Start flat on the ground for your dog:
- stepping up onto them with front feet, then all feet
- backing up onto them
- moving sideways with 2 feet up and 2 feet down
- canine body awareness – you can get any combination of paws on them – backs, fronts, one side-back and front
- use as platform (as in ‘go to your spot’)
- as part of agility obstacle course
- contact zone (teaching 2 up 2 down and nose touches)
- ramp up to something else (that grippy surface is good)
- tricks on top of them – sit pretty, balance something on your nose
- backing up on them at more and more steep an angle, up to front stand
Having a stable, but finite place is good for lots of stuff – teaching stand, grooming, etc. My beginning dog class people know it isn’t so easy to get a dog to get up on something new, or sit on it, or down on it. And these are a nice size for most dogs (but not the giants), they are durable, weather resistant, strong and most are not slippery. And cheap – garage sales.
For those older dogs with rear end weakness just getting them to stand with front feet up for 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes can do some safe strengthening. Then start adding some backing up to step up onto it or add those elevation blocks that made those stepper programs so much harder to do.
And then there’s that exercise ball – too much fun with that!
I like the regular steps too, lots of opportunity there. Do you have any favorite equipment to use with your dogs?