If you're regularly hunting with a canine companion, it's important to keep him healthy and fit. Veterinarians James L. Cook and Jennell Appel recommend what seem like simple things, like leg lifts, which actually do a lot to minimize injuries.
Check out their top 10 basic exercises in the list below and give ol' Rover a paw up on his competition this season.
1. Front leg lifts—with pup standing normally, encourage him to lift each front leg to touch your hand. Start his by lifting it yourself, then rewarding. Give the “shake” command and eventually you can command the exercise.
2. Sit-to-stand—command Pup to sit then stand; repeat.
3. Dancing—support Pup’s front legs so he’s standing erect. Walk backward so he’s walking forward. Gradually extend distance and eventually go up inclines or stairs.
4. Figure 8’s—get Pup to weave tightly around cones or just your legs. The idea is to put maximum natural bend in his torso.
5. Crawl—encourage Pup to crawl under or through spaces that don’t allow him to stand fully erect.
6. Nose to hip stretch—encourage Pup to turn sharply toward its rump by dragging a treat along its side.
7. Walking in sand—self-explanatory.
8. Rocking hips on air mattress—have Pup stand, walk or shift on an air mattress or thick foam pad.
9. Stand on rocking surface—a big ball, a rocking board, any shifting surface that forces Pup to balance and compensate.
10. Hip rocking—with dog standing, rock him back and forth.
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