Sunday, January 11, 2015

How to Survive Cabin Fever with the Dog - Part 1

Bored and waiting for me to amuse them
The holidays are over but winter is here for another couple of months. While there is nothing prettier than a sunny winter day, it can be downright cold. Most of us prefer to stay indoors and hibernate. The same can be said for some dogs, especially the small or short coated ones. But being cooped up inside staring at each other isn't an option. This is the first of a three-part series that explores activities to do with your dog during the coldest months of the year.

Fitness is an integral part to a balanced lifestyle for dogs. Much like our own fitness goals, we are looking to give our dogs:
            * a strong core,
            * agility, and
            * confidence in how they use their body.

Strength and stretching training can help prevent injury from sudden movements like when a squirrel crosses your path and keep your dog acting young well into old age. Give these simple exercises a try.

Balancing Act

Purpose: To build core strength and body awareness to handle changing and unstable environments.

What you need:

* Board
* Foreign objects to stick under the board

How to play:

(1) Begin by teaching your dog to get on a board.
(2) Once your dog has mastered getting on the board, put a small stick or towel under the board to make the board wobbly. Get your dog to get on the board.
(3) Have the dog move around on the board.  Every time you reward, reward on a different corner the dog will move to get the reward.
(3) Increase the challenge by sticking other foreign objects under the board to make it more unstable.

Check out our video on YouTube to help you better understand the steps.
Step 1

Core Strength

Purpose: To build core strength.  A strong core supports the spine and vital organs.   Best of all it’s a really cute trick.

Step 2
Goal: To have the dog stand on his bum (beg or sit pretty)

How to play:

(1) Begin by sitting in a chair with your dog sitting between your legs looking away from you
(2) Put a piece of food just above his nose and closer to his forehead
Step 3
(3) Reward any front paw movement, your are tying to get your dog’s front paws off the floor
(4) As the front paws come up off the ground, you can support your dog with your legs.  Slightly squeeze your legs helping the dog support his body.  As your dog gets stronger you can diminish the support until he can do this independently.
Step 4

Learn More

Shake-a-Paw will be holding a Canine Conditioning:  Intro To Fitpaws® course starting Sunday, February 1 at 11:30am. Join us and get your dog fitter and healthier than ever before!

Final Product
What do you do with your dog to remain active in the winter months? Comment below!

In part 2 of our "How to Survive Cabin Fever with the Dog" series, we will look at an indoor game to make your recall stronger and faster.

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