Core Workout for a Dog?

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jack on balance3

Thank Dog its FitDog Friday!  This week, we are focusing on one aspect of our K9Kamp fitness challenge, hosted by our friends Peggy Frezon and Kol’s Notes. We chose to use the K9Kamp challenge to motivate us to modify Slimdoggy Jack’s regular exercise routine to include a more diversified set of activities than his normal run and walk.

Today’s post is about Jack’s core training. Like with humans, dogs can really benefit by having a strong core such as increased athletic performance and protection against injury.  Core work is also a relatively low impact way to burn calories so it can be a vital component to an older/injured dog’s exercise routine.

One of the simplest ways to exercise your dog’s core is to use a balance cushion.  As shown in the pictures, we place Jack’s paws onto the cushion and have him maintain balance without falling off. We use a 1 minute on/1minute off protocol and do 4 sets.  This structure is very similar to the drill that I use myself for my own fitness routine.

Note that Jack is wearing his K9FitVest which we used for his sprinting drills (which we completed before our core work).  We keep the vest on Jack for his core work to slightly increase the intensity.   What you can’t see from the photos is how Jack uses his core to stabilize his body on the cushion.  He is gently swaying side to side and making adjustments to keep himself on the cushion.  Not only is this great for his core, it also enhances his proprioception (his ability to balance).  He also really seems to enjoy this move!

jack on balance4

Now some of you may look at these picture and think that this exercise looks easy so “why bother”?  To you folks I submit a challenge of my own: grab a balance cushion next time you are in the gym and stand on it with 1 leg for 1 minute at a time.  Unless you have regularly worked on this type of move before, you will find it challenging to stay balanced and notice aches in muscles that you never knew existed!

There are so many other exercises that you can do with your dog to work their core and we plan on featuring several in future posts.  In the meantime, we encourage you to add some core work into your dog’s workout routine.  Try it out, twice weekly, for 5-10 minutes is all it takes.






After the workout is over- my workout buddy Jack and I both store our weighted vests in our gym.  Lots of sweat (and dog hairs) on these for sure!


Fit vests for Steve & Jack

Fit vests for Steve & Jack

Do you have a ‘go to’ doggy core/pilates move that you recommend?  Share it in the comments please!

fitDogFriday_avatarPlease enjoy our FitDog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy and our co-hosts Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. Join the Hop or just enjoy the links below – lots of fun fitness tips and advice!

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  1. We have a Fit Paws disc and a donut too. Rocco balances with all four paws on for even more conditioning. We also use a smaller platform where Rocco puts his front paws up on it and then rotates around it to help give him more rear end awareness. Great post and tips… love the two vests hanging side by side!
    Your pals,
    Diane and Rocco
    Diane recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Pool TimeMy Profile

    • Rocco is going to be one strong agility star!
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  2. Hmm.. Trying to add my blog to the hop, but it says the linky list is now closed…
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Extra, Extra… Exercise & a Mess o’ Followin’ UpMy Profile

  3. Mom makes me stand too on a cushion ball but she use the pointy side of the cushion which I think its harder. After core exercises mom massages me. Happy FitDog Friday. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…{This Moment} See Beautiful: Eyes, Windows To The SoulMy Profile

    • I bet those pointy things give you a little foot massage too! Thanks for joining the Hop!
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  4. Oh, I like this one. I only saw the “peanuts” before, and with my level of paranoia I find them too high and therefore dangerous. This one is nice a low. Me likey.
    Jana Rade recently posted…Show Off Your Dog’s Waistline: PennyMy Profile

    • The peanuts are hard – especially for this big 85lb guy…
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  5. I stay fit by chasing pigeons, but perhaps we’ll give this a go!
    Misaki recently posted…Friday bits and bobsMy Profile

  6. Hey there! I would love to get a balance cushion for my dog Joker to improve is overall body awareness in the future. Up til now we worked a bit on a wobble board which is not exactly the same I believe. I know little about core training when it comes to dogs. If you know of a good book please send me the link. I really would like to do Agility with Joker in the future (because he loves it), but I would like to know how to get his body ready for that type of exercise.
    Francesca Villa recently posted…Bathday!My Profile

  7. He looks pretty happy doing that exercise. We know it does look simple but it is not…running looks easy when someone else is doing it too 🙂
    emma recently posted…My Beautiful Furamily | GBGV | See BeautifulMy Profile

  8. I’m trying to follow your blog! I have no idea where to click! Help!
    Francesca Villa recently posted…Bathday!My Profile

