Thursday, 30 September 2010

the big underwater treadmill for dogs

Penny had physiotherapy last Tuesday and we learned some gentle exercises to practise at home. Basically they consist of helping her to shift her weight to her injured leg, which has lost about a third of muscle mass since she injured herself, or maybe since the cruciate repair operation 22 days ago. For instance, one exercise is to get her to stand and to then gently press on her right hip so her weight shifts subtly to her left rear leg. It's such a small movement that it would be impossible to see whether it was working, if not for the fact that her fur has been shaved off and I can see the tiny tensing of her thigh muscle.

Another exercise is to get her to stand on three legs for one second, by lifting her front right leg off the ground. We were making heavy weather of this one, as she would always sit. But then inspiration struck and I realised it is just like the 'marching' routine we practised for canine freestyle. Hsin-Yi and Honey the Great Dane have a video of how to teach this trick. As a therapy move, Penny needs to do it standing, not sitting, of course, which is the final stage of Honey's video.

The good thing about the exercises is that Penny has fun, and I feel as if I am helping her to pass the time and to recover her muscle tone.

The big event of the week, however, was our session on the underwater treadmill after our first physio appointment. I was a bit disappointed that Penny was fearful of the experience, given that she was so confident on her first try some weeks ago, before the surgery. I think I gave the therapists an overly optimistic opinion of how she would go. Also, she didn't have a weak knee last time. And, thirdly, this treadmill is larger.

There were two positives about the experience, though. One, the therapist got into the water with her to help her settle down. And, two, Penny got some delicious treats to make it a pleasant memory.

We're going again tomorrow, but to a different location. I won't take videos this time, but will focus on helping Penny to enjoy it.


Unknown said...

Actually, once the dog gets the trick for sitting, it's quite easy to "extend" it to other positions. Honey can raise her paws (march) various positions: sitting facing me, standing facing me & moving towards me as we march (I use this in several of our routines), sitting next to me, standing next to me and marching with me - and finally, with me standing behind her, legs akimbo around her and using my hands to cue her legs (this was in our Pairs Routine). It's just easier to teach it in the Sit in the first place - and then ask the dog to Stand and give the cues for each paw and adapt it to that position.

Good luck! would love to see a video!


curator said...

Penny has been in my thoughts. I am so glad to see her working toward full recovery...and how is her mom feeling? That's important too!

parlance said...

Hi, Hsin-Yi
Yes, that's the way we do it. I reminded Penny about "stand" and then we do the marching thing, but mostly only the left foot.
I think I'll try to do a short video of how I'm adapting her old tricks and routines to this new life as an invalid, LOL.

parlance said...

Curator, thanks for asking. Penny is quiet but cheerful, but I'm the one who's feeling the changed life. I was quite down about it all at first, but as the weeks pass and I see that she is making progress, I feel better about it all.