The new K9FITbone is a very versatile piece of balance equipment. The lateral movement the K9FITbone offers encourages your dog to engage their abdominal muscles, the muscles along the spine (core and trunk muscles) as well as the supporting muscles around the hips and shoulders used for stability. Here are 10 reasons that I think the K9FITbone is AWESOME:
1. Keeps knees and rear feet tracking forward.
Often I see dogs that toe out while in a sitting or standing position. Some dogs have a lazy sit that developed in puppyhood, they live on slippery floors and/or lack of proper weight distribution which makes it harder for the dog to hold their rear feet and knees tracking forward. I work with the dog to maintain the correct foot/leg position that will strengthen the muscles used to hold their knees and rear feet tracking forward while also encouraging more weight distributed to the rear. The K9FITbone encourages proper foot position in both a sitting and a standing position due to the width of the bone. Even my 50 lb Border Collies can stand and sit on the K9FITBone while maintaining proper foot position and weight distribution.
2. Lateral stability
The K9FITbone encourages lateral stability by strengthening supporting muscles around the shoulders and hips. Varying the inflation will make the K9FITbone rock side to side just a little or will be more dramatic by increasing inflation. The material the K9FITbone is made of has a lot of give and with it being 4” tall, it allows the dog to 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.
There are many levels of difficulty that can be obtained by varying the inflation. With less air the bone lays flat but is squishy and can provide resistance for strengthening feet, shoulders and hips. With more air the K9FITBone rocks side to side providing a lateral challenge, engaging the core and spinal muscles as well as supporting muscles around hips, shoulders, knees, wrists and feet.
4. GREAT for Puppies
Because the K9FITbone encourages rear feet and knees to track forward, it does not put unnecessary stress on the joints. It encourages a flat back so that the puppy is developing muscles in the right position. This makes it perfect for puppies no matter the inflation rate.
5. Shaping for strength and balance
Training your dog to use the K9FITbone requires less handler support and lends 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 their core, spinal muscles and muscles around shoulders and hips.
6. Target hips or shoulders with two feet on the K9FITbone
If you have front feet on the long side of the K9FITbone you can target rear end strength by shifting weight to the dog’s rear legs. With rear feet on the long side of the K9FITbone you can 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.
7. Fabulous for small dogs
The material has enough give when under inflated to provide a challenge for smaller dogs as their feet push into the material. It also provides the lateral challenges as mentioned above when air is added. It is close to the floor so 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 allows the handler to stand upright and not bend over or kneel on the floor to participate in a strength program for their dog.
8. Using it with larger dogs
Due to the fact that it is 23″ x 11.5″ x 4″ it makes it 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.
9. Encourages a FLAT back
Due to the elongated shape, the K9FITbone encourages a flat back when the dog positions his feet correctly. Some dogs have a harder time with maintaining a flat back but I have found that the K9FITBone helps the dog to find the correct position faster than on other equipment. Longer dog??? Use two K9FITbones end to end and still reap the benefits of a flat back, lateral movement, shaping independent strength training etc.
The K9FITbone can be paired with almost any other FitPAWS items; balance discs, paw pods, wobbles boards, rocker board, and even the peanuts and eggs.
A note on size: 23″ x .11.5″ x 4″
I get “told” all the time, that the K9FITBone is “not big enough” for the 35-45 pound dog. Since using the K9FITbone I have worked with Border Collies, Australian Shephards, Brittany Spaniels, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Long Haired Whippets, Corgis (just to name a few breeds) and other mixed breed dogs 30-50 pounds that were all able to stand with front and rear feet a natural distance apart with a flat back. This is easily shown during a private lesson.
Larger dogs such as German Shepherds, Labradoodles, Great Danes, Greyhounds and the like can simply use the K9FITbone paired with another piece of FitPAWS equipment or simply use 2 K9FITbones.
I have also worked with JRTs, Papillons Poodles, Mini Schnauzers, Mini Aussies, Cavaliers, Cocker Spaniels, Shelties and others who have greatly benefitted from having a piece of equipment that is challenging but requires less handler support. Smaller dogs tend to be more spatially sensitive and this piece of equipment allows the handler to give the dog some room.
Bobbie Lyons, Cert CF
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT