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Setting Fitness Goals for Your Dog for Better Health

Do you want to get your dog in better shape?

Perhaps lose a few pounds?

Improve his agility time?

Just like with humans, the best way to set and keep a fitness goal for your dog is to be specific with the goal, and have a way to measure the results.

If you would like for your dog to lose a few pounds, what does that mean? Five pounds? Ten pounds?

If you want to improve your dog’s agility time, be specific and realistic about how much time you want to shave off his time.

Whatever goal you set, it needs to be as specific as possible, otherwise how will you know if you’ve achieved it?

How do you set a specific goal?

In the above examples, setting a weight loss goal or improving his agility completion time are easy, because you can assign a number to it.

I want my dog to lose five pounds, or I want my dog to complete the agility course 15 seconds faster than he consistently does.

Those are measurable and achievable.

But a vague goal of “I want to get my dog in better shape” isn’t specific or measurable. In these cases, revise the goal.

Be specific about what it is you’re trying to improve.

Things like

  • “I want my dog to have the endurance to jog a mile with me”,
  • “I want my dog to have the strength to stand on his hind legs for 15 seconds so we can participate in canine freestyle”, or
  • “I want my dog to jump and clear a 4 ft. hurdle”
    are all specific goals where progress can be tracked accomplished.agility dog clearing jump

Also, keep the goal within reach.

If you have a dog that needs to lose 30 pounds (as we have seen too many times), break it down into smaller bits to make it more realistic. Start with a goal to lose five pounds and celebrate the victory when your dog achieves that goal.

Set a realistic time frame to accomplish the goal.

But don’t get discouraged if it takes longer. Setting a timeframe gives you a target date to work toward, and helps to keep you motivated. Make sure the timeframe is truly realistic. Having a goal of your couch potato dog jogging a mile with you in three weeks is unrealistic.

If you’re interested in making some changes for the better in your dog’s life, consider beginning by identifying what those changes are and setting goals to get them accomplished. Both you and your dog will benefit!