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Jennie LaPrade makes sure that her Canaan Dogs are trained in an active lifestyle from the moment they come home with her. Her AKC FIT Dog trio consists of 5 and 10-year-old males, “Kuma” and “Argos,” and her 8-year-old female “Jessie.” When each puppy initially came home, LaPrade laced up her athletic shoes, clipped a leash to the puppy’s collar, and headed out for a walk.

“By the time Argos, Jessie, and Kuma were four months old, they were leash trained and walked nicely beside me,” says LaPrade of Los Angeles, California. When the AKC FIT DOG program was launched in January 2023, LaPrade’s early training program paid off. Kuma, Argos, and Jessie were ready and eager to start racking up the miles. And they didn’t stop with walks. LaPrade’s dogs are also involved in many dog sports.

Choosing Canaan Dogs

AKC FIT DOG encourages dogs and owners to improve and maintain their health and fitness. Dogs can earn bronze, silver, or gold titles for various exercises. For example, dogs must walk at least 75 minutes a week for eight weeks to earn a bronze title in walking. The program is a perfect match for LaPrade and her trio of Canaan Dogs.

“Not only do I enjoy walking with my dogs every day, but the exercise keeps me in shape and helps tire them out,” LaPrade says.

She chose Canaan Dogs after her Akita passed away eleven years ago. She was inspired when she saw a TV episode on Israel’s national dog. “I was intrigued, and knew I wanted something smaller,” she says.

A member of AKC’s Herding Group, the Canaan Dog is an ancient pariah that survived in the Negev Desert for thousands of years. The breed’s medium size, high intelligence, extreme loyalty to a family member, and love of activity convinced her.

Jennie LaPrada

Exercise for Dogs and Owner Alike

LaPrade quickly realized that her Canaan Dogs had different needs than her Akita did. “If I didn’t take these dogs out on a walk, they would tag-team and follow me around the house or sit and stare at me until I did,” LaPrade says.

As long as it’s not pouring rain, she leads Argos and Jessie’s on daily 30-to-60-minute sessions. When they return, LaPrade takes a second shift with Kuma. Now retired, the former trial attorney remembers setting her alarm an hour earlier every morning to walk her Canaans before she left for work.

She recalls one day when she couldn’t walk Kuma. “I came home and saw him sitting atop the dining room table and staring out the window,” LaPrade says. At another missed outing, LaPrade returned to find shredded pillows and a chewed wall.

LaPrade walks the dogs around her neighborhood and chooses several different paths to mix things up. The dogs also love going on hikes in Griffith Park. Occasionally, they encounter a loose dog, but their obedience training has paid off. Her Canaan Dogs don’t engage, and stay right by her side, following any commands she gives them.

More Than Just Walks

LaPrade doesn’t limit the their AKC FIT DOG sessions to walking only in her neighborhood or at Griffith Park. She takes them to the dog beach in Redondo Beach, California, and keeps track of the miles while trekking up and down the water’s edge. The dogs run on the sand and go into the water to cool off when they get too hot.

“Jessie hates bathing, but after our walk, she’ll go into the ocean and doesn’t mind getting wet,” LaPrade says. “She jumped in and out of waves and knew how to swim immediately.”

Jennie LaPrada

LaPrade also takes her dogs on vacations with her. When they were younger, she’d also take Kuma and Argos along on bike rides. After biking a half-mile or more once a week for four weeks, Kuma earned the AKC FIT DOG Silver designation.

“I found a 2-mile route where they can trot mostly on grass,” LaPrade says. “Luckily, the training prevents them from seeing a squirrel and pulling me over.”

LaPrade is considering joining the AKC FIT DOG Spring Scurry and receiving a special magnet to commemorate the event. With all their exercise, the virtual 5K (3.1 miles) walk should be a walk in the park.

From AKC FIT DOG to Dog Sport Titles

Their involvement in AKC FIT DOG set LaPrade’s Canaan Dogs up for success across many dog sports. Argos, GCHB CH Farsight Argos Renegade of Pern RN FDC CA CGCA CGCU TKN FITB, Kuma, GCH CH Odyssey’s Kuma of Farsight RN BCAT CGCA TKN FITS, and Jessie, CH Kol Tuv Jessie’s Odyssey CA CGCA CGCU TKN FITB, have earned titles of all kinds, with AKC FIT DOG to thank. LaPrade says that these walks and working on AKC FIT DOG titles were solid preparation for other sports they wanted to try.

She added obedience training to the dogs’ routines, which helped with AKC Rally and to manage the dogs’ prey drive. Canine Good Citizen, Fast CAT, and Trick Dog titles soon followed. When LaPrade’s breeder encouraged her to enter Argos in Conformation, the trio stepped into the ring. The dogs have each earned their championships.

Titles aside, she cherishes connecting with her dogs and getting outside. “It’s always a great way to reinforce their training, and they love it,” she says. “They’re so happy and content, which makes it all worthwhile.”