Friday, May 3, 2013

Keeping Limber

In our last post, we mentioned that in our agility class we learned some stretches to do with the pooches.  Not only is it important to do these stretches before agility, but they can be used before any activity.  We all know how important it is for humans to stretch out before and after a workout, but we often neglect to think of our pooches'  joints in the same manner.

As requested by our friends at Pitlandia, here are some of the stretches we learned:

Donut Stretch: loosens up the spine, back muscles and core 

1. Have your dog sit facing away from you.  I found it helpful to put my feet at either side of Ed's back end.  Taking a treat in your right hand, put it in front of your dog's nose.

3. Bring your hand down in an arc to your dog's bottom.

4. Reward and repeat on other side.

Figure-Eight: loosens up the spine, back muscles and core 

1. Have your dog sit at a "heel" on your left side.

2. Taking a treat in your right hand, put it in between your legs, lure your dog through and around your right leg.

3. With a treat in your left hand, lure your dog through and around your left leg.

4. Reward and reverse.

What I found really interesting is that each dog had a strong side and a weak side.  As most of you probably have a "side," we always walk Ed on the left.  So whenever he checks in with us, he looks over his right shoulder.  Over time, the muscles on the right shorten and the muscles on the left elongate, causing limited flexibility in their "short side." 

For agility purposes especially, our trainer suggeted practicing walking  the pooch on both sides.  We've been trying this with Ed & Tess, but we end up looking like a comic strip with the amount of tangling that occurs.

Do you do any pre-activity warmups with your pooches?


  1. That's pretty cute! We don't do it as pre-activity warmup but Kaya knows the stretch command and she loves doing it any time:D

  2. Yayyyy!!! Thank you so much for posting this!

    Athena does the Donut Stretch before flyball, but your set up is a bit different than how we do ours and I've got to say that yours looks better! So we're going to try it next time!

    How cool that the Figure-Eight is a good stretch! I've actually been teaching Athena a new trick called "weave" which is exactly the figure-eight that you show.

    Before flyball we also do some stretches where we encourage Athena to get up on her hind legs to stretch. We call it "stretch." We've also been working on "sit pretty" for core strengthening.

    Thanks again for this post! Love it and the video is great!

  3. Those sound great and really helpful! I'm gonna start doing them!

  4. I've never even thought about teaching the dogs to stretch! Very cool... interesting post I might have to try this.