Get yourself outdoors and your little dog, too
by KENDRA HARTMANN | San Diego Pets
10:22 PM, Monday, June 18
Dawn Celapino catches a wave with her Cairn terrier, Jack. Courtesy Photo by Dale Porter,
Dawn Celapino catches a wave with her Cairn terrier, Jack. Courtesy Photo by Dale Porter,
Just about everywhere Dawn Celapino goes, her Cairn terrier, Jack, goes, too. And if there’s a place Celapino needs to go — a restaurant or shop — that doesn’t allow dogs, she simply doesn’t go there.

It’s not just when running errands or eating out, however, that Celapino insists Jack join her. As a personal trainer and an avid lover of the great outdoors, Celapino has built her life — and Jack’s — around activities that the two can do in tandem.

“He’s my best friend and I couldn’t imagine doing my outdoor activities without him,” she said.

When Celapino says she does all of her outdoor activities with Jack in tow, she’s not exaggerating. The two have gone kayaking, surfing, mountain biking, camping, running, hiking, swimming and paddle boarding together — to name a few (“We’re shopping together right now!” she said during our phone interview). Celapino is of the opinion that Jack should never have to stay home alone for any measurable length of time — which is why she started her business, Leash Your Fitness. A fitness training program based around a joint human-dog workout, the program offers training in cardio, strength, balance and yoga — with some dog obedience training thrown in, as well.

“People don’t realize what their dogs can do,” Celapino said. “Even now, when I tell people what I do with Jack, they say, ‘What?!’ They don’t give their dogs the benefit of the doubt.”

Jack even does some activities that Celapino doesn’t. Take surfing for example — “I don’t like to surf,” she said, “but he loves it.” Jack readily jumps on the surfboard, and Celapino pushes him in to shore on a wave, proving her pet truly enjoys his active lifestyle.

Just like humans, however, dogs don’t necessarily have the ability to perform physically demanding activities from the get go. The most important thing when including pets in a workout, Celapino said, is training.

“People have to realize they have to train their pets like they train themselves,” she said. “You can’t take your dog biking up a mountain when it can’t walk a mile.”

The trick, she said, is to start slow.

“Just try a few things at a time. And a better-behaved dog will be able to do more of these things with you, so obedience training comes in handy. And it’s not a good time to teach them how to behave when they’re in the kayak with you.”

The stigmas about what a dog can and can’t do relative to what we humans do are slowly fading away, Celapino said. The evidence can be seen, she said, in the travel industry.

“Airlines are changing their policies, and hotels are, too,” she said. “You and your pets can travel all over the country together. Jack has been in 18 different states, and we swam together in all of them. It’s definitely different state by state, though, and California is very dog friendly. I think we humanize our pets more here than in other places.”

Taking your dog out for an outdoor activity, whether it’s a four-day camping trip or an afternoon boot camp class, should be a no-brainer, Celapino said.

“I just can’t believe it when I see people out walking, and they’ve left their pet at home,” she said. “Maybe it’s because the dog is not well behaved enough, I don’t know. I can’t overemphasize the fact that people need to train their dogs, and not just puppy training when they’re 6 weeks old. You wouldn’t only teach your child things when they’re a toddler, and leave it at that, would you?”

Celapino started Leash Your Fitness when, while working as a personal trainer, she discovered she enjoyed working out with her dog — and her clients did, too. She offers boot camps, running clubs, aquatic adventures (like kayaking) and circuit programs (which focus on upper body, core, yoga and cardio routines), among others. For more information on programs or class schedules, visit

Monthly Trail Running Club

Every Monday and Wednesday:

Locations Vary

 Join Kelly, Scooter and the rest of the gang for drills, stairs, hills, sprints, endurance, run specific stretches and help running with your dog. Our running club is a MONTHLY club that meets 8 times a month. Benefits: Feel safe running in a group environment, get pushed harder than you will push yourself, learn ways to run more efficiently, try new running trails, fun support group, do drills that will increase your time and endurance and best of all, you can run with your dog! The running schedule will be emailed to you upon sign up. Option to sign up for 4 runs or 8 but MUST be used in the month purchased. Cost: $88./ 8 runs $48/ 4 runs


Circuit Madness

Every Thursday

Location: UTC--Nobel Athletic Field

Circuit style class with focus on upper body, core, yoga and cardio. Each class is 1 1/2 hours with balls, sandbags, ropes, weights, pullups, straps and all kinds of "toys" that will set this class apart from our other classes. This class is PERFECT for anyone with knee or lower body problems. Dogs are welcome! Must sign up for all 4 classes and the classes will progress--you WILL get stronger, be challenged and HAVE FUN. $80.00 for 4 -- 1.5 hour classes


Kayaking with the Dogs

Sat Date: 6/23/2012 From: 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Location: Aqua Adventures

Meet at Aqua Adventures for an easy, flat guided paddle on the bay to Fiesta Island where the dogs can get out and play and then we paddle back! We will have someone meet us with treats and water and a shuttle back for any dog that is not comfortable in the kayak. There will also be a paddle board for you to try if you want! Price includes you and your dog, kayak, paddle, life vests for you. The price is the same whether you get a tandem or single --it is per person. We do not supply life jackets for the dogs but they are HIGHLY recommended. Optional/not included: Casual dinner after the kayak at local fish shop on water. Location: Aqua Adventures, 1548 Quivira Way S.D.


Yappy Hour / Yoga Class

Fri Date: 6/29/2012 From: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Location: Mission Bay

Have you ever wanted to try yoga with your dog? Well, this is the perfect class for you!! The setting is beautiful Mission Bay. We will begin with a short walk with standing stretches along the way then you will return to your mats for 45 minutes of yoga. The dogs are incorporated into a few stretches and they get a doggy massage at the end of class. Optional yappy hour at nearby dog friendly restaurant after class. Please bring a yoga mat, water for you and your leashed dog ( no retractables please)

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