In these unprecedented times many of us are having stay at home. This can be exciting for our dogs because they have us at home all day! This can also be a challenge as you may also be trying to work from home as well. Much as our dogs love to help, it’s hard to type with them snoozing on the keyboard!
So unless you are self isolating you can still take your dog for a walk once a day and other family members can walk your dog too so your dogs can still get plenty of exercise. Please ensure you stay 2 metres apart from other people and wash your hands. Remember to try to keep your dogs exercise levels to their normal. Try not to dramatically reduce or increase the intensity or duration of your dogs exercise as this could lead to orthopaedic problems and pain or a weight gain or loss. When out walking its is good practise to make your dog walk slowly(this makes it harder) and make some changes of direction and walk in small circles in both directions. This will help with strength and suppleness. When walking your dog on the lead try to walk from both sides to help them stay more symmetrical.
Here are some basic physio exercises to keep them strong and flexible. They will also stimulate them mentally. Mental stimulation helps your dog to be more settled and contented.
All these exercises should be introduced gradually and done little and often. They should be pain free and look out for when they are tiring. It is better to do a few exercises of good quality rather than lots of bad ones.
Sit to stand exercises
Encourage your dog to sit square by sitting on both hind limbs equally and then stand by pushing himself up rather than walking himself up. This is their equivalent of a human squat. They shouldn’t take more than one step forward.
Lying to sitting exercises
Lying to sitting encourage you dog to lie down on his front then push himself up into sitting. Keep your dog lying straight not collapsed over to one side so they push up symmetrically. Then do in reverse sit to lie. Equivalent to our push up!
Standing square lift each leg gently just of the ground and hold for 5 seconds. This encourages core stability and strength in the weight bearing limbs. Progress by increasing the time.
Now progress to lifting diagonal pairs .
In standing gently and slowly push the bottom or shoulders from side to side to encourage the dog to gently push back against you to encourage core stability. To progress this exercise stand your dog on a pillow or cushion or even better if you have a wobble cushion.
Some gentle fore limb and hind limb stretches can help maintain and improve the range of movement of the limbs.
All stretches should be done when the muscles are warm, walk your dog for at least five minutes round the house or garden before stretching.
- Never stretch beyond the range of movement of the joint
- Stretch slowly and allow the dog to build confidence
- Stretch slowly to allow muscles to lengthen
•Ensure your own correct position so the stretch or exercise doesn’t hurt you!
Grooming you dog is a good way to bond but it also creates a form of massage as you will increase the superficial circulation so help promote healthy skin and muscles.
You may also find that you need to keep your dogs more entertained so here are some suggestions:
Teach then new tricks, here is a link to the dogs trust dog school on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5nvaKq4_l25et0ysZByaig. Mental exercise can tire your dog out as much as physical exercise, so go on work those grey cells!
You can also try filling their toys with peanut butter (but make sure it’s of a xylitol-free variety so it’s safe) or other doggie safe goodies, a little soft cheese, mashed sweet potato, etc. Aim to put the treats in hard places to reach because it will keep them entertained for hours. If you freeze it, it can last even longer. There are facebook groups to give you lots of other idea (including home made enrichment games to help you keep them entertained) such as Beyond the Bowl – Canine Enrichment.
We all know dogs love a good sniff, but have you ever thought your pet could be a sniffer dog? You can do some great scent-training at home. Check out lessons on YouTube or UKsnifferdogs.com courses. Or even just letting them sniff their way along a walk rather than powering on, it’s their equivalent of checking social media!
With face to face dog training suspended, lots of dog trainers are now offering online classes, so check out your local (qualified APDT or similar) dog trainer to see if they are offering any classes.
Simply going outside and playing in the garden with your dog is great for them — and you too.
Or just have a simple snuggle with your dog on the sofa.
Have a treasure hunt – hide some of your dog’s favourite
treats in different rooms around the house and see how quickly they manage to locate them.
Play their favourite game – Catch? Fetch? Tug of War? They’re all great fun to your dog! Show them some love by spending time playing their favourite game with them.
Although we are unable to have face to face appointment s at this time we are avaiavable to speak on the phone or review videos. Please do contact Rachel on 07801270053 if you have any queries. If you would like an appointment when the lockdown is lifted please either ring or email firstname.lastname@example.org we put on the list and get you booked in asap.