Equipment inflation has come up a lot lately in my online classes and even my private lesson clients. Some clients will bring their equipment to me so I can adjust the inflation appropriately for their dog and the exercises in their dog's current exercise program. Some folks don't know how to take air out and even some are unsure how to put air in. Let me clear that up for you.....
Rules of thumb for inflating and deflating
Depending on the size of the dog you are working with, the dog's level of strength/fitness and the exercise you are working on, taking air out or adding air in can increase or decrease the level of difficulty for your dog. This is NOT standardized but in general these two things "can" be true.
If your dog is struggling for balance and is unable to find balanced quickly - either equipment inflation needs to be adjusted or you have asked for an exercise that is above the dog's level of fitness. Equipment inflation is a little like "goldilocks", sometimes you have to "test" it out to see if the inflation is "just right" for your dog. If you put 5 Fitness Coaches in a room and you ask them "is more air or less air easier" - you will get a debate that won't end because the answer depends on the size of dog, the dogs level of fitness AND the specific exercise you are trying to perform.
If you are trying a new exercise and your dog is really struggling - don't be afraid to adjust the air in your equipment. I feel that that increasing or decreasing the air in equipment is an under utilized tool and I want to encourage you to use it.
Another option is to just buy more equipment and have a different amounts of air in each piece. For example:
Below are two photos to show you some different inflation options for the FitPAWS Giant Balance Disc and the FitPAWS K9FITbone. When looking at the bones - look at the "shadow" under and around the K9FITbones to help you determine what is different about the inflation.
Left - more inflated, Middle average and Right deflated
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT