Back in January, I knew I would be focusing on practicing with Bernie for Canine Good Citizen, so I decided to look around for special activities for Lizzie. I didn't want an obedience class because I didn't want the pressure of homework, so I was thrilled when I found Super Puppy Class lead by Kate Titus at A Loyal Companion Canine Swim and Recreation Center.
Lizzie just squeaked by the age cut for Super Puppy Class. She turned one on March 17, the last day of the four-week class. During the four weeks, Lizzie and I learned a great deal about puppy body awareness.
Each class opened with a series of warm up exercises. Puppies learned to manipulate their rear legs so they were sitting, standing, and settling into a down properly. With a bag full of treats ready to entice her, Lizzie enjoyed practicing her sit-to-stand and her down-to-stand, but she loved spinning in each direction.
Canine Fitness Equipment and Stations
During each class, we learned how to use the various fitness equipment. Each week the obstacle course stations were set up in different ways to keep the puppies engaged.
The bar and cones cross station was Lizzie's least favorite. I made the mistake of accidentally moving one of the cones towards her and she got scared. While she continued to walk or hop over the two lower rungs, she refused to try the bars that were slightly higher.
A definite opportunity for growth!
Lizzie liked walking across the ladder. We were practicing sitting in between each set of rungs. Since the rungs were so close together, this kind of intentional movement forced her to slow down and think about how she was going to sit properly with her back legs tucking up toward her core.
Cones and rungs in a line were fine by Lizzie. She'd weave over each rung as I used some body proximity to guide her to weave over and back. I used some treats to lure her too.
The green FitBone puzzled Lizzie. She'd place her front two paws on it, but I could never get her to stand on it. Now the purple balance trainer was slightly larger and squishier, so Lizzie had no problem hopping onto it. She'd sit and stand even with other dogs and people moving around at the other stations.
At the end of each class, the puppies received a cool down massage. Nothing overly fancy. Kate taught us how to gently massage our puppies starting at their shoulders, working down their back. Then we massaged each leg and paw.
Even More Equipment
For helping Lizzie become more aware of her body's position in space, there were many other pieces of equipment: paw pods, balance pads, wobble boards, and even more hurdles. Besides learning proper form for sitting, standing and spinning, Lizzie started to learn how to crawl as well.
Lizzie and I thoroughly enjoyed our four weeks learning more about balance and flexibility. This four-week class also served as Lizzie's initial gym session for A Loyal Canine. If I want to sign up Bernie for Open Gym, I'll still need to take him to orientation, but now I have a much better idea of how Open Gym works.
When summer sets in, Bernie and Lizzie will be enjoying some air conditioned fitness options at A Loyal Canine.