Hind Leg Exercises for Dogs: The Slimdoggy Squat

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slimdoggy squat


It is very important to make sure that your dog’s exercise routine is diversified and hits their systems and muscles in a balanced fashion.  Otherwise, although you may have a fit dog, you might also have an injured dog.  We have written about our philosophy on how to create a balanced training program from a macro (system) perspective.  Today we are going to focus on a micro level (targeted body parts) and show a simple exercise to work your dog’s hind legs.

Front Leg vs Hind Leg Strength

Many dogs tend to have stronger front legs than hind legs.  This is because they tend to (inadvertently) load their front legs more than they do their hind legs during activity. (Many humans have a similar problem as we tend to have strength and mobility discrepancies between our right and left limbs). This can lead to a relative weakness in the rear legs which can increase injury risk.  Further, as your dog ages, the disparity in limb strength can become obvious.  We see this often in senior dogs whose back legs begin to bow and buckle while standing.

Slimdoggy Squat for Hind Leg Strength

There is a pretty simple way to avoid, or at least minimize, the hind limb buckle and that is to make sure that you work your dog’s hind legs directly.  There are many ways to isolate the hind legs.  One very simple drill that we use is called the Slimdoggy Squat. (You can call it anything you like!).  Here is a video clip of Slimdoggy Steve and Jack working on this exercise.


Like the human squat, this is a great way to build leg strength in your dog.  For a simple progression, use a weighted vest like the K9FitVest.  Try this 2-3 times per week for 1-2 sets of 5-10 reps.  Over the course of a few months, you will notice a difference in the way your dog stands and should see an increase in hind leg muscle tone.



Please 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. I think it’s more like the “sits” 🙂 The concept is great because it’s something simple that most dogs already know how to do……allowing pets to skip the learning and going right to the benefit.
    Jessica recently posted…Favorite Winter 2013 Clothes for Dog WalkingMy Profile

  2. I feel like we do some of that already unconsciously because my crew has to stretch a lot further for treats than Jack does!
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…FitDog Friday #13 – A New ExcuseMy Profile

  3. Hi Y’all!

    YES! TREATS!!! Wow, does Jack get lots of treats in THAT one! Got to get my Human to practice that one with me!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Friday, Fun and Fitness Follow UpMy Profile

  4. That looks like an easy drill to do. Thanks for the tip!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Follow-up Friday 11-22-13My Profile

  5. could be one for us….Scooter has actually mastered the sit!! And he’ll do anything of course for treats!!
    Paws and Pedals (Kate & Scooter) recently posted…Walking your Dog – When things Go Wrong!My Profile

  6. Great tip and video! Rocco needs his hind leg strength so he can dance for treats!… another great hind leg strengthener!
    Diane recently posted…New Book Helps Teach “The Best Dog Tricks on the Planet”My Profile

  7. Great tips! Love the video as well!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Meet the rest of the fam!My Profile

  8. LOVE the doggy squat – a very under utilized and easy exercise that packs a big punch! Thanks for highlighting it in this weeks Blog Hop!
    Krista Wickens recently posted…Strength Exercise for The Aging CanineMy Profile

  9. Great tip ….. So true too ! Thanks Steve and jack !

  10. That’s a cool idea! I showed this to Mom and she is going to get Katie to do this…Katie doesn’t seem real thrilled yet.
    emma recently posted…Ready, Set, Shop | GBGV | Follow Up FridayMy Profile

  11. Interesting. I know that many dogs’ hips start to go as they age, but I’d think that the back legs would still be stronger. They just LOOK stronger, more muscular. Wow. Thanks!
    Flea recently posted…Are Bones Messy? And Other QuestionsMy Profile

  12. Great tip, good for all dogs but really good for senior dogs who tend to loose muscle mass in their back legs as they get older.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Follow-Up/FitDog FridayMy Profile

  13. You’ll probably get even better results by teaching what we call a kick-back stand and a tuck sit. This means that the front feet stay in exactly the same place while the dog goes between a sit and a stand. To sit from a stand, instead of just plopping their bottom down and moving their front legs back, they will actually pull their rear forward and under them into the sit. Then, to stand from a sit, instead of walking forward as Jack is doing, you would teach him to use his muscles to kick the rear legs back into a stand position, again, keeping the front legs in the same place. It would target the rear much better as an exercise. A good way to start training this is on a platform, so the dog knows where they should and shouldn’t have their feet.
    Crystal recently posted…Tasty Tuesday: Merrick Purrfect BistroMy Profile

    • Thanks for the top Crystal.

      It is a slightly more advanced move, but definitely one worth doing.
      steve recently posted…Senior Fit TipsMy Profile

  14. I should have done more of this with my Lab Cookie as her back legs and hips got pretty weak after she turned 12. TX Talent Hounds

  15. Good tip! (Wish someone would give me a treat every time *I* do a squat!) 🙂
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…FitDog Friday: Counting Paws & StepsMy Profile

    • Jack can do these sans treats. We just bring them out when the camera is rolling.

      For you, a treat for each squat sounds like one of those ideas that sounded good at the time…
      steve recently posted…Senior Fit TipsMy Profile

  16. Kobi’s back legs are definitely weaker now. I wish I’d known to do this when he was younger! So glad to know if for all of them now.
    Jan K recently posted…This ‘N That Thursday – Books & PuppiesMy Profile

  17. I really need to try this with Callie and Shadow, but in s l o w motion. Shadow’s hips bother her some when she tries to sit so I am usually very lenient in the amount of time I wait for her to sit. Sometimes I just don’t bother to ask her to sit b/c I can see in her eyes that her hip is bothersome. Callie’s back legs seem a bit stronger since the CCL surgery and post-surgery “rehab”. Her hips still sway a bit when she walks, but she still runs after the balls when I throw them.

  18. Donna doesn’t know stand, she would get up and walk to you like Jack and sit automatically. = = Right now I’m doling out her dinner kibble and getting her to sit from her down position. (Cos she doesn’t do that), so it looks like we gotta incorporate heel and sit at the same time perhaps to work those back legs! Good post.
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