For the wellbeing of all dogs

Author: FitDog (page 1 of 2)

Triathlon and yoga with dogs                

I have been asked a couple of times to write a blog post about my sporting with my dogs. I hope that you get ideas from this post for your own life !

Some background information: I am the CEO and founder of FitDog Finland Ltd, a company manufacturing nutritional supplements for dogs. I have had dogs for 20 years and I have always been interested in sports and healthy living. This was also one of the reasons I wanted to found a company that develops wellness products for dogs.  During the year I have had several different kind of dogs and I have trained them actively. Recently, due to various reasons, I am not training and competing actively but am focusing on enjoying my dogs in other ways.

                                The pack after running

During last year I have started to do triathlon and this summer I participated in two competitions.  First was the olympic distance including 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. Last weekend I participated in a sprint race in my home town Turku, there I did 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.Triathlon is a great sport but in order to develop in it, one needs  a lot of training. At the same time I have 6 dogs at home, 4 dachshunds, groenendael and  malinois. So I have come up with different ways on how to combine the exercise for me and the dogs at the same time.

My youngest dog is a working line malinois, Tämä on Formula “Ässä”. He really is a formula and always ready to do everything with me.  From my dogs he is participating most often to sports with me, in running, biking and swimming.  With the other dogs, I mainly go for walks and running and also I use the kickbike to give more exercise to my dachshunds.

When I started to train triatlon in summer 2014 I could not swim free style more than 25 meters at a time. I went to the swimming hall and also trained in the open water, in the sea on our cottage. I use life vest for Ässä when swimming for a longer time. In open water swimming I use the wetsuit for myself which helps a lot in the swimming.  And luckily Ässä acted as my bodyguard when I struggled to swim!



                            First times swimming


I have also used the kayak to train Ässä, this is lovely stuff !

My triathlon bike is such that I cant take my dogs with me when training. But I also have a mountain bike which I use in the woods and when driving here in the countryside. Then I take Ässä with me and he runs freely when I am biking, he just loves it! Luckily he obeys very well and I can control him when on the bike.  It would be more difficult with the dachshunds I quess…


When running I might sometimes take even 4-5 dogs with me to run in the running belt. But this is rather difficult and heavy for my back so usually I only have the small dogs in the leash in the running belt and the big dogs running freely. I also love to run in the middle of the forest and then Ässä comes with me and runs freely. In addition to this we of course do the normal walks and wonder in the woods.



I recommend running belts for faster walking, running and skiing. Then you can have your hands free which is much more comfortable when exercising. I use the norwegian Non-Stop products for this.

Nowadays I am also enthusiastic for developing my mental capabilities. I do yoga and meditation almost every day. My dogs participate in this as well, in their own way….



To conclude I would say that it is possible to exercise in various ways with your dog. Most dogs enjoy running in addition to normal walking and why not do uphill training or climbing stairs also with your dog. The fact is that most  dogs are in a better condition than they owners anyway…

I think the most difficult thing in exercising with dogs is that if you have many dogs and you are not able to let all of them run freely. Then you have to choose who gets to come with you and who stays at home. And of course in Finland, in winter time we need to give up cycling and open water swimming. But let’s hope that this winter we will have lots of snow to enable skiing and snow shoe walking !



I wish all of you a sunny continuation of the summer !

Laura Heinonen
Luka, Ässä, Kiukku, Kerttu, Wilja ja Piki

My Instagram:




Working champion in record time !

East Siberian Laika Urpon Brage, owned by Jan Billgren, and Tiina Loimupalo, is the youngest elkhound breed dog that has achieved the working champion title. He was  10months and 27 when he became Finnish working champion, 11 months 22 days when he became Norwegian champion and 1 year 1 one when he became Swedish champion.


Jan tells about his hunting friend:

I bought Urpon Brage in April 2014 from Mr Petri Kärenlampi, kennel Urpon. I had been looking for the right East Siberian Laika a while before this litter of Urpon pups showed up, and in that time I badly needed a new hunting dog since my other dog Nord huntingchampion,Nord showchampion,Ee ch,Ee-10 Honkikorven Kaato tragically was run over by a car when hunting. So it was kind of a good timing when I found this amazing hunting buddy!

