Proprioception or body awareness is a sensory ability. It is just as important as other senses of smell, touch, hearing, and sight. Proprioception exercises improve coordination, strength, and balance.
The canine skeleton is made up of over 300 bones and more than 700 growth plates. Hip dysplasia is 25% genetic and 75% caused by environmental factors. The hip joint has four different growth plates and there is a window between 6-13 months that healthy hips will actually develop dysplasia because of the crazy activities puppies do at that age. Elbows are also affected as the first growth plate closes at 4 1/2 months and the last at 15 months of age. This could influence the difference between a life of health or a life dealing with degenerative arthritis or surgery.
With the Empowered Puppy Program, we start at a very early age teaching the dog about their body parts. Many of us have at one point laughed at the dog that ran around chasing his tail because he didn’t know it was attached! It will prevent injuries if a dog is aware of how their body works. We teach you low impact exercises with our puppy yoga and further exercises in our aqua conditioning program. We show you how to teach their body parts, which by doing so adds additional benefits in teaching obedience commands.
Nutrition must also be addressed as a puppy is 75% muscle. This means that their diet determines health and life expectancy more than any other aspect of their care. Dogs use fat from a meat source to fuel their bodies. Humans’ fuel source is carbohydrate driven. This means a dog will metabolize free fatty acids twice as fast as humans. This enables canine muscle to better adapt to fat than human muscle.