Cavaletti for Dogs
Cavaletti training teaches dogs to walk over poles and different surfaces placed on the ground. It is a form of exercise that focuses on slow controlled movements. As a dog approaches and steps over each pole, she must lift up each leg carefully to prevent stepping on or bumping the pole. While this seems easy, it’s really challenging, especially when dogs have altered their gait due to injury.
Benefits of Cavaletti for Dogs
During a cavaletti exercise, dogs relearn how to maintain their balance as they carefully place one paw down over a pole while raising their other paw up. Cavaletti increases a dog’s range of motion and teaches her to put equal amount of weight on each limb.
Cavaletti courses are fun exercises for all dogs even for those without injuries. It’s a great way to build a dog’s confidence, lengthen her stride, and keep her fit both mentally and physically. Plus, you can place cavaletti equipment anywhere.
How to Set Up a Cavaletti Course
On a non-skid surface, place cavaletti poles horizontally and flat on the ground. For large dogs, place poles 3 feet apart and, for smaller dogs, 1-2 feet apart.
Lure your dog over each pole slowly with a yummy treat. If your dog hops or jumps over the poles, you’re moving too quickly. Sometimes, dogs get a bit nervous when poles roll around under their feet, so secure them by stepping on a pole as your dog crosses over it. Bumping and tapping poles are normal at first. After some practice, your dog will precisely pick up and place her feet between each pole! If your dog becomes super excited around treats, practice loose leash walking across poles first. Remember, slow controlled movements are key.
Making It More Difficult
Slow controlled movement builds muscle and teaches dogs how to balance around obstacles. Once your dog learns to carefully step over each pole, move the poles closer together. Now, she will have to step over several poles at one time, which is extremely challenging, so move slowly. For larger dogs, slightly increase the height of poles, so they must pick up each leg.
Has your dog tried cavaletti yet? Post your pictures below!