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Product Review: Fitpaws Exercise Peanut for Dog or Exercise Ball for Dogs
Author Demonstrating the Fitpaws Peanut: A Great Tool for Excercising Your Dog Indoors
Fitpaws Promotional Video from AKC Agility National Championships in Reno, 2012
Whether your dog is a house pet couch potato or a high-level agility dog, fitness matters. Unfortunately, people often don't think about their pet's fitness level until illness or injury occurs.
When people hear "your dog needs exercise," they imagine themselves having to go jogging with their dog or needing to pack up their car with gear to go hiking. The fact is there's a great product on the market that lets you exercise your dog while you sit on the sofa and watch TV!
Fitpaws exercise "balls" for dogs allow you to stay indoors, out of the elements, and yet get your dog fit. These fun, easy-to-train exercise "balls" come in several shapes and sizes. As a long time agility exhibitor, I have known of the Fitpaws egg and peanut for years. As my tiniest agility partner, Aslan, ages, I'm finding his hind end muscles are beginning to deteriorate. At age 11, I no longer ask him to practice as often or as long as I did when he was younger. Older joints get achy more easily, and I want to preserve his body's ability to compete in the sport he adores for long as possible. Yet, without the rigorous practice sessions and with the natural lethargy that comes from the aging process, Aslan began losing muscle. I had decided that if the opportunity presented itself, I'd check out the Fitpaws products that so many of my agility friends use.
Recently at the big Reliant Series of Dog Shows in Houston, TX, I was able to put Aslan on an actual "peanut." Fitpaws had a popular demo booth at the show, and I was able to see how Aslan would react to the peanut. Being an agility dog who is used to being trained to new things, Aslan quickly figured out I wanted him to jump on the peanut. Then the Fitpaws employee showed me some exercises I could do to target Aslan's hind end.
Fitpaws Promotional Video Showing "Puppy Pushups" on the Donut
Aslan loved the treats and attention he received standing on the peanut, and I could see there would be no problem training him to love his exercise time. As an agility dog, Aslan is extremely used to having things move under his feet, so the peanut's movement wasn't an issue for him at all. He was up on it in seconds and having a blast.
I purchased a small, yellow peanut that would fit Aslan's 9 pound physique. Fitpaws offers several different types of canine exercise "balls." I chose the peanut over the egg shape because the peanut shape allows for more exercise options when a dog is recovering from injury. This may be an important feature for both Aslan, Asher (my other agility dog) and any future agility pups. The egg offers more demanding exercise, but in my opinion the peanut, when moved about, give just as demanding an exercise. The peanut comes in various sizes to accommodate all types of dogs. The egg and peanut are made of vinyl and when inflated are very similar in feel to the large human exercise balls that are so popular. The peanut has some very small "ridges" in it to help with traction.
Upon arriving home, I easily inflated my peanut with the tools that came with it. Within minutes, I had a blown up peanut ready for Aslan's first session. Fitpaws offers an inflation instructional video on their Youtube channel as well that is very helpful. (See links below.)
Aslan again took to the peanut immediately and within seconds we were preforming puppy pushups, moving the peanut around to work different areas of his body and just playing on it. Because the peanut would roll, I stabilize it with my legs when working. I am able to just sit and let Aslan do all of the work! The rolling action of the peanut even when stabilized is where most of the exercise comes into play. Aslan is constantly adjusting between his four legs to remain balanced on the wobbly peanut. This leads to a quick, great work out for the little guy, and I haven't even left the living room.
I have had the peanut about three weeks now, and have worked Aslan every day to every other day on it. The results have been dramatic and way beyond what I expected. The muscles in Aslan's rear legs have gotten both larger - and by quite a bit - and much harder. And there were unexpected results elsewhere too. When picking Aslan up, I can feel his "core" muscles around his stomach and ribs are much more firm and tight. Now that he has been doing the peanut for three weeks, I'm also adding in exercises that will work his front end as well as continuing with the hind end work.
Fitpaws Promotion Video Showing Proper Use of the Egg
Rate the amount of exercise your dog is currently getting.
The biggest benefit seems to be the bonus time together. Aslan actually screams with excitement when he sees me pull out the peanut. His eyes gleam, and as soon as the peanut is in place, he will jump on, eager for the game and the treats to begin. I've been feeding him one of his meals on the peanut rather than adding in extra treats to his daily calorie intake. The extra one-on-one time has made Aslan noticeably happier, and his eyes dance with excitement over our "peanut time."
Potential downfalls to the peanut are fairly obvious. If the peanut isn't used, it becomes like the treadmill you currently hang your clothes on. Exercise equipment is only useful and can only reach it's promise if it is used. I knew this going into the purchase, but fortunately I have time during at least one feeding time a day to spend a few minutes with Aslan and the peanut. But if you are someone who isn't good at sticking with an exercise plan, this product may not be for you.
Another problem is some dogs will fear the feel of the peanut. The reason the peanut works is because it rolls and moves. However, this will be a downfall for more fearful dogs who do not like things moving under their feet. Training these dogs to the peanut won't take the seconds it did for Aslan to start using the it. It may take weeks, and potentially not at all.
Fitpaws does offer vests to help you lift your dog onto the peanut and control your dog while on the peanut. Because my dogs are agility dogs and very used to balancing on things that move under their feet, this was not needed. If I didn't have agility trained dogs, however, I would have needed the vest to give the dog comfort and support as it learned how to use the peanut.
Fitpaws has other various products to help with differing issues including a Fitpaws donut, the previously mentioned egg, balance disks, wobble boards, paw pods, balance pad and accessories. The peanut ranges in price from $54.95 for the small version (which is the peanut Aslan uses in the top video) to $109.95 for the largest version. You can order these products off of their website which can be found by clicking here.
I would highly recommend the Fitpaws peanut for anyone looking for an easy way to exercise your dog away from outdoor elements. This is a great tool for keeping your dog fit in the cold winter, hot summer or anytime in between. For dogs living in an apartment, it's a fantastic way to keep your dog in shape. As long as it doesn't get put away with the treadmill to collect dust, the dog exercise peanut is a fantastic option for keeping your young or old dog in great shape.
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