Our new chapter begins

Chief’s second birthday was last Monday. I love birthdays. They are fun, celebratory, and meant to make the person (or dog) feel loved. I felt so sad on Chief’s birthday. Our time with our dogs is so short, and every passing year reminds me of that fact. This year, I made the choice to do more for, and with, my dogs to make the most of our time together. 

I am excited to share that I was accepted to the current cohort of the Certified Professional Canine Fitness Trainer (CPCFT) program. By early 2025, I will be a CPCFT qualified to work with dogs and their handlers to improve their lives through physical fitness and training for injury prevention. Chief sparked my interest in canine conditioning. He is a high octane dog with no sense of self preservation. We do a variety of activities together and I want to make sure he is as prepared as can for any physical challenge. We work on conditioning almost everyday and both equally enjoy this practice.

Our dogs have so much untapped potential that we can build upon to help them live a long and healthy life. One of my first experiences with canine conditioning was buying a pivot bowl for Chief and I to work with. I remember trying to teach him how to “orbit” (reverse circle around the handler) for months with no success. We started working his hind end awareness on the pivot bowl. One day, he OFFERED me an orbit! I couldn’t believe that this simple change in routine yielded such amazing results. From there, I was hyper-focused on seeing how far this practice could take us.

Something I love about canine conditioning is that it is all about fun and relationship building. There are no opposing training philosophies, or controversial methods to argue about. The trainer’s time is truly dedicated to improving the dog in front of them. This type of training is based on building a dog’s confidence and making the experience as enjoyable as possible for them. Through conditioning, the dog will progress in their fitness abilities, all the while becoming stronger and more capable. This is something I have seen in Chief and cannot wait to share with other dog handlers. 

Anyone can participate in canine conditioning. The programs are tailored to both the dog and the handler’s physical abilities, goals, and interests. This is why I believe canine conditioning is the most undervalued aspect of dog training. It is designed to strengthen your bond with your dog which in turn will improve your practice. People choose to participate in canine conditioning for a variety of reasons. Some have dogs who compete in high impact sports that require extra training to prepare, others want to ensure their dog can join them on their daily morning walk for years to come. Canine conditioning isn’t just for athletes, but for the everyday dog to do the things they love without compromising their safety. 

I look forward to sharing my passion with all of you. This is a huge step for me personally- I have always loved dogs and it has been a goal of mine to work with them professionally in some capacity. I have a lot of self doubt when it comes to dog training. I feel like Chief was placed in my life to help me navigate these new experiences with a little more ease than any other dog could. He is so talented, biddable, eager to please, and above all strong. Watching his physical progress is more satisfying than reaching my own personal fitness goals, because we do it together as a team. We will tackle this new dream together. 

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