Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to Fit a Dog For a Dumbbell

I'd like to explain how I fit dogs for dumbbells. The following video is extracted from Totally Fetching: Teaching and Proofing a Reliable Retrieve. You will see a variety of dogs holding both properly fitted and improperly fitted dumbbells.

The following information is taken from the booklet that comes with the DVD.
    A correctly sized dumbbell is a help to your dog. The obedience regulations state that, "the size of the dumbbell shall be proportionate to the size of the dog." There are three elements to consider when fitting a dumbbell to your dog: the height of the bells, the thickness of the dowel, and the width between the bells.

    Many dumbbells are made with tapered bells to allow for a more comfortable fit. An "off-the-shelf" size is fine for many dogs. Some breeds require a custom fit due to their unusual length or width of muzzle.
    The ideal placement of the dumbbell is directly behind the canine teeth. The dog should hold it firmly. If there is too much room between the bells, it is easy for the dog to roll it back onto his molars, which usually leads to mouthing. If there is too little space between the bells, the dog's lips can get pinched, causing discomfort. If the bells are too large, they can interfere with the dog's vision. If they are too small, the dog may have difficulty picking the dumbbell up smoothly without hitting his nose on the ground.
    A thicker dowel often helps prevent the dog from rolling the dumbbell to the back of his mouth. You want the dog to be able to clench the dowel comfortably. It is possible for the dog to roll a thin doweled dumbbell even when the teeth are closed tightly. Also, a thin dowel on a wooden dumbbell tends to break easily.
    I get my custom-made wooden dumbbells from Phillip Klosinski of Toledo, OH. I've measured a lot of dogs all around the country with the spiffy dumbbell measuring kit Phil gave me years ago. The kit has a large variety of end sizes with different dowel thicknesses. One end is fixed and the other one can slide. They've proven themselves to be very useful over the years.
   Are you interested in ordering a copy of TotallyFetching? See the NDT website to do so.

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