Canine Fitness (Cert.CF)

The Certificate in Canine Fitness is designed to give the student a strong foundational knowledge in canine fitness. This program will be of value to anyone who works with dogs professionally in canine sports, or in the role of trainer, behavior consultant, or other profession or as personal interest. Students can expect to do a lot of reading and learning in this program of study. Most of the questions require short answers, calculations, and/or analysis. There are a limited number of essay questions as well.


Do you want a solid understanding of the science of fitness in dogs? If so this program of study may be just what you need.

This program of study involves reading course notes and, where specified, articles or course texts, and the completion of written assignments, mostly of the short essay answer type. Feedback and guidance is provided for assignments. Students may also take advantage of an email list with fellow students, grads, and faculty for questions and discussion or students may email their instructor directly. CASI uses a shaping model of education, setting the student up for success and provides support/guidance and multiple opportunities to refine and resubmit assignments rather than just slapping a grade on them and moving on. This results in greater conditioning and minimal stress for the student.

This program requires approximately 40 hours for assignment preparation (not including reading and study time).

Graduates will receive a Canine Fitness certificate (Cert.CF).


Tuition: $800.00 Canadian Dollars. (Currency converter. This provides only an estimate) Tuition is in Canadian funds. Canadian Residents pay applicable sales tax.


Students should emerge from this program of study with a detailed understanding of:

  • Body and Energy Systems

  • Oxygen usage

  • Motor nerves

  • Movement vs. reflexes

  • Anatomy, feet, legs, spine, ligaments, growth plates

  • Muscles, location, function, fast twitch, slow twitch

  • Anaerobic and aerobic metabolic processes

  • Structure

  • Head and body types

  • Sprint vs. strength

  • Angulation

  • Gait analysis

  • Terminology, reach, drive, balance, etc.

  • Sports psychology, canine and human

  • Burn out, attitude, stress

  • Sports, Rally-O, obedience, agility, flyball, lure-coursing

  • Conditioning programs

  • Exercise, warm-ups, cool-downs, indoor and outdoor exercises

  • Fitness

  • Special Populations, brachycephalic, obesity, performance, geriatrics

  • Pre-existing conditions and injuries

  • Sprains, strains, fractures

  • First aid, heat distress, splints, bleeding, tourniquets    


Program Package Includes:

  • Coursework document including assignments and handouts

  • Student Handbook


Courses (Scroll down for course details):

  • Anatomy and Physiology - 404

  • Gait and Structure - 405

  • Sports, Conditioning and Fitness Training - 408

  • First Aid, Sports Injuries and Therapies - 412


Entrance Requirements: Entrance into this program requires that you have completed a high school diploma program (exceptions can be made) and that you be at least 18 years of age. We recommend, but do not require, that students have a high school senior level science or biology course as preparation. Personal interest program of study.


Schedule: This program is self-paced within a 1-year time limit starting from the enrollment date.


Anatomy and Physiology - 404

Instructor: Susan Dillon, Dip.NS., Dip. C.N., Dip.ACBS., Dip.CFNA.

Course Description:

This course will examine the dog’s body and how it functions in relation to exercise. This information is invaluable in the field of fitness study and will prepare the student for follow-up modules. The module explores the skeleton and how and why it is put together the way it is. It also looks at body systems, muscles, ligaments, and other pertinent topics to this area of study. This course is evaluated by way of written assignments. 


Course Texts:

  • Course notes provided


Gait and Structure - 405

Instructor: Susan Dillon, Dip.NS., Dip. C.N., Dip.ACBS., Dip.CFNA.

Course Description:

This course explores body and head type, front and rear assemblies, and how body structure influences performance. It also examines the terminology used for describing gait and locomotion. This course will provide an understanding of how and why the canine body moves the way that it does. Students should emerge from this course with able to analyze and discuss these topic areas. This module is evaluated by way of written assignments.


Course Texts:

  • Course notes provided


Sports, Conditioning and Fitness Training - 408

Instructor: Susan Dillon, Dip.NS., Dip. C.N., Dip.ACBS., Dip.CFNA.

Course Description:

This course provides a look at performance sports and the ways in which a dog should be conditioned to participate safely and happily in those sports. Some of these sports include flyball, Rally-O and agility. There is also an in-depth look at jumping. Being able to jump obstacles is important for many of the performance events and it is helpful to have a thorough understanding of this topic.

It also takes a look at determining a dog's fitness level and the different types of activities that you can participate in with your dog. It also discusses the psychological benefits of exercise, the importance of warm-ups and cool-downs, and how exercise can influence behavior. Students should emerge from this course with able to analyze and discuss these topic areas. This course is evaluated by way of written assignments.


Course Texts:

  • Course notes provided


First Aid, Performance and Sports Injuries - 412

Instructor: Susan Dillon, Dip.NS., Dip. C.N., Dip.ACBS., Dip.CFNA.

Course Description:

This course examines areas that include how physical conditions can impede performance, some of the causes of lameness, fractures, soft tissue injuries, sprains and strains. The first aid section is in no way meant to pass as qualifying someone to perform veterinary skills, but may stabilize a dog until veterinary services can be reached. 


Course Texts:

  • Course notes provided


Note: This program is not vocational. That means that the program does not provides education in all areas required to qualify someone to begin functioning as a professional in the field with only the education provided in the program. The programs are comprehensive, in-depth, and well rounded with regards to the science of fitness and nutrition itself but the program does not include courses in professional activities such as consulting skills, professional ethics, design of service agreements and liability waivers etc. Students wishing to prepare themselves for professional activities ought to pursue these other topics. The programs are intended for personal interest or professional development.