What is Weight Shifting?

What is weight shifting?


Weight shifting is really as simple as it sounds just shifting your dogs weight from one leg to the next.  


So why do we do this?


Weight shifting is one of the fundamental exercises I believe all dogs should know.  Not only does it allow you to assess your dogs response to carrying weight on each limb but it also helps your dog even out any imbalances they may have.  


A lot of dogs carry the majority of their weight on their forelimbs and are therefore not correctly utilising their hindlimbs.  This leads to overuse injuries in the forelimbs primarily muscle strains and joint hyperextension due to the increase weight.  


How do I get my dog started with weight shifting?


There are many exercises that fall into the weight shifting category so here’s a little run down of them all some we’ve already spoken about and some are coming up in the next few weeks:


  1. Static weight shifting where our dogs are stood on the ground and we move their weight slightly from one foot to the next without causing them to step over

  2. Dynamic weight shifting where our dogs forelimbs, hindlimbs or both are on an unstable surface such as a wobble cushion or board

  3. Removing a limb or more with leg lifts in the form of paw exercises or begging 


So where’s best to start?


You should always start with static weight shifting if your dogs done this before you can just progress more quickly through dynamic or removing limb exercises.  If your dog hasn’t done this before, start with just a few reps each day and gradually increase.  As your dog gets used to these exercises and their core becomes stronger you will be able to make bigger movements which will further increase their core strength and postural stabilizers.     

If you need more help with your dogs core strengthening check out our Ultimate Canine Core Strengthening Guide here! 

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