Purpose: Building on the Teaching Stillness: Beginner exercise, now I’m working toward Ron Burgundy learning to allow me to execute a manual leg lift (both front and rear), while still maintaining proper position of the remaining 3 feet, along with proper rib cage, spine and pelvis.
This will later lead to me being able to lift/ reposition each of his feet with the understanding that he’s to…
- Be still
- Maintain balance and square alignment while standing on three feet
- Maintain that new foot position when returned to the prop.
We were able to accomplish this in 3 sessions and the final variation is shown at the end of this video.
Equipment: Standing Platform or 2 Sitting Platforms or other low foot targets
Targets: Manual leg lift is a GREAT way to strengthen the medial/lateral shoulder stabilizers (important for agility dogs), as well as the hip and stifle stabilizers and core muscles (including the iliopsoas).
Also, RB isn’t a fan of being handled… So this is also an important life skill for a pup to learn, not only from a handling perspective that makes things easier for vet visits, nail trims, burs in feet, etc… but also allows me to position his feet easily into correct alignment (making micro adjustments), and make targeting specific muscle groups easier.
NOTE: This graphic highlights which legs are considered the working legs. The change in the inflation of the Fit Bones makes it especially apparent. It it normal/correct to see more weight shift into these limbs during this Manual Leg Lift exercise.
- As you move through this exercise it’s important to notice your dog’s comfort level with being handled, wait for “consent”, and weight shift out of the lifting leg/into the standing leg before lifting. Lifting the limb before the dog is prepared not only increases the chance of the dog losing balance/falling, but could create an aversion to handling in this way. Patience is important.
- The same is true when replacing the foot. Take time to mark/reward the replacing/grounding of the foot. I want my dog to value lifting AND replacing… Otherwise I end up with a dog who fights to keep the foot up, when I actually want it to go back down (maybe I’m making a micro adjustment, or making a change).
- Because this will be the starting point/method I use to transition to an Independent Front Leg Lift and Independent Rear Leg Lift, ensuring the pup is fully balanced on the remaining 3 legs/not relying on the handler is a critical component.