Core Strength Training for Dogs: The Touch Drill

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One of the easiest ways to work a dog’s core is to force them to stabilize their body against external stimuli, which means forces or factors ‘outside’ of the dog’s control. One very effective method to do this is to use gentle touches to perturb the dog’s body while they are in various positions. I call this the touch drill, and this is an exercise that can be performed by dogs of all ages and of all levels of fitness or health.


The Canine Touch Drill Progression

No matter how fit the dog is, a version of the touch drill can be used to keep their core strong.

Have the dog sit and gently touch them up and down their torso, forcing them to have to contract their core stabilizers to keep their body in a fixed position. Make sure to work equally on both sides of the body, as the angle of the touch force will directly influence which muscles are recruited for stabilization.


There are many ways to make the touch drill more challenging as the dog gains core strength.
Standing position. Have the dog stand and maintain their positions while you perturb their torso.
Inclined/declined position. Have the dog stand with front or back feet elevated on a block or other raised surface and perform the touch drill.
Cushion or wobble. Have the dog stand with front or back legs on an unstable surface like a balance cushion or a wobble board while performing the exercise.

touch drill


Special Considerations for Injured Dogs

The touch drill is also a perfect drill to use for injured or rehabilitating dogs. Even If your dog has trouble sitting or standing, you can still perform the exercise in most cases. If the dog is able to lie in a “sphynx” position (down on the floor with the body erect but no weight on the limbs), you can use this as the starting position. Like in the other variations, gently touch the dog’s body from different angles which will force them to contract their stabilizer muscles to hold their position. As the dog recovers from their injury, follow the progressions above and indicated by your vet.


Using gentle body perturbations is a very effective method to work a dog’s core muscles. It is one of the few exercises that can be used on injured, beginner, or even advanced level canine athletes and it is a very safe, low impact exercise.


Next week I will continue with more core exercises for dogs.

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  1. Hi Y’all!

    Looks like a nice safe exercise that can even be done indoors if the weather is not conducive to outdoor exercise.

    Y’all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Fitness Fun as Fall FadesMy Profile

  2. we tried it while reading… it even works on the bed LOL and I think Easy likes it :o) thanks :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog WEIRD WEDNESDAYMy Profile

  3. Never heard of this before, but it sounds like something we should try out.
    Emma recently posted…5 Reasons Bailie Passed Her TD TestMy Profile

  4. Well that’s a easy exercise for some great fitness. Have a wonderful weekend.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Pheasant Field Fitness With The PupMy Profile

  5. This is great to know, and it’s funny because my huskies love trying to balance on the chair cushions often.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…November Is Epilepsy Awareness Month #K9Epilepsy #LiveGibStrongMy Profile

  6. I love these posts since I run and need to remember for Cocoa and myself to do core work!!
    Julie recently posted…Dear CocoaMy Profile

  7. That sounds interesting and so simple. I can see how this would be great for any dog.
    Diane recently posted…Enthusiastic for Agility!My Profile

  8. I love to do this one, but make it a dynamic exercise. I’ll push and pounce at the pups when we’re at the beach. As an added bonus it always riles them up to do some sprints as well.

  9. Another great core training exercise that we can use. Thanks as always. ☺
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Flagology NationMy Profile

  10. Great tips- Kilo and I both need lots of easy core exercises
    Talent Hounds recently posted…How well is your Pet?My Profile

  11. Sounds easy enough, and easy is always good!
    Jan K recently posted…Team Wag ‘n Woof – “Staying Fit is Fun”My Profile

  12. Oh wow, this exercise is a new one for us! How cool, we’ll be trying it out ~ thank you for sharing it!
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…How Walking My Dogs Taught Me To Enjoy The MomentMy Profile

  13. We tried the exercise from last week. I’ll have to add this one to the list.

  14. Once again Slim, you’ve taught us something new. Will try and get Harley to do this. I’ll keep you posted.
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…SATURDAY MORNING RITUALSMy Profile

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