It fills my heart with passion to talk about the benefits of a creative, fun exercise plan for your pup and you to bond. In the 70s and 80s I taught my dogs to sit, down, and shake because it was fun time with my dog. I did not realize I was also teaching them body awareness. Body awareness is the dog knowing where it’s body is in a certain space. Why is this important? When your dog runs for a ball or catch a Frisbee in the air their body spins and twist in different directions. If their muscles are trained to handle the speed and spins they will safely grab the ball or catch the Frisbee. When their muscles are not conditioned because they have been in the house and yard all week then you play on the weekend, your dog can have muscle, tendon, or disk injuries during spins to catch their favorite toy. As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner since 2012, I have seen the various injuries that can occur during innocent ball throwing. The biggest impact owners can do for their dogs is a creative exercise plan to strengthen up their muscles, tendons, and nerves.
3 tips you can do RIGHT. NOW. to improve your dog body awareness:
1. A quick couple minute warmup before ball or Frisbee play by a quick brisk walk to wake the body up, stimulate the nerves, and improve muscle reaction time.
2. A few repeated sit-to-stand exercises to warm up key muscles they will use to play ball or catch the Frisbee. (Cue your dog to sit, then cue them to stand, then back to sit, etc.)
3. Throwing the ball or Frisbee straight to limit the amount of twisting they have to do while in action to catch the toy.