Being the inquisitive person I am, I always want to do more and understand more about my dogs. In order to make my dog’s experience as best as possible, I looked into monitoring their performance levels and improving their health as optimally as I was able.
First on the list was a portable heart rate monitor– The Polar RS800CX. Just like with human athletes, it is beneficial to know how the cardiovascular system of a dog performs across various exercises. Or so I thought. When I consulted my vet, I found out there really isn’t a set “target heart rate” for dogs, at that time at least. We talked about doing some research together to actually set this rate. We have not yet, but I hope to in the future. I consulted the company I purchased the devices from, and they did not know either. The system I purchased was designed for horses. This system was actually the closest system available for dogs at the time. Through their thick fur, I was able to actually place the sensor and get a reading. But without the comparative information to interpret the result, the information is pointless. I would love to pioneer this technology and understand the performance levels of dogs better, and help others promote healthy dog exercise.
Again in my quest to help perfect my dogs performance and maintain their health, I wanted to track the distances they covered a day and other stats like top speed, average speed etc. It occurred to me that human runners track the same stats. So I purchased a set of Garmin GPS tracking devices marketed to runners. They are called the Forerunner. Because they were wrist watch style devices, I hoped I could easily modify them for secure collar attachment. I only lost one device, so not too bad. They were my first GPS devices for my dogs, and they still offer more comprehensive stats at the end of the day than the dog centric devices. Many of my other devices track similar, if less detailed, information, so I rarely use these. It is just one more device to attach to my dog. The stat I miss the most from this device is top speed which is why I bought a radar gun.
This radar gun is a compact device that is easy to use. It’s designed for sporting use– baseball, golf, running– so it lends itself to dog use easily. The model I choose is the Bushnell Speedster III. It seemed at good compromise of quality and cost at the time. It is a sports type device, not police type, so the user must be stationary when monitoring the speed of another object. So I am unable to use it while moving in any of my vehicles. I mostly use it at the Mazing Chase course. It’s also handy to measure the top speed of our vehicles to assist in fine tuning their performance.
And this might be a stretch to you. But sports medicine and nutrition is certainly high-tech nowadays in Pro Sports. And my WooFPak are Pro Canines! (Or THEY think so….) So, I take their diet seriously. I am a firm believer in the Raw DIet. I once prepared this diet from scratch with each individual ingredient prepared and combined to fit their lifestyle and health needs. My bible at the time was the BARF Diet book, but I am sure there are other great books on the subject. Today, with my time constraints, I feed them “The BARF Diet”, a product made and sold by the author of the book, in frozen patty form pr nuggets. I feed them the patties frozen as they enjoy it that way, it cools them down, and prevents them from inhaling their food. There also may be some oral benefits because of the hard texture. I also use a variety of supplements that I feel are important to their diet.
Please checkout my Blog Post on “Measuring A Dog’s Target Heart Rate.” It’s on my Blog, here’s the link: http://woofdriverproject.com/2014/12/measuring-your-dogs-target-heart-rate/#.