Important considerations for canine strength-building (resistance) exercises:
1. As much as possible, the exercises should be non-concussive . Active dogs are already experiencing a lot of concussion in training and competition – why add more impact on the joints and soft tissues if it isn’t necessary? Luckily there are numerous exercises that are excellent for building a dog’s muscular strength without increasing the amount of impact on the body. Many non-concussive exercise options will be presented in the ForActiveDogs Newsletter.
2. Exercises should be targeted to the areas of your dog’s body that needs them most . To do that, you should first feel your dog’s muscles – the shoulder, back, and abdominal muscles as well as the quads and hamstrings. Are they nice and large? If so, that is an indication of long-term exercise (and probably genetics). Are they firm and well-defined? If so, that is an indication of recent exercise. If not, then start doing exercises that target those specific muscles. Good news: we plan to describe a wide variety of targeted exercises in the ForActiveDogs Newsletter over the next several months. 

3. You must overload the muscles to build them . This doesn’t mean that your dog should do the exercise until exhausted. Instead, you should assess your dog before the exercise, and stop the exercise when your dog is panting more than when the exercise was started. Working to overload will require a change in how you view your dog’s work. The goal is not to be successful in performing the exercise. Instead, your goal is to work the dog just a little bit harder each time the exercise is performed – just hard enough that each day brings a significant challenge.