Can he stand still for just 10 seconds?
Ask this question whether your dog is a young puppy or is a seasoned veteran. Determining if your dog can or can’t stand for 10 seconds, may provide loads of information.
What does this Stand Still show?
If your dog is not comfortable to stand for 10 seconds may indicate a conformation issue, pain, or weakness. They will start to shift their weight. Many times, the weight shift will be to try and unload a particular leg.
In the conformation ring, if a stacked dog cannot stand still for at least ten seconds, this should be a red flag. There may be a weakness, imbalance or may signal some disproportionateness in the dog.
Dogs may have difficulty in standing still for many reasons. Weakness is undeniably one of them. Pain, imbalances or even growth may also be present.
Growing dogs that are going through growth spurts often look completely out of proportion and not quite comfortable in their bodies, so they constantly shift their weight.
If you consider that even a blister on your foot may cause you to shift weight to the other foot, a simple overgrown nail may cause a dog to shift weight to the other foot.
Weakness, Posture, Pain or Growth
If your dog cannot stand still for ten seconds, it will be important to determine why.
In building a strengthening program, standing still is a priority. Planting all four paws, keep them there regardless of physical or mental forces or distractions.
Until a dog can stand still, they will not be able to move along with a successful exercise program whether the goal is the conformation ring or agility.
Every activity or sport a dog participates in requires static, or “standing-still” strength BEFORE working towards active strengthening movements.
Why not try this yourself?
Plant your feet firmly on the ground about 30 cm (12”) apart. Gently rock your weight back and forth and side to side while keeping your feet in place.
Then do the same and lift your left foot and then your right foot (when you shift left, your right foot comes up and visa-versa).
Now consider the following:
- Did you feel your core muscles start to work?
- Which exercise caused your core muscles to work the most?
- Which exercise requires more core muscle control?
THIS is why your dog needs to Stand Still while shifting his weight.
Your dog learns about core stability in motion and then gets the most benefit out of movement.
Static strength focuses on the Type I muscle fibres. These fibres are used in our muscles that are responsible for our posture.
Fortunately, they are some of the easiest fibres to strengthen.
Unfortunately, they are the first fibres to waste away or deteriorate (atrophy).
Crate rest or inactivity over a few days can result in a considerable loss of strength. This is important to remember when a dog is crate rested for any injury.
Luckily, this loss can be reversed quickly.
Working on standing still initially on a flat surface is a key exercise. It is easy to practice in any place or anywhere. Ask your dog to stand still for 10 seconds before eating, going outside, etc. It can even be a part of your basic obedience training e.g. a stand for inspection or a stand on the move/out of motion.
Whether you have a puppy, athletic dog, or a super senior, this is something simple any dog can do and should practice.
Only then can safe progression in duration and onto more difficult surfaces be made.
Many handlers are surprised when even their competitive dogs cannot stand still for ten seconds.
Sometimes your dog or breed is one of those balls of energy that never stand still, but it’s not beneficial to building great core muscles efficiently.
These dogs may have wonderful Type II or dynamic strength, but they may lack the core strength required to successfully continue in their career with minimal injuries.
Competitive dogs should be able to stand on an uneven surface for at least thirty seconds, up to three to five times in a row.
It may not be the most exciting exercise in the world, but it is a very important one.
What to do
Are you concerned your dog is able to perform effective strengthening and core exercises correctly and safely?
Perhaps you are a little uncertain on when or how to progress your dog’s fitness safely or whether the exercises will benefit or hinder his sport. As a Certified Canine Athlete Specialist, I am uniquely qualified to help you with a sport-specific exercise program for you and your dog.
Let me help you remove the guesswork and keep your dog sportingly fit. Contact me at The Biokinetic K-9.
Reference: TotoFit, LLC and Martha McCormick, CPCFT