Although no one expects a young child to do advanced math before they can add, we ask our dogs to be athletes before we teach them the foundation of how to use their body properly. One of the key components to any sport is the strength and flexibility of the athlete. As in all sports their is an inherent risk in what we ask our dogs to do. Although some dogs make it through their careers without lameness or injury, most don’t. Petra’s belief that our dog are in fact athletes, her knowledge of the dogs body and how it moves and work, and her unique approach, is one of the many reasons I work with her.When I first met Petra, Britain had just returned to agility after being off for a year due to an injury. After speaking with Petra, I learned that if I continue to work the core work with Britain’s body in it’s current state, I would be strengthening her weaknesses versus building on a solid foundation and getting strong from there. She explained her foundation and I started immediately. There was one challenge in all this, I was in Michigan and Petra in New Jersey. Through videos being sent back and forth, I was able to to work on the stretches and the strengthening that Britain required.With Petra’s help and guidance and a lot of work, Britain is stronger than ever. We basically rebuilt her body from the ground up. I now know when she gets tight and how to stretch her out, especially in the lower back. Britain is back and she is stronger and faster than ever. My younger dogs are also getting the benefit of Petra’s wealth of knowledge.I am forever grateful to Petra for her persistence, patience and tremendous wealth of knowledge.
I have taken Canine Conditioning with my dog Willow from beginner to advanced. The class has taught me to not only improve my dogs overall condition, but how to properly warm up and cool down before and after competition or training. The results were dramatic and have increased Willow’s stamina and strength. In agility, Willow has gotten markedly faster and has increased her speed by 2 YPS after completing the conditioning course! Willow also turns tighter and is more focused mentally as she does not get as tired as before because of her improved condition.
I participated with three dogs in the conditioning course that Petra created and implemented. I saw - almost immediately - a huge improvement in my dogs’ ability to turn tighter, balance through landings, and control their decels into turns. It was amazing! My youngest sheltie, Bizzy, benefitted greatly with improved speed and his control into and out of turns. I recommended that all my students take the next class offered and highly recommend this class to anyone who has a performance dog. Petra understands what movements are required in performance dogs and has designed a course to strength your dog’s muscles and reduce injuries. It’s a win-win for you and your dog!
I really enjoyed Petra Ford’s Conditioning Classes and my dogs Heart and Spell were never in better shape than when Petra got us working out regularly and correctly. Border Collie Spell was in great form in agility and stayed fit and injury-free. Labrador Heart improved her sits and really shone in obedience. Whatever sport you do with your dogs, it is so important for them to be in peak condition. Everyone wants to exercise their dogs, but it’s hard to know what exercises are best for your individual dog and their sport. Petra tailored our workout program to each dog, taking into account their fitness level, structure and competition schedule. She also made sure that we did the exercises right—using the correct form to get the most benefit without straining the dog. So many people are working their dogs on exercise equipment, like balls and discs, but they don’t realize how important it is to get instruction on doing it properly. We learned how to use all of the exercise equipment and when it was appropriate for our dogs. I continue to use the lessons that I learned in Conditioning Class over and over to keep my dogs at their best!
I feel like Cedar is looking stronger! His dumbell pickups have been nice and tight and his drops fast too. :) yay! Thank you!! Since we’ve started your program we’re not losing those pesky 1/2 points on fronts & finishes! Before, he was usually straight but his posture wasn’t always great, causing us to lose 1/2. It seems to be improving!!! And he held up for 4 trials in 2 days. :) I’m very pleased with the results I’m seeing so far - and I know he still has many improvements to come! Thank you :) I’m LOVING this class! I did a sit stay with Cedar last week, and noticed that he had much better sit posture when I got back to him than he used to!
Hi Petra. I did enjoy the course, and we are still doing the exercises – I think Chase is stronger physically and better able to get his rear tucked under for nice fronts and this has strengthened his awareness of where his rear end needs to be for finishes. So thank you! Again for a great course.
