Week 7 Lesson 2
Are you ready to boost your activity level some more?
To date we have focused on providing stress free exercise through on-leash walking, swimming and off-leash exploration and play. With 6 weeks of WAGSTA activity now completed, your dog’s cardiovascular fitness will be improving, muscles will be toning and joints will be more mobile.
So over the next few weeks we will introduce some extra options for you to include in your dog’s activity sessions. These are not essential, but included every now and then will help to spice things up as well as provide increased opportunity for obedience and recall. Let’s get started!
Introducing Obstacles into Walks
Logs, boulders and embankments make great obstacles for a work-out.
For overweight dogs, begin by finding small and sturdy obstacles- logs and boulders no taller than your dog’s elbow height. And then let your imagination run free.
Small girth logs can be used as an obstacle for your dog to jump over.
Wider girth logs can be used as an obstacle for your dog to walk and balance along.
Flat stable boulders can be used for your dog to jump and then sit on, at your command.
Try incorporating some obstacles into your dog’s walk to increase mental exercise and dog-owner bonding. What suitable obstacles do you come across during your dog’s walk time? We’d love to see your photos.
TIP: Start off slowly and keep obstacles to a small and manageable size. Avoid obstacles if your dog suffers from back or joint pain.
All breeds have potential to gain unhealthy levels of body fat. However, there are certain breeds with a greater tendency for weight gain. These include:
Labrador Retrievers Golden retrievers
Beagles Basset Hounds
Pugs Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
English Bull Dogs Cocker Spaniels
Bull Mastiffs English Sheep dogs
Breed predispositions (genetics and body type) can lead to larger appetites and more efficient fat deposition. However, owning a weight prone breed does not mean your dog will automatically become overweight. As with any breed, weight gain can only occur when dogs consume an excess number of calories.
And over-eating only occurs if we allow it!
As dog care givers, we should be in control of our dog’s food intake. Not the other way around.
The weight-prone breed classification is important in highlighting the need for owner vigilance with the feeding and activity of these breeds. Treats and meals must always be kept restricted for these breeds (never allow these breeds to eat freely or to eat until full).
Weight gain is a gradual process that can easily go undetected. Often, it’s not until our dogs reach the obese category or start to suffer associated health effects such as lameness and infections, that we realize changes must be made.
To prevent unnoticed weight gain, parents of weight prone breeds should weigh their dog at least once a month to monitor for change. Weight gain must be addressed promptly before it escalates. Remain vigilant for increases in calorie consumption and get out for walkies at least once a day.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for your dog isn’t a one-off fix; it is a way of life with benefits for both you and your dog 🙂
Woofs and wags,
Your WAGSTA team.