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Jazz – Achilles Rehab – Part II

Jazz Learns a New Language & Dynamic Movement

Dog Tread Blog by Kerry FisherJazz is learning a new language

Jazz injured her Achilles tendon awhile back, underwent canine physical therapy for the acute injury and is now progressing to exercises to strengthen her back, core and hind legs. As mentioned in last week’s blog, she also has lived with bilateral cruciate disease, having TPLO surgeries years ago. She has always had issues with her right stifle even with the surgery. The new language? Clicker Training.

 Why add in Clicker Training to Rehab a Senior Dog?

Clicker trained dogs understand what I am asking them to do during canine rehabilitation and fitness exercises. It’s much easier to encourage proper exercise form and technique when a dog can be asked for dynamic movements rather than have me place their body/limbs into a position.

 What is Dynamic Movement?

If I push Jazz’s rear end into a sit what does this do to strengthen her muscles? Nothing. And I might even hurt her if she falls off balance while moving into the sit. Dynamic movement occurs when I ask Jazz to sit and she sits on her own, using her own muscles. Dynamic movement increases muscle strength.

 Remember to Warm Up your Rehab Patients

Jazz has been warming up with 10 minute walks on the DogTread treadmill. Why the treadmill? Well, if you knew Jazz, you’d understand. When outside she has only one speed – full speed ahead. Hmmm, maybe through clicker training I can encourage her to walk on a leash rather than run.

 Ground Exercises First

When working with a dog that does not use her hind leg properly due to stifle disease and Achilles injury, I like to start with exercises on the ground. Balance work comes later. I want Jazz to understand that her right hind leg needs to be brought under her body when she sits. This will help decrease compensatory back pain and strengthen her hind leg muscles.

Initially I just ask for one or two reps of a proper sit to stand (STS). Note how Jazz sits on the ground with her entire leg abducted to the side. She also tends to rock backwards. When I add in the aerobic step bench, due to the narrower platform, she can perform a sit with the leg in a more normal and more functional position. Then I begin to add Sit to Stands on the DogTread Treadmill while it is moving at 0.5mph.

Observation and good dog handling skills make canine rehabilitation much more successful. Timing, placement of food, hands, body position, cues and clicking can add depth to a rehab session with dogs.

Dog Tread Blog by Kerry Fisher

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Jazz gave me a DEADLINE:

Jazz told me she wants to return to full activity for pheasant hunting by October.

For additional information:
www.dogtread.com
www.clickertraining.com

 


 

Dr-Kerry_FisherAbout 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.

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