Core Strength Training for Dogs: The Snoopy
I have recently written about the different types of strength training that can be done with a dog, and have shared some of my favorite exercises for the front legs (including the upper back and shoulders), and the hind legs. Today, I will introduce the first of several exercises that will target a dog’s core.
Why a Dog Needs a Strong Core
Just like with humans, the core is an important part of the body that serves many functions. Most importantly, the core acts as a protective and supportive layer to the spine and the crucial organs in the dog’s body. A strong core can help ensure that the internal organs are functioning properly as well
The core is also important for proper and efficient motor function as it is the key link that transfers the power from the dog to the earth and back. Dogs that have a weak or flabby core will not be as efficient with movement as those with a strong core. For athletic dogs, like those participating in agility drills, a strong core can make a big impact on the dog’s ability to navigate through the course.
Luckily, pet parents do not need a sit up board or a GHB machine in order to target their dog’s core. While some basic equipment, like a balance cushion, is useful, there are many different core exercises that your dog can perform without any special equipment. Over the next few weeks, I will share some of the most effective core exercises for dogs, starting with this week’s “Snoopy” move. As always, check with your vet before introducing radically new exercises into your dog’s routine. Some specific injuries (e.g. spinal or nerve injuries) might contra-indicate some of these movements.
The Snoopy Drill to Strengthen a Dog’s Core
The Snoopy is a generally safe and low impact exercise that will build a dog’s core and improve their balance. This exercise is much like the human “bird dog” exercise, where the human gets into a plank position and then lifts up one of their arms to a parallel position, and simultaneously lifts up their diagonally opposite leg to a parallel position.
With the dog standing on all fours, gently grab a hold of a front leg and raise it to about the height of the dog’s rear knee (this should be close to a parallel position to the ground). While holding this front leg, grab the dog’s diagonally opposite rear leg and lift that leg to the same approximate height. The end result is that the dog is now standing on only two limbs. You will likely notice that the dog’s torso will sway a bit to either side, which is an indication that the exercise is challenging. The objective is for the dog to remain in a nicely aligned position as if they were on all four limbs. (This is exactly like the human bird dog). Depending on the size of your dog, you may need two people to perform this exercise safely.
Hold for 10 seconds and repeat using the other limbs. That is one set. Perform 3-5 sets per session.
To progress this exercise, apply less force when lifting the dog’s limbs so that they are doing more of the lifting work.
If you really want to make this fun, alternate sets of bird dog (you) with sets of Snoopy (for your dog).
Next week, I’ll have another easy to perform core exercise for dogs.
#FallFitDog Challenge WINNERS!
Each winner will receive:
- Three packages of assorted new grain free dog treats from ABOUND
- One coupon for new grain-free ABOUND dog or cat food
- One $100 gift card*
- An olive ombre rope dog leash
- A puzzle dog toy with a modern, modular design. Place ABOUND treats into the integrated flaps and let your dog enjoy tossing and rolling!
*For Kroger family of stores or generic gift card if winner is not in a Kroger market
We also have three participant awards to our friends who joined our Fall FitDog Challenge:
Best Overall Participants goes to Tiffany’s Diamond Dogs
Best Team Participants goes to Wag ‘N Woof Pets
Best International Participants goes to Earl’s World
Be sure and check out our winners blogs to see how the keep fit during our #FallFitDog Challenge!
Please enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts To Dog with Love and My GBGV Life. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below - lots of fun fitness tips and advice!