I have always been tought by my dad the very first day when bought my own first hunting dog 1979, that right feeding and physical training all year around is one of the most important things if I want to get a successful hunting dog in the woods. Nobody, nor dog or human are doing a good job when being deadly tired and out of shape! And when a hunting dog is pressured by lots of physical exercise all year around,it’s extremely important to feed the dog with right food and many times needed compliments as well.

I believe all dogs with the right feeding/training and genetical constellation can become a successful dog and to work in what they are bred to. I start training my dogs very young without pressing them hard at all ,with pups mostly playing in the woods. If they get trained the right way all year around and fed right with the right food and compliment when needed,they will get powered to get their specific job done! And of course I have given my dog a lot of chances and time in the woods!

With Urpon Brage, I have plans to start hunting on other spices of Big game this fall, like Bears and Wildboar. And that’s because I think the Laika breed are and should continue being a big game dog able to hunt all type of big game in our Nordic countries.

Urpon Brage and the family thanks FitDog for all the encouragement and support during the years ! Dogs have bene given FitDog drinks weekly already for 3 years. During the hunting season we use the products daily.

Now we are training the dogs a lot while there is only 3 months to go to the hunting season !


Tiina&Janne/ Kennel Råbockens




Tips for using FitDog products for agility dogs

Influence of exercise on energy and hydration level of the agility dog

Agility is powersport so dog’s need of energy increases approximately 10 % per every working hour. During the competition day total amount of exercise in agility is however equal to endurance sport. During the competition season in the summer dogs usually have to work in warm weather which increases dog’s need of water.

Take care of proper hydration level of your agility dog already before and during exercise.


Hydrating the dog before agility

Hydrating the dog is done by giving a small amount of rehydration drink several times during the day. Before longer exercise it is important to start hydrating the dog already a day before exercise.

Before long competition day hydrate your dog with FitDog Energy+Rehydrate drink powder. Give a small amount of rehydration drink to your dog 2-3 times a day before and in the morning of the competition day. You can give the drink separately or mixed with dog’s food.

Before shorter exercise such as training make sure your dog has drunk enough water during the day. You can ensure your dog’s proper hydration level by giving a small amount of FitDog Energy+Rehydrate drink for example in the morning or during the day.

Hydrating the dog during competition day

Dogs that drink during the exercise sustain their hydration level better. Therefore give a small amount of FitDog Energy+Rehydrate drink to your dog during the competition day and training.

You can mix the powder with water in FitDog Shaker already at home in the morning. Keep the mixed drink in the fridge.

Rehydrating the dog after agility

Agility dog also needs recovery drink especially after longer competition day. With FitDog Recovery and FitDog Recovery Potato drink powders you can restore your dog’s energy level and fluid balance after exercise. Give the recovery drink to your dog within 30 minutes after exercise. You can give the recovery drink in several smaller portions.

In case the dog doesn’t recover well, it clearly affects the performance of the dog during the following day.  Therefore proper recovery is important especially for dogs that exercise many days in a row.

Other tips

If your dog is resting for longer time during the competition day before exercise continues, you can give recovery drink to your dog already during the day. Recovery drink increases the blood sugar level of the dog so it is recommended to give during the day only if your dog is resting at least 2-3 hours. In this way increase in blood sugar level will have time to normalize before the exercise continues. If the rest is shorter than 2-3 hours it is recommended to give only Energy+Rehydrate drink powder during the day and Recovery drink powder after the competition day.

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Taking care of the rehydration level of dogs

Water is the most essential nutritional ingredient for dogs.  Dogs can survive long times without food but already 3-4% of dehydration influences the physical performance of the dog and 7-8% of dehydration can be dangerous and needs medical treatment. Dogs often drink only when they are thirsty and they are not able to prepare themselves for situations when extra rehydration is needed. These kind of situations are for example physical exercise, warm weather, recovering from surgery, travelling, giving birth and nursing the puppies.

