Training Tip: Using the Balance Disc at Home

Winter is a hard season for dogs: too cold to spend time outside, sometimes walks aren’t an option with the freezing temperatures or salt on the walks and it’s just dark and dreary outside. So, what can you do to burn off some energy and get your dog thinking in a constructive manner?

I prefer to do some canine fitness exercises to help build muscle and also increase my dogs’ body awareness. Note: If you are not familiar with using products such as the ones below, please work with me or do your homework prior to introducing these tools to your dog.

The most basic canine fitness tool you can use, and the most easily available, is the balance disc.

If you’ve worked with me one-on-one, you know I like to use a balance disc in a lot of different ways. One way is to use as a marker for them to go to. Another is to introduce uneven footing to start on their body awareness. You can purchase any type of balance disc online, it doesn’t have to be a brand name. The purple one we use was purchased off of Amazon, and humans can use it as well!

When introducing the balance disc to your dog, let them make the first move. As soon as they place a paw on the balance disc, immediately reward so they understand that was a right move. Slowly, they’ll start to put both front feet on the balance disc–reward!

With the front paws on the balance disc, you can ask your dog to sit–but they must keep their front paws stable on the disc. This can be a hard maneuver to learn, so give your dog time. And don’t forget to reward, reward, reward!

Next, move to the hind paws on the balance disc. Let them start with placing one back paw on the disc–reward! If you can get both hind feet on the disc, reward! Then you can work on your dog sitting on the disc, while keeping his hind feet flat on the top.

There are lots of other exercises you can do with the balance disc, once you’ve mastered these key steps. Schedule a lesson with Erin or Megan to learn more!

FitBone and Ramp
These two products are available from FitPaws.

You can move up to other FitPaws equipment, such as the wedge or the FitBone. Again, before moving forward to these, make sure you’re educated in how to use them properly to build your dog’s fitness.

We’ll cover more in later training tips and in class!

Published by Megan

Passionate about animals and living life, I'm more than happy to share knowledge and my loves with anyone that'll listen or read. I'm a writer, editor, business owner, mother, wife, daughter, obsessed with working out and running, training dogs in agility and horses to behave. I work three full-time jobs: marketing for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, freelance writer, and mom, and I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

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