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K9 Fit Club Offers Online Certification

By Deborah L. Vence

K9 Fit Club recently created its very first online certification program for human/canine fitness, the goal of which is to offer more flexibility for full-time or part-time workers in becoming a certified K9 Fit Club Trainer.

"K9 Fit Club is the leader and pioneer in human and canine fitness. We provide convenient online certification programs that were developed by professionals in the fitness, medical and veterinary fields," said Tricia Montgomery, founder and chief executive officer of K9 Fit Club, based in Hinsdale, Ill. "You may take the course at your own pace and can start and stop whenever you like. Once certified, we provide you with a tool kit, which enables you to teach your own classes."

Research has shown that people who exercise with their pets are more likely to stick to a fitness program. In fact, Montgomery was motivated to create the club after losing 130 pounds several years ago as a result of working out with her dog, Louie. Her Pit Bull, Zeus, is the program's "poster dog."

"Pet obesity has reached an all-time high, and I personally relate to the struggle with weight loss, which is why I truly felt I could start programs dogs would enjoy, along with their humans," Montgomery stated in a press release.

She explained that the club's flagship program (the CORE program) blends the basics from the health care and fitness realms with key points in veterinary, dog training and obedience, all combined into one program. Classic Level Certification is designed to educate students with a basic understanding of anatomy of both humans and canines, physiology of exercise, kinesiology, health screening, exercise prescription, as well as teaching classes safely and effectively.

"Students will also learn the basics of senior care and training the elderly in rehabilitation and assisted living homes," said Montgomery, who also was a former executive director and public education director for the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, and public relations and media director for the International Kennel Club Show. "This certification includes lessons on understanding wellness and human animal bond, the science of exercise of both humans and dogs, assessments for both humans and dogs, obedience 101, veterinary protocols, program design, nutrition, equipment, beginner and advanced exercises, and most importantly our standards of excellence. Our Core certification includes program design, assessment forms and 200 exercises to get you going."

For those 50 and older, the K9 Fit Club also offers a program for baby boomers, who make up about 76.4 million of the U.S. population.

The Boomer program, which costs $199 and requires a prerequisite, involves learning the basics of boomer/senior care as well as exercises that are designed to strengthen core balance and functional assessments appropriate for baby boomer clients. Students also will receive video demonstrations and progressions of exercises and balance for both humans and canines, based on programs and recommendations specific to both (alliance and affiliation with Healthways and SilverSneakers).

Another program offered includes a Wrangler Certification for $99, which provides the tools to create a safer environment for the trainer and the human/canine team, as well as tools for readiness and preparation for any situation or emergency, Montgomery explained. In this program, the Wrangler is taught proper methods for decreasing anxiety for the teams. This course hones in on refined skills, creating a safer class environment, increasing communications, exercise efficiency and improving the bond between the K9 Fit Club Certified Trainer and their human/canine clients.

Finally, the CPR certification course is offered for anyone with limited or no medical training, additionally for those participating in Healthways and SilverSneakers. The course provides the basics of CPR, including how to deal with unconscious victims, shock, trauma and environmental emergencies.

"Our support really starts once you get certified. We are successful if you are so our mission is to get you successfully teaching human/canine fitness classes," she said. "Whatever your current business is we help you integrate the K9 Fit Club concept into it. We market you and promote you on our own website, as well as social media. So, you get to teach the classes where you live—whether it's in the park, a gym, recreation center, church, school, doggy day care, etc."

The programs offered by the club were developed with input from personal trainers, veterinarians, dog trainers, doctors and certified dog behaviorists. Programs are recommended after an initial assessment of both person and dog, and are available for all fitness levels in all modalities of fitness, and specifically designed programs for children, seniors and people with certain disabilities.

The K9 Fit Club currently has numerous certified trainers across the country, with many more now enrolled in the program. Online certification typically takes anywhere from a weekend to one month to obtain, depending on the flexibility of a student's schedule.

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