Nfld. & Labrador

Fitness with Fido: Paradise clinic offers exercise classes you can take with your dog

Paradise Animal Hospital is offering a new leash on life with an exercise class for dogs and their people. 

K9 Fit Club focuses on building bonds through exercise

K9 Fit Club trainer Hayley Ivey works with Clover, who is balancing on canine 'fit bones.' (Paradise Animal Hospital)

Chevy is one of the success stories at Paradise Animal Hospital's K9 Fit Club.

Instructor Hayley Ivey says the 10-year-old golden retriever has lost 10 pounds since he started attending fitness classes about a year ago.

Chevy is one of the senior members of K9 Fit Club. (Paradise Animal Hospital)

The workout incorporates inflatable equipment to help dogs with balance and agility exercises, while their owners get in a workout of their own doing crunches, squats and cardio. 

"Typically, in a standard class, we would basically do each circuit for a minute. Basically one minute for the owner, one minute for the dog. But of course we can do exercises together as well," said Ivey.

Treats are used to help get the dogs on the equipment, but Ivey says they're never forced to do any of the exercises. (Paradise Animal Hospital)

Instructor Cynthia Keats said the gym is a good option for older animals with conditions like arthritis, who might struggle in snow or in colder weather.

It also helps tire out younger dogs, and strengthens the bond between canine and human workout partners. 

"We have a couple of seniors that come in just to keep them moving so they're not at home just sleeping away. We have a lot of puppies coming in as well to burn that extra energy," she told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

Ivey, left, and Cynthia Keats run the K9 Fit Club in Paradise, N.L. (Janelle Kelly/CBC)

"We also have dogs that, you know, you want to strengthen that bond with them. You're like, 'I want to do something extra, or want to do something fun tonight but I want to bring my dog.'" 

Ivey said classes are held twice a week, and the first one is free.

Keats says exercising with your dog is a good bonding experience. (Paradise Animal Hospital)

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show


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