Get that pudgy pooch out of the dog house and out on the track.
A new Vernon business is helping overweight dogs shed that extra poundage and lead healthier, longer lives.
“I started running with my dogs, and I noticed just such a huge change. Even our relationship got better because they were so much healthier,” said Shelly Korobanik, founder of Pooch Partners.
“There are some fitness programs here that say you can bring your dog with you, but no one has a program geared specifically towards the dogs,” said Korobanik, adding there seems to be a market for the venture.
Obesity, just like with humans, is a growing problem with pets and has damaging effects on their health. And a five pound weight gain on an average sized dog would be like a 5-foot-6 human carrying 20 pounds in a backpack, said Korobanik.
“How would you feel carrying 20 extra pounds on a run?” asked Korobanik, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.
Pooch Partners will offer a range of programs for dogs at different levels of conditioning, in addition to obedience.
“We start off with an assessment of the dog, see where they’re at. Just like they do at the gym with people,” said Korobanik.
These assessments will determine where the dog is at in terms of conditioning, health and obedience.
Although there are several programs to choose from, the minimum will be a nine-session package that will see the dog going to three sessions per week for three weeks.
“A lot of pet owners are in good shape, they go to the gym or out for a run, but they leave their pet at home,” said Korobanik.
“Personally, my favourite part of the day is running with my dogs in the morning.”
All programs will be outdoors, and will be running all year.
“There’s some great stuff you can do in the winter with your dogs,” said Korobanik.
And although it is true that you can walk your dog yourself, she said, it isn’t giving the dog the cardio training it needs.
“When people walk their dogs it is at such a slow pace that it really isn’t doing them too much good.”
The first round of classes are set to start in September. To register, or for more information on class times, packages, and guidelines and links regarding your dog’s overall health, please go to www.poochpartners.ca.