USA Today

February 12, 2016

People in Chicago are moving beyond the usual dog walking routine. Members of K9 Fit Club are taking Oh My Dog Boot Camp, Bow Wow Boot Camp and Tai Chi Wa Wa — and both species are losing weight.

The club was launched last year by Tricia Montgomery, who said she had been overweight her whole life and felt like she had tried every diet and workout on the market.

Montgomery said it was a visit with her veterinarian that really made the change for her.

“I was fat and so was my dog,” Montgomery said. “Because as we as a nation get more and more obese, our pets get more and more obese beside us.”

She created a workout regiment with her dog, Louie, and lost 130 pounds. Louie lost more than 20% of his body mass.

Montgomery decided she had to share her idea with others, and K9 Fit Club was formed. The company now has multiple locations and more than 150 members.

Each class has a personal trainer and dog wrangler to make sure everyone involved gets the best workout possible. Single classes start at $20.

Motivating a room full of rowdy pups to follow directions can be difficult, so K9 Fit Club keeps classes small — eight to 10 people per class. Both humans and dogs aren’t always exercising at the same time, sometimes they’re just there to give each other support. A small dog might sit on a lap during a wall sit or a big one might give the owner loving licks every time she makes it to the top of a sit-up.

“You’re integrating both dog behavior and human behavior,” Montgomery said.

Contributing: The Associated Press