Monday, June 21, 2010

How Strong is YOUR CORE?

One of the many things Seeker needs to work on is his core strength. I will admit, I was a bit skeptical when the whole 'exercise balls' for dogs came out. One more thing for us 'dog people' to spend money on. When I had two upper level instructors suggest that Seeker's 26" jumping could improve by working his core, I did a little more research.

If any of you have ever worked with an exercise ball, you know it can be quite a challenging workout. Your core runs the full length of your torso, it works your abdominal muscles, but your back is also involved. Think of your core as the inside of an apple, the part that holds everything else together. By having a strong core, you can reduce your risk for low back problems and have better posture! Okay, I don't care about that, but I do want a Healthy dog!

While Seeker, like more dogs, loves to run, jump and in general, 'be a dog', he's not necessarily getting his 'core' strengthen. I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking about getting a 'Egg' for Seeker, but was a bit hesitant at the price. She said she had one she'd sell me, slightly used, as she needed the 'Peanut', which is a bit larger. SOLD!! Thanks Wendie!

Bill was in charge of pumping it up. Having only one functioning arm DOES have it's advantages. Sorry, no video of this, Bill declined the invitation. Party Pooper!

The initial introduction of the ball was rather interesting. I had food, which ALWAYS gets Mad's attention. Heading to the bedroom with food gets Seeker's attention. We do a lot of winter 'trick' training in the bedroom. Soon we had 'brace' egging. Mad would power on, Seeker would knock her off and get his cookie, Mad would push back and get on. I had one dog on with 4 feet and another with 2 front feet on, you get the picture. NOT SAFE! Thus rules had to be put into place.

If it wasn't your turn, you needed to be on the bed! Kruz was happy with this arrangement as long as I tossed him a cookie occasionally. Mad and Seek were fine with it, as long as they were NOT the one on the bed!

Mad took to jumping on it instantly. She's funny like that, always willing to try something new, especially if food is involved. She could sit, down, and I could lure her head to each side without any problems. The most challenging thing for her was to not do her 'back up' trick while laying down on the egg. I guess the reinforcements were fast enough?

Interestingly enough, Seeker would happily get on, but had the 'shakes' trying to balance himself. He was working his core! He was also able to sit, down and take food from each side, but he didn't have near the balance as Mad had. It was interesting.

One thing about core work is it really is hard! You need to be sure to take your time working up to a reasonable duration. Try just a 15 minute workout on your own ball and see how you feel the next day. I guess what I'm saying is, take it SLOW!

This morning I took the egg outside so I could do a short video clip. It was rather interesting getting the egg, which needs more air, out the door with one hand. The Egg was a bit slick with the morning dew. This was the first time Kruz had seen the ball. Without someone to steady him I wasn't willing to risk him jumping up onto it. Gideon was all about the cookies! It was his first time exposed to an Egg as well.

I'm going to do a few thing with Kruz on the ball. At 12, I think some caution should be used, I don't want to over do.

Overall, I think it was a good purchase. If nothing else, it will give us something else to play with on a rainy or snowy day. Luckily the Egg can be balanced between your legs. Normally you'd use your other hand to steady your dog, unfortunately I didn't have that option. A 400 plastic kennel held my flip video, Chatter helped his 'cat self' to the Zukes on top of the crate. Cougar was more dramatic and tried to take my attention off the dogs. He was the official, "you dropped a cookie" clean up crew!

The chicken just happened to show up on the video. I was off to get another dog and she apparently thought their might be FOOD involved too! Plenty of distractions! One thing you can't see or hear is "Tom" our Turkey gobbling in the background.


  1. Very cool... maybe that chicken wanted to sit on that egg!

  2. Phoenix thinks that looks like more fun than jumping into a laundry basket.