noahsdogblog

one dog's journey into the world of agility

Getting the Balance Right…….

on January 28, 2014

Well, with one thing and another we didn’t make it to Rugby Christmas Show in the end – we’ll have to save meeting the fancy dressed judges for next year!

We’ve been keeping busy though – I’ve been helping Mum with one of her assignments for her Masters course at the University of Lincoln. The assignment was to teach a novel training task – Mum decided to teach me something useful for agility – how to balance on Paw Pods!

Balance, proprioception and strength training is really important for agility – as we’ve talked about in our Fit For Agility, Fit for Life blog entry. Fit Paws® Paw Pods are small air-filled PVC domes which are used to improve proprioception and can be used as part of balance and strength training. Find them at Camddwr Canine

Mum decided to teach me the paw targeting using bricks initially as they were more stable and easier to target than the Paw Pods – and I couldn’t run off with the bricks! Here is a video of our initial training sessions. I wasn’t sure what to do with my forepaws initially – I could touch the brick with my nose, but “you want me to do what with my paws?” Mum eventually got me waving at her on the table by frustrating me with a food reward so I reached out to her – which quickly progressed to targeting a tile – from there the bricks were easy! I took to the hind-feet training much more readily – probably because of the similarity to the contact training for agility.

Once I had mastered the forepaws and hind-feet training separately it was time to put them together. Here’s the video.

With the behaviour solid on the bricks, Mum introduced the Paw Pods, the forepaw ones first with my hind-feet still on the bricks, then once I had those sussed, Mum introduced the hind ones too. Here’s the video.

Now look what I can do!

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Now I can balance on the Paw Pods we can use them for stretching exercises like this (still on the bricks at the time):

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We’ve finally started back at agility doing some winter shows. I managed my first win at Grade 6 at Bitz N Bobz Show last weekend – not bad for my first time in the ring since August! I need three more wins to make it to Grade 7 – this is one of our aim for the new season, but more about those next time……. 

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We’ve some canicross events coming up shortly – apparently the next one’s a bit hilly – Mum says she’s going to need all my help…….    

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