    • I’m so glad you want to follow us. We recently removed our blog subscription for security reasons, but will be adding another one soon. As soon as I do, I will let you know. THANKS!
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  9. We tried the balance cushion for the first time at Doggy Gym this week…I tried it first and it is much harder than it looks! Gizmo did well on it for the first try…Now that he’s won a fitness vest I’d like to get one of these so we can add this core workout…Thanks for providing the instructions on how best to use it! K9 Kamp is great…we’re learning so much from everyone
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Letter from K9 KampMy Profile

    • Glad you’re going to try the cushion – I think Gizmo will really like it. We’re all learning from everyone’s posts – everyone has such great ideas and routines they do with their dogs! Hard to believe there is a pet obesity problem when you look around at this group!
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  10. Interesting. K9FitVest’s and balance cushion’s are all new to us but offer some interesting new options for some fun training sessions in the future…..
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…Turmeric dogs – Why you should feed your dog turmericMy Profile

    • They’re great aids in keeping your dog fit – check them out.
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  11. Very cool tips as always. Love this Blog Hop and theme.

  12. Hi Y’all!

    First I just want to say, my Human didn’t know about a balance cushion. She says she’ll check next time she goes shopping…I won’t hold my breath since she HATES shopping.

    Second, a note to Peggy’s Pet Place…her Discuss won’t let me leave comments. My Human has followed all the trouble shooting and we use Explorer 10. So pass the word, we do read her posts, just can’t say “hi”.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…It’s a Wrap!My Profile

    • We will let Peggy know. BTW – Gizmo wrote us about finding balance cushions on Amazon…so mom can shop there if she wants – we hate shopping too 😉
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

    • Hi Hawk…I have had that same problem commenting on Peggy’s site and another one also. I have the solution if you want to email me I will share it….I just don’t want to muck up the comments here with that technical stuff! My email is jank at wagnwoofpets dot com.
      Jan K recently posted…Thankful Thursday – Happy EndingsMy Profile

  13. Hi!! In our blog next week Trixie will be demonstrating her Core fitness routine also!! She does a wonderful sit pretty on the FitPaws Cushion along with a great workout on the peanut & donut!!

    Jack looks great working out on the cushion!!
    Christine and Riley recently posted…My Little Fat to Fit Dog: Week 2My Profile

  14. This is definitely cool. I am just learning about how to strengthen my own core, before that I didn’t even know I had one! Slimdoggy Jack is pretty cool.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…FitDog Friday- What Activities do you do with your Pet?My Profile

    • BOL! Learn something new everyday, right?
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  15. This is the first I have seen or heard of this balance cushion, and it sounds really neat. I would love to try it with my dogs to give them a little more variety in their exercise (I might try it myself too!). My first question was going to be where to get one but I see in the comments Amazon was mentioned, so I will try there. I truly think I learn something new every day!
    Jan K recently posted…Thankful Thursday – Happy EndingsMy Profile

    • Good luck – let us know how it works out. They are actually kind of fun!
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

      • BTW, wanted to let you know that I received my t-shirt, and I love it! I will be modeling it on my blog as soon as I can get my hubby to take a photo for me.
        Jan K recently posted…Thankful Thursday – Happy EndingsMy Profile

        • Great – glad you like it! A runway show would be fabulous 😉
          mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  16. We also use large and small balance disks. While on the road, simple “sit pretty” or balancing on hind leg (which we call “huppity”) moves are a great canine core workout.
    Bethany recently posted…Run in the SunMy Profile

    • Love the ‘sit pretty’ command..think I’d have to use ‘sit handsome’ with Jack tho…

  17. Wow – that’s a great idea and I could do it on mom’s bosu! And I bet it would improve my paddleboarding skills (since my job on the paddleboard is to balance and stay on!)

    My favorite core exercise is the trick called “sit pretty”. Except when I do it, we don’t call it sit pretty, we call it my penguin impression. I’m too way manly to “sit pretty”.

    We look forward to reading future posts and learning new ways I can exercise my core.

    Garth Riley recently posted…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    • Absolutely would help give him better sense of balance for paddle boarding.
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

  18. Human balance cushions are hard so I can only imagine iris for doggies too! It is really important to diversify exercises! Happy Friday to you guys!
    Finn recently posted…Charley Goes Geocaching!My Profile

    • It’s really good for them but Jack loves it. He just kind of stands on it and sways back and forth like he’s at a concert or something.
      mkob recently posted…Core Workout for a Dog?My Profile

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