Activities For Dogs With Owners Who Like Taekwondo

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Introduction

Talk about being footloose and fancy free! Taekwondo is a Korean Martial Art that, at least from the surface level, has many aspects to it that run counter to Boxing; whereas the discipline of Boxing places a big emphasis on refined handwork and punching techniques, Taekwondo is all about kicking, running, sprinting, jumping, and gaining an overall mastery of one's lower body. As it happens, many Taekwondo drills can potentially serve as excellent ways to help your dog improve the strength of their legs as well as their own cardio and endurance. If you're interested in seeing how, please continue to read this article further.

Jump Training

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Any Day
Free
Normal
15 to 20 min
Items needed
Water
Activity description
One thing that dogs and Taekwondo lovers have in common is their shared fondness of jumping; both dogs and Taekwondo practitioners need to be springy and nimble on their feet. Both parties also need to be able to jump and land without incident in order to do what they do best. To that end, consider practicing jumping with your dog; jump in place jump from an elevated surface to a lower one, take huge leaps, take small hops, anything that will get your lower body used to the impact that comes with most Taekwondo moves. Your dog's leg muscles will also develop as yours do.
Step
1
Jump in place
The first step of this activity is fairly simple; head to an open clearing, any place that has tons of space, and just jump up and down while trying to not move all over the place. We suggest starting by taking average jumps, then small hops, then finally attempting to jump as high as you can in intervals.
Step
2
High to low
For this next portion of the activity, try jumping from a high area to a lower area; we suggest keeping the distance from the surfaces short early on, then making larger and larger leaps with time and experience. Your dog may adapt to this activity quicker than yourself, as dogs tend to have great senses of coordination. Keep in mind your pup's age; a very young dog should not jump from high distances or perform jumps that cause impact as their bones are still in the development stage.
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Leg Stretches

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Any Day
Free
Easy
10 - 15 min
Items needed
Exercise Mat
Activity description
Taekwondo students are likely no strangers to this activity; however, we think that it'll be interesting to try it out with your dog to see how they take to it. As the name implies, Leg Stretches encompass a wide range of stretching techniques that are intended to help one become more limber and flexible in a safe and controlled manner. The kicker here (pun intended) is that once a few of these leg stretching exercises are performed in front of a dog, the hound will usually try to replicate the activity in their own way. So, here are a couple of stretches we feel you should try with your dog.
Step
1
Butterfly stretch
The Butterfly Stretch prompts you to essentially sit in a crossed leg position and push your knees to the ground as low as you possibly can while holding your feet together with your hands. This stretch really loosens up your joints and will likely cause your dog to sit at attention in an attempt to follow your lead.
Step
2
Downward dog
This humorously named stretch prompts you to assume a push-up position first then, with all four of your limbs outstretched, lift your behind into the air while angling your torso towards the ground with your head pointed down. This stretch will essentially make you look like most dogs when they're leaning back and stretching their front legs.
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Footwork Drills

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Any Day
Free
Hard
20 - 30 min
Items needed
Exercise Mat
Cones/ Cups
Activity description
One of the most important tools in any good Taekwondo practitioner's toolbox, aside from great form and balance, is solid Footwork; one has to have all the grace of a ballerina while also maintaining their equilibrium and surging with the same type of energy that a boxer would bring to the ring. Dogs will likely love this activity because it will remind them of agility training. You, on the other hand, may not love it at first but you'll likely come to appreciate the deftness of body and mind that it requires in time. And once you get this activity down pat, then you'll be ready for the more advanced aspects of Taekwondo.
Step
1
Set the floor
Earlier, we recommended that you get a hold of some plastic cones or cups that you can place on the ground. That's because you'll need to take those cones or cups and create something of an obstacle course. The idea is for you and your dog to deftly maneuver in between the cones or cups without knocking any of them over, so set the floor to be as easy or hard as you two can handle it.
Step
2
Practice makes perfect
The key to developing great Footwork is consistency, so it's not quite enough to successfully get through this activity just once. Continue to attempt it over and over, and change things up from time to time throughout your days as a Taekwondo practitioner. Never stop trying to improve your Footwork and always look for new ways to give yourself and your dog a great sense of challenge.
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More Fun Ideas...

Hurdle Jumping

This additional activity can prove to be a great way to help strengthen your dog's legs while also helping them improve their hand paw coordination. Hurdle Jumping can be really tough even for humans though, so keep that in mind when attempting this activity with your pet and remember to start off light and easy early on.

Protected Practice

This additional activity is becoming quite popular among younger Taekwondo enthusiasts; if you have some spare training gear on hand that you think may fit your dog's frame, consider outfitting your pup in said training gear, heading out to a nearby park, and letting your dog get accustomed to the weight and feeling of Taekwondo training gear.

Conclusion

While Taekwondo may not be as well known in places like North America or the United Kingdom, the popularity of Taekwondo has been on the rise since it was first founded in the mid 1940's. Taekwondo combat techniques have been featured in popular games like Bandai Namco's Tekken  series as well as influential films like John Wick and even a number of movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However we hope that the philosophy and discipline behind Taekwondo will become just as popular, if not more so, than the combative elements of the Martial Art; in other words, we hope that people (and their dogs) will come to appreciate the "artful" aspects of this Martial Art more over time.