Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stretching and Strengthening Class

As a person who hates change....I hope the new layout of the blog is going to work well, it seemed to fit and feel a lot like the current summer season.....however, it was too easy to do, so now I am worried that there is some little thing I am missing, LOL. I am wondering if it is going to be hard for some computers to load??? so if anyone has problems, let me know, not that anyone could not live without my blog, I am sure it would not be missed that much, but I do like to make things easy ;-) and I love all my blogger friends, what would I do without you all and your posts when I get up in the morning?


I started attending a fitness, stretching and endurance class. It is 3 weeks and was meant as a fund raiser for a friend who is very ill, and is taught by the lady I took the tricks class with several months ago, and Deanna who is my agility instructor.

A HUGE BENEFIT to this class or doing any of the massage or strengthening work is that I was really sorry when Breeze got hurt that it was harder on her then it had to be because I had thought I had her used to being touched and manipulated, but really it was very hard on her to have the doctors, therapists and myself doing all that we needed to do with her when she was hurt. I hope that I will have everyone more used to these things in the future so if they do get hurt we do not have to add the stress of being handled like they are not used to to the list of stressors they have to go through. I also wanted to learn as much as I can about how each dog usually feels so that when there is something different I can get on it right away, and doing the stretches might help find small injuries before they become big injuries. I did the warm up routines and stretching with Breeze at agility class last week and had an UNEXPECTED HUGE bonus. Breeze was more focused and felt way more connected. I am wondering if adding this into our warm up will help Breeze be more relaxed and excited at agility trials, because I have not been as good as I should about warming her up and just getting her all mentally ready before her runs. It only makes sense that would help us both.

Cricket got to be the lucky participant...even though I wanted it mostly for Breeze, but Cricket has not gone to that many classes and I wanted to see how she could work. I knew this would be a great opportunity to work on our relaxation and focus work.

This turned out to be a super fun class. We taught TONS of tricks that we are now working on. Tricks are fantastic for stretching and strengthening dogs. Play relieves stress and increases focus and strengthens the bond between human and dog-so you can see where this is going, it was a great class. We went over stretching your dog and then we worked on a lot of tricks with clicker training (I LOVE clicker classes), so I thought I would list some of the tricks we are working on. The thing with tricks for stretching or strengthening is you can lure to get the tricks, it still works the muscles we are trying to work, so even if you don't have the tricks perfected you can get their benefit by luring the trick.

So these are some of the things we worked on in the first two classes-

Weave through your legs, figure eight-great for the dogs sides, you can start with your legs wide and then make it more challenging by putting your legs closer together, you can also have the dog weave around cones.

Bow-I have a super cool way to teach that, you get the dog sort of going down and when the elbows just bend then you throw the treat so the dog has to go and get it without finishing the down. Takes a few tries to get the timing but it really works. You want the dogs head to be really low to stretch out that spine and have them hold it for about 15 sec eventually

Dig-another super fun trick, I am using it to teach the dog to scratch their nails on a board I covered with sand paper to do their nails. You can call this wipe your paws which would work really nice for days when your dog has muddy feet. We learned that by letting the dog see us put a treat under a blanket, and then shaped them digging, OR you can capture them digging outside or digging their "nest" before they go to sleep. To shape them to do their nails, once they are digging on the blanket put the blanket on a board covered with sandpaper, and fade out the blanket.

High Five, Wave-you want to make sure to do this on both sides. I realized I have lost one side on Cricket because I always do Paw on her side she does the best with, so now that is the only one she wants to give me. The wave can stretch and make the muscles that take the brunt of the landing after a jump more flexible.

Beg/Sit up and Beg-again great for the core and balance and the back. You want to get where they can sit for 15-30 seconds eventually.

Roll Over-you want to go both ways, a fantastic strength builder.

Back up -rear end awareness and strengthens the spine and back and increases the suppleness of the back

Crunches-those are the dog sitting and you stand right in front so they do not move their legs forward on standing up.

Down to Stand
Sit to Stand-you want both of these to be very slow, controlled, deliberate movements, not just popping up. I did not realize until Breeze was hurt that she could not do that.

Crawl-great for everything

Straight up on back legstand >-this is a great spine and core exercise but ONLY for dogs WITH NO BACK PROBLEMS

Catch a treat or a ball-great for focus, eye mouth coordination, concentration and attention

Tug-great for spine flexing, overall strength, release of stress and tension. Try to keep the dogs spine in a straight line and no jerking or lifting dog off the ground.

Tomorrow is our last class and I will be sad because it has been a lot of fun. Cricket has been a super star. She gets really excited when she walks in the room but then just settles in and has learned all the tricks really fast and been able to work around the other dogs without going over the top.


Sara said...

What a great list of tricks for stretching & strengthening! I do a lot of those, but we could be doing more. Luckily, Oreo knows almost all those tricks.

Diana said...

Sounds like a great class. Thats great that Cricket is so relaxed there. Great job. I love the next blog, it does look like summer. Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Awesome class!! Thanks for sharing all the tricks for strengthening! We do lots of them and should work on them more often. Cricket looked so relaxed in the photo! I like your new blog look too! It loaded very quickly and is easy to read.

Jules said...

What a cool class. I would love to take a class like that with Bug.

Marie said...

What an awesome class. I wish there was something like that here. I guess I should just take your list of tricks though and give them a try here on our own. I'm sure the dogs would enjoy it. It sounds like lots of fun!

林奕廷 said...
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Nat said...

That class sounds like lots of fun. Great list of tricks!

Also, I love the new layout! It loaded right away for me.