Monday, October 15, 2012

Core Strengthening & Body Awareness

Last Tuesday we had an appointment with our favorite "on the ball" and "dog fitness" lady, Bobbie Lyons with Pawsitive Performance. Long story short, we have a lot of activities already to start doing and keeping us busy and I'm excited to do it. However, at this moment that sounds like a lie even to me cause I have a really bad headache and can't muster up the energy/strength it takes to work with V. So she rests a day.... But, when I feel well and get on it, we're going to do a lot. And I'll fill in the blog more about it then. For right now, here are the goals I can identify:

  • Tightening up her sits
  • Tightening up her downs (no wingy back legs; no leaning over onto one hip or the other)
  • Sitting without rolling back onto her hips
  • Straightening her back, not roaching
  • Moving her back feet independent of her front feet
  • Backing up straight
Here is the workout Bobbie prepared for us after our first meeting:

Below are the exercises that we talked about and a "schedule" that you can change to fit your life. This is just an example.    The goal is to do at least 3 days of strength work and two days REST (ok to walk, trot, & stretch on rest days) and not to do any strength work on the same day as agility practice.  ALL EXERCISES AND STRETCHES SHOULD BE DONE WHEN VEGAS IS WARM.

Observations/things to work on next visit: 
1. Vegas is really wide in the rear.  She defaults to a wide stance much of the time.  We will be working on this
2. Vegas has a slight roach in her back (possible Spondylosis, per Dr. Mike) Cavalettis will help to lengthen her out.  Next visit we will incorporate some back stretches.
3. Also next visit I would like to see how tight she is and figure out a stretching protocol that best fits her needs.
4. Vegas glides through the cavalettis and I truly believe this would really benefit her.   Cavaletti work can be done in place of trot work but not only half the time.   Lets talk about trot work next visit.


1.  Make Cavaletti's.  8-10 inches high... Minimum 6 but can make up to 12  - timed exercise to start at 5 minutes, back and forth through the poles.  Distance between each pole should be about 3-4 inches longer than Vegas is from shoulders to hips.   Once you have these we will build on the time spent and change up the spacing.

2.  Make PVC parking space.   Here is a video from my online class:

:   Stand/ down /stand/   and sit /stand.  We will work on the stand to sit later.  Spend 5 minutes   
This exercises teaches Vegas to engage her core/trunk muscles and starts the strengthening process.

Tues:  REST DAY but add Bow after a walk.  30 sec hold ...   Or  3sets of 10 sec.

Wed: 1.  
Back up, keeping a flat back and REACHING with her hind legs vs swinging her butt back and forth. 
           2Weight shifting on the flat or on a plank...   You want to work toward 5 seconds of constant pressure at     each shoulder and hip.   5-8 times each position. 
Backing up improves hind end awareness and distribution of weight.   Weight shifting teaches Vegas to engage her core/trunk as well as the supporting muscles around the hips and shoulders to improve stability
Thurs: REST DAY but add Bow after a walk.  30 sec hold ...   Or  3sets of 10 sec.

Friday:  Rotation exercise with front feet elevated on a balance disc, step stool or ??   Make sure that Vegas keeps a flat back
Rotation exercises with front feet elevated engages the core/ trunk, engages adductor and abductor muscles (inside/outside of upper rear leg) and improves rear end awareness. 

Sat:  your choice.  You could do a combination of Mon/Wed or Wed/Friday

REST DAY but add Bow after a walk.  30 sec hold ...   Or  3sets of 10 sec. 

At this point it is OK to get more than 3 strength days in because these are light activities to get Vegas to engage her core and improve her rear end awareness.  Don't do more than 5-10 minutes in a session, however you may do two sessions on a day (like the weekend when you have more time, morning/afternoon or whatever.)

My favorite thing about all this is the compilation Bobbie put together. It's just the kind of thing I needed and am no good at. So I'm going to get my headache gone and get my act together for V. 

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