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Exercise 3 & 4

Exercise 3
 
Puppy Squats
 
This is like the dogs version of our squats. One of the exercises that helps the most with making their back legs strong for jumping from in close. Start out by teaching them on something very low as shown in the video. Reward for front feet on to start with and then ask for a sit. Only reward the sit if they keep their front feet on the perch. Then give them their release word, but keep reward in close so they don't get off and they just stand up. Every dog is different as to how quickly they work this exercise out. Some dogs are quite adamant they cannot sit while keeping their feet on something! lol I found if I worked on this one just a little bit every day, my guys all got it at some point. For the difficult dogs though, you could put their butt in the corner and have the perch in a spot that they can't back away to sit. A lot of dogs find that a bit weird though, which is why I don't start of that way. I've also seen people holding on to a harness on the dog to stop them backing off. 
 
Once the dogs are getting it, then it's just a matter of gradually making the front thing higher. Full height would be on something about their shoulder height. Initially you will not get good form on this, from most dogs. So just get them doing it, and then you can start to add a plank under a chair to control their back feet more once they are up to full height. 
 
## One of the most important things about this exercise, is the position of your reward. I demonstrate in the video, how your reward placement can teach them to lean on their front end too much and then they are avoiding the muscles we want to work. 
 
 
 
What is this working? 
 
Just like squats for us, this is working the thigh muscles. So important for dogs jumping, particularly making them strong for the close in jumping like push to the backs. 
 
How many reps? 
 
Build up to 10 reps all with good form. 
 
How to make this more advanced?
 
Once they have this really great and with lovely form (ie back feet are nicely tucked in and under them) you can add a balance disc or similar under their back feet. This is really tough though, so they need to be super good at it before you try that. I think my guys did this for months before I got to that stage. I still remind them of good form now though and take them back to doing it with a platform to test them. 
 
Exercise 4
 
Perch work - Front feet pivoting
 
In the video I am demonstrating this on a Bosu, but if you watch Gem's back feet you can see, how tough it is for her to keep them on it, while pivoting. So you may start this on something a bit more stable at first. I have found here that a couple of outdoor chair cushions works quite well for dogs that are struggling. You need something bigger than the front foot perch, as it is much harder for them to keep their feet on it.  As always something non slip too. 
 
It really helps if the dogs have a great understanding of 2o2o to start this one off. If they don't, you will find the back end constantly comes off. Even Gem who has a great 2o2o, used to do that a lot. Just take it in very small steps to start with, and only reward when those back feet stay on. 
 
I find if you position yourself about mid way on their body and step in towards their mid section it kind of helps them too. If you are out in front and try to do it, they definitely can flip the back end off easier. Reward position should be with their head neutral, and not looking up at you as that will not be good for their necks. 
 
What is this working? 
 
Every step they take out they are using outside shoulder muscles. Every step they take back in to the body they are using the inside forelimb muscles. 
 
How many reps?
 
Eventually, you want them to do three full circles and reward each circle. Then go the other way. 
 
How to make this more advanced?
 
Having their front end on something unstable, like a balance disc or Bosu, will make this harder. Also added things for them to step on around the circle like foot pods or balance discs. But make sure they aren't spaced out too wide, that they will over reach to get to the next one.