Most people teach puppy push ups as a “sit-down-stand” movement, but in my viewpoint, that’s more of a modified squat, especially if the front paws are elevated.
My idea of a puppy push up is more like a “play bow” where the front legs go down on the ground, but the hind end stays up.
In this case, the movement would be “play bow-stand”, and repeat. You want to keep both front and hind legs from moving, and just have your dog go down on his front legs. What I like about this exercise, especially the more advanced one is the great stretch a dog gets in the hind end.
After your dog masters the play bow on command, you can increase the difficulty of the movement in a few ways. In turn, you increase strength and flexibility.
- The first way to increase difficulty is to have your dog put his front paws on a box, coffee table, chair, or any other elevated surface, depending on the size of your dog. Have him play bow by lowering his front paws on the elevated surface, then have him straighten his front paws back up on that surface. You’ll notice that not only does this movement work the front end, but it stretches the hind end as well.
- To increase to the next level of difficulty, replace the elevated surface with an unstable surface, such as a balance ball, peanut or donut, like those manufactured by FitPAWS. To do the push up, your dog has to balance his front paws on that unstable surface.
- The final level of difficulty is to also give your dog an unstable surface for his rear legs. Ideas for this include a sofa cushion, a FitPAWS balance disk, or wobble board. Now, he’s balancing both hind and front legs on unstable surfaces. It’s a great workout, that not only increases strength in both front and hind ends, but improves flexibility in the hind end.
Check out these photos of Dayzee, she’s doing the most difficult level – puppy push ups with her rear legs on the FitPAWS balance disk and her front legs on the the FitPAWS donut.
Great workout, great stretch. Good job Dayzee!
Give this amazing workout a try to help keep your dog in peak fitness. If you need our help, please contact us.