Body Awareness/Core Strength Exercises by Lauren Langman
A critical element to your dog’s Agility training and performance is how aware of their body they are, and how well they can use it. Does they really know where each individual paw is, and how to use each one independently? Do they have good core strength to aid in balance and control of their limbs and body? Do they have good flexibility, good range of movement, good muscle strength and tone, good balance and proprioception?
Think about the skills and body awareness your dog needs to be able to push off from a start line over a full height jump, decelerate and weight shift back to find hard weave entries, power over contact equipment without losing balance and falling off, weight shift back into 2o2o end contact position or extend their stride to meet running contact criteria, turn through a tunnel while accelerating without losing their footing, decelerate into a turn on a jump, land and then turn and power out to the next obstacle…. all of these elements of agility ask your dog to be able to use it’s body to the max!
There is huge range of exercises that you can add to the list of ‘tricks’ that you can teach your dog that will help them build all of the above skills and strengths. They are great tricks to show off but more importantly they all have elements within them that will focus on improving one of these four:
The key thing is for us to make these exercises fun to teach and fun for your dog to perform. Help them to find the joy in working.
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.