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Welcome to the doggy workout!

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Sport is murder, right? No of course not. On the contrary, sport - or let's say exercise - is life. A body that is moving and trained in some way is more resilient and generally healthier. In physiotherapy there are many exercises that strengthen the animal's body and thus prevent various orthopedic diseases.

On this page, May and I show you the basics of muscle work and various exercises that you can easily do at home.


Before we get started...

The most important thing first, of course: Warming up .

The warm-up is often forgotten or kept too short, unfortunately also in dog sports.

Regardless of whether it is a horse or a dog, the regular warm-up should always last at least 10 to 15 minutes. In particularly cold temperatures, at least 20 minutes are recommended!
When warming up, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and the cardiovascular system are prepared for the upcoming workload and

thus the risk of injury is significantly reduced. If you don't warm up your animal, you risk tendon damage, joint wear and tear and other injuries.

Warm up your dogs before you exercise them. You don't have to think of a specific warm-up program. It's best if you just do these fitness exercises directly after a proper walk. Otherwise, these well-intended fitness exercises can quickly pose a risk of injury.

Do I need equipment for the doggy workout? And which balance pad is best for my dog?

A balance cushion/pad is actually required for a few of the exercises.
Right from the start I would like to say that you don't have to spend a lot of money and buy the K9 Fitbone, for example, to do the exercises with your dog. In fact, in some cases, a slightly firmer couch cushion may suffice. The balance pads that can be bought from discounters are also completely sufficient and our dogs don't care at all.
It is important to get advice beforehand, by 

the attending physiotherapist. The degree of hardness or the filling quantity always depends on the respective dog. If he has difficulty just standing on it or if he trembles in a tour, it is too difficult for him.
The size and weight of the dog also plays a role in which pillow is suitable. A Chihuahua will do very well on a firm foam cushion, but a German Shepherd can struggle if the muscles are weak.
Feel free to talk to me about it, then we can find the balance pad together that is best suited for your dog.

I would like to address one more topic, although I am not a dog trainer. I recommend that you start target training with your dog . What is target training? The dog learns to touch an object with its nose or paw. On the one hand, this makes it easier to work with the balance cushion, and on the other hand, the exercise becomes cleaner. A target can serve as a boundary, for example if the front paws should remain stationary while the rest of the body moves. A good example is exercise 1. In the video you can see that May's paws don't come off her target.

Just talk to your dog trainer about it. They can show you how to teach your dog to do this.

Types of Muscle Activity

muscle work

Isotonic muscle work
During isotonic muscle work, there is a change in muscle length while the tension in the muscle remains the same. That is, with this type of muscle work, we see movement in the body. We distinguish between two types of isotonic work.

1. The Concentric Muscle Contraction
In the first section of the video, I show you the concentric contraction of the biceps. Here the muscle shortens, I can lift the dumbbell.

2. Eccentric muscle contraction
In the second section of the video, you can see the eccentric contraction of the biceps. Muscle length increases and I slowly think my arm. Without the eccentric muscle work, my arm would snap down. 

Isometric muscle work
As you can see, you see nothing.
In isometric muscle work, muscle length stays the same while tension varies. That is, with this type of muscle contraction, we do not see any movement in the body. Isometric muscle work is holding work.
When we ask our dog to withstand lateral pressure, or our horse to hold its head in one position for a long period of time, that is isometric muscle work.

Now, in my case, to increase the tension in my biceps, a second person could try to push my hand down.


But what you have to keep in mind: just because you can't see anything doesn't mean that this type of muscle work is less strenuous. It's quite the opposite. Try it yourself. Take a weight, water bottle, whatever you have and hold it in a bent position so your biceps work isometrically. Well, how long can you hold that?

The doggy workout can start! You can find all exercises here
More exercises are coming soon.

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