Friday, May 15, 2015

Fit Friday: Ultra Balance

I know some people were saying they can't imagine their dog balancing like Pallo did in a few of my earlier posts. Lets just say, we've been working on this for a while. Pallo has a really great, strong core. I have been working with him for years on balancing on objects. Sometimes the objects are slightly wobbly, sometimes they have very little space for feet, etc.

I help Pallo a lot when I am getting him up onto a new object for balancing. Generally, my goal is a cute picture, not a core workout. That doesn't mean that Pallo doesn't need an amazing core, or that he doesn't get a core workout by doing the balancing. It does mean that I probably do fewer reps, and that I help him more than you might if your goal is a workout.

Beazell National Forest May 5th-0293
On the fence and fence post, giving his feet a little more room.
I started out having Pallo balance completely just on the fence rail. He wasn't able to hold that, though, likely because the rail was rounded and he just didn't have the strength or confidence to make it happen. So instead, I switched him to having his front feet on the post and back feet on the fence post. He hopped up onto the fence himself on cue, but I was right there to catch and stabilize him so that he wouldn't slip or fall. Keeping his confidence up that he is safe when we do this is absolutely the most important thing. I always make sure he is stable by slowly lessening the amount of help I am giving him and backing up a little bit. I make sure to be ready to catch him if he starts to lose his balance until I am sure he is stable, then I step back and take the picture.

Beazell National Forest May 5th-0299
Fully balanced
After he did the front feet on the post and back feet on the rail and I snapped a couple pictures, we upped the game here. I helped him position his rear feet forward onto the fence post along with his front feet. He has pretty massive feet, short legs, and a long back, but he does really well with this kind of thing anyway. Again, I spent time with my hands on him, making sure he was stable, adjusting him a little bit here and there, before I stepped back. And when I first step back, I don't go all the way back for a picture, I step just a little back to see if he is stable on his own, then, if he is, I step back farther for the picture.

Beazell National Forest May 5th-0295
Balancing away
Once Pallo is stable and balanced, he tends to be able to stay there just as long as I ask him to. I will snap a few pictures from different angles, but don't have him stay balanced for any longer than needed for the photos.

Beazell National Forest May 5th-0300
Close up. You can see how his feet are positioned.
 Right after I grabbed this close up, which I also shared on Wednesday, I stepped forward and picked him up and set him back on firm ground.

If you were doing this as a workout, rather than with the goal of cute photos, you might do things a little different. You might train him to find the post with his back feet without your physical help to do it. You might train him from the ground onto a post like this, so he can do it without your help to stabilize or catch him. Then you might slowly make the bar higher so he has to jump up to it and still maintain balance and catch himself. Or, you might slowly make the bar smaller and smaller, or less stable, until he is able to step up onto and balance on a tightrope.

Think that is impossible? Think again.

Hydro after two weeks of foundation training on the balance beam/tight rope system! Incredible core work and mental stimulation for the dog. Available now!!!
Posted by KBC Dog Sports on Friday, April 24, 2015

Now, neither of my dogs can do this. And it isn't even something we are working towards. As I stated, our goal is cute pictures. But some amazing core work and amazing balancing work can really go a long way to making an amazingly fit, and super cute for pictures, dog.


  1. That is soo cool!! I loved the video and your awesome balancing shots with Pallo.
    Ziva is learning to use her back feet to find objects, but I must admit we need a lot more practice. She's scared of things that wibble,wobble so we're building a wobble board that doesn't move much so that she can practice (we want to do agility and her being scared of the teetertotter is not a good thing). I'm hoping once I graduate this June I'll have more time to dedicate to working with Dante and Ziva individually to do things like this. :-)

  2. Wow, impressive! We have a wobble board, and we also use a football. It may sound odd, but my dogs are so good and confident on the wobble board, that the football is a great challenge when it comes to balancing on one!

  3. What a great job - so important for a dog like Pallo - with his long back - to have a really strong core and these are great exercises for that. Thanks for sharing your technique.

  4. Those are really cool photos. Rocco likes to balance on things too, but I haven't tried anything where his feet have to be so close together. We may need to see what we can find!

  5. I still think this is very impressive! Barley has a wobble board--and she's actually pretty good at balancing on rounded things like a fence post or fallen tree--but she's 100% uninterested in working on getting her feet that close together and I haven't figured out how to make that seem like something fun yet :)

  6. It is awesome. We work a little bit on balancing, but not enough to do anything like he does. Great work both of you! Thanks for joining the hop!

  7. Your balancing pictures are inspiring! Pallo's core strength is amazing, what a fantastic job! Our pups can balance no problem on a fallen tree, but have yet to try balancing on un unstable, wobbly surface! It's on our to-practice list, however!