Author Archives: pawsitivelyunleashed

Fitness as Play; Play as Fitness

Things have been quiet on here, I know I am not great at keeping the blog moving, but I am going to make an honest effort to try.  I am actually looking at creating a LIVE VLOG on FB – kind of a ReneaTube thing – full of fun stuff from things I do with my dogs to my journey toward better health with a side of weight loss.

But today I am here.

The past 3 weekends I have been out and about with my dogs, and some human friends as well. We have gotten into the sport of Parkour. It is a fun game that includes useful skills, fun stuff and canine fitness components – done out in the world.

What I enjoy most is the quality time, outside with my dog (and a few random humans I enjoy). As adults we spend way too much time, being adults. Parkour for dogs allows you to get outside, enjoy life a little and rekindle life in a simpler way.

Today I was out in the woods that surround my home, and every tree stump or log became a place to play, something we could work with. I was observing my environment, working with my dog and remembering life before it was so complicated. I was also moving, getting exercise, becoming a step closer to being fit and less flab.

I actually walked all 8 of my dogs today, over 5 walks around my property and some of my in-law’s; that is an average of 20 minutes times 5 for me moving my body.

I have to be honest; I am studying to become a Primal Certified Health Coach, and finishing up my final case study for canine fitness, and I am beginning to blend those worlds. Parkour is a good fit.

Primal Health Lifestyle is about getting in touch with our inner caveman, getting back to the active, fat and protein eating version of ourselves, that conflicts with everything we have been lead to believe.

So how does this mesh with my blog, my weekends and my world? One of the Primal Laws is to Move Frequently, one is to Play and another is  to Get Plenty of Sunlight – PARKOUR fits that bill!

Let’s look at it –

Move Frequently; you bet I was moving all over the woods, in parks on hiking trails, on playgrounds (without children present). We were hiking, walking and generally moving around as we looked for places to play and worked on the exercises.

Play; oh my yes. My dogs and I have been engrossed in life enrichment. We are having fun, and they are getting healthy treats (yes we are all working on a great lifestyle of thriving).

Get Plenty of Sunlight; well today was a gorgeous day of bright sun, and the past weekends were not so bad either. My body was sucking in the Vitamin D.

So my blog is going to be taking a slight shift toward the Primal Lifestyle, while keeping the heart of my mission – to get you to Embrace Movement; Join Your Dog at the Gym and to Revolutionize Your Relationship With Exercise. My focus will be better overall health for both you and your dog, done in a way that makes sense, is safe and effective and will create a quality of life you never dreamed existed.

So here is a small clip of Arcturus and I doing a little Parkour – one log- the exercise is Assisted Jump — ENJOY







Miss Me!

Sorry for the delay – but I am back!

I want to share with you…

THE STORY OF P.AW.S.~ Physical Activity with Spot!™

Just a Girl and her Dog!
It all began when I was kid; a kid without a dog. That is where my story begins.

I always wanted a dog, but for most of my childhood we were unable to have one. So for my 18th birthday, I bought myself one, a Dalmatian with one blue eye, and we were inseparable. The love affair began! I was girl without a dog no more.

P.A.W.S.~ Physical Activity With Spot™ began in 2013 when I decided there had to be a way to add canine and human fitness together. I reached out to local personal trainers, I researched fitness for canine and human alike, I took classes, I read everything I could get my hands on, took online classes and workshops. In the fall of 2016 I finally figured it all out!

My inspiration comes from my own struggles with my weight, my body composition and my health. After an auto accident that left me requiring back surgery TWICE, I began to gain weight, become less active and depressed. My health suffered, my dogs suffered and my quality of life suffered.

In 2011, Sirius entered my life and everything changed! She is my motivation for movement, and health and the canine/human fitness program, as she also has some weight management issues and a neck injury. Together we are reclaiming our health and our happiness – one play date at a time.

Follow our journey —



Step Class – This is some Sirius Stepping! 

P.S. – as of this blog post I am down 14 lbs and have shaved 3.5″ from my waist! I will share more on that next post!


And here we are…

…2017 is here and so is the snow!

We are ten days into the new year, motivation for the resolution is probably out the window with the spirit in which it was made.

So far this year, my plan has been waylaid by family tragedy and Mother Nature, but I am going to have to make it work.

