Jeni is a fit dog. She is a canine athlete – competing in agility and other actives that require mental and physical fitness like rally and herding. She also knows a multitude of tricks (she just earned her Expert Trick Dog title – we are working on her Trick Dog Championship now!), many that require core strength and hind end awareness.
To keep her fit and to improve her awareness of her hind end and her body, we utilize human fitness equipment like balance discs and peanuts as well as doing stretches and tricks like “sit pretty” and spins to warm her up before doing strenuous work. Jeni is very used to learning new tricks and picks things up very quickly, including being introduced to new fitness equipment. She has a cue that tells her to put two paws up on something and a cue that tells her to put all four paws up on something and she can generalize these cues to anything.
While Kelinn can’t safely participate in the same strenuous sports that Jeni does at his age, I can help him learn that he has hind legs (did you know dogs aren’t innately aware of this?) and to keep his body fit. After working for so long with Jeni, I kind of forgot that this stuff does not come naturally to dogs! Kelinn has ZERO hind end awareness – I had him climbing over a balance disk and his back legs were just flopping everywhere.
He is also completely unaware that he can climb up on anything (this has a lot to do with rear end awareness too). He wants to join us on the couch and bed and we would let him… but he can’t physically do it. Or at least he doesn’t think he can. We’ve had smaller dogs than him get up on the bed with no problems. I had to go back to square one myself and break it down more for him to start thinking about how to move his body in different ways. I especially like this video for ideas on how to get a dog remembering he has four legs and not two: