Frankie says thank you for the enthusiastic response to his previous post. Enthusiasm is his favourite state of being (well, that and “asleep”). He’s been thinking about his blog post and had come to the conclusion that he has too much to say, of too great importance, to try and put it all in one post. He thinks he should probably do two or three: one to answer your questions, one to talk about training, fitness, nutrition and recovery and a third to enlighten you with his general philosophy on life. Suits me fine, I hope that’s OK with you?
So without further ado: FitDog (aka Frankie) answers your fitness questions.
ON AVOIDING DISTRACTIONS
@aliheathfield on Twitter asked: “How do you train your owner to be focussed and ready for a competition when there are many distractions?”
Hi Ali! To be honest I don’t really train my owners, they both tend to be fairly focussed when they have a goal. The good thing for me is that taking me out for walks and running with me and stuff like that is all part of their training (or so they say) so it’s a win-win! They don’t really get distracted, at least not by cats like I do. Sometimes the TV is a bit of a distraction but by that point it’s the evening anyway and that is prime rest and recovery (aka sleep) time for me so I don’t mind!
ON PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ENERGY
Kat Millar said: “Dear Frankie, I’ve watched you in action, and I would love to know how you have so much energy – and mental strength. In fact, I think your body just goes and goes without much thought coming into it. Am I right? Do you ever wonder why human beings aren’t more like this? I mean, run and run and run and only stop when they physically can’t do anymore? Is it cos we’ve forgotten the art of running around just for the fun of it? I wish we all had more doggie stamina – and sense of play. Any tips appreciated.”
Hiya! Yes I remember that day, we had a good game of football didn’t we? Thank you for the compliments. To be honest with you I don’t really think of myself as having lots of energy or mental strength, I’m just me! I’m only 2 so I feel full of beans and I just go with the flow, you know? I really like to live ‘in the moment’ so, if I feel great, I want to play and run. I don’t think about whether I need to save my energy for tomorrow or whatever. I’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here!
Yeah my body just tends to go and go – if there’s a ball to chase then I’ll run after it! What tends to happen is I’ll suddenly be really tired and have to have a lie-down to stop panting, but then I’m ready to go again. I’ve never got tired of chasing my ball or of walking. I do think it’s a bit weird when humans say “oh I am too tired to go for a walk” or “right that’s enough walking” – I mean…whaaaat?! I don’t understand what could be better really but I do realise that humans sometimes have other stuff to do like work or cooking the dinner so they can’t just walk all day long.
As for tips:
– remember how great you felt last time you chased a ball/went for a run/went for a walk – I can guarantee it will feel that great again so hurry up and go for it!
– if there’s a ball, chase it
– if there’s an opportunity to jump straight up in the air (or over something) then do so!
– just because it seems like you’re doing the same thing (chasing the ball in the park, walking round the block) remember that it won’t be the same every time – different things to sniff, probably a different cat to see!
– only stop when you need a breather and only stop for as long as you need to
– don’t forget to drink water
– careful of your legs when chasing the ball, if you stop and turn suddenly it can be a bit tough on the hips
Pinky asked: “Does Frankie ever want to just curl up and have a snooze rather than go for a walk? How does he deal with motivation?”
Hi Pinky! Well yes I often want to curl up and snooze but not instead of going for a walk, no way! I like to do both and never find it is a problem fitting both in to my day. I would say that I walk for a maximum of two hours on a normal (week) day so that leaves 22 hours to curl up and snooze which is just about enough.
As for motivation, honestly I don’t even need to think about it. I mean, why would I – the idea of chasing my football is just so incredibly exciting that I just need to hear the word “ball!” and I am waiting at the door! And even if we are just going on a walk I know there will be great smells to sniff and possibly the chance of seeing a cat in the distance or meeting another dog or human. Basically something amazing always happens so bear that in mind and you will never be lacking motivation to go for a walk!
ON IGNORANT HUMANS
Joob asked: “This is kind of personal, so I would totally understand if Frankie doesn’t want to answer this. How does Frankie cope with Breed-ism in social situations? Is it a problem in the gym? Boxers are super friendly breeds but sometimes other dogs can be ignorant and mean to ‘mean-looking’ breeds!”
Hi Joob! Firstly can I say I am very excited to have a question to answer all the way from America! I hope you can understand my accent OK. I am happy to address this important question actually as it happens to me quite a lot. 😦 I am not sure what breed/s I am as I just remember my Mum and Dad as “Mum” and “Dad”. They were both dogs but that’s all I know really. The rescue place advertised me as a boxer-cross (well spotted!) but I’ve no idea what the rest of me is – possibly a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, maybe some kind of Mastiff? Bull-breed, anyway.
I don’t go to the gym so I don’t encounter any racism there. Nic tells me there is a blind man who takes his dog with him, so probably it would be OK as long as I didn’t do a wee on any of the equipment.
However yes I do come across a lot of ignorance when I am out on my walks. 😦 But I have to say it is only the humans, never the dogs. Some dogs bark a lot but they will bark at any other dog, black or white, stripey or spotty, it’s not personal to me. But some humans….I can’t understand it. They are normally a human with a small dog, and what they do is they pick the dog up and hold it in the air. So, in order to say hi to the dog (only polite!), I have to jump up in the air. Then the human gets cross and says “I knew he would jump up”.
Recently this man did just that and when Nic had called me over, got me to sit down and then put my lead on, she asked if there was a problem. “Is your dog not OK with other dogs?” she said. “Because mine is.” This is what the man said, “It’s always best not to trust.” I think that is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. IMO it is always best to trust, until a human or a dog proves otherwise.
I have had comments from humans like “you can never be sure with that kind of dog” (to which Nic said “what, brown ones?” and then explained that she doesn’t know what breed I am so if the person is so certain perhaps they could enlighten her). Also “can you call your dog off please, he came over to my dog.” Ermmmm?
Anyway I am going to stop now since I am getting a little upset. I have never so much as tried to bite any dog or human in my entire life. In fact my face is so full of extra folds of skin I’m not sure I could bite if I tried. Here is a picture of me and Nic’s 9-month-old nephew, whose Mum (Nic’s sister) is more than happy for me to sit with. We are real pals!
ON KEEP-FIT FOR THE OLDER DOG
Richard asked: “Does Frankie have any advice for keeping fit and supple as a “more mature” dog? And is paddling in cold water good for arthritis? (obviously, you wouldn’t want to get your tummy wet..that would be weird)”
Hey Richard! How are you man? I don’t really have any advice for Megan and Phoebe as such, since being old seems a really long way away and I can’t even imagine it. But I would say that they should keep up their walks as much as possible, since we all know it’s easy to feel a bit stiff if you lie in your bed for too long. Paddling – erm I have no idea, since I hate the water! I only put my paws in if I need a drink and I’d rather balance on the edge if I can manage it. I don’t like to be wet or cold. Never get your tummy wet! Urgh! My best advice really would be to go to your vet, mine is really really nice (he calls me “a nonsense”) and maybe get some tablets or something. Just be careful with your valuables, one time I went to the vet and I suddenly fell asleep for ages and when I woke up the vet had stolen my nuts! Another time I fell asleep again and when I woke up he had stolen this little lump off my leg!
ON BEING HAPPY
Mark asked: “I’d like to know how he copes with the ‘boredom’ of his routine and always seems to show a happy face, whatever…. Does “a 100 miles an hour or sleep” also work for endurance? 😉 “
Hi Mark where are you? It’s just me and Nic at home! Are you coming back soon? Can we play football when you come back? Anyway sorry, to answer your question, I don’t find my routine boring at all! I know sometimes I make really loud sighing and groaning sounds but they’re not cos I’m bored. There’s nothing boring about sleep, walk, food, sleep, walk, food, bed. It’s great! It’s not difficult to put on a happy face when life is great. What have I got to be sad about? Remember first time you met me I was here:
Well now I am here:
Hopefully that explains how I can have a happy face. (It’s also partly just how my face is built – big mouth!)
As for my training routine of “100 miles per hour – or nothing”, I’m not sure how much it would benefit you training for your mountain bike event. I think you could probably put some intervals into your training routine but I think you need to stick with the steady state, longer intervals and technical stuff too. Don’t forget, I am training to play ball, not to do the TransRockies!
Hope that helps. Fx
ON PMA COME RAIN OR SHINE
Gloria said: “I think it would be very interesting to hear Frankie’s take on maintaining a positive attitude to training in adverse weather conditions, and life in general!”
Oh hey Gloria! Well, I’ve talked quite a lot about PMA. Really I don’t find I have to think about it a lot, there’s very little I don’t feel positive about, so I just live in the moment, think about balls and cats and interesting smells and that’s all I need to get excited! About the only thing I do not have a PMA about it getting my claws clipped, so what I do in that situation is go mad, wind myself up into a frenzy and end up not having them cut at all. As for adverse weather, well you know it’s only a bit of rain/wind/snow. I do hate to be cold and wet but I’m aware there’s always a towel and (in winter) a bed by the fire waiting for me. To not go on a walk just because it’s raining would be silly! So I go on the walk, make a note of how everything smells different in the rain, then come back and really enjoy my dinner and bed! 🙂
Shambler said: “I’ve just read this to Buddy and he’s really excited. As a new swimmer (he finally mastered doggy paddle 2 days ago) he’s very interested in Frankie’s take on swimming.”
Hi Jo and Buddster! I haven’t seen you guys in ages. I really admire Buddy’s dedication to swimming. Swimming is one sport I will just never do. There could be a stick thrown in the water and, sorry, I just won’t get it. There could be a cat in the water and I wouldn’t want to go in! I just don’t see why a dog should swim. It’s wet, and cold, and the water goes through your fur and onto your skin and then you go all shivery. Having said that I know Buddy’s fur is a lot different to mine so maybe he doesn’t feel so cold? Having observed lots of my friends swimming I would say the main thing to remember is never let your head go under, keep your ears dry, and remember that swimming whilst holding a big stick in your mouth is a really tough workout!
Frankie hopes those answers were useful, interesting and thought-provoking. He thanks you for all your questions but says, if you’ll excuse him, it’s time to go for a walk now.
He’ll be back soon (maybe even tomorrow) with another post.