This week in lovely Winnipeg and surrounding areas, we received some of that white fluffy stuff called snow. It wasn't just a little bit of snow, no it was a whooping 15cm all in a 24 hours span!! As the dogs go out the door, I look and see poor Ani, the snow is up to her belly and she can't move, I think to myself, It is days like these that I question my choice to live outside of the city but have all of my appointments in the city. I wouldn't change a thing though, you do become accustomed to it after a while. I wait a day or so before I made my journey into the city for Ani's monthly maintenance, no she is not a car, I do monthly chiropractic and laser on her as she is very hard on her body. Her veterinarian is beginning her assessment and she stops and says "I can't find my landmarks" I laugh and say "we have been working on conditioning lately". She told me that I am doing a great job with program and to keep it up as it is really helping Ani keep herself in good form. With that being said, it I got me thinking again that I need to tweak my conditioning plan and figure out what I want to accomplish over the winter months.
Winter is sometimes such a long and drawn out season and we sometimes need to find things to keep us busy. What a better way to keep yourself busy and work your dogs mind and body then with a conditioning program. It is such a great way to build that relationship with your dog. Gives you a chance to really focus on different stretches and core building. Incorporate tricks into your session and it really works the dogs mind.
I have attached a blog post from Fitpaws USA. It gives you some info as to how to start, what equipment they recommend and some cool videos of the authors dogs. Check it out. Don't feel that you have to run out and get all of the equipment that they recommend, know that you can find things around the house that work or you can find cheaper products. Yes the quality of a cheaper product is not always the best but it will do the job that you are looking for. Tips if you do buy cheaper ones, just make sure nails are trimmed as short as possible as the rubber is not as strong. Search on Amazon and Ebay for items. A Canadian site that offers some of the Fitpaws items is orthocanada. I myself have only purchased a few of the items and the rest I find stuff in the house to use.
Build a program that fits your needs. It doesn't have to be a long session, 5-10 mins is sometimes enough. Figure out what your expectations are and what your a looking to achieve. Do your session, focusing on body form and then work on stretches. It is always important to do gentle stretches to keep the muscles from getting tense and follow with a gentle massage to relax/soften everything again. Conditioning is our friend, don't be afraid to work outside of the box.