Edmonton woman wants to help you strength train with your dog

Sarah Keller started Sit Stay Squat — an Edmonton-based fitness club that teaches fitness classes for both people and their dogs to participate in.

Sarah Keller's Sit Stay Squat offers strength and balance training to people, canines

Sarah Keller and her dog, Missy, started Sit Stay Squat, a workout program for both dogs and owners. (Sarah Keller/Supplied)

Obesity rates in Canada are up — and not just for people.

According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, more than 50 per cent of dogs in North America are overweight or obese.

Sarah Keller wants to change that with Sit Stay Squat, an Edmonton-based fitness club that teaches classes for people and their dogs.

Keller said the unique fitness class, which started in January at the Dog House Day Care on the south side, was something she learned about in Chicago and thinks is the first of its kind in the Prairies.

The idea started with a frequent problem Keller had, wanting to work out but not wanting to leave her dog, Missy, behind.

"You only have so much time in the day to either work out or walk the dog," Keller told CBC's Edmonton AM. "We'll feel guilty pretty much whichever one we choose. And if we didn't walk the dog, then a lot of us compensate. We give our dogs treats."

Keller said even if a dog owner chooses the walk, that might not cut it for the pet's fitness needs.

"There's a lot more to fitness than just walking," she said.

Her fitness program helps dogs with balance, core strength and flexibility. She uses food to help motivate the dogs to get on balance boards.

The steps are no match for this little pug, working out at Sit Stay Squat. (Sarah Keller/Supplied)

"Dogs will pretty much do anything for food," she said.

Keller thinks she and her dog have gotten closer since she started training, and she has noticed the increased variation in exercise has made Missy less rambunctious at home.

"I would feel guilty when I'd want to go to the gym and wish I could bring my dog with me," Keller said. "The exercise makes them a lot more calm."

Keller said  a series of six once-a-week classes cost $165, with a maximum number of person-canine teams in each class.

She'll be at the Edmonton Pet Expo at Northlands on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28.