1111 Photo Rikke Wriedt

In general, dog needs 0,5-1dl/kg of water -> dog weighting 20 kilos needs 1 litre of water daily. Exercise and warm weather increase the need for water. Various things have an influence in the need of water such as, dog’s breed and size, type of food given and temperature of weather. Dogs that eat dry food, need more water than those that are mainly fed through raw food.

In hot weather, the need for water can be double compared to normal but it is notable however that a dog can suffer from dehydration also in cooler temperatures. All exercises increase the need of water so extra rehydration is critically important to sport dogs trained during warmer weather.  Also in dog shows and when travelling, dogs rarely drink enough without the owner taking care of the matter. It is easier to prevent dehydration than to take care of it when faced with the situation.

How to ensure your dog drinks enough ?

As sufficient drinking is important for the dogs in all ages, already puppies should be trained to drink in different situations. Most dogs learn routines rapidly, so drinking can be taught to be a routine when preparing for different situations in hobbies. Puppies learn different tastes easily so when the puppy has been trained to drink when offered, situations are easier also later when the dog grows up.

When making sure your dog drinks enough, the best way is to use products that are developed for these purposes.  FitDog Energy + Rehydrate is a very tasteful, fat based drink which most dogs like to drink. You can use the powder to make the water tasty and also give extra energy for the dog when needed. FitDog Energy + Rehydrate suits all dogs in situations when extra rehydration is needed (hot weather, after surgery, giving birth, exercise). When preparing for a demanding physical exercise, you should start rehydrating the dog 1-2 days before the actual training/competition. Give small dosage (such as 2 dl per time for a 20kg dog) 2-3 times a day. You can use this product also during the training /competition.

After exercise FitDog Recovery and Recovery Potato can be used to ensure the fast recovery of your dog. The products contain carbohydrates, vitamins and magnesium needed to refill the energy levels of the dog.




FitDog products


© Minna Leppänen
Doctor of veterinary medicin
FitDog Finland Ltd.



Speed and power !

I am Elina from Finland and my dog is Leksa, parson russel terrier, 3,5 years. I love to do different sports with him. We have trained tracking and experienced real action in hunting also but our main hobby is still agility.


Last autum I started a so called new life. It all started when I applied in the top coaching team of our agility association. At the same time I applied also to a training to become a coach myself. Luckily I was chosen in both programmes and thus I started the autumn full of energy ! At the time, we had started our agility career with Leksa in the first class and I was enthusiastic in progressing in agility. However, my skills and speed did not meet with my dog at the time and we needed both physical and mental training to be able to achieve our objectives.

I hear about Physics renovation from my friend and I became interested. The renovation project aims to development and improvement of physics from the agility point of view. I had wanted to train ambitiously for many years but had not found the tools and reasons for that. Now I had many reasons: to develop myself as a handler, to train systematically from the perspective of agility and further, I would have a group in which I could train with many new friends!

In the starting level test I was positively surprised about my results and our coach Panu Erola suggested to me that I would participate in the competition level in the programme. Wow ! I thought. After that I was wondering how I would manage to train as much as needed. However, autumn went very fast and I managed to everything very well.

The best thing has been the fact that nowadays I use my training time very effectively.
The minimum objective is to have three training sessions per month and two of them are done together with the agility training and one in the unofficial group training of the physics renovation group.

In our agility training we have also begun to do things more effectively instead of hanging around and chatting… Agility is a sport in which speed and power is needed – that really requires effective training. This is seen also in the results. After Christmas we were moved to the second class with Leksa, my attitude is positive and my muscles are getting close to the same shape they were 7 years ago when I was actively training cheerleading!

I wish that all dog owners would take one advise from this blog post: Take a ”can do” attitude ! In life in general, in work and in hobbies there are many things you can influence and many things you cannot. By focusing on those things which you are able to improve, you make your life a lot easier and you will achieve the results you aim for !

I wish an energetic spring to everybody  !

Elina and Leksa

Challenges are meant to be beaten !

My name is Reetta Räsänen, I own an assistant dog Andy, 10 years.  I became disabled after an accident in November 1999 and have needed a wheel chair since then. Becoming disabled has posed many challenges in my every day life. At the time of the accident I was 20 years old with whole life in front of me. Then everything changed dramatically.


