Rocky’s Viewpoint

Rockys Viewpoint

A blog for people who treat their dogs better than family

Interval Training for Your Dog

Interval training is a form of cardiovascular training where short bursts of strenuous activity are followed by periods of rest, raising and lowering the heart rate during the session.  Used by almost all competitive athletes, interval training has long been recognized as one of the most effective ways to improve cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, speed weight loss, and build endurance.

If the benefits of interval training are widely recognized for humans, do you think they would apply to dogs as well? Actually they do! Interval training is an ideal workout for dogs. Think about the way dogs run and play – they run around, stop and sniff, and then run around again. You can come up with an interval training program for your dog by playing games such as fetch, or even doing a run/walk with your dog. Run for a minute then walk for a couple of minutes.

At Rocky’s Retreat, one of the ways we work with older, overweight dogs is via an interval training program in our indoor warm water pool. Swimming as a means of interval training is ideal because it doesn’t impact the joints. We’ll swim the dog hard for a short period of time, and then rest the dog for a few minutes until the heart rate slows down again. We’ve seen dramatic results using this method of training. Take Thorton for instance – he’s an 11 year old golden retriever/chow mix that his “Mom” Vickie rescued when he was about 6 months old. When we met with Vickie and Thor in mid-July, Thor was overweight, and beginning to have increasing difficulty with everyday activities. Shortly thereafter, we began an interval training program with him, swimming him twice a week. In the beginning, Thor was very anxious in the pool and could only swim for about 10 minutes before he was exhausted because of his physical condition. He could only do one lap before we had to rest him, and our rest periods were in our opinion, lengthy.

Fast forward to today. Thor has lost weight, and has gained muscle mass, strength and endurance. We can swim him harder and longer before resting him because of the improvements in his cardiovascular and respiratory systems. And his anxiety is gone! He looks forward to coming here for his swim sessions. At home, Vickie reports that he’s acting like a puppy again. He’s once again interacting with the other dogs, plays in the back yard, and walks with vigor around the neighborhood. Vickie says that Thor has been transformed from a dog that was slowly becoming disabled to a strong, energetic and healthy senior.

No matter how you do it, interval training will go a long way to help keep your dog in shape, and like Thor, will help your dog stay strong, energetic and healthy as he or she ages. If you want your dog to be transformed like Thor, contact us today!

Category: Exercise