Flexibility is an important component of fitness training. It plays a major role in overall health, fitness and function. But just like in human fitness, flexibility is often overlooked in our dog’s fitness program.
Lateral walking is an important fundamental skill for canine fitness training. Lateral stepping means that your dog walks sideways in shuffle steps – think “step-together-step.” His spine stays neutral, which means fairly straight and not curved or roached. Pay close attention to the position of the neck during lateral walking – the neck should be at a normal, relaxed standing position and not looking up to high at you or the treats.
When you advance to using balance equipment and more complex movements of canine fitness, having solid a foundation helps you and your dog master new movements. One of those key fundamentals is individual paw targeting (IPT) – meaning your dog lifts each of his four paws individually on cue. You can further advance this foot movement to mean to lift and “stick” the foot onto a target – such as your hand, a flat target, or an inflatable – for duration.
If you are short on time, high five is a quick and easy exercise is great for developing strong shoulders and upper arms. Especially useful for dogs that like to jump or participate in agility-like sports.
What is High Five?
High Five is when the dog reaches for your hand in either a seated or a standing position. It strengthens both abduction and adduction muscles – those that pull muscles towards the body and those that push the muscles away. Read more ›
The exercises you choose for your dog should always match the dog’s level of fitness and support the movements and demands that your dog places on his body. You also have to consider that dogs don’t always do what we want, and their movements can change in a split second due to a variety of factors. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the demands placed on a dog’s body during performance sports such as a poorly timed or trained box turn in flyball, falling off agility equipment, being called off a committed direction, chasing/catching frisbees and other common activities in a dog’s life such as hiking, playing fetch, or playing with other dogs. Strength training helps to support those erratic movements in the life of a dog. A dog that has developed good balance, coordination and strength will handle mishaps without injury, or a decrease in severity of injury, better than a poorly conditioned dog. Read more ›
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