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So I know biking and ball play, blind search, etc are excellent conditioning techniques, but what about strength training? Specifically to build/maintain strength in the back to help support the spine. I do repeated retrieves up & down the steps, and was wondering if pulling a weighted sled would help?
Sue
 

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Swimming is also one of the best conditioning exercises since it doesn't stress the joints. Biking and swimming also help strengthen the topline, but some form of weight pulling could be helpful. Biking up and down hills, running up and down hills is also good.
 

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I taught Nandi to "beg" and hold that position - its a great back strengthener. I also do perch exercises where the dog pivts the rear while the front legs stay on a round perch. I also have a a doggie back pack that I put weights in. I put around 10# in the back pack and will go for a long walk. Swimming is the best, but now its winter and swimming not possible except for a few "doggie pools" around.
 

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I took a beginner agility class with Bison. It really helped to get him toned up. Plus, it was fun.
 

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Swimming would be my top pick. I do agility regularly in the summer but use lower jump heights and wider angles on the dog walk and a-frame so I'm not unnecessarily stressing the dog's joints. I also do jump technique exercises which obviously help with agility and retrieves but also strengthen the dog's rear.
 

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"sit up" (beg), roll over to each side and walking backwards are a few simple things you can do that strengthen the back.
 

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We were just talking about this at training today Sue. I'll share how the talks went. Swimmers & Joggers are not built like a body builder and a body builder is not as athletic as the swimmers/joggers!!!
Swimming
biking
double balling
running the blinds etc
Should promote an athletic build and stamina, both needed for a sport like Schutzhund. But maybe is not a targeted muscle development plan.. So maybe start thinking outside the normal excersize of most of our competition dogs. What does a body builder eat? What do they do to bulk up?
 

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A great indoor winter conditioning thing we can do for all our dogs that is easy and fun for the dogs (cause it involves tons of treats) is the following:

1. Sit your dog

2. Get your dog into the 'beg' position, rear still in the sitting position but both paws up in the air.

3. Have the dog go back into the sit

A 'beg' position really involves a ton of muscles along our dogs back/legs and stomach to balance and stay in position. So when our dogs try to cheat (balance on us) with their front feet, or keep falling over, or wont 'beg' for more than a sec, it's really because they don't have the muscle tone or balance developed yet.

Once you get 1 - 3 done from above, then you make it harder. Make sure you use tons of teeny treats to keep milking them out of your fist while they are learning this. Clearly as they learn and get strong you can fade the treats some. The more difficult progression now is:

1) Sit your dog

2) Have your dog beg, hold the begging position (the amount of time gradually increases as your dog strengthens).

3) FROM THE BEGGING POSITION, get your dog to push up from it's hind feet into a standing position. The luring and treats will help with this. They should be looking like a person standing on it's two feet.

4) (this is the hardest for my dogs) Get your dogs to lower themselves from the stand back into the begging position (my dogs all want to put their front feet down immediately to the sit). Hold the begging position before allowing the sit.

So the completed exercise is a 'sit' to a 'beg' to a 'stand' to a 'beg' to a 'sit'. As they get stronger you lengthen the time they are in the 'beg' and you can also lengthen the time they are in a 'stand'.

Make sure you make this fun and use the tons of teeny treats as long as needed so this is their most favorite game/trick EVER. Cause it's really hard work for them at the start and we need to keep the involved and willing to keep trying.
 
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