Novice Trick Dog: Tricks for Titles

Canine Conditioning Foundations

A strength and conditioning program for your dog can have many benefits; improving quality of life, sports performance, behavior, and your relationship as you bond through training. Improved strength and condition can increase your dog’s odds to avoid injury. This course will give you and your dog the foundational skills to get started in a conditioning program. The skills in this course alone will help improve your dog’s strength and body awareness, but will be critical when you start introducing equipment and more challenging exercises in higher courses.

Course Details

Conditioning Foundations will teach you to train your dog ten foundational exercises that are key to beginning any conditioning program. The mastery of the foundational skills, with proper form, are critical to achieving a safe conditioning program, and for your dog to receive maximum benefit from the exercises. All exercises are trained using positive reinforcement and will lead to your dog to love exercise time. The exercises covered include the static stand, tuck sit, kickback stand, folding down, down to stand, nose target, give a paw, front foot target, independent backup, and side step. Once the exercises are mastered, the course will give you ideas on how to use the foundational exercises with repetitions and combinations to start improving your dog’s fitness right away.


  • An understanding of a marker/reward system.
  • If your dog has had an injury, they should be cleared by your veterinarian before starting.
  • Puppies can learn the skills in this class but should not be starting a conditioning program until the growth plates are closed.

What You Need For This Course:

  • Treat pouch, or pockets
  • Small soft treats
  • Front foot target: this can be a small feed tub, FitPaws disc, or even a phone book covered in duct tape or a feed bowl with duct tape around the edge to keep it from slipping. The target ideally will be approximately the width of your dog’s shoulders, or slightly wider.
  • Platform: Optional (An ideal platform will be slightly wider than your dog’s shoulders, and a foot or more longer than they would need to stand on comfortably.)
  • X-pen: Optional

Course Outline

  • What is a Canine Conditioning Program?
  • How Can It Benefit Your Dog?
  • Safety in Doing Conditioning Work
  • Word About Nails and Weight
  • Ten Foundational Exercises:
    • Static Stand
    • Tuck Sit
    • Kickback Sit
    • Folding Down
    • Down to Stand
    • Nose Target
    • Give a Paw
    • Front Foot Target
    • Independent Backup
    • Side Step
  • How to Use Foundational Skills for Better Fitness
Meet Kathy Childers

Kathy Childers

Canine Fitness Program Instructor

FitPaws Master Trainer

Certified Canine Fitness Instructor

AKC Star Puppy and CGC Evaluator

Associate Trick Dog Instructor

Scent Work and Rally Competitor

Dock Diving Support for Team Ruger
Learn More

Watcher Enrollment

Self-taught option

Full access to all course materials

May view general forum

May view homework forum

May not post or ask questions


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