Conditioning: Lovely Ladders
Ladders are a step-obstacle, like the cavalettis. However, ladders require more precision in foot placement, and depending on the size dog you have, less high stepping. Your dog must march down the ladder and then back up, placing each foot carefully.
Ladders teach hind-end awareness and precise foot placement. Many dogs aren’t aware they have a hind end to begin with so it can get in their way.
I have seen a dogs’ front paws be just fine on a dogwalk as the hind parts slid off. The dog looked shocked! Lack of body awareness can also lead to knocked bars.
Training with ladders build muscle as well, and help dogs aware of where their feet are. Ladder training is simple. Set the ladder against a wall to start with and walk beside your dog as he walks through, rewarding all the way.
If your dog is shaping-savvy, shape the ladder by rewarding your dog for any interaction, then for stepping through, step after step. Slowly raise your criteria to completing the entire ladder.
Don’t let your dog get too tired. Make it fun for him, and your dog will pick it up in no time!