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Rebuilding Lilly’s Strength

As part of building back Lilly’s strength, I developed a little routine. I thought you might find it useful.

Cardio
We’ve resumed our morning walks and are working up to full distance, which is about 3 miles and takes about an hour due to terrain. Here’s how the elevation profile goes:

  • Slight hill from house to road
  • Mostly flat with slight incline to corner
  • Steep hill
  • Mostly flat for a good half mile
  • Steady incline to our turn-around point
  • Then back … which is a steady decline, except for that one big hill

Sometimes, if we feel up to it, I throw in a 30-second run every 5 minutes. For those who know the lingo, they are pump-flow-volume intervals, which I’m told are proven to increase cardio strength much more than a steady walk or even a steady run. And, because I’m only mildly athletic, when I say run … I mean a good trot.

Lilly, by the way, has a beautiful trot. She could kick butt in the conformation ring in another universe.

But, the first day we did 3 intervals, she hid/slept in the basement much of the day, so I clearly had her do too much.

Strength
We work on core strength and rear strength in 4 ways. We play fetch up and down the steep hill in our middle pasture. I get Lilly to walk backwards, which I’ve read is really good for their hips and such. I call her to me, then I step into her and say BACK UP, and she takes a few steps back. Then, I call her to me again, and repeat. I’m also asking for her ROLL IT trick and her DANCE trick (pirouette on hind legs) to work on her core.

Stretching
Lilly has a good STRETCH cue, which means put your paws on my chest, throw your head back and really stretch your whole body.

I also ask her to SPIN in both directions to limber up her spine.

Some Jumping and Weaving
A couple times a week, we do just a tiny bit of agility work … mostly jumping and weaving … and only for about 1-2 minutes.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Peggy - September 25, 2008

Sounds like her morning walks are great workouts for both of you. I’ve been walking Kelly every day and it’s helping us both to lose weight. She’s a little dog, so we only go about a mile. Would love to find some place where she could all-out run, though. Not much chance of that in the city.

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