Activities For Flexible Dogs

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Introduction

Dogs, like humans, need daily exercise in order to stay healthy and happy. Also like people, dogs vary in natural strength and flexibility. The sports and games mentioned will be directed towards the dogs who are naturally flexible, although all dogs can participate at a lower level. Slowly increase the difficulty to help your pooch gain even more flexibility! To keep your dog and their muscles healthy and relaxed, you should strengthen them by playing certain games or activities that engage the muscles.

Doggy Yoga

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Any Day
Free
Easy
15 min
Items needed
Treats
Yoga Mat
Activity description

Have you ever wondered if your dog could do yoga? Well, they can! Just like you, your pooch will benefit from stretching their muscles. Yoga can help any dog become more flexible, and is great for keeping your already able dog in the best and bendiest shape! Doggy yoga is fun and easy, and your dog will love to participate if you include treats! This activity works in any weather, it doesn’t take up much space and can be done almost anywhere, even in your own backyard or bedroom. At first, even if you are working with a very flexible dog, you should start off easy and every time that you do the exercises you can make them a bit more difficult and requiring more flexibility. Always be gentle when stretching your dog, and don’t push them past their limits. There are actually quite a few yoga poses that your dog can do.

Step
1
Find somewhere to yoga
For these exercises, you will need to find a nice, quiet area. It doesn’t have to be very big, but there should be enough space for you and your dog to move around without anything getting in the way. You can put on some zen music to set the tone, but this is optional!
Step
2
Stretch and bend!
Once you have your area set up, you can begin the yoga. Some examples include stretching the shoulders, which can be done by having your dog in a standing position and holding their front legs, one at a time, straight out in front of them. The same exercise can be done with the back legs, but they would be stretched straight out backward. Hold the poses for 20-30 seconds, and make sure to support the elbow and hip during these exercises. Another pose involves carefully stretching your dog’s front legs to the side of their body, which is done with your dog in a standing position, or with the dog laying down on their back or side. To stretch the dog’s back, hold them in a standing position, and use a treat to get them to move their head to one side of their body at a time, making a “C” shape.
Step
3
Reward and relax!
Some fun bonus stretches are to get your dog to stand with their front paws on a bench or a box and the back legs on the ground. Use a treat to get them to stretch up and forward. Another great pose is to bow, which involves the dog laying their front paws on the ground, while the back ones are still standing. Think of it as the real downward dog! After completing the exercises make sure to give your dog a treat, so that they always look forward to yoga and think of it as a positive experience. After you are done stretching and are calm and relaxed, enjoy a nice nap with your pup!
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Pole Bending

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 min
Items needed
Bending Poles
Treats
Activity description

Pole bending is a fun exercise for many dogs, and it is also a sport that you and your dog can compete in. This activity is done best by dogs who have the best flexibility, as they will be able to bend and move through the poles quickly and easily. This activity, like most, will require practice before your dog can really master it. When you are first starting off, you can set up only a few poles and they can be farther apart, until your dog understands the game. As your pooch progresses, you can add more poles and place them closer together to add challenge and see how incredibly flexible your pet is! There are many pole sets available for you to buy and use on your own at home.

Step
1
Get poles
Of course, in order to practice pole bending with your dog, you will need poles. There are bending poles made specifically for this sport. You can find a set of multiple poles easily online, or in some stores. It is also possible to create your own poles if you are crafty!
Step
2
Set up
For this exercise, you will need a fairly large area with a floor that has traction. Outside in the yard is usually the best place. To start off, set up a few poles in a straight line and several feet apart. Once your dog gets the hang of pole bending, you can easily add more poles and place them closer together.
Step
3
Ready, set, bend!
Once the course is set up, teach your dog to pole bend! At first you can use a treat to guide your dog around the poles several times so that they understand the concept of the activity. After no time, you can get your dog to sit and stay at one end of the poles while you stand at the other end. When you call them and give the signal to go, they should race through the poles, straight to you at the other end!
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Agility Course

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Hard
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Leash
Obstacles
Activity description

Teaching your dog to run through an agility course is a popular canine activity, and it requires dogs to be able to handle almost any type of obstacle. Agility courses can include anything from tunnels, bending poles, ramps, hoops, hurdles and seesaws. In order to master all of these elements, your dog will need to be in very good shape physically, and very flexible. This activity as well requires training and practice before your dog will be able to quickly move through the whole course, and when you think that you are ready you can compete in this canine sport!

Step
1
Find a place to practice
If you are planning on competing in dog agility, you may choose to join a club. An agility club will often have access to their own obstacles and will let their members practice. If you are doing agility for fun, you can create your own elements, or buy them.
Step
2
Teach and practice
Since each element in an agility course is different and requires separate skills, you will have to introduce your dog to each one individually. It is normal for a dog to have a bit more difficulty on some obstacles more than others, and these are the ones that will require more practice. Some dog owners will do the obstacles as much as possible with their dog; others will run alongside with a treat in hand to encourage their companion to go up, over and through the obstacles.
Step
3
Compete, or just have fun!
After teaching your dog the obstacles separately, it’s time to put them all together! Guide your dog through the course and see how fast they can complete it. Whether you decide to compete or just see how well you and your dog can do on your own, the point of this activity is to have fun as a team!
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More Fun Ideas...

Doggy Massage

After a long day or hard workout, sometimes all that you need is a nice massage. Believe it or not, dogs love getting massages too! Doing this will not only keep your dog’s muscles flexible and relaxed, but will strengthen your bond as well.

Disk Dog

This is a popular canine sport that involves the owner throwing a disk, or Frisbee, which the dog must catch. In high levels of this sport, your dog would perform impressive leaps and spins, which requires athleticism and flexibility.

Conclusion

Flexible dogs are great to have as pets, as they can participate in more challenging sports and activities. It is best to keep your dog busy with activities that allow them to use these muscles so that they don’t lose their impressive flexibility! However, don’t push your dog too hard, as you don’t want to injure them. The activities mentioned above are best suited for dogs with advanced flexibility, but can also be used to help less able dogs slowly gain flexibility and strength.