Under Over Drill for a Fit Dog

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Our “U” post today for the A to Z Challenge provides some advice on doing under-over drills. We often talk about the importance of warming up your dog and yourself before starting an intense exercise session. It is easy (and common practice) to just skip the warm up but the benefits are significant:

  • Reduced injury risk because the muscles are better prepared to handle the workout.
  • Improved performance because the body gets acclimated to the movements required in the workout.
  • More fun because as the body warms up and the Endocannibinoids start to flow, the dog (and the human) start to feel good and begin to enjoy the exercise more than if they just dove right into it.


Under Over Warm Up Drill

One of the most effective warm up exercises we know is the under over drill. This drill is easy to perform and has been used by human athletes for many years. You can use it as a warm up drill for your dog or yourself.


Under Over for exercise for humans: place a barrier like a broomstick, bar, or cvc pipe on a set of chairs or in a rack so that it is about waist high. Starting with your left side nearest to the bar, squat down and scoot under the bar. Return to the starting position by lifting your right leg over the bar and then swing your left leg over until you are back at the starting position. Repeat starting with your right side nearest to the bar. When you have gone under and over for each side, that is one set. Do 5-10 sets total.


Under Over exercise for dogs: the idea is the same although the dog can face the bar and you will likely need to adjust the height of the bar up for the under and down for the over portion of the drill. First, using a high value reward as incentive, have the dog step over the bar. The idea is to make them step over, not jump over because this is meant to be a warm up. After raising the bar if necessary, use the treat and lead them to duck under the bar, sort of like the Labby Limbo. That is one set. Repeat 5-10 times.

Benefits of the Under Over Drill

The under over drill is an effective warm up drill because the body is forced to mobilize across the major joints while it ducks under and then lifts over the bar. It can be a great hip opener and can build leg strength and balance. The under over drill is a favorite of some of our local agility trainers for a reason: it works!



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  1. I feel so bad, am I the only novice alive that never thought about warm ups for the Boys? Gotta change my ways…..
    Good to know!
    Cathy recently posted…GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES ARE BLOGGING FROM A TO Z | USMy Profile

  2. I love the “Labby Limbo”! And Jack looks a real pro at it, it’s impressive what a small gap he can get himself through.
    I also haven’t really considered the idea of warm-ups for dogs, but it sounds so logical.
    Happy Healthy Dog recently posted…The Unconditional Love Of A DogMy Profile

  3. Oh wow I never knew that dogs exercised like this. The only exercise my dogs did was run around the house and good old walk around the neighbourhood.

    Dropping by from AtoZ
    Suzy recently posted…LIfe’s Jigsaw – Universal Divinity SpeaksMy Profile

    • Oh yeah, dogs can (and should) do all sorts of exercise, just like humans. Our dogs love it. Thanks for stopping by.
      mkob recently posted…Under Over Drill for a Fit DogMy Profile

  4. The under portion could also be under “L” for limbo! I think Mom needs to set up a complete doggy fitness studio for us in our house!
    Emma recently posted…What did you say! | GBGV | Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

  5. Very good information! Is this A~Z challenge easier than your A~Z food ingredients? : )
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Viva BlogPawsMy Profile

    • Hmmm…no I think the food is easier, there’s so many foods out there. It’s been fun though.
      mkob recently posted…Under Over Drill for a Fit DogMy Profile

  6. Interesting! Thanks! i honestly didn’t think much about doing something so simple and how it can benefit you! Have a great day!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…8 Spring tips for your petsMy Profile

  7. Wonderful, fun drills for our dogs (and me) Really, I’m signing up for these drills also – better than any gym class I’m in right now and I would have a buddy with me!

    Cheers. Visiting from A-Z Blogs
    Sue Kuentz recently posted…Uniforms: War StoriesMy Profile

  8. Jack’s killing it, I love it!

  9. Wow SlimDoggy Jack! You got pretty low!
    Jessica Shipman recently posted…U is for Unique Scenes and Snacks #atozchallengeMy Profile

  10. Great drill that does wonders for dogs recovering from acl surgery. Have a great day.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes~A Treat and A AwardMy Profile

  11. Great warmup exercises I think I can even get my dogs to do it!
    Kari recently posted…U is for UndercoatMy Profile

  12. Am I a bad person for not having warm up exercises for my dogs?

  13. Thanks so much for joining the hop. I am a bit late getting around this week. I just knew you were going to say for the dog to step, not jump, over the bar. I think that would be the hard part of this warm up for us. 🙂

    • We thought it would be tough for Jack to, but if you stand close to him and kind of block them from a clean jump, he stepped instead of jumped.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy Jack & Maggie: Video StarsMy Profile

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