In Week 3, we discuss the importance of physical compensation. You now are a personal trainer for your dog. We also show you how to do Sit-to-Stand exercise with your dog. If you haven’t done so yet, we would recommend joining our Facebook Group. It is a great place to interact with other dog owners who are going through the same.
Weekly Rehab Instructions:
It is important to understand that because your dog has not been fully using their surgically-repaired leg for some time, they are having to compensate in other areas of their body in order to function. The rule of thumb is that a dog carries 60% of their weight on the front legs and 40% on their back legs. Therefore, if your dog is only just toe-touching on one hind leg, then all of the weight it should be carrying is being displaced elsewhere. Some weight goes onto the front legs and some goes to the other hind leg. A lot of compensation is also absorbed by the spine.
This is why establishing a comprehensive total body approach to your therapy is one of the keys to success. Remember: The goal is to heal the “bad” leg and prevent injury to all the “good” legs.
Be a Personal Trainer
You really need to think of yourself as a personal trainer to your dog. What exactly do I mean by this?
A personal trainer:
- Has a plan
- Guides you
- Pushes you when you don’t want to push forward
- Has expectations
- Knows what is the best for you and how to accomplish your goals.
The same holds true for you and your dog. Just stop and think about it.
Sit-to-Stand Exercise = SQUATS
If understood and used properly, this exercise can be your most powerful exercise to rebuilding muscle in that hind leg and improve overall range of motion in your dog’s joints. Again, it goes back to you acting as a personal trainer. Compare this exercise to doing squats and lunges in the gym. The key is that you need to perfect your “form.” If you don’t have good form, the exercise is not nearly as effective. With that being said, it is going to take you time to accomplish “good form”. “Good form” is when your dog is sitting square, not shifted to one side. The key is to perfecting Half Sits, if you will. This is when you do not allow your dog to sit all way down. You tell them to sit and then quickly tell them to stand.
Don’t get frustrated if this takes some time to master.