My first assistant dog was a labrador retriever Hara, which came to me after I got home from a long rehabilitation period in a hospital. This felt wonderful and also a bit exciting – could I manage with a dog ? I am sure Hara did not have any idea how comprehensive an influence he had in  my life. Already from the beginning of our journey, I felt feelings of success, acceptance and joy with him. Hara gave me a routine and meaning to my everyday life in addition to the concrete help he could offer to me. No small things at all ! When I got out with the dog, my physical and mental conditions improved a lot. I think I would not have exercised so much without motivation that Hara gave me. Unfortunately Hara became seriously ill and I had to give him up already when he was eight years old. After this, Andy came in to my life.

I am continuing the wheel chair exercises with Andy. I have additional equipment in my chair which lifts up the front wheel and makes the chair move with three wheels. With this system, I can move very fast with Andy and go even at the speed of 7 kilometers per hour! When we go for a faster run, the best for me would be to go to asphalt roads. But for Andy this would mean quite a bit running on a hard surface. Fortunately, an assistant dog can run without a leash so he can also go a bit off road when running with me.

Assistant dogs are trained to heel on the left side but I have also trained Andy to go on the right side. The official side is still the left side. When Andy is in the working mode, he keeps a good eye contact to me, when we go for a longer walk or run, I do not ask him to keep an eye contact so that he can better run straight. The biggest challenges when exercising with Andy is during winter time when there is snow and slush. In the southern Finland there is fortunately usually not too much snow.

There are many challenges related to exercising and my life in general but nothing too difficult which I could not handle. In addition to Andy, we have another Labrador retriever and two cats in our family. Me and my husband also have a 4 year old daughter and three children from my husband’s side.We are also expecting to have a puppy soon!

Nowadays it is also my job to train assistant dogs for other people. For this I am thankful to Hara, who showed me this way !



Aiming for the dreams in the FitDog agility team !

FitDog agility coaching team was initiated in the autumn 2014. The coaches of the team are well known top class agility competitors from Finland: Teemu Linna, Niinu Linna, Juha Orenius ja Jenna Caloander

In the team, there are various participants with different kind of dogs, here we present three of them !


Mari Sydänmaanlakka and Domi

”The joy of agility and flow feelings !


Mari participates in the team with her shetland sheepdog Domi. Domi is a rapid and fast agility dog and Mari has been very patient in the training of the dog. She has put a lot of effort in developing a good condition and muscle balance for Domi.

Mari has been very happy with the FitDog coaching team. Training is systematic and big elements are divided into smaller pieces, which helps the training a lot. Mari thinks that also her training by herself is now easier to do as she knows so well what needs to be trained.

The team members meet each other also outside the coaching weekends. For instance they go once a week for a run together with the dogs. They have also trained together in the gym.

Mari has studied to be jumping technique instructor and she really emphasises the physical trainings of her dog. Domi has his own training plan in which he trains deeper muscles, jumping, running and uphill training. Now Domi is in a condition which allows him to also start competing.

Mari’s most important objective in agility is to become a good handler for her dog. Domi is very fast and it reads the body of his handler very carefully. This poses challenges to Mari. But now she has the feeling that the collaboration with Domi is improving all the time. The best part of agility are the doing together and enjoying the performance. In the agility field Domi has a total focus on Mari only and Mari can see the joy of agility in Domi’s eyes. They have already experienced fantastic flow feelings in the course !

Marjo Viljamaa and Kyran

”The best part in agility is to enjoy  it together with the dog!”


Marjo participates in the training with smoothcollie Kyran. Kyran is Marjo’s second agility dog and she is training Kyran ambitiously. The long term objective for this couple is to achieve the results to participate in the Finnish championships. Marjo wanted to join the FitDog coaching team because she felt it is good that the team combines trainings for both the physical and mental side. Marjo thought that she could get closer to her objectives with the help of the team.

Marjo is very satisfied with the team. There is a good group spirit and the training weekends are so much fun !  Everybody has become friends and they are supporting each other. Marjo and Kyran have progressed a lot lately and have been raised to the third class already!

