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


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.

Fitness Fundamentals

In these classes you and your dog will learn about canine anatomy, diseases, stress, conditioning, gait and how to achieve fitness no matter the age or condition of your dog.

The Basics of Fitness

Flexibility: This usually means joint movement, it's range and fluidity. Some flexibility has a lot to do with body composition however, the more excess weight a dog might have will reduce the range of motion.

Endurance: Endurance is usually measured by aerobic capacity.  This means how long a dog can run or chase or do quick movement exercises.  However, in the last decade, humans have been reminded that mental challenge is just as exhausting as aerobic exercise.  So endurance covers more then just aerobics.  Endurance is the amount of time vs effort in any activity.

Strength: Weight training is a form of exercise for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles which can provide significant functional benefits and improvement in overall health and well-being.

Agility: Agility is the ability to change the body's direction quickly and efficiently. Agility requires a sense of balance, the knowledge of body parts and how they move, coordinating movements between the dog and its environment, speed, and strength.

Balance: This includes body awareness, environmental awareness and proprioception in order to maintain the natural positions of the canine body without dizziness, loss of equilibrium or injury.

Speed: Speed is a measure of how fast the dog moves in the activity being done. Speed is measured by how much time it takes to go from rest to the end of the activity. That activity could be as simple as a stand to a sit. To get speed, the dog needs to be able to hear the cue, understand the cue and the action the cue signals and instantly react upon hearing it.

Task-oriented activity: There are many tasks and groups of tasks that we can ask of our dogs. A sport, any sport, is just a specific set of tasks and movements that have the purpose of going from A to B.

There are five things that I feel are the keys to fitness with any dog, no matter what their role in your life is.

Engagement. Engagement basically means that your dog is actively involved in the activity you and s/he are doing together. Once the dog is actively participating, there is a point where the dog is actually pushing the handler. This intended outcome is what is desired during every interaction. Engagement cannot be achieved without a sound dog. Fitness is an important part of creating an engaged dog. Anything that is unsound will cause internal distractions and thus, no engagement.

Aerobic Activity. Some dogs love to run, others don't. Some dogs thrive on long straight walks and others need to stop at every tree and hydrant, chase a butterfly and roll in the grass. All of this for a dog, is aerobic activity. Anything that gets the dog moving, breathing, engaging with the environment and you can be considered aerobic. The heart pumps a bit harder, the lungs grab more air, the muscles work harder and endorphins abound.

Creative Exercise

Running. Jumping. Playing. Problem solving. Dogs live for this stuff!

Exercise—for both mind AND body—should be fun for you and your dog. Through unique activites like swimming, NoseWork, obedience, balance ball exercises and more, we'll help you keep the joy in exercise.

Join one of our many classes and learn a new skill or explore a dog sport. Discover the power of a therapy ball to build strong core muscles that decrease the risk of injury. No matter your dog's age or mobility level, we have a class to meet his physical and mental needs.

Just as with our Service Dog program, we will teach each student how to creatively exercise dogs so that it is fun, fullfilling, and useful. There is no boredom with these exercises, they can be done from your easy chair or with your running shoes on.

In addition, most of these exercises are also structured games that we use in our programs, so not only are you exercising your dog, you are also teaching!

Senior Support

Not every dog requires a significant solution like an orthosis or a cart. Based on our evaluation of your dog's environment and your veterinarian's diagnosis, we can recommend products and changes to the home that support more general mobility challenges.

For example, senior dogs with some form of degenerative joint changes will often experience difficulty rising from and walking on slippery tile floors common in the Desert Southwest. We offer a selection of boots and paw covers to meet the needs of even the most paw-averse dogs. As senior dog owners ourselves, we share tips and tricks to keep you dog moving safely within her home.

We also understand that being a care-giver to a senior, disabled or injured pet is a challenge. We offer equipment such as harnesses, lifts, diapers and others that make moving and exercising with you dog easier – and more fun – for you and your dog.

Senior Support is a complement to veterinary medicine, never a substitute. We will contact your veterinarian prior to your appointment to discuss your dog's condition.  


Jagility


"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?