Photographer and Her Rescue Dog Make City Walks More Fun With Balancing Tricks

Dog balances on fire hydrant

 Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch

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.

See a couple of examples below.

dog on fire hydrant on wall
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on tree stump
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on fire hydrant
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on statues
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog balancing on hydrant
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog walking on narrow brick ledge
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog sitting on front stoop railing
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on two fire hydrants
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on lion statue
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on street corner
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on front porch block wall
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog dancing on rock
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on mile marker post
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog with statues
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on window ledge
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog on wall
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog near golden gate bridge
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch
dog sits on tree limb
  Photos: Jaymi Heimbuch