I found the course very useful and it was enjoyable too. I had been doing a lot of conditioning work for agility with the FitPaws equipment but I had not thought about conditioning specifically to train obedience exercises. I had a problem with Jack crowding on left turns and our fig 8 could have been smoother. Also Jack would wiggle a bit on the MS. These problems and more have improved greatly since we have been working on your program. I use a couple of the exercises as part of my warm up before trials just to remind Jack what he needs to do and it seems to work!Thank you for putting the course together. I would thoroughly recommend it!
Hartley’s DOR drops have, for a long time been not the best. I always struggled what to do about them because, 9 times out of 10, I could see that he was putting the brakes on immediately but his momentum... he just couldn’t stop himself. Yet, I know the steps are points. I really hoped these backwards scoot exercises would help…..Last night in obedience class he did the BEST DROPS he’s done in a very long time. Not just one drop, three in a row. My instructor said “wow!”. I was thrilled! I am definitely seeing a difference already!! We did agility on Friday and Saturday - 6 runs not a single bar, not that we have a bar problem but with 6 runs any dog can drop a bar. Another story-I know this course isn’t focused on agility but I think any sport or activity benefits. I have been working with the same agility instructor since Hartley was a puppy so nothing about him should be notable to her. She does have a sharp eye though, and will often notice changes in a dog (usually bad ones, unfortunately) before their handler does. Last class, she was really impressed by his ability to bend over a jump and wrap tight. It has be his increased strength from all this conditioning work and the back stretches. Thank you!
Petra! Just wanted to tell you this before I forgot. I hadn’t worked on heeling for awhile (because it’s a chore and I have to break it down all the time), but on Friday my two friends and I were in the ring working on signals randomly. I couldn’t believe how good True’s heeling was! He was on my leg, straight, head in the right place the place the whole time! The ONLY thing different is this class-wow! There were a ton of distractions which didn’t faze him in the least, and his ability to be in correct heel position was amazing! I never thought that would be a result of these exercises! Thank you SO much for this class!!! The content is golden! No one else teaches conditioning specifically for obedience dogs and there is definitely no one out there teaching conditioning with your competition background. That is what I’ve always felt was missing, I’ve wanted to take a conditioning class from someone who not only knows canine conditioning, but has experience with the sport at the highest level. I feel like you really know what it takes physically for a dog to compete in obedience long term. Thrilled that you put this class together. Please teach it or something like it again! As an instructor, you come across as really nice and encouraging. That is really important because the material can be difficult to get right. I really liked the fact that you were flexible with students who couldn’t post videos on the set schedule. I also really, really liked your nit pickiness! You have a very nice way of saying, “that is not quite it, try this.” I’ve taken conditioning classes from very nice instructors, but I don’t want only positive feedback-I want to learn the exercises-even if it takes me 6 weeks!!! I felt like you have a very good eye and now I know what we are shooting for and what it should look like. I also felt like you gave us feedback in a timely fashion. Your comments were really good!
I’m thrilled to report that, thanks to much improved DB pickups, we broke our previous year-long 197.5 ceiling in OB last weekend. This is the best class I have ever taken and I know that, as we practice and progress, things will only get better and better. THANK YOU! … Course is so great. Thanks so much for giving us the time we need to progress our dogs. It’s already making a very big difference in many ways for all my dogs.
I really enjoyed the course. It was well-thought out and you did a good job of showing different angles of what we were to work on. The course was laid out logically and each week built on the one before. My dog enjoyed it too - she now gets really excited when I bring out her rubber bowl and platform. I do obedience, field, and dabble in conformation with my dogs. I always thought that my dog just had a dominant side like I am right-handed and that was why she resisted taking some of my signals on blinds in field. Once I started focusing on stretching to get equal results on each side (you always stressed doing more with the troublesome side), my signal work improved too. I notice that she keeps beautiful nice tight sit stays now in obedience. I return after out-of-sights to see her looking perfect. The drop on recalls are also looking really pretty now. So, we’re already getting good results and I’m looking forward to part two of the course. Thank you so much for what was clearly a lot of work to put this together!