Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Dogs Learn Some Pilates

Dance class just gets more and more fun each week. This week we learned several new tricks that Fozzie just loves.

First was weaving through the legs.

Have a treat in each hand. With dog on left, take one big step forward with right foot. Lead dog under right leg and forward. Stop and treat dog using right hand.

Take big step with left foot. Lure dog under left leg, stop and treat using left hand. 

Put it all together and you are walking forward, your dog weaving in and out of your legs! 

Be sure to take plenty of time out to rest. This is exhausting!

Next, we broke out the Pilates balls. 

I wasn't sure how this would work with such a heavy dog. 

Getting the dog to support first some, then eventually all, of his weight on the ball helps develop core muscles that are key to getting up on hind legs.


Fozzie loved it! I held the ball steady at first, but quickly was able to let it move under him as he climbed up. Watching him roll over it, finally getting all the way over it with back paws dangling, was priceless. 

Good job Fozzie, time for another break.

Keep it up and you'll be right up there with those stars in class.

Finally, we did some work on sitting up and begging. This is another great exercise to strengthen the core. When the dog is able to sit up and beg, he is on the way to being able to stand on his hind legs, and even walk on two legs unsupported.

When I saw this was on the agenda, I really didn't think Fozzie would be able to accomplish much. He is such a heavy, big-chested beast, and for all his fine qualities, balance without the help of his front paws is not his strong point.

The key is taking it slow with lots of support. First, put out an arm and prompt the dog to put first one paw, then the other paw on it. 

Get the dog to try balancing more of his weight on his own by holding the treat way up above his head, then slowly removing the arm support, then bringing it back.

Fozzie was able to at least put both paws on my arm, and start to balance more of his weight on his hind quarters.

Not like some of the stars in class, but hey--gotta start somewhere!

Michelle and Joey prove the fancy stuff is not just for the Aussies and Border collies
Regina and Link were dancing up a storm too
It was so much fun to see everyone learning new things in this class. 

Next step? See what music Fozzie wants to dance to!


  1. How much fun!!! I can get Finn through both of my legs but now I am wondering if she can weave. I am gonna try! I love working with the pilates ball too - what a great idea. looks like you are both having fun!!

  2. Cool! I am going to have to get my pilates ball out of the closet where it's been for years, lol:)

  3. I love Fozzie's big smile in that 4th picture from the bottom!

  4. What a fun way to learn! I love the pic of Fozzie between your legs! LOL!

  5. When I saw the picture of Fozzie on the Swiss ball, I was amazed and wondered how you managed to get him up there. I don't think Georgia would be capable of that. Then I saw the picture of the dog standing on it! Wow! I couldn't do that myself :)

  6. Wow, so that's how you develop a dog's ability to stand. I thought it was something a dog could either do or not. Very cool.

  7. Who would have ever thought that Fozzie's special gift would be dancing. You'll have to treat us to a video eventually. I think this is so cool.

  8. Great photos of some talented dogs :-) I love weaving through legs - it's a fun trick but I've never balanced on a ball! woofs and licks from Magic xx

  9. This looks like so much fun! I've signed Delilah and myself up for a freestyle class and I am really looking forward to it.

    Great job Fozzie and Kirsten!

  10. How have I never found your blog before? I'm loving all the insight into trick training: what a good way to mentally exhaust my foster pooches! Excuse me while I go snoop through all of your archives ;)

  11. My dogs are terrified of my Pilates ball. I'm so proud of Fozzie, almost as proud as if he were my own! :)

  12. What fun and thanks for breaking down the steps - Justus doesn't know what he is now in for! Fozzie is so very handsome and yes, that smile is fabulous!


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