Whether your dog is a Show dog, Working dog or Pet dog or combination of all these, your dog was designed by nature to be active and inquisitive. Just as your dog needs fresh drinking water and nutritious food, it also needs to be mentally stimulated and have physical activity.
If your dog isn’t provided opportunities for sufficient physical activity, it could lose muscle tone and body condition, which can then make it vulnerable to soft tissue and joint injuries.
Lack of sufficient aerobic exercise is also a major contributor to pet obesity and the serious, debilitating diseases that go along with it, such as heart conditions. Combined with lack of mental stimulation this can lead to behavioural problems brought on by physical boredom. This is especially true for working breeds and other dogs with a very high need for activity.
The activities taught can also help a lot with fear aggressive dogs to develop self-confidence. They can also benefit show dogs as the exercises I teach help to develop a proper gait and movement, increase body awareness, and build confidence for the show ring.
Since it’s not always practical for pet parents to exercise their dogs outside due to weather or time constraints, there are a wide variety of training avalable, both to stimulate the mind and exercise the body. There is a range of equipment to develop core strength, balance, coordination, and cardiovascular, as well as lots of mind games to get your dog’s brain working. Because the equipment is mobile this training can be done at your own home.
Four main types of exercise.
- Exercises that maintain balance, body awareness and fluid movement.
- Exercises that target the big, body-supporting muscles like the hamstrings and gluteal muscles.
- Cardiovascular training.
- Mind stimulation exercises.
Our training methods
We use shaping, both with and without a clicker, to train your dog’s step by step to get onto our equipment where they do very small body movements that isolate certain muscles and require core strength to balance. Some very confident dogs pick this up quickly others take a little more time and encouragement.
Sometimes it appears that your dogs are not moving a lot or working very hard but, trust me, they are. If your dog is not comfortable, we never force the behaviour but rather modify the exercise as needed so your dog can gradually build its confidence. Almost all dogs I have worked with eventually take to the equipment and enjoy working on strength, balance, and body awareness.
We have lots of exciting pieces of equipment for your dog to experience and every different piece adds a different challenge or opportunity for the dogs to learn something new.
We teach various core strengthening exercises on our wobble cushion. Hind leg exercises are taught on this because dogs typically carry most of their weight and use their front end more than the rear. These exercises can help with the aging dog who may be having problems getting up.
We place our balance pods under your dog’s feet for advanced balance training, core strengthening and stacking training for show and performance dogs.
When our wobble boards wobble your dog has to really work hard to realign itself and use its muscles, helping with muscle strengthening and core strength.
We train on our wobble disc by slowly encouraging your dog to put his front legs on the disc. When your dog get used to the equipment it will put all four legs on. Your dog has to constantly adjust its legs and muscles in order to balance.
Your dog will initially be taught to put its paws on our stability ball. Gradually it will build up to balancing with its whole body on the ball. This will work to greatly strengthen the core muscles.
If we have a touch sensitive dog we have several different surfaces for them to experience. This helps them get used to feeling something different under their feet and develop proprioception “the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium”.
This exercise involves a drill of stepping through a row of very low poles with each foot designed to be just high enough to get them to lift all four legs. We increase the difficulty of the exercise gradually until your dog has to work all four limbs simultaneously. This is great for mind/body co-ordination and building up core muscles.
Perch work exercises help with rear-end awareness and core strengthening.
We use our dog ladder to build up your dog’s confidence. Your dog will be trained to step over the individual rungs of the ladder laid flat on the ground. It helps your dog space their steps and place their feet down more accurately and really gets them thinking.
We use our balance plank to help your dog to maintain better body control while moving and thus, protect themselves (instinctively) from bad positions that can cause injury. It works on you dogs core strength because good balance requires a strong core, which is normally active while the dog is stabilizing their body when off balance.
Our dog stepper offers a great workout for your dog’s legs, shoulders, hips, and lower back muscles. The exercise requires the slow lifting up of each foot which carries the dog’s entire body weight through the height of the steps. Going down the steps involves negative contraction which intensifies the workout greatly. Stepper exercises can also help your dog with coordination and agility.
Other exercises taught are reaching, side stepping, leg lifts, doggy push ups, sit to stand, weight shifting, nose turns, backups, targeted backups, crawls, bows, stretch, controlled tug, targeting, jumping, rear end awareness, cone work, scent work, obstacle discrimination, directionals, grids, etc