According to Marjo and Kyran, the best part in agility is to have fun together with the dog. Marjo and Kyran are a team and when doing agility, they only focus on each other without noticing other people or dogs. They are really enjoying the sport together!


Saana Talonen and Tahvo

“We are not necessarily able to aim for the stars but we can always
exceed ourselves !”         


Saana participates in the coaching with soft coated wheaten terrier Tahvo. Already when Saana heard about the FitDog team, she knew she wanted to join it. She knew most of the coaches from beforehand and she was sure she would get excellent tools from the coaches to improve the agility with Tahvo. Saana is very happy with the team and thinks she has gotten a lot of support from her own way of thinking about agility as well. One of the best things is that the trainings are very individual and everybody is trained based on their personal needs.

Saana and Tahvo have progressed a lot during the coaching and now Saana’s dream to be able to compete in the Finnish Championships in agility is becoming true next summer.

Wheaten terrier is not a typical agility dog and it is not naturally very fast. However, Tahvo has  a lot of potential and in the FitDog team Saana has been able to train in such an individual way that it helps her to achieve the best possible results with Tahvo.

According to Saana the best part of agility is doing it together with the dog. The relationship and trust with the dog has improved a lot during the way. When doing agility, the feeling is great and it is almost like dancing !

FitDog was sponsoring the Finnish Championship for K9 skijoring. Here the story of the competition!

K9 officers had their traditional skijoring competition in Kajaani. Tracks were in excellent condition and the weather was bright and sunny. During the 5 kilometers trail there were several tough slopes up and down. Skijoring is a fast sport and some mishaps always occur, also this time!

The individual classes were held on the first day. In the championship contest of the K9 officers, competitors challenged each other on the 10 km trail. The recreational train was 5 km long. In the championship class Arto Juutinen won by almost a minute. Timo Kinnunen was second and Henri Manninen third. All the medalist were from the Finnish Boarder Guard.

In the recreational class Hanna Kaipiainen from Border Guard was extremely fast with her german pointer. She won by over a minute, Lauri Ryhänen from the Finnish War Dogs Association was second. Police officer Rauno Saukkonen achieved the third place.

After the prize giving awards, the competitors had a nice evening, enjoying sauna and swimming.

The relay competition was held on the second competition day. The starts in relay are usually very intensive and fierce, this time happily everything went fine! Team 1 from the Border Guard won the race, team 2 came in second. Bronze went to the mixed team of police officers and officers from the Border Guard.

The competition was arranged by the Finnish Police Dog Association together with the Association for war dogs and K9 officers from the border quard. Thank you for all the responsible parties! Many thanks also to all the participants and companies that have been supporting the race!



In the photos, Police sergeant Rauno Saukkonen with his dog Ares. Ares is a mixed malinois that works alongside Saukkonen in patrol and narcotics search.

Saukkonen tells about their training:

During the wintertime we train in the ski tracks and also on the lakes. We also train in deep snow with the dog running freely and me tumbling along behind him with my forest skis. During the summer time I do mountain biking with my dog and road cycling myself. We also walk a lot and then I can take also our other smaller dog with us. When walking, I carry a 22kg kettlebell with me. I also go to the gym 2-3 times per week. 


Does your ambition override the wellbeing of your dog?

We are happy introduce a new FitDog Team Member, Rikke Wriedt from Denmark. Rikke is a veterinarian specializing in sport dogs, veterinary sports medicine and chiropratics. She is also an agility enthusiast.


This is what Rikke tells us about her doggish life:

“My life evolves around dogs: when I am not teaching canine conditioning, instructing agility or at work at my veterinary clinic I am spending time with my own dogs. I am very passionate about veterinary sports medicine and chiropractics. I primarily work with rehabilitation of dogs after injury or surgery as well as optimizing performance of the otherwise healthy canine athlete. Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in all aspects of my work.  My everyday life is a perfect combination of my profession as a veterinarian, certified veterinary chiropractor and my passion – agility. “ 

 We interviewed Rikke about sport dogs and optimizing of their performance.

What are the common problems you face with sport dogs in your work ?           

