Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Basic exercises

Here is a workout that includes some basic exercises with some basic obedience commands.

Try to perform each exercise for 15-20 seconds, approximately 15-20 repetitions. All movements should be slow and measured, use a 3 count. Count to 3 on the “down” movement, and 3 on the “up” movement. While you are performing the exercises have your dog practicing their “sit” and “watch me’s.” Between each exercise walk at varying speed for 2 minutes. Remember to hold your leash in your right hand, and treat with your left. The goal is to treat when your dog is walking beside you on a loose leash. Make use of obstacles such as benches, tables or trees to walk around, the variety of pace and direction will help keep your dog focused on you. When you make a right circle speed up your pace a little so your dog will learn to speed their pace to stay beside you, and with left circle slow your pace.

This routine should take you approximately 35-40 minutes to complete.

Start with a 5 minute warm-up, walk at your normal pace for several minutes, then at a faster pace. Your dog should be on a loose leash, walking beside you.

Squats – have your dog sit either in front or beside you. I find if you’re just starting it’s easier to have them sit in front in case you need to correct them. Have your treat ready and ask them to “watch me.” Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your body, and push the hips back using the 3 count. Your weight should be centered over your heels or mid-foot. Don’t let your knees go forward over your toes.

Arm circles – Have your dog “sit” either in front or beside you – again I find it easier to have them in front. Have your treats ready and ask them to “watch me.” Now complete your arm circles. Raise your arm to shoulder height, start with small circles, and work toward larger circles. Circle each arm forward and backward. Between each set walk for 2 minutes. So you’ll forward circle left arm, walk, forward circle right arm, walk, backward circle left arm, walk and backward circle right arm, walk.

Leg kickbacks – You’ll need to find a rail, table, or use the back of a bench or chair to help with your balance. Have your dog “sit” beside you. Raise your leg to the rear as high as you comfortably can and use the 3 count. Don’t allow your upper body to fall forward. Complete one leg, walk, then complete the other leg.

Push ups – If it’s been awhile since you’ve done a push-up, find a railing or something a little higher. To challenge yourself find a lower object. Have your dog “sit” beside you, or underneath you. Gently lower your chest to the object using the 3 count, then raise yourself using the 3 count

Toe-in calf raises – Have you dog “sit” either in front or beside you. Have your treat ready and ask them to “watch me.” Point your toes in, and raise up onto the balls of your feet.

Toe-out calf raises – Have your dog “sit” in front of you. Have your treats ready and ask them to “watch me.” Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, point your toes out, and lower yourself to a squat position. Raise onto the balls of your feet.

Seated sit-ups – Find a ledge or a bench. Have your dog “sit” or “down” in front of you. Place your hands behind your head. Gently pull your stomach muscles in as tight as you can, keep your back straight, and move your upper body forward.

Walk for 3-5 minutes as a cool down and you’re done!! But feel free to challenge yourself and repeat the workout. Try to perform the workout at least 3 times during the week.

Don’t worry about perfect obedience. The goal should be that your dog sits, downs, or stands quietly close to you while you perform the exercise. It’s only natural that your dog may want to look at distractions and in my program this is OK, as long as they remain close to you. I have found that some dog breeds or personalities find it difficult to sit or down during the exercise components. Again, this is OK!! As long as your dog remains close to you, in the long run it makes no difference if they are sitting or standing. Realistically, most people want to be able to take their dog with them to various new places, and have them to remain close with no pulling. Remember, it’s all about having fun!! Your dog will catch on quickly, just give them a little time and practice.

Time to grab the leash and get the lead out!!

Mary Manka

Owner, Push Ups n PawS, LLC