March 30, 2016
The FitPAWS K9FITbone is a very versatile piece of balance equipment. The lateral movement the K9FITbone offers encourages your dog to engage the abdominal muscles, the muscles along the spine (core and trunk muscles), and the supporting muscles around the hips and shoulders that are used for stability and support good posture. Here are 10 great reasons to use the K9FITbone at home or during a class:
Keeps knees and rear feet tracking forward
Dogs often toe out in a sitting or standing position. Some dogs have a lazy sit that developed in puppyhood. Others live on slippery floors and/or lack proper weight distribution, which makes it harder for the dog to hold the rear feet and knees tracking forward. Developing muscle strength to maintain the correct foot/leg position is key to helping dogs keep their knees and rear feet tracking forward. Strengthening muscles also encourages more weight distributed to the rear. The K9FITbone promotes proper foot position in both a sitting and a standing position due to the width of the bone.
The K9FITbone increases lateral stability by strengthening supporting muscles around the shoulders and hips. Varying the inflation can make the K9FITbone rock side to side with just a small amount of inflation or can create more dramatic change by increasing inflation. The K9FITbone is made of material with a lot of give. At 4” tall, it lets the dog push into the bone to find balance, thereby strengthening the major muscle groups that support the dog’s joints. Keeping the dog’s head in a more natural position will help to distribute weight more evenly.
Range of difficulty
There are many levels of difficulty to try by varying the inflation of the K9FITbone and by using two K9FITbones together. With less air, the K9FITbone lays flat but is squishy and can provide resistance for strengthening feet, toes, wrists, shoulders and hips. With more air, the K9FITBone rocks side to side, providing a lateral challenge, engaging the core and spinal muscles, and improving stability in the various joints mentioned above.
GREAT for Puppies
Because the K9FITbone encourages rear feet and knees to track forward, it does not put unnecessary stress on the joints. It also encourages a flat back so that a puppy develops muscles in the right position. You can shape you puppy to use the K9FITbone independently quite easily. The tool is low to the ground so if the puppy comes off of it, the puppy can just hop right back on. No matter the inflation rate, the K9FITbone is perfect for puppies.
Shaping for strength and balance
Training your dog to use the K9FITbone requires less handler support and lends itself to shaping independent behaviors in the proper position. If you use a clicker and love to shape behaviors, this piece of equipment is for you. As your dog gains strength, you can pair the K9FITbone with other pieces of equipment, shaping the dog to stand, down, weight-shift, and other movements that will strengthen a dog’s core, spinal muscles, and the muscles around shoulders and hips. Your dog can back up to the K9FITbone for shoulder stability work (for agility contact). The tool can also be paired with the Paw Pods to work lateral stability in the shoulders that is useful for weave poles and more.
Target hips or shoulders with two feet on the K9FITbone
If your dog demonstrates front feet on the long side of the K9FITbone, target the rear end strength by shifting weight to the dog’s rear legs. With rear feet on the long side of the K9FITbone, target shoulders, biceps, and triceps by shifting weight to the front legs. Position your dog’s feet on the END of the bone and you can engage more muscle groups while challenging your dog to balance laterally.
Fabulous for small dogs
The K9FITbone material has enough give when it is under-inflated to provide a challenge for smaller dogs as their feet push into the material. It also provides the lateral challenges when air is added. The tool is close to the floor and most smaller dogs are completely comfortable using it. The handler can also put the K9FITBone on a table and it won’t roll away. This position allows the handler to stand upright and not bend over or kneel on the floor to participate in a strength program for the dog.
Using it with larger dogs
Due to the fact that the K9FITbone is 23″ x 11.5″ x 4″ it is very difficult for a 35-45 pound dog to find a good position while supporting a flat back—but it can be done. Because of the narrow shape, and depending on the level of inflation, it is more difficult for the dog to find balance, which encourages more muscles to be engaged. If you have a larger dog, the K9FITbone can be paired with another Bone, Balance Disc, Donut, or Paw Pods.
Encourages a FLAT back
With its elongated shape, the K9FITbone encourages a flat back when the dog positions its feet correctly. Some dogs have a harder time with maintaining a flat back, but the K9FITBone can help the dog find the correct position faster than on other equipment. Longer dog? Use two K9FITbones end to end, perpendicular or parallel, and still reap the benefits of a flat back, lateral movement, shaping independent strength training, and more.
The K9FITbone can be paired with almost any other FitPAWS item: Balance Discs, Paw Pods, Wobble boards, rocker board, and even the Peanuts and Eggs!