It depends on the dog sport and the age of the dog. Working with sports medicine I see one category stand above the rest: soft tissue injuries.  Tendons, ligaments and muscles are very prone to injuries in our canine athletes and I often see sprains and strains as well as ruptures of ligaments and tendons. The sprains and strains can vary from acute to subclinical in which the only indication of injury is reduced performance. In this case lameness isn’t evident to the untrained eye. A severe acute soft tissue injury is often quite obvious as it is accompanied by pain, swelling, lameness and reduced range of motion.

The most common problem I see is handlers neglecting proper rehabilitation after injury. Muscle injuries often heal faster than connective tissue due to the greater blood supply to muscles compared to connective tissue. For connective tissue to regain the strength it had prior to injury might take 6 months and up to 2 years. Repetitive injuries can be seen due to overuse during rehabilitation or completely lack of rehabilitation. Take the time to let the dog recover and remember to rehabilitate after injury.

Toe injuries are high on the list as well. Claw injuries are very common and could be avoided simply by keeping the claws short and strong. Trimming them as often as every week should do the trick. Ligament injuries and tendon ruptures – both partial and complete – are most commonly seen in hunting dogs and dogs engaging in high velocity dog sports. With proper rehabilitation most dog are able to compete without sequelae.

Working with veterinary sports medicine and chiropractics I also see issues related to specific dog sports; Canine athletes competing in high velocity dogs sports often have shoulder issues and vertebral subluxations in the lumbar spine. The endurance canine athlete often has muscle soreness/stiffness and subluxation of the sacropelvic area.

The expectations for sport dogs are very high nowadays, should people somehow better prepare the dogs for these demands, are people for instance focusing enough on building up the physics of the dog before starting active competing?

A very common error is wanting too much too soon result-wise. We want our dogs to excel in our venue of choice and when competing we usually have a personal goal we would like to reach. For some reaching those goals are more important than focusing on the specific needs of the athlete. I often see people requiring way too much from their dogs before they are mentally and/or physically ready to meet that requirement. This is a very real issue in most dog sports.

I would be thrilled to see more handlers working on building their young dog physics and stamina before engaging in any dog sport. Many dog sport activities are very physically demanding and the dog will need stamina, strength, flexibility and great body awareness in order to perform well. A conditioning program for the canine athlete of any age is essential.

What could the owners do to avoid injuries and common problems with sport dogs ?

Conditioning, proper warm-ups and remember to give the dog time to recover from physical exercise. A conditioning program for the canine athlete basically consists of four elements: strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. Depending on the dog sport in question you will adapt the program so that it fits the individual dog and the venue of choice. For instance a dog engaging in endurance sport needs a larger portion of the endurance element then an agility dog which main focus will be on strength. Individual adjustments are important. Just because two dogs are competing in the same dog sports it doesn’t mean that will have the exact same program. The program needs to be flexible and should be adjusted according to the individual dog: age, injuries, level of fitness, known orthopedic pathology. A condition program is designed to optimize performance so it is important to objectively evaluate your dog: what does your dog need in order to perform at a higher level?

Warm ups are essential for optimized performances. There are so many benefits to gain from a proper warm: increased rate of muscles contractions (relates directly to ground speed and accelerations), increased joint range of motion (flexion and extension). Several studies conclude that warm ups increases performance and reduces risk of injury. So a warm-up is a win-win situation. Cool downs after physical activity are equally important.

It is so important to take the time to let the dog recover from physical exercise. A 48 hour period of rest is essential to keep your canine friend fit. Ignoring the 48 hour period of rest might very well put our dog at risk of injury.

Equally important is it to acknowledge our sport dogs as athletes. Human athlete has a whole team of health professionals to make sure they are physically up for the task at hand. As the requirements to perform at the highest level in any dog sport increases so does the need for having dog sports professionals to take care of your dog’s physical well-being.

Especially if you would like your dog to be able to perform at a high level for many years as well as being fit and happy.

Nutrition and nutritional supplements, what is the role of these in the performance of sport dogs today?

Nutrition plays an integral role in sports performances. Optimized performances require dietary modifications.  These requirements depend on the specific sport. Endurance athletes utilize fat as fuel for exercise while sprinters (race dogs, flyball, agility) require a great deal of carbohydrates for energy.

