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The Doggy Treadmill Trend
foggydogs
In class the other night Desiree had left an exercise ladder out on the floor. A like minded classmate and I immediately started running footwork drills while we were waiting for our turns. Exercise ladders are one of my all time favorite workouts, a lot of fun can be had. The goal is to always come up with some crazy footwork pattern that the other person can't do so by the end of class we were looking pretty ridiculous. It was also good to get some exercise instead of sitting around and watching the other teams, and my legs were spent. I'm actually very worried about the new doggy treadmill craze. While it's terrific that people are more aware of conditioning their canine companions I do think it's coming at the expense of their own fitness. What happened to taking your dog for a walk on leash? Sustained trotting and extended and compressed walking can be done while you are also getting some exercise, and getting outside just seems like a good idea for both dog and human. Very worried. It isn't about trying to be an uber athlete for agility, it's just moving more for overall general health. There are many not so healthy people out running agility, I'm always concerned when I see someone really puffing and panting when they are out on course. I think being a weekend athlete really sets people up for injuries. Oh well.

Merlin and I had a great time at Justine's seminar. I did have a few "what was I thinking?" moments prior to the International Handling seminar, but he actually did great. His brain endurance can be very unpredictable these days, but he held up really well. Kona has officially ended her winter break. 11 weeks off, she looks terrific but I don't think she had any injuries at the end of last season. I'm in the process of retraining some of her cues so I don't have to run so much on course :) Both dogs are working lower jump heights, Merlin has already learned a "drill speed" and a "real sequence speed", it's kind of nice to have both. Kona not so much.


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I was wondering about all the ball/peanut/pod/treadmill conditioning instead of getting the dog outside. I guess I go the other way. My dogs get lots of off leash walking/trotting/cantering up and down hills and various surfaces. Beep loves to jump across some giant ditches banking off the banks so he can come back across to get the Noodle, just cause he can. When they trot diagonally to tall fescue rows it works like a ladder :)

I've been on the huffing and puffing side of running an agility course. Don't want to go back! Six days a week my dogs and I are out walking:) 860 miles and counting since 9-14!

Jealous of your backsides! I really need to work on those!

You are one of my biggest inspirations! I think your lifestyle transformation has been astounding.

Thanks! It's been a journey, and one that I've been very thankful that I started on. I hope it helps get other people moving:)

Kona and Merlin look great!

I had a similar conversation about the treadmill trend with a friend during a 10mi hike last weekend. After my rant she pointed out that in many states it so snowy and cold during the winter that the treadmill is the only alternative for keeping dogs fit (if not their handlers, although they could get on it too). She has a point. I love living in California where even in the worst weather I am happy to take my dogs out for a walk.

I agree, inclement weather is an entirely different story. But in the PNW? There are only a couple of days each year when it is too icy to get outside. Otherwise, goretex was invented for a reason :)

Ah, I didn't realize there was a local trend in the PNW. It's not so prevalent in CA so far as I'm aware (but I do see on FB that it is becoming popular in the US). It's probably heading to CA next!

On one of the FitPaw videos they say there's a 160lb weight limit on the treadmill. That eliminates many people!

When it's sideways raining and I don't want to get soaked I put on a YouTube aerobics video and do that. I did one a few weeks ago and was really working it. The next morning I fell onto the potty because my legs and butt were so sore! Ha!

It eliminates me! But in my defense I would probably be bordering on anorexic at 160.

I LOVE ladder agility drills, they remind me of hopscotch and I LOVED hopscotch;) I think I still have a huge chunk of child left in me.

The treadmill, although looks like fun in some ways, is certainly not needed for me. As Channan said, yeah, there are certainly places in the world where it would be a must for some, -6 degrees, not a temp I would want to go out in. But overall I prefer, and recommend the real thing. Jogging, walking, or as I do it, "jalking";) is not only better physically than a treadmill (more natural variables), but mentally too. So much is going on during a jalking session with my dogs that I do not even know exist. The smells, the visuals, the surfaces, the ranges in outside temps, it is all preferred in my book. Plus I enjoy being outside, I know many people do not though. In the NW all we really need is some decent rain gear and all is good. I agree with you, more people really should be out moving with their dogs.

I will probably never own a treadmill, unless I become physically unable to exercise my dogs. I suppose when rehab specialists are looking at each individual client/patient, they have to consider what is realistic for the owners, and what type of compliance can be expected.

Being in school for this has certainly opened me up to more understanding, but has made me ask real questions too. I am leaning more and more into the realm of, "the body really wants to heal itself", versus procedures first on most electives(there is a place for surgery too). I'm also a HUGE fan of allowing the dog to perform the behaviors on his own, shaping behaviors is huge to me. The treadmill certainly does not allow the dog to move naturally, but there is a place for everything. I can say though, that at this point the treadmill certainly is not going to be a preferred method of mine;)

Kona is are back in town! I'm hopefully going to get to see you guys at some point, they both are looking good.

I'll start bringing the ladder to seminars and trials. We can do our own hopscotch challenge! I'm certain we won't get yelled at for anything :)

Seems the all of the focus in on doggy fitness right now. I think a lot of teams would benefit from the handlers being more fit. For some reason it is politically ok to say "your dog needs core strength" but it isn't ok to say "you need more core strength."

I have no problem telling my students:) I'm nice about it, but balance and being able to move are so important in being able to cue properly.

I'm sure your classes are "safe zones" though, and your students know that you have their best interests at heart.

I hate running outside in the cold. I'll say it again....I REALLY hate running outside in the cold. Actually I just hate cold period. It's 10::47am on Saturday morning and I'm under a heavy blanket on the couch because I'm COLD. I have a treadmill, cross trainer and a spin bike in my basement that are well used. :-)

Now in the warmer weather there are a few nice places to run, including the road I live on. I do try to keep fit and I'm working out about 3 to 4 times a week in the winter. But it's tough because the idea of getting out from under my warm blanket and stripping down to workout clothes seems very...cold. So I really have to force myself in the winter.
No gyms close to our house and after the long commute I don't want to get back in the car so the basement it is.

I've been following the new fitness craze and I've learned some useful info, but honestly I think the same benefit can be found just going hiking regularly with your dogs. I've tried treadmill work with my dogs, but they don't have a very natural gait so I wonder if long term it will do more harm than good for my guys. I'd rather go hiking...seems more fun.....when it's not cold.

Yet another reason to move back here :)

snowshoes are awesome, and you burn more calories in the cold;)

It took me awhile but I finally figured out that I was the half of the agility team in need of the physical conditioning, it's not like I ever had to wait for Ricky to catch up to me...it used to make me sigh that all of my agility photos of him his head is turned around looking back wondering where the heck I am as he takes that last jump.


..and now you can outrun your dogs, or pretty close to it :)

ha, true! Some days I actually run half my miles on the treadmill so Emily doesn't have to do so many miles :)

Not entirely sure why but your whole post just made me smile. Ladder drills! I am horrible at them but SO fun.

The dogs look lovely!!

Thanks! I feel a hopscotch challenge coming on in June.

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