Dog Agility Dogs Need Foot Awareness
Yes, dogs have four feet and use them on a regular basis. They jump, run and play as a regular part of their everyday life, yet sometimes you are left to wonder if your dog really knows that he has rear feet. You may first experience this lack of “rear-end awareness” when teaching your dog the dog walk or teeter. Some dogs just can’t seem to get those pesky rear legs over a bar without dropping it. Or your dog may be generally clumsy slipping on the floor or getting their hind end smacked by doors. Have no fear, there is help for doggies with rear-enditis.
Working with the dog cavalettis and ladder builds all kinds of good side effects while working simple exercises which leads to confidence in foot placement and therefore faster speeds on equipment and fewer dropped bars. Both training obstacles build muscle memory while working on rear end awareness, timing and foot placement. You will be improving several obstacle performances with two pieces of equipment. As the dog becomes more confident with their foot placement they will start adding speed to their performance as well. Dropped bars can be helped when the dog learns striding and builds muscles necessary and knowledge of their back-end to get over the jump.
Both are indispensable in beginner agility, but they are also a great asset for the more experienced agility dog that has become lazy or never learned rear-end awareness. As the equipment height gets raised the dog starts to take down bars or refuse equipment that feels unsafe now that the ground is farther away. Either way this equipment should be a part of every teams training program.
And be sure to add these exercises to your walks as well going out of your way to find “natural” cavalettis and ladders as well as different surfaces that cause your dog to think about where his feet are and how to handle them in all kinds of situations. In no time your dog will have a strong, balanced and confident rear-end that will allow him to gain speed and accuracy on any course and all grounds.