Exploring Playful Fitness Solutions for Healthier Dogs

On Sunday, January 7, 2018, Bernie and I attended the Open House at A Loyal Companion, a Canine Swim & Recreation Center conveniently located in the middle of Tucson.

A Loyal Companion is worth barking about!

This facility offers indoor swimming, fitness classes, training & dog sports, wellness services, and mobility equipment. This Tucson dog mom just found an engaging place to take the pups during the sweltering summer days.

Fitness Talk & Exercise Equipment Demonstration

Kate Titus, founder and owner of A Loyal Companion, talked to her guests about Canine Fitness. Over 50% of dogs in the United States are obese, so learning more about keeping Bernie and Lizzie in shape is a topic I take seriously. 

Kate Titus working with a Golden Retriever at A Loyal Companion's 2018 Open House

Kate Titus lures this beautiful Golden Retriever onto two K9 Fitbones. The Golden is trying to reach that treat and Kate won't let her have a nibble until her back legs are on the Fitbone. Everyone was chuckling at how far the Golden could stretch. Seconds after this shot, the Golden popped her back legs onto the back Fitbone to a collective "Good girl!"

Daily walks are great, but even with new routes, if I only walk the pups through our neighborhood we would all be bored. 

At A Loyal Companion, we can attend fitness classes or open gym (after an orientation to the equipment), or get one-on-one attention with private training. The gym gets set up differently every day. Some days may feature different stations while other days may challenge dogs with an obstacle course.

A typical strength workout may take 20 minutes for an average dog. If you have a senior dog, then the workout may be 8-12 minutes.

Two dogs in your pack? Not a problem. Bringing both is just fine. 

Even little Corgis can get a work out. Photo taken during the fitness demonstration at A Loyal COmpanion's 3rd annual Open House.
Another dog balances on this wobbly ball exercise equipment at A Loyal Companion's 3rd annual Open House.

Indoor Swimming!

Swimming is another great form of exercise for dogs, especially senior dogs. If your dog likes to swim with other dogs, then there's the added benefit of a different form of socialization.

With an indoor pool measuring 14'x22', dogs can fetch their favorite toy in the water, swim around, and chase one another. We can opt for private swim sessions, open swim sessions, or even private swimming lessons.

Since Matthew and I would like both of our dogs to know how to swim, A Loyal Companion is a great resource for us. I have no idea how to teach the pups how to swim. Now, I don't need to worry. The team at A Loyal Companion can handle that one.

The pool's clearing out! Open Swim at A Loyal Companion wraps up so everyone can watch the demonstrations during their 3rd annual Open House.

Games and Tricks Class Opportunities

Cindy Morgan from Oh, Behave Pet Training & Behavior Solutions offers numerous classes at A Loyal Companion as well.

  • Obedience (I-III)
  • AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program
  • Puppy Socialization Program
  • C.L.A.S.S. Program
  • Confidence Building (I-III)
  • AKC Canine Good Citizen
  • AKC Community Canine
  • Therapy Team Training
  • Puppy Body Awareness
  • Senior Balance
  • Rally Obedience
  • Tricks Class

I watched Leslie and her dog Kota demonstrate tricks they had learned during various tricks classes. My personal favorite was the double high five! Kota has some serious core strength matching her friendly and playful demeanor.

Kota proudly shows off her tricks during a demonstration at A Loyal Companion's 3rd annual Open House.
Kota focuses on trainer Cindy Morgan during a shaping demonstration at A Loyal Companion's 3rd annual Open House.

Cindy Morgan demonstrates the shaping training technique. Kota has learned to sit in a box, so here Cindy is waiting for Kota to offer her a new behavior. If Kota chooses to dip her head or make any gesture toward lying down in the box, Cindy marks that desired behavior with her clicker and Kota receives a yummy treat. 

Even More Resources for Dog People...

A Loyal Companion houses this lending library of dog resources. They even have a puzzle program where I can check out one puzzle at a time to take home, let the pups play with it, and exchange it when they're done. What a fantastic way to keep Bernie and Lizzie engaged with different toys to solve without having to fill my house with those toys.

They also host a monthly book club where they read and discuss dog books, fiction and nonfiction! You can even bring your dog to book club! 

Display featuring resources for PetPartners and Gabriel's Angels at A Loyal Companion.
Treats for the humans too at A Loyal COmpanion's 3rd annual Open House.

Bernie's Favorite: The Gourmet Cookie Bar

These are just a few of the homemade yummy cookies at the treat buffet. Bernie and I ventured back three times to sample several of these gourmet goodies.

Bernie McSquare enjoyed every one of the treats he sampled from A Loyal Companion's Treat Buffet at their third annual Open House.

Bernie and I had a great time at A Loyal Companion. Everyone was so warm and welcoming! On the car ride home, Bernie expressed interest in learning how to swim and trying out more of the fitness equipment. Even though he enjoyed his one-on-one outing with me, he would like Lizzie to learn how to swim with him. He's a safety-conscious pup looking out for his little sister.

How do you and your pet burn off treat calories?
Please share in the comments below.