Playing and training (which is really the same thing to me) with my dog is really the best medicine, so tomorrow we are back at it.

The goal is to:

  • Create videos
  • Get off my duff (too much computer work)
  • Have fun
  • Feel better
  • Enrich my dogs’ lives a little
  • Survive cabin fever

I am sure the list is really longer, but my tired brain can only muster this.

Next week I will have more for you… but I did promise I would actually blog in 2017 — so promises must be honored …

While you wait for me to become a better blogger, here is some fun you can try with your dog. I have used cones, but you can use anything. Maybe tomorrow I will video tape this for you with my trademark Toilet Plungers!

Cardio Plyon Weaving … ENJOY and click here

Until next time ..

Stay warm, stay safe and stay sane!

Peace, Light & Love




This will be short and sweet.

As you get ready to dive into the challenge, you are going to want a starting point for reference.

Enter your baseline.

You can get as in-depth and as minimal as you want, you will be using it to track change. The baseline I am most interested in would be your current level of activity. The things you do each day (sit at my desk for 10 hours for example). If you wear an activity tracker, you can simply monitor and chart that for the next few days, it is not perfect but will give you an idea (and you are not required to share it with me or anyone else, it is yours).

You are going to be increasing your activity level over the next 31 days AND creating new habits for yourself – such the win-win.


My Journal 

If you are going to be whole hog on the baseline thing – on January 1 you can also weigh yourself, and measure key parts of your body (waist, thighs, upper arms for example) which you will measure each month on the same day for comparison.

That is it, that is all I have.

So go forth and get your baseline activity — make a journal and be ready to hit the road running (or at least walking more than you normally do)

See you on the other side!


The 31 Day Challenge is Almost Upon Us!

2016 is about to be but a memory; for some it cannot be in the taillights fast enough, for others it will be filled with fond memories. No matter how it ends, we all look forward to what 2017 can bring us.

My promise to myself for 2017 is self-improvement. With that all else will follow. My first promise to myself is the end of procrastination; a bad habit I picked up somewhere in 2016. My second promise is my health; face it I won’t be getting younger in 2017.

So my better health is your gain (or biggest nightmare I guess)! I am going to drag you with me into a fun way to be healthier, happier and with a better trained dog! Talk about a hat trick!

I have vowed to EMBRACE MOVEMENT! That is right, I am getting up off my duff and taking my pup(s) with me. We are all going to benefit.

Each day of January I will be posting something here, it may simply be a video for you to try out, it may be something WAY more exciting (like a BLOOPER!), but it will be to engage and entertain you and hopefully inspire you to play along.

For now .. try to get a hold of an aerobic step… but you can improvise if needed.

To make your day – here is a video of myself and Sirius doing a basic step for me and doggie squat for her …Basic Step


I hope you find the closing to your 2016 to be safe and fun …

See you soon


New Year~New You~ With a Twist!

The year 2016 is swinging to a close. And what a wild year it has been!

Every year’s closing is filled with promises to ourselves for big changes and lots of new and great things (most of which never happen).

So I am going to challenge you for 2017. An Actual Challenge…

You can post your challenge attempts – victories and near misses HERE.

This is going to be a daily or weekly or monthly thing … I am smart enough not to promise anything, because my personal challenge is to deliver what I offer.

2017 you will be working more with your dog, having more fun, getting in shape (and yes I know round is a shape), feeling better inside and out, seeing life in a new light, creating that YOU, the one you have been waiting for.

Your 2017 success will be my 2017 success! We are in this together.

You may want to get yourself a few things to play along with us … the list may change over the be flexible!

Your 2017 P.A.W.S.~ Physical Activity With Spot list of fun:

  • An aerobic step (they are back in fashion!)
  • A set of hand-weights (2-5 lbs)
  • A physio ball or peanut (exercise ball/inflatable peanut) – peanut would be better – both would be awesome
  • A yoga mat
  • FUN ATTITUDE .. because you are going to need it!


Ok…I will see you in 2017! With your first official challenge — and a video of me showing it off!

Please post yourself – pictures, videos – both; some proof of life! We are going to have fun and you will have something to look back at that will show you how far you have come!

Until next time!


Tails From Fat Camp

In the latest survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 52.5% of dogs in the U.S. were found to be overweight or obese.


