Learning about Canine Fitness in Super Puppy Class

Back in January, I knew I would be focusing on practicing with Bernie for Canine Good Citizen, so I decided to look around for special activities for Lizzie. I didn't want an obedience class because I didn't want the pressure of homework, so I was thrilled when I found Super Puppy Class lead by Kate Titus at A Loyal Companion Canine Swim and Recreation Center

Lizzie just squeaked by the age cut for Super Puppy Class. She turned one on March 17, the last day of the four-week class. During the four weeks, Lizzie and I learned a great deal about puppy body awareness. 

 Lizzie practices her down-stay on one of the purple platforms in Super Puppy Class. Later, we'll use the same platform to guide Lizzie underneath as she learns to crawl.

Warming Up

Each class opened with a series of warm up exercises. Puppies learned to manipulate their rear legs so they were sitting, standing, and settling into a down properly. With a bag full of treats ready to entice her, Lizzie enjoyed practicing her sit-to-stand and her down-to-stand, but she loved spinning in each direction.

 Super Puppy Class begins with warm ups. Lizzie sits on place on her pet cot while we review the expectations for the different exercises.

Canine Fitness Equipment and Stations

During each class, we learned how to use the various fitness equipment. Each week the obstacle course stations were set up in different ways to keep the puppies engaged.

The bar and cones cross station was Lizzie's least favorite. I made the mistake of accidentally moving one of the cones towards her and she got scared. While she continued to walk or hop over the two  lower rungs, she refused to try the bars that were slightly higher. 

A definite opportunity for growth!

 Lizzie likes hopping over the lower bars at this cone/bar station. The rungs that are slightly higher she walks around.

The Ladder

Lizzie liked walking across the ladder. We were practicing sitting in between each set of rungs. Since the rungs were so close together, this kind of intentional movement forced her to slow down and think about how she was going to sit properly with her back legs tucking up toward her core.

 Lizzie practices a proper sit between the rungs of the ladder. This station on the obstacle course requires her to be more intentional with her movements.

Weaves

Cones and rungs in a line were fine by Lizzie. She'd weave over each rung as I used some body proximity to guide her to weave over and back. I used some treats to lure her too. 

 During the last Super Puppy Class, the obstacle course of fitness stations moved all around the building. Lizzie  liked hopping over these rungs in the hallway.

Balance Equipment

The green FitBone puzzled Lizzie. She'd place her front two paws on it, but I could never get her to stand on it. Now the purple balance trainer was slightly larger and squishier, so Lizzie had no problem hopping onto it. She'd sit and stand even with other dogs and people moving around at the other stations.

 Lizzie was not a huge fan of the FitBones. She would only get her front paws on the green FitBone., but she loved the round squishier Fit Circle. She hopped right up and practiced proper sits.

Cooling Down

At the end of each class, the puppies received a cool down massage. Nothing overly fancy. Kate taught us how to gently massage our puppies starting at their shoulders, working down their back. Then we massaged each leg and paw.

 Lizzie practices her down-stay during Super Puppy Class at A Loyal Companion in Tucson, Arizona.

Even More Equipment

For helping Lizzie become more aware of her body's position in space, there were many other pieces of equipment: paw pods, balance pads, wobble boards, and even more hurdles. Besides learning proper form for sitting, standing and spinning, Lizzie started to learn how to crawl as well.

Lizzie and I thoroughly enjoyed our four weeks learning more about balance and flexibility. This four-week class also served as Lizzie's initial gym session for A Loyal Canine. If I want to sign up Bernie for Open Gym, I'll still need to take him to orientation, but now I have a much better idea of how Open Gym works.

When summer sets in, Bernie and Lizzie will be enjoying some air conditioned fitness options at A Loyal Canine. 

 The doggie scale in the lobby of A Loyal Companion helped me track Lizzie's weight over the four-week class. She remained a consistent 20.6 pounds, even on her birthday.
 Learning about Canine Fitness in Super Puppy Class at A Loyal Canine in Tucson, Arizona.

If you enjoyed reading about canine fitness,
please share this post with your friends.