What is it about?
Whether you’re asking your dog to jump off the couch to go for a walk, compete in an agility event, lure course, herd livestock, or go for a hike, your dog needs the strength to perform the activity with as little risk of injury as possible. Many dogs are lacking strength in the core muscle group: the lower back and abdominals. In performance dogs we see many lower and mid-back problems as well as iliopsoas strains. In non-performance dogs, the first place we see weakness in aging dogs is usually the hind end and lower back. Working your dog on a Therapy Ball, EggBall, or PhysioRoll is an excellent and safe way to develop these muscles, which will aid in the reduction and prevention of problems.
But better core strength is only one of the benefits gained from regular workouts on the ball. Ball work improves your dog’s balance and body awareness, increases his range of motion and flexibility, improves his reflexes, and leads to increased muscle tone and endurance. Ball work is an excellent cross-training activity you can do in the comfort of your living room regardless of the weather.
This DVD provides four easy-to-follow programs: puppy, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Besides providing detailed demonstrations of each program with experienced dogs, the DVD also includes a seminar Dr. Saunders held for ball work novices so that you can see the common mistakes and problems people have.
More about Debbie
Dr. Debbie Gross Saunders is a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner and licensed physical therapist with more than 16 years of experience in the field of canine rehabilitation. She specializes in the performance dog and owns Wizard of Paws Physical Rehabilitation for Animals, a rehabilitation and physical conditioning center for canines. Dr. Saunders is also a key faculty member at the University of Tennessee’s Certificate Canine Rehabilitation Program, the only university-based canine rehabilitation program. For more information, visit www.wizardofpaws.net.
When was it released? 2009
Who produced it? Clean Run Productions
Running Time- 2 hours, 50 minutes
Bonus Materials: 2 training articles and 5-page companion notes in PDF format
IN DEPTH REVIEW
Whether your dog competes in one of the dog sports such as an agility or is simply an active member of your family, being fit for purpose is extremely important in order to prevent injury.
In this DVD, Debbie Gross Saunders, a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner and licensed physical therapist, introduces us to ball work, and shows us how we can use it to build strength in the dogs’ core muscle group, improving balance, body awareness, range of motion, flexibility, reflexes and increasing muscle tone and endurance. Covering four easy-to-follow programmes for puppies, beginner, intermediate and advanced dogs, Gross Saunders also gives specific advice and exercises for dogs with existing injuries and problems.
This is a fantastic DVD providing us with an excellent cross training activity that will hugely benefit a vast range of dogs.
Gross Saunders begins by explaining that many dogs lack strength in their core abdominal group, which in turn can lead to physical problems, particularly in the mid and lower back, an injury common in performance dogs. Core strengthening on a ball is an excellent way to help prevent injury. Gross Saunders then explains the goals of ball work which include;
- Balance and body awareness
- Cross training
- Core strengthening
She continues by showing us which are the core muscles group, giving us a demonstration of these muscles in work on the ball.
Next, Gross Saunders explains the benefits of ball work for the following types of dogs; puppies, older dogs, orthopaedic disease, performance dogs, post-surgical, pregnancy or post pregnancy, back problems and weaknesses and dogs with long backs. She looks at how often we should do ball work, as well as offering advice on which type of ball to choose, how to select the correct size, and how to teach the dog to jump up on to the ball.
Gross Saunders then provides us with a programme for puppies, explaining that puppies can start ball work from as young as 4 weeks. She believes that it is a great way to build confidence and get a head start on core strength and balance.
We move on to the beginner programme, the goal of which is to improve balance and eventually get the dog to work in a standing position. Gross Saunders explains that some dogs will never need to move past this stage, giving us tips on getting the dog comfortable, along with the time and duration of sessions and how to increase repetitions.
Following this, is the intermediate programme. Gross Saunders describes the goal of this programme being to build up 15-20 minutes of active work with the dog sitting or standing, and to further challenge the dog’s balance.
Gross Saunders then covers the advanced programme, designed for younger, healthy athletic dogs. The aim of which is to achieve 15-20 minutes of active work with the dog in a standing position.
Next, we focus on cooling down, before Gross Saunders provides us with some sample programmes for dogs with the following physical problems:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Lumbar transitional vertebrae
- Preventative for dogs with long backs
Disc two and three are a recording of a seminar taken by Gross Saunders to a group of participants who are new to ball work. She begins by explaining the history of ball work, explaining it’s use in helping performance dogs that lack core control. Gross Saunders then gets the participants to do some ball exercises themselves, before discussing some safety issues and advice on starting the programme. She then demonstrates the following exercises, before coaching the participants in the same exercises with their own dogs:
- Reaching for Treats
- Stand to sit to down
- Down to sit to stand
- Leg lifts
Gross Saunders also provides some tips for deflating the ball for more give, as well as further information on ball sizes. She continues with some more exercises for strengthening muscles, focusing on the rear end, including 180 degree and 360 degree turns on the ball and side sit ups. Gross Saunders then shows us what to do when things go wrong, demonstrating how we can calm the dog down by gentle bouncing.
Finally, Gross Saunders takes us through a review of each of the exercises with the seminar participants, showing us some exercise which are specific to each individual dog, before finishing with tips for the cool down and a conclusion.
An excellent and safe way to develop your dog’s muscle tone from the comfort of your own living room!