Dog Fitness: Capability Leads to a More Active Dog
Our “6 C’s Pyramid” for fitness provides a framework upon which a lifestyle fitness program can be created. Once you and your dog have mastered the 1st level (convenience, cross training, and common sense), your workouts start to take shape and you will become more consistent with an exercise program. As you build a habit of consistent (if not daily) exercise, you and your dog can start to develop increased capability, which will in turn lead to increased activity and health.
Achieving Canine Fitness Capability
Exercising regularly and mixing in fun and new exercises and activities will, over the long run, increase your dog’s fitness capabilities. Like the old expression says, “practice makes perfect”. But until you start to practice something, you will never get perfect at it, let alone build a level of capability.
When was the last time you tried a new lift or tried a new fitness protocol (e.g. tried a front squat instead of leg presses, or tried something new like Cross Fit or Pilates)? If you are like most humans, you most likely shy away from new things because you don’t feel confident that you can perform the workout or exercise very well. This is common human behavior and reinforces a limited skill set. However, if you invest some time learning a new move, your capability increases as does your confidence levels. Next thing you know, you are fitter, faster, stronger, leaner.
Dogs are very much like humans in this regard. Although dogs don’t really care what others think about their attempts at new things, (unlike most people who are often self-conscious), they do, like humans, experience an increased level of confidence with things that they practice. We see this in virtually all of the new exercises and exercise routines we use with our Labradors. With repetition, our dogs gain confidence and their capability to perform quickly rises. This increased capability, in turn, leads to a higher level of performance and thus, a higher level of fitness.
As you and your pet devote time to your fitness drills, your level of capability will increase. That is true whether you are practicing a skill, like agility weaves which requires precise timing and speed adjustments, or just basic movements like running, where capability comes from improved cardiovascular thresholds.
Every improvement in fitness is by (my) definition, an improvement in capability. And this can lead to a self-fulfilling cycle of improved fitness over time as you and your dog are able to push harder or try new progressions as you become more capable at the exercises.
Build your fitness pyramid by making your dog’s exercise sessions convenient, using common sense, and cross training to reduce injury risk. This will lead to a consistent exercise schedule and increase your dog’s capabilities. All of these will lead to the top level of the “6 C’s Pyramid, which is “Change”. We will write more about change in an upcoming post to cap off our 6 C’s fitness series.
In the meantime, get up, grab your dog, and start building capability and fitness.