Dog trains man

Friday, May 2, 2014

Kenzo's New Personal Trainer

You already guessed it, right? Indeed, Tilde is Kenzo's New Personal Trainer.

Kenzo is very close to his recovery, we just need a little more muscle and leg awareness before he can go - controlled - off the leash.

In Tilde's boot-camp, he is getting just that, with simple and plain old-fashioned play-wrestling.

It was to be expected that they would play a lot, and I checked with the vet if it was something I could allow or if it was to be avoided. "No, it is actually very beneficiary, but ...". Holding my breath, as "but" usually means forget everything said so far and listen carefully to what comes next, she continued, "as long as he doesn't run". I could exhale again.

It made me glad to hear that, as allowing them to play is important for their bonding, and when it even helped Kenzo with some additional training, it is just a big bonus.

All I needed to do is let them wrestle for a minute or two and then call for a time-out, before it would start to evolve into chasing each other. Kenzo could do that, but if I could teach Tilde as well, and fast, was still an unanswered question.

It turned out to be a piece of cake. Probably Tilde quickly noticed that whenever I called, Kenzo stopped playing and had a treat coming, and in just a couple of play sessions I had both Kenzo and Tilde breaking up their play and rushing to me for a reward.

Kenzo's daily work-out schedule just got a lot busier.

Kenzo's new Personal Trainer couldn't have arrived at a better time, because we have some catching up to do. His former personal trainer - being me - has been such a dumbass. Kenzo's recovery would have gone much faster when I would have understood the concept of slow walks earlier.

A while ago, slightly annoyed with the slow progress, even while he was doing very good in the water walker, I questioned the vet. What we were seeing in the water walker was not what I was seeing on his daily walks. We went outside, so I could show her what I meant. "You don't go slow", she said. "Yes I do", I replied, and I could see a little smile on her face, or was it pitty: "Yes, you do. Not Kenzo. You go you-slow, not Kenzo-slow".

While her remarks were still sinking in, she explained me the concept. In order to build muscle based on a proper coordination of his steps during walks, Kenzo would need to go as slow as possible. Basically, Kenzo needed to take strolls, not walks.

Having the concept finally right, Kenzo is improving even faster, and I am happy as it saved me from getting fired, and earned me a re-hire as the Assistant of his new Personal Trainer.


  1. Ah, I remember those painfully s-l-o-w walks. It's so hard. After Ginko's second surgery, he refused to put his leg down ... unless we went really, really slow.

  2. Your beautiful stories are making me increasingly aware that one Hovawart may be no Hovawart at all. It's also remarkable how many Hovawart fans have more then just one. Looking at Boef's social and playful behavior I can certainly see the benefits of an equally sturdy and bullish playmate for him. Just a pity that our way of life does not sustain more then one dog.

    1. Hope you can find some playmates instead, Bernard - maybe GSD's when no Hovies around, they tend to mix well - And please don't worry, you and the family will always be Boef's nr.1. A sturdy playmate is just icing on the cake.


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