Treadmill Workouts are Great for Laggers & Leash Pullers
Consider Treadmill Work during Early Rehabilitation
Lucy recently came in with back pain. This darling little dog loves to sniff the ground during outside walks; she often lags behind her owner and needs some encouragement with the leash attached to her harness. Lucy’s history included a variety of pain management treatments. I recommended a series of acupuncture treatments along with rehabilitative exercises to strengthen her core (which includes her low back muscles) and her hind legs. We meet up in the Canine Gym but also Lucy will have homework to dog. My program also includes balance work and body awareness. After several acupuncture treatments, we progress to introduction to Treadmill walking. Lucy hopped onto the treadmill and went right to work. I can encourage a more normal posture during treadmill work (vs walking outside). We will increase the speed and ask for better form as time goes on and Lucy’s body becomes stronger. You’ll see in the video that we have the side down for filming. Some dogs may be more comfortable with the sides up for their first time on the treadmill.
It’s so Important to Assess Posture and Observe Form
Lucy moves constantly with her head on the ground – sniffing. When dogs are in this position they barely have any weight on their hind legs. Over time, hind legs can lose some muscle mass, tone and neuromuscular control. When Lucy positions herself into a sit, her hind legs slide out sideways, even on a non-skid floor.
Time for Strengthening Exercises at the Canine Gym
I want Lucy’s head position level (with the floor) to decrease tension on her neck and lower back and want her to gain strength and awareness of her hind legs. We start with the ‘simple’ Down to Stand. This exercise is actually quite challenging if a true kick back stand is attained. I used my 4×4’s set up as a narrow chute to encourage Lucy into a sphinx position. The core muscles are engaged and the hind legs must work to lift the rear end into a stand. This exercise was one of the first of Lucy’s Home Exercise Program. Now Lucy’s owner is observing good form and rewarding Lucy.
For additional information: www.dogtread.com
About the Author: Kerry Fisher, DVM, CCRP ~ your Canine Fitness Expert. Throughout her career as a veterinarian, Dr. Fisher has focused on “Pre-hab and Rehab” for animals, pioneering therapeutic & conditioning exercises with FitPAWS Equipment. She owns Canine Rehab ~ Canine Fitness Unleashed!, a Colorado based Canine Gym with Injury Prevention and Canine Rehabilitation services. She has a passion for and experience with Sports Medicine for sporting, search & rescue, performance, working and hunting dogs. Dr. Kerry also has unique concepts for working with senior canine fitness, weight management, pain management, and behavior modification through exercise. She provides educational hands-on seminars and workshops worldwide. Do you want to take your dog’s fitness to another level? Let’s Get in Touch for a Fitness Assessment and Coaching for your dog. Dr. Kerry uses the DogTread Treadmill-Gait4Dog integrated software system for early Lameness Detection and monitoring the progress your dog is making during the course of rehabilitation. Injury prevention is key! Dr. Fisher is an athlete herself, enjoying endurance triathlons, mountain biking, bicycle touring, backpacking and telemark skiing. She biked, camped and toured 4,000 miles across the Northern Tier of the USA with her yellow Labrador, Mr. Mitchell. 2015 brings some challenging events to her plate: Ironman Arizona (140.6 mile event) and Leadville 100 mountain bike race (103 mile race at 10,000 feet+ elevation). As founder of Grit Gals, Kerry blogs to share her training tactics for these intense races. Human Fitness and Canine Fitness intertwined – to help you and your dogs reach your goals.