Dog Fitness and Dog and Person Fitness is on the rise and becoming the newest trend. It seems every day, another business or person unleashes a new class or decides to offer a person and pooch fitness class.
Since K9 Fit Club isn’t everywhere (just yet), and dog fitness programs and classes generally aren’t regulated (although we are working on it), it’s up to you to do your research and make sure the program you consider follows certain standards.
K9 Fit Club offers the following suggestions to consider before you and Fido sign up for just any program.
Training and Credentials – Trainers should have experience and training in the services they are offering. All K9 Fit Club trainers are Certified Personal Trainers and K9 Fit Club Certified. All dog trainers and dog wranglers are also certified in Positive Dog Training Certification and K9 Fit Club Certified. K9 Fit Club offers a list of their credentials and affiliations within each facility.
Veterinary Emergencies – “It is also important that the fitness facility have qualified staff that has some experience in veterinary care,” says Tricia Montgomery, Founder & President at K9 Fit Club. “Always ask what their staff qualifications are, and make sure they have a veterinarian who can attend to emergencies or situations that might arise.” Each K9 Fit Club has a veterinarian on consult, along with an affiliation with a veterinarian who can be called for after-hours emergencies if when needed.
Programs Offered: The program or facility should be able to tailor programs for not only a person’s needs but a dog’s age, breed, weight range and additional health-related issues. Make sure the exercises and programs are fundamentally sound. From Begging for Beginner to Bow Wow Bootcamp, K9 Fit Club offers a wide range of programs for both novice and advanced.
Equipment: Equipment used within classes and programs are equally as important to the classes themselves. Is the equipment used specific for dogs and people? Is the equipment safe for both? Since dogs are different from humans, is the equipment used specific for a dog’s needs. Just like humans, the ability to maintain endurance, balance and engage core muscles for strength is important. “Dogs need products that were designed for the way they move, think and learn,” adds Krista Wickens CEO of DogTread Canine Fitness Equipment, “to ensure proper movement and form is maintained during exercise.” K9 Fit Club has partnered with FitPaws/FitBall and DogTread to provide all participants, both two legs and four, with a great and safe workout!
Assessments, Evaluations & Healthy to Participate: Does the program offer an assessment and an evaluation for the newbies? Are there special classes designed for the new participants to learn the basic fitness moves and obedience commands? Does the program require a veterinary standard or Healthy to Participate form? K9 Fit Club offers both, a Healthy to Participate and Assessments/Evaluations prior to participation in any class. K9 Fit Club additionally offers a Begging for Beginner Workout and an Intro to K9 Fit Club class providing any participant a great, safe workout.
Ratio of Instructors and Dog/Owner per Class: Safety for dog, owner, participants and instructors is a big concern for any class involving both dogs and people. To ensure a safe, effective and most of all FUN workout for all participants, evaluate the number of instructors per class, per the number of dog and owner teams. Can the staff designate and handle an aggressive or fearful dog? Are there enough instructors in the class to properly monitor the number of participants within the class? At K9 Fit Club, our classes are limited to 8-10 participants per class, with a minimum of 2 instructors, CPT and Trainer/Wrangler, both certified in K9 Fit Club Certification.
Programs for Disability: Is the program you and your pooch considering for the buff of the buff or the six-pack crowd? Is there an entrance for the seniors of disabled? Are their programs tailored for anyone? Although K9 Fit Club is dedicated to health, fitness and wellness, most of all, we leave no one behind. Whether a Sit & Be Fit or Waggin’ Wheelchair, K9 Fit Club has a program designed for you.
Accidents & Procedures: Make sure the program offered is up to date on certifications. Additionally, make sure they have an emergency plan to deal with whatever may happen. No one wants to think about, or plan for the worst. However, when it does occur, having plans in place can make the difference in any life or death situations.
Facility – Cleanliness is next to Godliness!:) The facility should be clean, welcoming and designed with your both dog and person in mind. Evaluate how each dog and owner enters and is greeted. The area should be secure to prevent canine escapes, should a dog become off leash. The facility should maintain liability insurance. K9 Fit Club maintains veterinary approved AVMA, AAHA and OSHA standards for each club.
As with any aspect of your dog’s health, you should consult with your veterinarian before you and your dog engage in a new fitness routine.
K9 Fit Club is growing a Nationwide Community of Clubs dedicated to the Health, Fitness and Wellness of both dog and owner. Changing Lives One Dog at a Time™.
Founder & President, K9 Fit Club