Animals Pets Photographer and Her Rescue Dog Make City Walks More Fun With Balancing Tricks By Jaymi Heimbuch Writer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Jaymi Heimbuch Updated June 05, 2017 Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch. Share Twitter Pinterest Email Animals Wildlife Pets Animal Rights Endangered Species When I adopted my border collie-cattle dog mix, Niner, there was one thing that was immediately apparent: this dog needed daily mental and physical challenges. Incredibly smart, relentlessly energetic, and with an indefatigable drive for work, I needed to come up with ways for him to be happy living in a city. Our daily walks became our time for learning and challenging my dog to try new things. Most dogs don't know how to balance on small objects right away — they barely know where their back feet are most of the time. So little by little we worked on teaching him where his back feet are, how to get all four feet onto a little surface, jumping onto small platforms, balancing on shaky surfaces, climbing and, importantly, safely getting off of things. His balance got better, the obstacles got smaller or taller, his confidence grew, and best of all, we've bonded over the fun we have together. Now, we treat our 5-mile-a-day walks like a treasure hunt. He knows the look in my eye when I've spotted something that might be a platform, and gets excited about where I'm going to point him. He runs to his favorite hydrants and posts, gives me a look to make sure it's okay, and jumps up on his own. Walks are now anything but boring, and provide more exercise than we'd get during a simple stroll. And we always capture an iPhone snap of the best of the balancing acts he does. You can follow all our balancing adventures on Instagram and see a couple of examples below. Related posts on MNN: Photographer finds balance with talented shelter dog Intimate portraits spotlight shelter animals and the humans who love them Quiz: How much do you know about these headline-grabbing pets?