Under Over Drill for a Fit Dog
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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