Conditioning & Sports Medicine Episodes

When I think of my own health and wellness, I also realize the importance of taking care of my dogs, to avoid injury and promote health. This is very important when our animals are actively involved in sports or competitions, but is also very important in order to maintain their overall health and quality of life.

During this episode, we will be speaking with Dr. Connie Schulte, a certified K9 rehabilitation expert. We will discuss the importance of conditioning along with some frequently asked questions inside the Animal Academy Podcast!

Connie Schulte, DPT, CCRP:

For a girl that didn’t like dogs when she was young, boy has my life changed!  I didn’t like dog slobber or how my hand felt or smelled after petting a dog.  Now, my dogs sleep with me, lick my bowls clean, and yes, I will even share a spoon with them.  We had a dog that passed away when I was 10 and I did not get my own dog until I was 27 years old.  After one dog, I had to get another so they could keep each other company.  I have had up to 5 dogs at one time.  My first dog introduced me to the dog training world.  We tried obedience and tracking.  He was able to get a CD before tearing his cranial cruciate ligament.  When I got a more well-bred dog, I was introduced to the conformation world.  All of my pets since then have been Champions.  I have trained in obedience to a CDX, tracking to a TD, rally to a RE, agility to a MACH2, and conformation to a GCHB.  All have been Norwegian Elkhounds.  I started off with boys, but have found that the girls are a bit easier to train and want to please, the boys want to be loved.  I was nearly 40 when I started doing rehab on dogs.

I am so happy I made the change to treating pets.  A hard day at work is never a bad day when you absolutely love what you do.

I graduated from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1983 with a BS in Physical Therapy.  Then went back for my Doctorate at Creighton graduating in 2003 at the same time I completed the University of Tennessee’s certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner.  I have not stopped learning in the past 20 years that I have been working with pets.  They are always teaching us to be better people.

Over the years as I’ve raised, trained and competed in sports with my dogs. I’ve learned lessons, some the hard way. At the same time there’s been growing research in the field of canine rehabilitation in sports medicine. I attended training, lectures and then had to reach out to veterinarian specialist when my dogs had injuries. Some were sports related, others had injuries just chasing squirrels in the backyard.

I had the privilege to attend one of Dr. Zink’s seminars called Coaching The Canine Athlete. I then reached out to Dr. Zink about my dogs recent injury, then followed up with an evaluation and treatment plan to help her heal. This whole process of rehabilitation and learning about activities to help my dogs get into better condition created not only a bond with my dogs, but increased their quality of life.

I am honored to be able to speak with this episodes guest Dr. Chris Zink, who is one of the primary specialists who has helped my dogs over the years.


Chris Zink is a specialist in canine sports medicine and rehabilitation with additional certifications in chiropractic and acupuncture. She is the award-winning author of numerous publications on canine sports medicine and rehabilitation, was Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of the Year in 2009, and helped establish the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation as one of the newest specialties in veterinary medicine. Dr. Zink teaches canine sports medicine and rehabilitation to veterinary professionals and designs conditioning programs for active dogs and their people. She is co-developer of the internationally acclaimed Fit For LifeTM canine health and fitness program. As a canine sports competitor, Dr. Zink has put over 125 titles on dogs in agility, obedience, rally, conformation, tracking, hunt tests, barn hunt, lure coursing and nosework.

Scroll to Top