Core Strength Training for Dogs: Balancing

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Due to its role in protecting the internal organs and spine, as well as it being the conduit to movement and power transfer, a dog’s core is really one of the most important areas to target with regular exercise. Keeping with that theme, today I will introduce another canine core exercise that can be performed virtually anywhere. This week’s exercise is balancing.

 

Anytime a dog needs to balance on a surface that is not as stable or one that is lacking ample surface area, the dog will be forced to engage stabilizer muscles that will hold the body’s position in space. These stabilizers, which include the core muscles, are forced to contract isometrically in response to the unstable stimulus. One of the easiest way to target a dog’s core stabilizers is to use wobble boards, balance cushions, or narrow surfaces as the base for an exercise.

 

Wobble Boards

Wobble boards are a great way to introduce a dog to instability and to build a base level of core strength. For the easiest starting point, use a rocker board, which will only rock side to side and then progress to a wobble board, which will move in any direction.
 
jack works his core

 

To use the board, place a dogs front or rear legs on the board and have them hold this position for 15-30 seconds. The dog will likely shift their weight as they rock back and forth to stabilize. If the board tends to rock to one side more than the other, check and see if the dog is not centered properly on the board and adjust.

 

Balance Cushions

The balance cushions, like the K9 Fit Bone, provide an inflatable and unstable surface for the dog. Use the cushion much like the wobble board, alternating between the front and rear legs. As the dog becomes more conditioned, progress the exercise by slightly deflating the cushion, which will increase instability.  Adding a second cushion so that both the front and hind legs are on an unstable surface is the next progression.  Smaller dogs can progress to all four limbs on the same cushion.
 

jack fitvest
 

Beams

Walking or balancing on narrow surfaces is another way to add instability and force the dog to engage their stabilizers. You can use wood beams or fallen trees as the surface. To start, use a surface that is low to the ground, so the dog will feel confident on the beam. Have the dog get on the beam (or tree) facing in one direction, with all four paws on the beam. Slowly have them move forward across the beam. The dog will be forced to activate their stabilizers in order to keep their body centered on the beam, which is why this drill is so effective.

 

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17 Comments

  1. Great post Slim Doggy! We made our own wobble board and we also use an exercise ball with our dogs, too! We’ve actually been utilizing those things a lot this past week because it’s raining cats and dogs and I’ve been really sick! It’s great to have some exercises we can do indoors for when that happens!
    Lauren Miller (ZoePhee) recently posted…Too Sick For Fit Dog FridayMy Profile

  2. Hi Y’all!

    We like downed trees.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…It’s a Beautiful DayMy Profile

  3. Bailie doesn’t mind the wobble board stuff, but I prefer the beams. It is a real good workout. Your yard looks like a K9 gym!
    Emma recently posted…7 Tips To Successfully Rewarding Your DogMy Profile

  4. Easy prefers the backrest of the couch… but I have some doubts to see him in the circus ring of Barnum&Bailey once :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog THIS MOMENT…My Profile

  5. Wobble boards!! Now that sound interesting, and sounds like something I can easily make here at home!!! PERF!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Sofa Wars – Husky VS CatMy Profile

  6. Core exercises are Barley’s favorites. She loves trotting across fallen trees and playing with her wobble board.
    Beth recently posted…Reunited and it Feels So GoodMy Profile

  7. Rocco loves to balance on things! Great tips!
    Diane recently posted…Rocco Rocks it For His Agility TitleMy Profile

  8. We have a wobble board; it is amazing.
    Earl Lover recently posted…Teach Your Dog To Be ‘Ambidextrous’My Profile

  9. We use the FitBone. Mr. N has also been practicing with a skateboard.

  10. More fun exercises to do together 🙂
    Julie recently posted…FavoritesMy Profile

  11. Missy & Buzz are K9 pros as far as balancing on logs is concerned! We include them on our walks whenever we see one!
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Growing #LogSurfing on Instagram – Get Fit While Having Fun!My Profile

  12. Ah, we did get ourselves couple of those balance discs.
    Jana Rade recently posted…What You Probably Didn’t Know about Splenic Tumors: Listen to this PodcastMy Profile

  13. Brown dawgs are like Easy and use cushions lol.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Slow DownMy Profile

  14. I have a wobble board, only wish I could get Sam on it-he totally freaks out and now won’t come anywhere near it. 🙁
    Monika recently posted…An open leter to BlogvilleMy Profile

  15. great ways to get some balance exercises in. I just bought a round sled for the next litter of pups to balance on.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Gambler Supporting MovemberMy Profile

  16. Our pet’s behavior reflects on how its owner shows his or her attitude. Giving your dog a regular training is great for their health. Not only for them but also with you. Keeping your pet healthy is the best thing to have if you are a pet lover. Embracing all the things you can do to your pet. Also, your pet would love to have exercise everyday with their owner.

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