Lose Pounds with your Hounds this New Year!

by Rachel Rodgers // January 2018

Lose Pounds with your Hounds this New Year!

Every January we are surrounded by adverts for gym memberships, discounted exercise gadgets and diet cookbooks, all aimed at helping us with our quest for

“New Year, New Me”.

If you have a dog at home, then don’t spend money on these fad items like a “foam roller”, (what even is one of those!).  We all know it will end up in the attic or garage before the end of the month! Instead, grab your dog’s harness, collar and lead and head on out to lose pounds with your hound instead.

Dogs are supreme athletes. Whether they are big or small the likelihood is they can outrun and out walk us! They can also jump several times their own body height from standing still, no run up needed! In 2006, a greyhound named Cinderella May cleared a hurdle set at 5 feet, 8 inches (Newbury, 2012). That’s taller than all our staff!

So it is unlikely that you’ll jump that high, but there are sporty activities that you can take part in with your dog. These types of exercise are good for your dog not only physically, but also mentally too as they are stimulating and we love them because they involve training.

Agility

 One of the most common “dog sports” is agility, you’ve probably seen it on the tv. Agility involves the owner directing their dog through a course of bright coloured exciting looking objects. These may include tunnels, jumps, weave-poles and walkways. Agility competitions are scored not only on ability but also on the time it takes to complete the course. The faster the better! So get ready to do some running alongside your pooch to direct them where to go as quickly as possible! 

 

Heelwork to Music

Heelwork to music or Canine Freestyle is great for the dogs (and owners) who like to show off! Freestyle is a choreographed musical performance, not just for the dog but with their owner too! You may train your dog to do twists and turns. They may also walk backwards, jump through your open arms and so much more all in time to the rhythm of the music! Probably not one for me as my two left feet may get in the way a little.

Canicross and Canimarching

Although in Dog School Shropshire classes we help teach you how to get your dog to walk nicely by your side, in Canicross and Canimarching your dog gets to go out at the front!

Canimarching although less heard of, is actually the most appropriate canine sport for beginners. This is where you walk with your dog across fantastic country trails. When you and your dog get into a good rhythm and have learnt all the directions, you can progress into Canicross.

Canicross is all about running with your dog, but the best bit is that it is at your own pace.

Some country parks even hold sponsored Canicross events where you can complete in partnership with your best friend, you’ll get a medal and they get a doggy goody bag.

Here at Dog School Shropshire, we are really lucky as Shropshire has a great, friendly group of local people who meet on the first Sunday of each month to help complete newbies get an introduction to the sport. They also have the option of you borrowing equipment from them, which can be helpful if you fancy a trial attempt before committing to the sport.

We also love the fact that this group voluntarily takes out rescue dogs on their Canicross adventures, wearing bandanas and harnesses saying “adopt me” to help find the dogs new homes.

As you can see, getting fit doesn’t have to be boring and it also doesn’t mean your faithful companion has to wait for you to get home from the gym.

Thinking of easing yourself in gently?

Each of these activities requires some basic commands and for your dog to have the ability to focus on you when there are lots of exciting things going on around them. To help with that and prepare for your new sporting adventures, why not come along to Dog School Shropshire & Cheshire’s classes?

Classes are now booking for Wednesday day time sessions at Dogs Trust Shrewsbury. So call us on 01948 302 990, or email Shropshiredogschool@dogstrust.org.uk to book your place today!

 

You can also check us out on social media by searching for Dog School Shropshire

Thanks for reading and check back next month to find out more fun and exciting tips on things you can do with your dog.

The Dog School Shropshire team would like to thank Amy Joyce and Craig Henn for their fantastic photos for this month’s blog!