When dog owners were asked to classify their pet as too thin, normal, overweight or obese, a shocking 48.5% incorrectly identified their overweight or obese pet as “normal weight”.

“This is a war veterinarians, pet owners and parents must win. Obesity is the number one preventable medical condition seen in veterinary hospitals today and is the fastest growing health threat of our nation’s children. Our goal is to help pets and people live longer, healthier, and pain-free lives by maintaining a healthy weight, proper nutrition, and physical activity. The most important decision a pet owner makes each day is what they choose to feed their pet. Choose wisely. Your pet’s life depends on it.”

Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 

As few as five pounds over your dog’s ideal body weight puts him at risk for developing potentially serious medical conditions which can include [but are not limited to] type 2 diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and many forms of cancer.

Overweight dogs live shorter lives and interact less with their families. Because they tend to lie around more, due to lack of energy, illness is easy to overlook as it is considered “normal laziness”.

Approximately 50% of pet dogs are left home alone most of the day, that equates to about 38 million dogs, sitting home with no chance of exercise (for body or brain).

Exercise for your dog is not only beneficial for his physical health, but also for his mental well being. It engages not only his muscles, but his brain.

Exercise is an activity which is planned, structured and repetitive for the purpose of improving overall health and maintaining optimal levels of fitness. It will increase vitality and decrease the risk of factors for illness.

To truly be considered exercise it must increase the heart rate, challenge muscles and raise body awareness.

Keeping your dog at his ideal body weight and conditioned will give him more energy and a longer attention span for learning and play.

Not having access to the outdoors does not mean you cannot exercise your dog. There are many things you can do inside with your dog to encourage movement.

Trick Dog Training... Many tricks require your dog to use core muscles such as “sit up and beg”, “take a bow” and “crawling”.

Dancing with Your Dog or Canine Freestyle… Look, an added benefit of exercise for you.

Structured Fitness Plans… You can get your dog using his body to create balance, core strength and flexibility using items such as pillows, cushions, rubber maid containers, step stools and more. Simply have your dog sit, down or stand with his front or back feet on the items for example.

Canine Swim Pools… exercise and therapy pools are popping up all over the country and offer an array of benefits from weight loss to pain relief and conditioning for dogs of all ages.

Ditch the Dish… Begin hiding your dog’s food around the house to encourage mental stimulation as well as movement. Place food up and down stairs for example.

Find a Facility… Look for training classes that add fitness challenges or classes geared toward your dog’s fitness.

Look for a place that offers conditioning and fitness programming or a warm water canine pool. Canine Aquatic Centers are cropping up across the United States as they offer a myriad of benefits from recreational fun to weight management to rehabilitation.

Also look at your dog’s diet. Cut back on treats and extras; look at the quality of the food you are feeding and the amount “suggested” on the bag. Be sure you are not overfeeding.

Discover how to correctly assess your dog’s ideal body weight so that you may better monitor him.

The Reality of Puppies

I absolutely love teaching puppy class. My Smart Start Puppy Program is designed around the mental and physical needs of young puppies, as well as addressing the expectations puppy owners have, which tend to be unrealistic.

I am here to tell you that puppies are not really as fun as you think and are a lot more work than you remember; A LOT MORE.

There are some common questions and concerns that crop up in my puppy classes, which lead me to believe people are not 100% on board with what puppies are really like.

First off all puppies are NOT blank slates, they are dogs that come programmed as dogs. They have a complete set of dog behaviors, much like your new smartphone comes with a whole bunch of  pre-loaded apps; you have no use (or desire) for.