Long competition days are very tactic for the dogs and proper nutrition is essential to gain the winning advantage. Keeping the dog rehydrated is the first step. They also need the right nutritional substances to generate energy i.e. fat or carbohydrates. Depleting deposits of those nutritional substances will lead to a decrease in performance.  To optimize performance and to have that winning advantage nutrition is the key. Ever heard the phrase “Abs are made in the kitchen?”. Well it’s true. Physical performance relates directly to nutrition. You might train your dog a lot but never really gain an advantage because of poor nutrient. Our performance dog need easy accessible nutrients like FitDog as feeding the dog during a day of competition often is contraindicated due to the disadvantages of a full stomach. Depletion of energy deposits means exhaustion and a greater risk of injury.


Homepages of Rikke:


Next week we will bring you the greetings from  the Finnish skijoring championships of the K9- officers  !



Radio host gives her tips to combining motherhood, busy work and an active K9 life

Maria Salovaara works in music business and recently joined in the Iskelmäradio team as a radio host. She is a working dog enthusiast who is also actively involved in working dog club activities. Her daily aim is to combine motherhood, irregular working hours and an active K-9 life. The dog that keeps Maria busy is a rough collie Rocky.



”Is it a puppy that you have there?” calls out a man in front of a local icehall. I stop and wonder what he might mean. “Over there, in your baby carrier”, clarifies the man.  “Ha, actually it is a real baby”, I answer to him and continue on my way with my child and dog. The baby sniffles against my chest during our nighttime stroll. I still try to take it easy with walks and it hasn’t been that long since I gave birth. The baby cuddling away in the carrier hanging on my chest gets a lot of attention. People we meet on our walks often stop to adore the baby sleeping in her carrier. “How easy and convenient it all is these days”, they say. Being able to take the baby along almost anywhere. You don’t say!

When I was pregnant I worried about how to take the dog for a walk or run with the baby in the house. Or how to manage the training sessions. Or how can I handle taking the dog for a run in the woods? Trollying along the streets sure would work, but there’s no way taking the trolley to the woods! I couldn’t possibly fit the trolley in the back of my car – because that was the dog’s own place – should I buy a new car? As I was at the hospital with the birthing about to start, I send my husband a message: take the dogs for a run and then come here. He almost missed the special moment but at least the dogs got their exercise. “Maria, really”, said many when they heard about that!

An expectant Mother often worries in advance about the baby staying up all night and not sleeping properly, whether breast feeding is going to work and many other things that may come up with a new baby. Me , on the other hand, worried about the dogs and how their life would change after the baby came in to the family. Now, a year and a half later I think back and ponder whether we actually had any problems. The answer is no. I worried about the same things as I went back to work. Worried for nothing – again. Everyone that has an active dog in their family tend to worry about the same things. Usually things go well after all.

 Our Daughter has definitely spent more time napping in her baby carriers (whether on my chest or on my back) than in her bed or trolley. When she was born, a friend of mine recommended a special, softlined carrier that is placed on a Mother’s chest. The baby snuggles in it like baby-koala in her Monther’s pouch. With this baby koala of mine I have trained my dog in obedience and also held training sessions for others.

 When the baby grew, I switched the pouch-model for a sturdier backback-model and wondered in the woods. My Daughter loves to sit behind me as she sees everything differently from up there. It’s also turned out to be an excellent exercise tool for me – try walking a 13 kg weight of your back in the snow in the woods. Guaranteed to raise your pulse! In fact most my “baby weight” has disappeared on those walks. I also claim that my stress level has remained low due to being able to walk in the woods with my baby and my dog so much.  Therefore, I am also a better a more patient Mother at home!

When the grounds get hard to walk on, I like to take an old ski stick along for a crutch. There have been fall downs, too. Step on a slippery tree root, and you will dive. When I did, I again worried about the safety of my child. As I scrambled back on my feet, the baby looked at me with a big smile on her face and said: “Mummy fell”. Giggles.


Next week we will introduce FitDog’s new team member from Denmark, a  vet specialized in sport dogs !


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