PREHAB is a proactive approach to avoiding pain & injury, building strength & stability around vulnerable areas while improving mobility, balance and joint function to decrease the potential for injuries. ~From

Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. The goal of resilience is to thrive. ~ J. Cascio

Prehab 5 – Creating Resilience from Kris Butler on Vimeo.

Think “athletic fitness training for dogs” rather than “playground.” Cross-conditioning is never as much about how many pieces of pretty equipment you use as how you USE equipment (when – and if – equipment is appropriate at all). 

Performed correctly, fitness exercises for dogs in the video below target the core. Beyond operant training, it can take time for dogs to develop supportive muscle strength necessary to achieve & maintain proper form during  exercises on inflated peanuts. Increases in strength require progression within exercises. Progression usually requires an increase in SOMEthing – like sets, reps, duration, or complexity. To be effective, progression must include a dog’s continued control of form.

Through private fitness training sessions or group/club workshops, Kris Butler will introduce you to a variety of foundation skills and equipment which you might use to create fun & functional progressions. We require)individual private clients to seek your veterinary and/or chiropractic doctors’ input as you progress.

Athletes Lincoln & Rave On Fitness Training from Kris Butler on Vimeo.

To become a better runner, just running more is not enough.~ From

Are you aware of the Planes of Motion? Twisting motions involving the spine are said to occur as an individual moves through the transverse (rotational) plane. For the under-conditioned agility dog, introduction to the transverse plane might not occur until the dog twists while trying to maintain balance on a  dogwalk or twists midair while going over a jump. Flyball and disc dogs might experience these kinds of twisting motions more frequently, also related to their sports.

There don’t seem to be many fitness exercises for dogs that engage the support muscles needed during twisting motion. Dogs don’t intentionally move this way very often. In the video below, you will see Oklahoma border collie Rave On first lie flat in one direction and then twist up and all the way over in the opposite direction. (No equipment involved.)

Beyond physical aspects of creative fitness training for dogs, we also challenge our dogs’ BRAINS by selecting conditioning skills that encourage them to learn NEW movements.

We will introduce you to canine exercise skills that are fun for dogs to learn – and beneficial too.

Prehab 3 – Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo EXERCISE from Kris Butler on Vimeo.

“Balance isn’t something you find. It is something you create.” 
Canine conditioning equipment choices matter! Supportive muscles can be strengthened through the correct use of unstable surfaces. Stable surfaces target primary muscles. We will assist handlers of canine athletes in selection of equipment to best suit each dog’s preferences and needs. Too often dogs are generically matched with equipment their handlers have purchased with no idea why – or how to introduce it effectively. We have skills & ideas for that!

Just because a body CAN reach or twist to maximum range does not mean that body is fully prepared to accommodate such motion without injury. Recognizing vulnerabilities associated with stronger muscles and increases in range of motion, we also include exercises that increase our athlete dogs’ flexibility and move them through all 3 planes of motion. Not shown are the warm up or cool down and there are more repetitions/sets than shown here, and we always work both sides. We used complete videos for analysis of nerdy fitness things – but this peek is for you.

Fitness training for athletic dogs must begin with slow controlled movements to maintain correct form and properly engage supportive muscles. Oklahoma border collies Lincoln & Rave On had to master independent lateral movement (side stepping) on flat ground before they were ready for the additional challenges presented by the “rivers” in the video below. Both dogs are able to distinguish between placing front and/or back feet on unstable equipment on cue. These are among the basic, trained skills we can help you develop.

Simply learning to stand with all 4 feet on 1 or 2 pieces of unstable equipment increases a dog’s lateral stability, balance, core strength, and strength along the spine. Lateral motion up & down their “rivers” provides movement through the transverse plane of motion, engaging shoulder & hip muscles in abduction and adduction. Rave On’s folding downs-to-stands in the video below require (considerable!) supportive muscle strength to maintain balance and provide further opportunities to engage her shoulders, hips, and core. Each dog enjoys the customized version of this exercise and their active and enthusiastic participation contributes to the overall success of our sessions.

PREHAB 1 – THE RIVER EXERCISE from Kris Butler on Vimeo.

A flatbed trailer was loaded with interesting pumpkins at Norman’s Farmers Market last fall.
You ought to buy some,” whispered my little voice.
What would you DO with them?” challenged my adult-self.
But then I heard my border collie voice: “Ask me! Ask me what we’d do with them…”  Video below highlights what we did!

Border Collie Pumpkin Fitness – Oct. 2016 from Kris Butler on Vimeo.


November, 2018, Kris Butler CCFT completed requirements for Certified Canine Fitness Trainer through University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
October 2015, Kris Butler received certification as a canine fitness instructor,  FitPAWS Master Trainer, after participating in 3-day workshop in Colorado taught by Dr. Kerry Fisher, Dr. Leslie Eide, Bobbie Lyons; passing course test; and passing Dr. Sonnet Jarvis review of 3 case studies. September 2016, after participating with her dog Rave On in a 2-day workshop in Colorado taught by Bobbie Lyons, Kris earned FitPAWS Equipment Specialist designation. Since then she has focused on conditioning specifically for canine athletes through online courses taught by Dr. Leslie Eide, Jeris Pugh, and Bobbie Lyons

If we’re going to encourage our athlete dogs to drive themselves beyond the norm, don’t we owe it to them to prepare them physically for the unexpected – as well as the harsh complexities of the expected? ~Kris Butler, Norman OK