  1. Puppies come with teeth; more like tons of really sharp razors. They use these teeth, A LOT. Puppies play bite with other puppies (or dogs), because they are puppies and it is how they interact. Just because you are person, do not expect your puppy to understand he is to interact with you in a different way, he came programmed with the “razor, puppy teeth from hell app”, you will have to change the settings. Be grateful puppies do not have the same bone crushing bite pressure as an adult dog; which is why they actually have that mouthful of daggers-to learn bite inhibition (lack of bite pressure) from other dogs during play.
  2. Puppies jump all over other dogs and other puppies; because they are puppies. Just because you are in your best clothing, do not expect your puppy to understand he cannot jump all over you with his Edward Scissorhands claws. You must understand your puppy came programmed with the “jump and wrestle master app”, you will have to change the settings.
  3. Puppies relieve themselves when they need to. They especially like to do so on something absorbent (carpet, grass ~ same thing). They do not have the necessary muscle control to “hold it” until they are a) a bit older and b) have been conditioned to actually develop and use that muscle control. They also do not know to tell you they need to go, because they would have no need for that behavior outside the human world; do not expect your 9 week old puppy to be fully potty trained. Your puppy came complete with the “I poop and pee NOW app”, you will need to change the settings.
  4. Puppies are really good at ruining things. They like to chew, tear stuff up and dig. Do not expect your puppy to know his toys from your winning lottery ticket or $200 shoes. Your puppy came with the “I am a playful puppy app” completely installed, you will need to update that app.
  5. Puppies do not always listen to you, in fact they have NO CLUE what you are telling them. They are puppies (tiny, baby dogs); they do not use human verbal language as a communication system. Over time they begin to understand stuff, but it takes time for associations to happen. Your puppy came with the “I communicate like a dog app”, you will need to make some adjustments to the settings.

The list is actually longer, but these are the major concerns expressed by puppy owners to me every day.

When you get a puppy, you need to make some major expectation changes. You need to understand you are not dealing with a tiny creature that came programmed to know what you want or expect. Interestingly enough, people have higher expectations for the behavior of a 9 week old puppy than they do a 9 week old human.

If you use a gentle and consistent style of teaching your puppy what you want, you will see a little creature that begins to make changes to that out of the box programming to become more in-tune with your desires of dog ownership (within reason-some expectations are too unrealistic to ever be met), but it will not happen in a day.

cover art


The Power of Choice

While I have opted to title my blog as Performance Puppy, the information is really good for all dogs.  I am highlighting puppies, as the goal is to share as much information as possible to allow you to grow your own mentally and physically sound dog; there are just some special considerations for puppies (most notably~ growth plate closure).

2015 is coming to a close, as are I hope, the physical struggles of my performance dog, Sirius (the WonderPup).

I decided to take some much needed “time off”, so have been reading blog postings and doing research for my upcoming classes and the two books I am working on (2016 is promising to be a very productive year and it is not even here yet!). Of course I find a blog posting (or two) that have set the ever finicky dog world into yet another tizzy, which brings me to this subject.

It is absolutely no secret that I do not train using any form of threat of physical pain, as I don’t personally feel fear is really a great place to start my relationships.

I prefer to use the light side of choice; meaning my dog has one and I won’t punish her for not making the choice I really wanted. After all every human I know has skipped out on something they really did not want to do, or showed up late, barely really present.

I will be the first one to tell you that your dog MUST learn certain skills, to make it in a human world with her life, I will also tell you it is just a dog show. No one dies if you don’t Q (qualify for those not in the know), and to never forget your dog did not fill out the entry form or pay the fee; she was gracious enough to come along and do her very best for you based on that moment in time.

Sirius and I have had no luck in the open classes in agility over the past two years, partly because we had to stop and partly because we were developing some weird, seemingly partnership breakdown. Mostly she was messing up the weave poles and dropping a few jump bars.

The weave pole issue finally became one of, Sirius just won’t do them, at all. She would make a few entry attempts, but then walk down the line of poles not looking at me.

My only real option was to allow her that choice and move on, and to not hold it against her when we walked out of the ring, and of course go back to the training drawing board.

Over time, her choices finally led us to the veterinarian for spinal x-rays and conversations about an injury she sustained at six months of age (a major reason for this blog).

The findings were startling, in a case of the year (if not the veterinarian’s lifetime) kind of way. The C1 vertebrae (last one before the skull) is turned totally sideways. This was of course causing her discomfort and now outright pain.

Imagine if I had opted to use pain avoidance (fear of physical correction) with my dog, forcing her to make choices she did not want to, and most certainly should not have.

Dogs should have the choice to not participate in many things, they should be allowed to have an off day without the fear of punishment. They should be thanked for coming along and playing our game.

We owe it to them to walk a mile in their footsteps and understand them for who they are and how they learn and why they stick with us, despite our obvious failings.

This blog will be dedicated to what I have learned, wish I had known and will continue to discover.

I am thankful my dog was not paralyzed from the skull down, and look forward to many years of competitive dog sports with her. I also look forward to training the three new kids on the block, using the information I will share with you here.

Here is to a brilliant New Year – New You!