Tag: dog fitness

Use the Babel Bark Monitor Dog Fitness Tracker to Meet Fitness Goals and More

Measuring progress towards goals is one way to stay accountable and keep on track.  The Babel Bark dog fitness tracker is an inexpensive tool to track dog health.  In the app you may plan, monitor, and track your dog’s diet, exercise, medications, vaccinations, and more, all in one place.

The dog fitness tracker

The Babel Bark monitor is about the size of a quarter. It attaches directly to the collar, and it comes with rubber bands sized to fit small and large width collars.  The monitor communicates with the free partner app via Bluetooth.  It’s powered by a watch battery that last approximately six months. It comes with an extra battery.

The monitor records your dogs activity as points.  The software calculates points according to your dog’s age and weight.  A points system makes sense for dogs, because the wide variety in size makes keeping track of steps virtually impossible.

The monitor retails for $29.95 (as of May, 2018).  If you are enrolled in the Fit2BPawsome Challenge, you are eligible for a 25% discount.  This is quite a bit less than some of the other dog fitness monitors on the market.  Because the monitor connects via Bluetooth you will not be able to sync data continuously via wireless.  The other drawback to this monitor is that it is not rechargeable.

I recommend that you monitor your dog’s baseline activity level over a few days before setting a goal.  Increase your dog’s activity gradually as you work towards your goal.

The app

You may use the free partner app with our without the fitness monitor. With the app, you can connect to other pet parents, share your dog’s profile, and connect to your veterinarian and other service providers directly.  The app lets you monitor your dog’s weight, medications, diet, and activity.  I have created a video to demonstrate how useful this app can be.

If you aren’t using the fitness monitor, the app will let you set an activity goal for your dog based on miles traveled.  The app will only track miles if you and your phone are with your dog.

My dog Kawai has been wearing the fitness monitor for about a month now.  It does a very good job of tracking his activity through the day, and I can also see when he is up during the night.  The app is relatively user-friendly.  The only issue I have encountered is that my dogs tore the rubber band on the monitor when they engaged in some friendly rough-housing.  I replaced the rubber band that came with the product with a heavier, standard rubber band, and I have not had a problem since.

I would recommend this as a good place to start if you are serious about tracking your dog’s health and fitness.  There are other monitors on the market that have more features, but they are also considerably more expensive.  I give this monitor and app 8/10.

Babel Bark is a sponsor of the Fit2BPawsome Challenge, and provided a monitor for testing.  KC Pet Collective is not affiliated with Babel Bark and does not receive a commission on sales.

Video transcript

Now I am going to show you how to use the free dog health tracking app from Babel Bark.  There is a partner fitness monitor, but you can use the free app without the monitor.

When you open the app, you will see a home screen.  From the home screen, you can create a profile for your dog. The app lets you upload a snap shot and will ask you for some basic facts. As you can see, you will need the pet’s name, his primary breed, secondary breed if he’s a mix, birthday, weight, and some health information. The nice thing about this app is that it lets you select the type of dog food you are feeding.  Most of the major brands are here, and quite a few of the smaller brands as well. 

You also can add the amount that you are feeding and how many times a day you are feeding. You can also add medications and vaccinations here as well.  I have not done that yet for my dog.  Not that he hasn’t been vaccinated, because he certainly has.

On the local services tab you can connect to veterinarians, pet stores, groomers, trainers, walkers, and more.   Some vendors will allow you to schedule appointments in the app. And if they don’t already, you can ask them if they will allow you to do that.

When you select the medication tab, if there no records there yet, you will see a form. That form will allow you to send an email your veterinarian asking them to upload records to the app.  Once those medications are there, you can track them in your phone.

The weight tab allows you to track your dog’s weight over time. This is really nice.  You can put in the current weight; you can put in the target weight if you have agreed on it with your veterinarian, and track progress towards a goal.

You can invite with other pet parents, and connect with them, and share your dog’ profile in the app as well.

Now, let’s talk about the activity tab. I am going to log into my other pet. The first thing you will want to do is set your dog’s activity goal.  If you are not using the fitness monitor, the goal will be based on mileage.  Mileage is tracked with the phone app, so you will need to be with your dog when he/she is getting the exercise.

If you want to use the fitness monitor, simply select “add fitness monitor,” and it will search for available fitness monitors. It’s going to find my other dog’s fitness monitor, so I am not going to add one.

