Preventing Injury To Your Dog With Resistance Training: Everything You Need to Know

Maybe you've heard that strength-building exercises can help you prevent injuries. Well, the same applies to dogs. Injuries are devastating as they hinder your dog's activity levels, leading to other health problems like obesity. They can also be tough on you as the owner, with some dog injury treatments costing thousands of dollars.

The good news is that resistance training can help you build the muscular strength of your dog and prevent injuries. And the best thing is that muscle conditioning can be straightforward and enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Read on to learn more about resistance training—why your dog needs it, and the exercises involved.

What Is Resistance Training?

Resistance training is a type of strength-building activity that involves performing an effort against a resistance-generated opposing force. Precisely, energy generated by additional stressors opposes a particular part of the body's normal movement.

The additional stressors may include a gravity pull, friction slowed weight, or an elastic band that's contracting back to its flaccid state.

According to the American Sports Medicine Institute, resistance training aims to burden the musculoskeletal system progressively to become stronger. You might need to gradually add the weight load, the activity's duration, and the speed at which the dog performs the exercise.

Why Does Your Dog Need Resistance Training?

Deployment of resistance training to prevent injury isn't such a new notion. The fact was discovered in 1986 by Fleck and Falkel. Since then, studies have confirmed that strength training, especially for athletes, brings down the severity of injuries.

In a research carried out by Mandelbaum, a soccer player reduced the risk of ACL injury by 88% through an exercise regimen that she was doing for 15 minutes per day.

Strength training generates psychological changes in the muscles, connective tissues, and muscles by exerting pressure on the joints. Since the bone can reconstitute itself, the load placed on it remodels increasing density and strengthens the bone.

Muscles, ligaments, and tendons are at a higher risk of getting damaged with dynamic movements since they support the joints and keep the body aligned. Resistance training toughens the muscles and tendons while making the ligaments more flexible, which reduces the risks of strain and tear.

As humans, all types of dogs, including pets and sporting dogs need to build their strength. They not only need to strengthen their muscles but also increase their stamina for enhanced speed and performance. A dog that is engaged in resistance training is likely to live a longer and healthier life than a dog that isn't.

Resistance Training Exercises for Your Dog

As the owner, it's obvious that you mind about your dog's happiness and wellbeing. Before you begin a fitness program, you want to ensure that it's exciting and your dog's health status is good enough to get started.

You might also need to do some warm-ups like trolling, dynamic stretching, twists, or lunging in a circle to prepare your dog for the strengthening phase.

Weight pulling

For this exercise, all you need is to ask your dog to pull a loaded drag bag. You can get an appropriate Weighted Drag Bag for your dog from trusted dealers of dog training equipment.  If you're more ambitious about this exercise, go ahead and participate in dog weight pulling competitions.

As your dog pulls, it involves nearly all muscles in its body, including leg muscles, shoulder, and neck muscles.

Large herding ball

If your dog has herding instincts and plays drives, get it a large herding ball. Let your dog grip the ball with its forelegs, scoot it under the chest, and drag it around an expanse.

Since the giant ball is relatively heavy (3-5 pounds), a play session exerts substantial stress on your dog's abdominal muscles and the muscles of the forelegs, neck, and shoulders.  

Retrieving games

If your dog finds retrieving games impressive, go for it! Take the game on a steep uphill slope (about 20-yard), and send your dog to get a retrieving target up the hill.

The game forces your dog to carry its weight up against gravitational pull. That means its legs, shoulder, and hip muscles will have to work extra harder.

Agility work

It's exciting to teach your dog several jumping-associated commands. Grab a toy or another piece of equipment that belongs to your dog. Then come up with commands that will prompt your dog to jump up and take whatever is in your hand or shoulder.

Jumping involves the muscles of your dog's hind legs and core. This creates a perfect muscle exercise as the dog pushes its mass up against a force of gravity.

Squat training

Squatting is a great low-impact workout for your dog.  Have your dog go under a bench, a low table, or a pole. The place shouldn't be too low that the dog has to crawl or too high that it won't have to squat.

The exercise allows your dog to use its body mass against gravity, reinforcing the front leg, rear legs, and core.

Final Advice         

The key is to let your dog grind harder with time to make its muscles less prone to injury through resistance training activities. But remember to give the exhausted muscles time to rest so that they don't tear.

Likewise, encourage your dog to move linearly so that its movements are well-supported. Other practical resistance training exercises include speed drills, skipping the cool-down practice, and tug exercises.

For any training equipment, you may need for your dog, contact us at XDOG. We also have varieties of dog foods and other supplements.