Balance, confidence, stability, trust, and play are some of Doglando’s guiding principles. In all our classes, and especially Puplando’s PRE K9 1 class, we strive to achieve all those principles in every dog.
How do we do it? Through exposure to different objects, environments, and stimuli that engage all five senses.
Balance for dogs: Why is it so important?
In our puppy training classes, we challenge pet parents to have their dog balance or stand on different objects within our environment. Typically, these objects are not commonly found or are things that the dog would not be used to standing or sitting on.
But why is practicing balance so important?
Just like humans, dogs need opportunities to practice daily life skills. Balance is one of those skills, and it impacts things like core strength and overall conditioning. Balance is extremely important if you want to compete in dog sports with your pup, but it can also help them stay safe, injury free, and confident in daily life.
Balance can help your dog jump up to and down from unstable surfaces safely. If you practice balancing on objects of different heights, they’ll also learn their own limits and what they can handle. If you never present your dog with the opportunity to balance, he or she is more likely to struggle (and potentially get injured) when the need to balance arises.
Practicing skills like balancing also gives your dog a fun mental challenge. Keeping their brains active is JUST as important as keeping their bodies active.
Balance exercises for dogs
All dogs, regardless of age, breed, and size, can benefit from balance exercises (just look at the photo above, where Play Professor Brittany helps Doglando Superstar Remy become comfortable balancing in water!)
Some dogs have weak cores, and you might even notice signs. Examples include excessive sway in the hind during movement and difficulty moving positions (like from sitting to standing).
So, how can you practice balance with your dog? Here are some suggestions from Lisa Desatnik, CPDT-KA, CPBC.
- Simply walk on uneven surfaces. If you have access to trails and other natural areas that’s the perfect place to start. Otherwise, you might try pillows and folded towels at home.
- Change positions. Go from sit, to down, to stand for starters.
- Try walking backwards.
- Have your dog stand on different surfaces, like a Bosu ball or balance board.
In our Pre K91 puppy class, there’s a fun challenge for puppies and their owners that we assign as homework. You can join in, too.
Find 2 things that your puppy or dog can stand or sit on and snap a photo each time. That’s it! Share them on our Facebook page so that we can all practice balance together!
We like to think of it as “planking” for dogs and puppies… but way more fun!