills work very precise moves and have narrow scopes whereas skills training can cover similarities and differences without having to be precise. Because skills learned in the field are so narrow in scope, the vulnerability to injury is greater due to odd and unpredictable situations on the field. Functional training works within the scope of the sport but looks to increasing the ability to be flexible with the skills in order to meet all circumstances one might find on the field.

This is just as true for our dogs as it is for us.  I remember the first time I watched Susan Garrett’s DVD “Success With One Jump” where she used one piece of equipment and taught every skill, every approach and release, every possible combination of moves that would involve any jump.  This is functional skill training.  Find the most common denominator and work everything from there.  Full range of motion, all speeds, different surfaces, different weather, sounds, distractions, and anything you can possibly imagine could happen in the field or at trial.

Strength, flexibility, agility, reaction time, aerobics and endurance can all be built with this method and having been built this way are all more reliable in a crunch and are built to withstand the vagaries of life.


"Jagility" is a combined word from "jagen" which in German means to hunt and "agility" which covers quick and graceful physical movements and the ability to think and draw conclusions quickly. 

Jagility is all about the cooperation between a human and a dog. The ability to hunt cooperatively has its roots in the evolution of canids of all sorts. There are many species that hunt cooperatively. Lions, wild dogs, hyenas, chimpanzees and wolves not only hunt together but are also social during non-hunting activities. Occassionally other canids such as coyotes, will cooperate in a hunt of larger game when the smaller pre they usually consume is scarce.

Cooperation and utilizing the natural abilities of a dog are the keys in this activity.

Canine Parkour

Canine Parkour is a fun way to exercise your dog using everyday objects, structural components and park furniture for agility and sport. Mental stimulation is so important for every dog, so you will learn how to use items you come across every day to make walks more fun for both you and your dog. You don’t need access to expensive agility equipment for you and your dog to have fun!

Traffic, people, other dogs, loud noises, dog parks, these are every day occurrences in the life of Parkour Canines and should be a source of confidence and positive stimulation. This class engages dogs and their owners in a positive manner and gives them the tools to tackle these challenges head on. Obedience training and urban agility exercises are combined to create a class that is as exciting as it is productive.

This is a lifestyle change for both you and your dog. Canine Parkour will equip you with the tools you need to achieve your training goals with your dog. Whether you are working with your dog for your and his health, or training for a big challenge, Canine Parkour will help motivate and inspire you to continue.

Are you up for the challenge?