Bootcamp: How to transform your dog

Dog Jogger to the stars, Barry Karacostas, has taken his knowledge of the urban dog and created a fantastic fitness programme that aims to get your dog looking and feeling fit. Having trained PetsPyjamas’ mascots Heidi and Rufus and Elle Macpherson’s dogs, Barry reveals how his bootcamp comprises a work-out that is in line with the full and natural capacity of a dog’s body and proves that his fitness approach is the perfect way to help your dog lose weight.

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Tell us more about your approach to pet fitness? Just like ourselves our pets also benefit from daily exercise and a balanced diet, so as they can lead a healthy happy life. Through our services we try to enhance the life of the urban dog. I would like to think of myself as an ambassador to all urban dogs that find themselves in a bit of a pickle with the extra pounds!

You offer a pet bootcamp service – what does this involve? Bootcamp is Bootcamp, lots of monitored exercise, plenty of quality sleep and a controlled balance diet. Prior to starting TDJ (The Dog Jogging) Bootcamp all dogs are checked by their vet to deem them fit and healthy. The larger breeds will be gently introduced to The Dog Jogger runs, gradually building their stamina and strength. The smaller breeds and toy breeds also enjoy a little running but more by the way of interval training rather than long dog jogs. This stimulates the heart rate up and down in short periods of time, which just as in humans not only builds stamina but also burns the calories.

The little guys are also kept busy in the garden by using interactive toys such us the ‘Halo Bottle Treat Dispenser’. Dietary requirements are looked at on an individual basis and in the majority of cases a raw food diet is introduced. Like I say to most dog owners the theory is not ‘rocket science’ just like us, if we consume more than we burn, especially of the wrong stuff, we are only going to get bigger!

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Before and after: Amazing weight loss in just 6 weeks – Gus the Vizla

Do you find that a lot of owners don’t realise how overweight their dogs are until they come to you and see the transformation? Yes! But I understand it. When you see your dog everyday its hard to realize the gradual build-up of excess weight. Of course there are the extreme cases of the ‘clinically obese’ which I can’t believe they didn’t realise.

Are your methods something that owners can maintain themselves? Yes of course! Bootcamp aims to help kick start the process, the majority of owners only want what’s best for their dog. Most of our clients are so overwhelmed by the transformation they want to keep it up no matter what. We also offer a great after care service to all dogs and their owners, so that they can maintain that youthful bounce they have all attained after shedding the extra pounds.

What are your top five tips for keeping your dog fit?

  • Feed good premium quality dog food (have your dog weighed so as you can stick to the recommended daily allowance).
  • Treats should only be used for training and good behaviour and in tiny amounts.
  • Get active with your best friend, you yourself will also benefit from all the extra fresh air and your bond, believe me, will only get stronger!
  • Regularly visit your vet clinic, they all normally have scales in the waiting room, its free and it will help you identify early on if Buster has put on weight.
  • Last but not least, enjoy giving each other health and happiness.
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Juliet the Pug can now jump on the sofa after her 4 week weight loss.

How long does it take to achieve these results? Time scales differ from breed to breed, dog to dog and age. Generally TDJ Bootcamps range from 2 weeks to 2 months depending on what we want to achieve. Case study Gus the Vizla took 6 weeks and Juliet the Pug took 4 weeks – she can actually jump onto sofas now which was a lifelong dream achieved!

Apart from physical appearance do you notice a change in the dogs when they lose weight? It puts a massive smile on my face the day I deliver the dogs back to their owners. It’s like a dream come true for them, more so in the older dogs. They are no longer lethargic; they are full of bounce and have seriously got their mojo back. The most common response is, “oh my God, he’s like a puppy again” and that is in reference to a dog that is 10 years old. The proof is in the pudding! Fit active dogs are happy dogs and live longer!

Price varies from case to case but generally bootcamp start from £300 per week. Book your appointment now.

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