Working Out with F.I.D.O. (Frequency, Intensity, Duration, & Outcomes): A Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial

Clarise Lim, Joan Wharf Higgins, & Ryan E. Rhodes

University of Victoria, School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education, Victoria, BC, Canada

Objective: Dog owners walk more per week compared to non-dog owners; however, 60% of dog owners are
still not walking their dogs at intensities sufficient to reap optimal health benefits. The aim
of this study was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of a 9-week
randomized controlled trial involving a program of six weekly scheduled instructor-led group
dog walks supplemented with theory-based strategies to encourage increased dog walking among dog
owners in Greater Victoria, BC. Methods: Participants were 17 adults aged 18+, who owned at least
one healthy and friendly dog aged six months+, who were not meeting recommended
moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) guidelines. Data were collected using
pedometers, self-report measures, and a program evaluation survey. Results: Feasibility outcomes
included 74 interested responses, 23% recruitment rate (n = 17), 94% retention rate (n = 16),
and 94% adherence rate (n = 15). Program participants were overall (very) satisfied with
the program. Total weekly step counts and average daily step counts, MVPA dog walking, and MVPA
with dog (i.e., all leisure time physical activity with dog - e.g., hiking, swimming, biking,
playing Frisbee) increased at the end of the program and at follow-up, resulting in
large effect sizes when compared to the waitlist-control group. Conclusions: This six-week
group dog walking program was feasible, acceptable, and efficacious in encouraging increased
dog walking and MVPA among dog owners. It is recommended for future studies to refine initial
recruitment strategies, reimburse medical/veterinarian clearance costs to reduce cost-related
barriers to participation, and offer a variety of options for program delivery (e.g.,
different locations/schedules/seasons, online programs, multi-site study) to accommodate more

Keywords: physical activity; dog walking; randomized controlled trial; multi- process
action control; program evaluation

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Clarise Lim, University of
Victoria, School of Exercise Science, Physical & Health Education,
Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2, Email:

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Posted in 2021, Volume 9, No. 1