Take Your Dog to the Gym
"We don't train dogs; we train the people who love them" is their motto, and they mean it. The Zoom Room is a chain of dog training gyms where dog lovers are expected to work as hard as their pets, if not harder. "It's actually more of a mental workout for the dog and a physical workout for the owner," says David Essex, a Canine Cross Trainer.
The idea for the class came after Jaime Van Wye, the concept creator, found herself working 15-hour days with no time to go to the gym. "I started doing some workouts at the studio with the dogs and realized something structured like a circuit training class with a personal trainer could really appeal to our customers," she says.
The hour-long classes are limited to six dogs and their owners, and, as with many fitness studios, can be booked online using the MindBody reservation system. After a warm-up, 60-second bursts of cardio, including hurdles and hopscotch with your pet, are interspersed with puppy sit-ups (the dog sits at your feet and spots while you crunch), lunges, push-ups, and squats. Sessions finish with stretching (not something dogs seem to need instruction in — downward dog anyone?) and massage.
While membership is not required, dogs must pass a behavior evaluation to attend a class and show they will not disrupt the session by barking, and that they can sit and lie on command (although they are kept on a leash throughout the class). The Zoom Rooms in Los Angeles are currently offering three circuit classes a week along with Pup-lates, Senior Stretch, and Urban Herding (a favorite with city-dwelling sheepdogs and collies who don't come across many sheep).
The Zoom Room hopes to bring in one-on-one sessions and add post-workout protein snacks for human consumption to the current selection of dog treats soon. And like all good clubs, after getting their sweat on, pooches and two-legged pals are encouraged to show off their shrinking paunches at the Doggy Disco where catchy beats (Snoop Dogg is always popular) and laser lights aimed on the floor, for the dogs to chase, keep the crowd moving.