In this lesson we’re going to work our puppy’s abdominals and hind quarters. Two very important muscle groups he or she will need to grow up strong and stable. This is one of the shortest lessons, but also one of the more difficult movements to execute, so be sure to keep training sessions ‘short and sweet’!

Remember the ‘yoga sandwich’ I talked about back in Lesson 3? How has that been working for you? There are several studies out that show puppies who have a little bit of play before and after a training session learn much more quickly than those who don’t. By doing warm ups and cool downs, we are priming the mind to be able to process information easily and effeciently. Physical exercise is much more mental than we realize. Think about the last time you did a very physical task that required a lot of coordination and focus- not only did it tire you out physically, you were probably pretty mentally exhausted too. By diverting our puppy’s attention before (read: fun activity/play) and after a training session (ANY type of training) we are helping their minds to process, or understand in their way, what they are being asked to do.

As you saw Eva in the video lesson, we are simply asking our puppy to pull themselves back up onto the board. This is the 2nd half of the ‘paws off’ movement and while it looks very simple, your puppy is actually engaging quite a few muscle groups. Pulling the front half of their body, 60% of thier weight, back onto the board using mostly their abdominal and hind quarter muscles is a tremendous feat. Especially for a puppy who isn’t used to using these muscles or hasn’t built much strength or coordination into them, YET. But that’s exactly what you are doing with the lessons in this course.

Divide up what you’ve learned so far and only practice a few movements a day. Keep movements that seem more difficult for him to master to a minimum. Don’t overwork your puppy. I know when they start to ‘get it’ we all get excited and want to keep pushing them to do more, but all you’re really going to do is cause your puppy to tune you out. End on a good note. Enjoy the success and give your puppy extra loves for working so hard.