Things People Don’t Know About Canine Fitness Part 2
Last week, I started our series on things that people don’t know about canine fitness. This multipart series is meant to uncover some interesting tidbits of information that most people are not aware of when it comes to keeping their dog fit.
Without further ado, here are two more things that most people don’t know about canine fitness.
Dogs need progression to get more fit
A dog’s body will react very much like a human’s body when it comes to fitness training. As a result, just like it is with humans, dogs need a progressive exercise routine in order to get more fit, stronger, faster, or more agile.
Looking at it from the human perspective, it is very common to see ‘regulars’ in the gym, (or track, or yoga or Pilates studio) who look the same or lift the same amount of weight or run at the same speed day after day, year after year. While they are certainly fit, they are stuck in a rut and are not able to make changes (i.e. improvements) in their bodies or performance. The primary reason for this is lack of progression. Their bodies become accustomed to the same workouts and thus, stop improving.
The same is true for dogs. A canine athlete needs to be constantly challenged via exercise progression if they are to improve their fitness. The progression can come in various forms including increasing speed, distance, or time of the workout. Other options for progression include adding different modalities, like core work, strength work, or balance work, to the dog’s workout routine.
As long as the dog’s body is forced to react to new physical stress, their body will make the muscular and neuromuscular adaptations necessary to improve their overall fitness. For those who have older dogs or dog’s that are not really ‘athletes’, progressive exercise is still important. Mix in a few different drills each month, or vary the terrain that you walk or run on to make sure that the dog is constantly challenged.
Dogs get runner’s high
This is one of my favorite topics to talk about when it comes to both human and canine fitness. As I have written about in the past, research has shown that both humans and dogs will experience a form of runner’s high, a feeling of euphoria, from intense exercise. From the human perspective, this euphoric feeling can help a person manage stress, help them stick with a fitness program, and can even help increase a person’s confidence in everyday life.
The exact same can be said for a dog! A common saying is “a well exercised dog is a well behaved dog”. In my opinion, a huge reason that this is true is due to the runner’s high that a dog will experience when they are exercised regularly. They just feel good after a workout and that is reflected in their behavior and demeanor. Even better is when you and your dog workout together and you can share in the experience of euphoria. I would argue that working out with your dog can further enhance the euphoric effect due to bonding and team effects.