Strength Training for Dogs: Working Upper Back with the Crawl
One of the most infrequently targeted muscles on a dog’s body is the upper back or lat. This doesn’t mean that the upper back is not an important muscle. Rather, it is indicative of the fact that the motion that is needed to target the lat, are not part of the movement patterns in most of the common canine strength exercises.
The upper back in a dog provides a similar function as it does in humans. It is used to pull the limb down and in toward the body. Secondarily, it can be used to stabilize the torso while in plank type or other positions where the body requires stabilization from top to bottom.
With that in mind, exercise that target a dog’s upper back will require a pulling in motion. The Crawl progression is a good way to hit the lats (and other upper body muscles) and can be fun for your dog as well.
Level 1- Digging. The first level of the progression is to start with digging. Digging requires that the dog use their front legs to pull the dirt back toward the body, the exact motion that is needed to hit the lats. It is easy enough to train the dog to dig on demand by burying smelly treats just under the dirt’s surface. Digging in the sand on the beach is especially fun, for those who have that option.
Level 2- Crawl. Crawling, also known as the Labby Limbo, is a great way to force the dog to pull with their front legs. Use Cavaletti poles or any obstacles that can be set low, which will force the dog to be low to the ground. If they are low enough to the ground, they will have to use their front legs to help them achieve the obstacle.
Level 3- Wheelbarrow. Once digging and crawling are mastered, the wheelbarrow will provide a new challenge to the dog. Here, the pet handler will stand behind the dog, grab the hind legs so that the legs are slightly flexed but relaxed, and then walk forward. This motion will force the dog to pull forward and through with their legs. It will also load the dog’s weight onto their front legs, which will create a strong stimulation to the front legs and shoulders. Make sure to keep the dog’s body aligned and their spine straight when performing this drill. Start out covering short distances and work up to longer distances as the dog builds strength and endurance.
Try the crawl progression with your dog. They will enjoy it and their (most likely) neglected lats will be happy to receive the attention.
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Strength Training for Dogs: Working Upper Back with the Crawl http://t.co/sPBfO4ohnk
— SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) September 11, 2015