Over the last few years as we have treated more and more animals in our rehabilitation centre, I started thinking that if we could have started a lot of our exercises earlier could we have reduced the problems that they were now suffering from.
I then started thinking about the growth of dogs and how a lot of their joint issues developed, and remembered how wobbly pups often were on their legs as they grew. As I considered this, it made sense that as a pup’s bones grow, the muscles stretch and the joints become weaker. People are often concerned about overexercising their pups, which means the muscles develop slowly, leaving a period of time where they have poor control over where their legs go.
This growth stage can look cute but ultimately in a lot of dogs can lead to them adopting bad habits to compensate for lax joints, such as
- overly straight knees, putting pressure on their cruciate ligaments
- outward rotation of their knees to stop their kneecaps slipping
- swinging their hips to move their back legs rather than flexing their knees, leading to loss of muscle in the back legs and painful lower back
- and the list goes on…
From this I developed the concept of Puppy Pilates. A series of non impact exercises often used in rehabilitation, designed specifically to build strength and coordination.
Luci my 6 month old springer spaniel was my guinea pig. We started when she was 12 weeks of age, and worked out a program that is achievable for a young dog.
All the exercises are listed below, they are safe for all pups as long as you ensure they are done correctly.
Please speak to us for advice on how many reps of each depending on your pups age and fitness levels.