Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 53

ECE’S C G YM Exercise of the Month: Powering Up the Rear Legs By Debbie Gross Saunders, MSPT, OCS, CCRP The Benefits Walking up hills focuses on strengthening the hamstrings, gluteals, and gastrocnemius. These muscles are located in the back of the dog’s leg and are important not only for jumping activities and running, but for extending the hip, knee, and hock. Stronger hamstrings in people have been linked to a reduction of cruciate tears and we may deduce that this is possible in dogs as well.1 In addition, we know that if a dog does tear the cranial cruciate ligament, the hamstrings are one of the first muscles to atrophy and the atrophy continues even after the ligament is repaired. Dogs with hip problems, such as canine hip dysplasia, will also benefit from the strength of this group of muscles. Iliopsoas problems have been recently recognized as a source of lameness in many performance dogs. Typically, dogs with an iliopsoas strain will develop an asymmetry of the musculature in the rear. They do not fully extend in the affected rear leg; therefore, the muscles do not strengthen to their fullest and a weakness develops on one side. Since walking up a hill encourages the dog to use both legs equally, this exercise will assist dogs that have iliopsoas deficits as well as those that have had any problems caused by an asymmetry in their gait pattern. The Exercise The dog should be slowly walked up the hill to encourage equal use of both back legs. To begin hill climbing, distances of 100' to 150' are appropriate. Once you have walked the dog up the hill, you will of course need to walk the dog down the hill. If the dog has a history of shoulder or elbow problems, walk him down in a zigzag fashion. This will bring him down the hill in a safer fashion and work on his balance and proprioception as well. If the dog is not prone to shoulder or elbow problems, walk him down the hill in a straight line, slowly. The slow action will eccentrically work the muscles located in the front of the dog’s rear legs. An eccentric contraction is defined as a lengthening of the muscle fibers while a force is placed on the muscle.2 When we walk up stairs, we use a concentric force or a shortening force of the muscle. When we walk down stairs, we use our muscles eccentrically to control our movement down the stairs. Dogs use their muscles eccentrically while coming over a jump and then slowing down, while running and then slowing down to catch a ball, and while coming down the A-frame and getting ready to perform a stopped contact. Walking down hills specifically focuses on the eccentric control of the iliopsoas and the quadriceps. So, if the dog has had an injury to the iliopsoas or the quadriceps, this is a good activity for them once they are over the initial inflammatory phase. Typically, this phase ends anywhere between two and six weeks after the initial injury. If at any time the dog begins limping or opposes the activity, stop and have the dog assessed. Begin with three uphill/downhill repetitions performed every other day or three times per week. After two weeks, begin adding one repetition and maintain that for two weeks. Continue to increase repetition until you reach 10 reps. This may not seem to be a significant amount of work, but the dog will be working on both the ascent and descent and you will undoubtedly feel it as well. This is a good activity to tie in with your training and endurance work. D Performance dogs rely on their rear legs to generate speed and power for jumping, turning, and running. To increase the strength of the hind limbs, there are a variety of activities that we can use. My favorite exercise involves a steep hill and an enthusiastic owner. Not only will your dog benefit from this activity, but you will too! Unlike walking up stairs, walking up a steep hill encourages the dog to use both hind limbs equally. The incline you select should be between 30° and 45° and allow a climb of at least 100' to 150'. The terrain should have good footing (you don’t want to use a slippery incline) and it should be free of potentially dangerous debris. If you live in an area that is primarily flat, you’ll need to be creative; look for manmade inclines such as loading docks, quarries, skateboard parks, and things of that nature. April 08 | Clean Run 1 Hewett TE, Meyer GD, Ford KR. Prevention of anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Curr Womens Health Rep. 2001 Dec;1(3):218-24 2 Colliander EB, Tesch PA (1990).“Effects of eccentric and concentric muscle actions in resistance training” Acta Physiol. . Scand. 140 (1): 31–9. PMID 2275403 Debbie Gross Saunders is a licensed physical therapist and a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner with over 13 years of experience in the field. She and her husband have a rehabilitation and training center on their farm in Connecticut where they specialize in the rehabilitation, nutrition, and conditioning of dogs. Her book Canine Physical Therapy is available from www.wizardofpaws.net as is her quarterly newsletter, Wizard of Paws, which features the latest in exercise and rehabilitation. Contact Debbie at wizofpaws@aol.com. 53
http://www.wizardofpaws.net

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - April 2008

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Contents
Editorializing: Dog Friends Are the Best Friends
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Starting Your Pup Off on the “Right” Foot for Jumping
Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 2
Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style: Direction Cues
Trainer’s Forum
Tent Ownership Dos and Don’ts
Foundation Fundamentals: Teaching Agility Cues
Skill of the Month
Say Yes to the Learning Curve: Starting as a Team, Part 1
Classes Gone Wild
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Powering Up the Rear Legs
Spy Kids: Rules for Access and Off-Leash Control
When Pigs Fly: How to Use Your Dog’s Natural Behaviors to Train Him
Shelter Champs: Reno
The Art of Electronic Timing
Power Paws Patterns: Number Four
Jump Down Syndrome Traumatic fragmented Medial
Conquering Ring Nerves: Want to Remember the Course? Focus!
In Cider
Agility Organization Update
Letter to the Editor
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Editorializing: Dog Friends Are the Best Friends
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 11
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Starting Your Pup Off on the “Right” Foot for Jumping
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 2
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 22
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Handling Your Dog in Awesome Style: Direction Cues
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 25
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 29
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 33
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Tent Ownership Dos and Don’ts
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Teaching Agility Cues
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 43
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Say Yes to the Learning Curve: Starting as a Team, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 46
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Classes Gone Wild
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Powering Up the Rear Legs
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Spy Kids: Rules for Access and Off-Leash Control
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 56
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - When Pigs Fly: How to Use Your Dog’s Natural Behaviors to Train Him
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 63
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Shelter Champs: Reno
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - The Art of Electronic Timing
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 69
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Power Paws Patterns: Number Four
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 74
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Jump Down Syndrome Traumatic fragmented Medial
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 77
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Conquering Ring Nerves: Want to Remember the Course? Focus!
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 81
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 82
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - In Cider
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 84
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 85
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 86
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Agility Organization Update
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 88
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 89
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 91
Clean Run Magazine - April 2008 - 92
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