Let’s move back to Kawai’s profile. If you are using the fitness monitor, the system is going to suggest goals that are based on points. Those are points are based on your dog’s weight and age.  And you will get goals for a range, low, medium, and high activity level. It’s a good idea to monitor your dog’s baseline activity for a couple of days and then set a goal.  For our border collie we found that he was already at a fairly high level of activity according to the points system, and we set quite a high goal for him.

You can see down at the bottom of the screen that when you sync your data you get a nice graph that shows what times of the day your dog is active and how many points he’s getting at each of those time points. 

The monitor is about the size of a quarter and retails for $29.95   That’s quite a bit less expensive than some of the other monitors on the market.  A couple of things to remember: this works via bluetooth so you have to have your phone nearby to sync.  It won’t track continuously through wireless.

The monitor fits on the collar and comes with rubber bands sized for small or large collar widths. Activate your fitness monitor  by clicking it.  You will see the lights flash.  As we have shown, select add a fitness monitor.

The nice thing about this app is that it lets you share all the information about your dog’s health with your veterinarian.  It’s a very low cost tool to help you keep up with your dog’s health and wellness and track progress to fitness.

Puppy Exercise: Keep Them Busy, But Don’t Overdo It.

Puppies are little (and not so little) balls of energy wrapped up in excitement.  What are the best ways to keep them active and out of trouble?  How much puppy exercise is appropriate?  Are some types of exercise better than others?  You have questions, and we have some answers.

What is a good puppy exercise?

A good puppy exercise is usually short (think 10 minutes for younger pups to 20 minutes at four months of age).  Puppies over four months may be able to exercise for longer periods of time if their breed allows.  The key is to keep the exercise session short enough to match their attention span.  Young puppies don’t have much endurance yet, because their bodies are immature.

A good puppy exercise is not overly strenuous.  Use low-impact activities.  Running is generally ok in short bursts, but endurance training should be left until your puppy is mature.  Jumping and prolonged running can injure growth plates, and dogs are not generally trained for jumping sports until they are mature.  Large and giant breeds mature more slowly, so be sure to ask your veterinarian when is the appropriate time to begin high-impact sports.  Many sport clubs will start training dogs at two years of age.

The AKC has good information on age-appropriate exercise for puppies.

A good puppy exercise is fun.  Puppies will do anything as long as it is fun!

Some play ideas to get you started

  1. Play hide and seek.  Hide treats around the house, or hide yourself and encourage your puppy to find you.
  2. Go swimming:  Water play is low impact and dogs love it.  Until your puppy can swim strongly, use a dog swim vest for safety.
  3. Play with puzzles.  Dog treat puzzles keep your puppy’s mind active and help her learn good problem solving skills.  Some treat puzzles encourage movement as well.  Your puppy might not retrieve yet, but she will probably enjoy chasing anything you feel like throwing.
  4. Learn tricks and skills.  You can teach an old dog new tricks, but young dogs learn faster.  Your puppy is soaking up knowledge at an incredible rate.  Now is the time to teach him obedience and party tricks.  Work on the recall frequently throughout the day.  Move around the house and call your puppy to you frequently.  Practice leash skills on walks.
  5. Socialize.  Dog parks and doggie day care are great places to socialize your puppy.  He’ll get a lot of exercise while he’s there, too.  Use common sense and keep your puppy out of park areas where reactive or overly boisterous and physical older dogs are playing. Some facilities offer sessions for puppies only.  For example, Bar K Dog Bar in Kansas City has a weekly puppy socialization play date on Wednesday evenings.  Puppy classes with your local pet store or trainer are great places to socialize, train, and exercise your puppy.

Join the Fit2BPawsome challenge to stay motivated.  The challenge is designed to be appropriate for all breeds and life stages.

A busy puppy is a happy puppy.  Keeping her busy with safe and healthy exercise will help her grow into a strong and confident dog.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Bar K Dog Bar is a sponsor of the Fit2BPawsome Challenge

Doga at the Bar K Lab

Jesse Shroyer of MyYogaKC will be leading you and your best friend in a dog friendly, forty-five-minute yoga class! This has quickly become one of our favorite events, the humans and the pups are loving it — just imagine a yoga class, plus dogs and drinks!

The cost will be $15 per person for Bar K guests (your dog gets in free!) and $10 for Bar K Members. You can pay at the door. Your admission includes one free cool-down Mimosa after class

And of course you and your pup are welcome to stick around for Open Play in the Bar K Lab beginning at 10:00.