How do I build muscle on my dog

So my boy Bear was real skinny when we got him. I have finally gotten him up to 59lbs after 1 1/2 years of having him. His chest and legs and back feel great except over the hip region. He is still very bony there and I cant seem to bulk him up back there even if I feed him more because then he just gains weight but nothing else happens. I feel he is pretty good weight but would like to put like 5 lbs of muscle on him. Anyone have any good excercises to do with him for me before I buy the muscle supplements? The vet that he sees at work says he looks good too except for the muscle issue back there. I thought that someone here may have some suggestions for me?
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A treadmill?
Does he get out to play with other dogs? I've found that another fun dog or two seems to encourage play that helps to build up muscle (it helped Panda a lot). Mine love Jolly Balls and pull and tug on the things trying to gain possession (you can tell we're about in need of some new ones... even without the handles, they have fun with them). I think this activity helps to build up the hip muscles... that and chasing each other around.

BUT... maybe mine aren't any more muscular than Bear ?? :oops:
I agree that playing with other dogs in a large, open space (fenced or otherwise secure) is a great way to build muscle in a young, healthy dog. Maggie is out for a couple hours every day and her thighs are huge and rock hard from running and playing. When there are no other dogs around, she loves chasing a soccer ball or jolly ball. I think with all the high quality dog foods out there, you probably don't need to be adding supplements for muscle growth.
A good way to build up muscle is to take him when you are riding a bike, however he should not run only trot and he should set the pace. I normally go with my girl from beginning of March doing about 3 miles building up gradually to about 10 miles by the middle of May and continue through to end of October. :D :D :D
I can personally vouch for weight pulls and carting/mushing for putting on muscle mass in Chewie. Most of it is in the rear end. Leaning into a harness and pushing off with his rear legs has built him up considerably.
He even walks like a jock now! 8O :lol: :lol:
Hill work. I have mine retrieve uphill if I'm trying to work their rears. Tugging is also good if it's controlled (by the dog - and by that I mean they determine the force, you simply stand there quietly and let them tug against you) and you're careful not to wrench their necks around).

And then there's what we call grid work in agility: start with one jump, put him in a sit in front of the jump, start low - 16"? - ask him to jump from a sit (he has to push up from his haunches.) Depending on his size, you work up to a height that is more challenging. For my maybe 22" dogs that's 24-26" depending on how many jumps I add. After he's doing one, go back down in height, place a another jump after the first one, maybe 4 feet away - something where he will jump (rounded, not flat), land, then need to take off immediately again (that's called bouncing - where they don't get any strides in between jumps). Again, he always starts from a sit in front of the first jump. Work back up to a more challenging height. Then you can eventually go through the same process and add a third jump. Don't do many repetitions, but a handful a day and over weeks and months and his butt muscles will really start to firm up.

You can make some really simple jumps easily enough.

Or send him to Minnesota and have Dawn hook him up to something to pull. :lol:

Another area that you really have to focus on in OES are their adominal musles. A good exercise that works both abs and their butts is teaching them to sit up on their haunches and balance themselves. Some dogs learn to sit, stand, and then go back into a sit. Very controlled. It's hard work! so start easy and work up to it and again, not too many repetitions. Some dogs never acquire that balance and strength to go up from the sit and into standing on their rear legs, but even sitting up (think begging) is a great work-out. And a kind of fun parlor trick :wink: You can teach it easily with a clicker.

You can make some really simple jumps easily enough.

It's called snow fence up north :lol:
6Girls wrote:
You can make some really simple jumps easily enough.

It's called snow fence up north :lol:


Not a bad solution. Great pics!

We just got more of the white %$#^. Actually a relief since it's covering the ice in the dog yard and they can take off their skates and run again. But the jumps are inside in the living room. :wink:

Thanks for all the advice. Bear does play all day with his sister Lily and they and I play tug in the evenings. We go to the dog park a couple times a week but have to limit our time due to bad ground and hurt paws. There is a hill there as well so I think I will start walking him up and down that. He is still working on the whole fetch issue, he is a bit slow in the learning center, but we can at least start with the walking and work our way up.
If he has bad dysplasia it will be hard to get muscles on that area. But if it is mild to moderate you can help him build muscles and hold those joints together better. Two exercises recommended by my Pyr group: uphill running and carting or pulling something. Both require extra work from the rear legs.

If you have a hilly area, encourage him to run up and down. Stairs aren't that same. As for carting or pulling, start with a back pack so they get used to having something around them, then add some straps to the pack and add a wagon (small)...even a skate board with a'll have to walk along side with a leash as they'll want to turn around, "Hey, what's that???" Just correct and keep going. Gradually increase the cart and weight. Make it a fun event, going for a picnic and he gets to carry the fixin's. Eventually he'll grow strong enough to pull a small child in a wagon. Or could become like Chewie and earn his kibble in sledge events, :lol: :lol: :lol:
I love the tire jump exercise to build bum muscles. How soon can puppies start this without fear of injuring their joints? We made our own tire jump and my girl loves jumping but do not use this exercise too often for fear of injury to growing joints. Is she old enough to do this on a regular basis? She's 8 mths today!
DandAbi wrote:
I love the tire jump exercise to build bum muscles. How soon can puppies start this without fear of injuring their joints? We made our own tire jump and my girl loves jumping but do not use this exercise too often for fear of injury to growing joints. Is she old enough to do this on a regular basis? She's 8 mths today!

Just at low heights. She's probably be fine for the occasional elbow height on a good surface, but still not too many reps. 8 " no big deal on a good surface, but running and playing on her own volition is the best thing she can do for herself right now. I will take mine out in the woods since I think the uneven surface and having to dodge trees and so on teaches them bodyawareness and if they jump some fallen logs of their own volition, even taller ones, I don't have a heart attack.

Time flies and she'll get there soon enough. As a rough rule of thumb, I may start my puppies jumping 12" more regularly at about a year, then up to 16" pretty quickly, but I don't have them jumping their full competition required height (usually 20-24" depending on venue and activity - my girls are roughly Dee's size range, she may turn out to be a bit taller) till they are 18 mos old.

I knew you are doing obedience with her. Are you doing to do agility too??? :D I have some great fundamental games that are puppy safe if so.

Mad Dog wrote:
my girls are roughly Dee's size range, she may turn out to be a bit taller) till they are 18 mos old.


Oops! Sorry, Dee. I meant to say my girls are roughly Abi's size range :oops: :oops:

:lol: :lol:

Off to find some caffeine...

I am trying agility on my own make shift tire jump and weave poles just for the exposure since she came home. First I made a noodle jump- (the styrofoam noodles that kids use to float in the pool, I taped the ends together to make a circle cost- $98 cents). We got her used to it just for the idea of jumping through a round object; it was on the ground no height. I gradually added a few inches and then made a tire jump from irrigation equipment. It is on a stand and the height of the tire can be adjusted. Nothing fancy, cheap to make, and sturdy to boot. I've been letting her jump 19-20" since our sofa cushions are that height and she jumps on and off ALL the time. The weave poles I made from pvc pipe and tent poles (the poles you use to build the frame of a camping tent. They are very flexible cost $0 since we had a baby tent that no one uses). The tent poles are hammered in the grass and the pvc pipe slips over them and is not hammered in the grass. This makes the poles very flexible when she leans against them. I did add colored electrical tape to help visually (cost $0 since my hubby had the tape). I stopped goofing off with all of this when we had a warm spell and she was panting a bit too much. I don't know if I can continue with agility unless I find a place indoors and cooled. I am ever vigilant about the heat here and want her in full coat. But, your idea of using the jump from a sit to improve leg muscle is great. She has the equip., knows how to jump, loves it, and we can stop after a few reps. If I can figure out how to post a picture I'll add pictures if you're interested in my make shift agility equip.

Yes, I want to hear about puppy activities for fun. Tell Me More!
I'd be concerned about too much jumping at that height (19-20") for any dog under two.
That's the height of my sofa also. Should I discourage her from joining us to cuddle? Plz let me know.
I've been told it is different how they jump when they are playing and when they do it because you ask - although it could be they won't jump on the sofa to excess and might to please you? Since ours aren't allowed on the couch (mostly), it wasn't an issue for us. We didn't move them up to 16" until they were 18 months and then only a few jumps. they still mainly train at 16" but jump higher jumps (their necessary jump heights) occassionaly. My male has some indication of hip displaysia in his 2 year old xrays so I am glad we didn't push him.
Kerry's right.

You're jumping her at almost full height and her growth plates are still open for sure. It's just not worth it. Just put the jumps back down to 10-12", don't ask her to jump much right now (no matter how much jumping she does on her own - that's puppy stuff and totally voluntary) and head over to the (Kerry - care to join us?) and we'll talk other agility related things you can play with while you wait for her growth plates to close.

OPPs Recipe

2 cups favorite brand of kibble (ground up fine)
2 8 oz packs of cream cheese
2 cups cottage cheese (small curd)
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup corn oil
1lb hamburger (save the fat--73/27)
1 cup total cereal (ground up fine)
1 cup oatmeal (ground up fine)

Combine ingredients in large bowl until you get doughy mixture. Portion out mixture onto separate sheets of wax pager (I usually get 4 good-sized logs). Form each portion into log shape and roll up in wax paper taping up ends. Put one log in fridge, and remaining in freezer. Allow log in fridge to set up for at least 3 hours before serving. Give your dog up to 2 slices a day. Remove logs from freezer and place into fridge as needed.

do it til u see your dog starting to get fat then work the hell out of em til you get results :wink:
boog9104 wrote:
do it til u see your dog starting to get fat then work the hell out of em til you get results :wink:

Or you could skip the fat part and just work them. This looks like one of those recipees like the satin ball concept some show people, though generally not in our breed I don't think, use to fatten their dogs up and try to pass it off as substance and "conditioning". Perhaps they are missing the "work the hell out of them" part, because generally what you end up with is fat, which serves no purpose beyond stressing the joints more than need be. Now if you were getting a dog ready for, say, the Iditorad, such heavy caloric intake might make sense.

In our breed, a truly fit dog is more of a rarity in the breed ring (though I've long suspected the same, this from a Top 20 judge who shall remain nameless), but I attribute that less to fattening up strategies and more to protecting the allmighty hair. If I had my way (and I'm quite sure I never will, so fear not :lol: ), they'd be shown in a puppy cut or something similarly compatible with an actual working dog and could only be awarded a breed CH if they could also earn at least a basic herding title, but I digress :wink:

I'd be especially careful trying something like this on an immature dog.

When I am training my Pitbull (against pits, boy bye :x ) I usually make him jump. I have been making the jumps go higher each week, but I do not make it to the point where he'll jump the fence. Then I make him run. He runs full speed down the sidewalk or I have a barrel set out and he'll run and turn around it then come back. He has been getting muscles. I tried pulling a weight but he doesn't like it one bit and it was a small one.
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