Lesson Two – Upper Body ExerciseTekoa2018-05-20T22:27:46-05:00
LESSON TWO: UPPER BODY EXERCISE
Did you know your puppy carries 60% of his or her weight on their front limbs? AND their front limbs are not skelletally attached either- they’re held onto the body only via muscle, tendons, and ligaments! Pretty amazing, right? Your puppy relies on them for movement, staying upright, and supporting the neck and head. Which is all the more reason to keep those muscle groups in strong condition.
Remember your warm up! It’s good for you too! Studies have shown that we, as well as our puppies, are able to focus better and retain more when we exercise. A short walk or fun play time with our puppies will make routine much more enjoyable. Instead of that feeling of ‘oh, it’s time to workout again’, we are priming ourselves and puppy to have a great attitude about training.
As Eva demonstrated in the video lesson, paws up and all on are pretty simple and straight forward movements. What we’re looking for as your puppy becomes more proficient is the ability to keep the body IN-LINE. Rather than having the hind quarters turned to either side we want to see the body come into alignment with the rear limbs pretty well aligned with the front and the back/spine in a straight line down. This will take some time, but you can help your puppy learn proper position by carefully moving them into alignment and rewarding for that position rather than being all wonky.
For all on, ideally, your puppy will bring themselves up onto the board and end with a sit or stand. In the beginning, you’re most likely going to get a lot of sitting. And that is perfect. When your puppy sits he is using many different muscles that effect posture and overall strength. Teaching him to sit up right with his hind limbs under his pelvis, rather than kicked out to the side or pushed out in front, will help to strengthen those muscle fibers. You can work on a proper sit on or off the board and if you need to help your puppy understand by placing him in position (carefully) that is fine as well. Please note, there are some joint diseases and malformations that will not allow effected puppies and dogs to sit in this manner. It’s just too uncomfortable. This is why it’s important to have your puppy vet assessed before beginning to determine if your puppy has any potential issues and what to avoid. But don’t worry, these exercises will still benefit and strengthen the muscles supporting effected joints which will make your puppy much more comfortable in the long run. You may just need to take it slower and/or omit some movements according to your veterinarian’s reccomendations.
Over the next 3 – 4 days work on paws up and all on. No more than 4 reps in a session, either a combo of both or only one. Watch for alignment and be sure your puppy knows he’s hit the mark! By rewarding proper form you’re making the performance probability higher. Proper form, over time, is uber beneficial to the whole body. Keep your sessions short and sweet, once or twice a day. If you or your puppy just aren’t into it or motivated, don’t do it. You’ll only become frustrated and bored and the goal is to have fun and enjoy yourselves!