Core Strength Training for Dogs: The Snoopy

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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.

 

birddog1

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).
 

Thanks to Seth, Kate's Pilates instructor for the human demo!

Thanks to Seth, Kate’s Pilates instructor for the human demo!

 

Next week, I’ll have another easy to perform core exercise for dogs.
 

#FallFitDog Challenge WINNERS!

Last week we wrapped up our FitDog Friday, Fall Fitdog Challenge and today we get to announce our winners!
Abound
The winner’s of the FitDog Friday ABOUND prize pack are:

 
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
 

Participation Awards:

We also have three participant awards to our friends who joined our Fall FitDog Challenge:
 


Best Overall Participants goes to Tiffany’s Diamond Dogs
FallFitDog_2015_overall
 
Best Team Participants goes to Wag ‘N Woof Pets
FallFitDog_2015_Team
 

Best International Participants goes to Earl’s World
FallFitDog_2015_International
 

Be sure and check out our winners blogs to see how the keep fit during our #FallFitDog Challenge!


 
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FitDog Friday 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!  

25 Comments

  1. I’ll be trying this out with a few of my dogs this week!
    Darrin recently posted…National Black Cat DayMy Profile

  2. You had us locked in by calling it the Snoopy!
    Emma recently posted…Fall Fitness Challenge – And The Winners Are…My Profile

  3. Thank you so much for the award!
    Earl Lover recently posted…Tricks For Treats & New YOU Badge & A Thank YouMy Profile

  4. That is a very easy exercise. Congrats to the winners of the challenge and to the award winners, very cool!!
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Exercise Is Always Better With A SisterMy Profile

  5. We’ll definitely have to try the Snoopy! Thank you so much for our award! We enjoy participating in your challenges, it keeps us motivated. We really appreciate the recognition as well, that is also great motivation!
    Jan K recently posted…Snoopy is Every Beagle’s Hero #PeanutsMovie (& Giveaway)My Profile

  6. I will try it, Easy needs some more muscles for one of his hind legs, that could be a way , thanks :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog BLAST FROM THE PASTMy Profile

  7. The Snoopy sounds & looks like it’s quite doable, both for the pups as well as for myself 🙂 We’ll definitely give it a try!
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…3 Rainy Day Dog Essentials Keep Us Walking!My Profile

  8. That picture is awesome!! I do planks all the time because it is so important to have a strong core. It is funny but I never really thought about these things in my dogs before reading your blog. Thank you!!
    Julie recently posted…Sweet StanMy Profile

  9. We’ll have to give this a try! I’m not sure how Barley would feel about me doing this to her, but it’s worth a shot 🙂
    Beth recently posted…October Resolution RecapMy Profile

  10. For a quick second I thought Jack had pulled so hard on his leash he made Seth go parallel to the ground! Now that would be some serious core strength!

  11. Awesome work out moves!
    amber recently posted…Steak Panini with Wasabi Mayo and Pepperjack Yogurt CheeseMy Profile

  12. Hi Y’all!

    Oh that looks like fun! Only thing, I’m so big I don’t think it’s something my Human could do with me. Congrats to all the fitness winners!

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Challenges Keep You FitMy Profile

  13. I am so excited to be a winner AND today’s core training is one that I can do with Bentley! #ShortLegProblems ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…The Night Before Halloween StoryMy Profile

  14. Congrats to the winner!
    DZ Dogs recently posted…Jack is Heading Home!My Profile

  15. I’ll have to try this with Mr. N.

  16. Great exercise! I do a slightly different version where I lift the front and rear paw (paw tucked under so he can’t stand on it in my hand). We do front leg and rear leg stretches too, so we’ll try putting it all together in one!
    Diane recently posted…#FallFitDog Winners and AwardsMy Profile

  17. I doubt I could get Ducky to stand still long enough to do this with her. That crazy dog just wants to run around the yard all day – or play with her friends at daycare and then crash at home later on. 🙂
    Shadow would present a different challenge. She’s a little too heavy for me to do the Snoopy (you got ME with that one, too!). And hubby is glued to the freakin TV from the time he gets out of the shower to the time he goes back to bed (or at least it seems that way most days). Maybe I’ll just do each leg separately…it might not be as effective but it’ll be better than nothing.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…Ducky’s Disappearance/Shadow’s NonchalanceMy Profile

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