CC110: K9 Conditioning

Instructor: Debbie Gross

Course Details

This course will give you an understanding of basic dog anatomy, basic conditioning for dogs, and general exercises. We'll work on conditioning exercises, endurance exercises, and strengthening exercises. In addition, you will gain an understanding of what types of exercises are appropriate for different types of sports as well as different dog breeds. This course is a must for any dog enthusiast and will serve as the base for many more conditioning classes to come.


Next session starts: October 1, 2017
Registration starts: September 22, 2017
Registration ends: October 15, 2017

Registration starts at 9:30 AM PDT

Enrollment limits: Gold: 15 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited. If you are interested in bronze level, you can sign up any time during the registration period.

For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.


Week 1:

  1. What is conditioning, and why do you need to do it for your dog?
  2. Basic overview of the dogs’ body, and why you need to know!
  3. What is the dogs’ core, and why does it need to be worked?
  4. Can my dogs’ core fall off?
  5. Beginning exercises for conditioning, with following homework

Week 2:

  1. What is an appropriate amount of exercise for my dog?
  2. What are the differences between puppies, senior dogs, and all dogs in the middle?
  3. Why balance and proprioceptive exercises will be a staple for all good things to come.
  4. Balance and proprioceptive exercises for every type of dog – big and small

Week 3:

  1. What types and breeds of dogs are prone to certain injuries, and what you can do to help prevent them.
  2. What are the different types of activity demands of different sports – from agility to channel surfing
  3. Exercises to work on the dogs’ core – static and dynamic
  4. Weight loss tips

Week 4:

  1. How do I build a program for my dog?
  2. Exercise prescription – or what your dog should be doing each week
  3. Exercises for strengthening for power, hind end awareness, and forelimb awareness
  4. Injury prevention

Week 5:

  1. How do I implement a program into my life and my dogs’ lives?
  2. Puppy programs
  3. Programs for senior dogs

Week 6:

  1. How much is too much exercise?
  2. How can I add the exercises into everyday activities?
  3. How can I stick with a weight loss and conditioning program?

Prerequisites and Equipment

Ideally, it would be great if you had some exercise equipment at home to perform exercises with your dogs. During the class, you will see a lot of different methods to exercise your dog - with and without equipment.  For specific equipment details, please email Debbie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Week one begins with no equipment. It is not necessary, but I would recommend for most people to start out with some sort of balance equipment: balance disk, rocker board, Pawds, wedge and perhaps an Infinity.  There are photos on my website www.totofit.com and Facebook page of what these look like.

I have been answering a lot of emails from many of you to sort of help guide you with what will work best. I do not mind if you email me questions about equipment choices, even for bronze students (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Please do not worry about the first week - you do not need anything, and equipment is just a suggestion. I don't want the equipment or lack of equipment to deter you from taking the course - it is such a great thing for your dogs' health! So, take it, and watch. You may want to add equipment to your program later!

Course Testimonials


I have taken a few K9 conditioning classes in the past. In hindsight they felt like working on tons of tricks and I never developed a true routine for my dogs. Deb taught us a great deal in her first class. "Simple" exercises that WORK for all dogs (mine are from 22 months to nearly 10 years) and about canine anatomy! A MUST class for every dog owner!!!         

Debbie did a phenomenal job of addressing a wide variety of topics over the six weeks, from puppy conditioning to musculoskeletal support of the geriatric dog. She supported a very lively discussion forum and gave very detailed specific attention to each of her students. Looking forward to the 2nd half of this class !!! Ana C.         

This was Deb's first course teaching with the Academy, and I for one am so grateful to her for the way she presented it, and for her feedback to students. And grateful to Denise for recruiting her. Conditioning is something we all should be paying more attention to, I think, and Deb's explanations, demonstrations and encouragement were just what I for one needed. Thank you Barb Duke with the Border Collies in Tasmania, Australia.        

The k9 conditioning class has been fabulous! i'm thrilled to see a second class offered :)            

Exceeded my expectations-I did not expect to learn as much as I did and get as many great ideas for conditioning all my dogs. The other professional I have worked with gives much more complicated exercises, I just couldn't keep up with my performance dog, let alone work on my senior dogs.             

I really like the combination of education about structure and concepts of conditioning, as well as the actual exercises. Also appreciate the variety of exercises, and the number that can be done just as part of our daily "out and about" routine.              

Great lectures! Wow! I got so much great information-and I am not new to k9 conditioning. I think Debbie stands out in that her lectures and exercises are not complicated, they are easy to understand and very easy to implement even with multiple dogs with multiple issues. I liked the fact that Debbie is willing to state her opinion even if it goes against current popular thinking. I. e older dogs should not be sore and painful as a matter of old age. Also the rest periods for performance dogs.