I have had a front limp on and off since I was 12 weeks old. There have been times where there was a reason I limped, like that I slipped or tripped. Other times, I've just limped without a known cause. The limp never lasts more than 24 hours. Three different vets have felt my legs and shoulders. They all have said that I don't have nearly as much front paw turn out or knuckling over as they have seen in my breed. I have no issues that require surgery. Nothing has prompted them to want x-rays or ultrasounds. Like any long-backed breed, I was very careful about the level of exercise done when I was younger. No jumping. No 5K runs. It's a mystery why I limp sometimes. Maybe I'm just fragile.
But I am also an adolescent herding dog. I need to move! It's so important for me to keep my muscles toned and my weight normal not only like it is for every dog, but as a long backed dog that is particularly prone to injury. I am put on strict rest at the first sign of my limp and am not allowed to exercise for quite a while after I limp. As a young, active boy, I really don't like resting. So, how do I get enough exercise and stay fit without aggravating my body and causing a limp?
Second, I get a lot of warm-up and cool down time. We do a lot of range of motion exercise before a work-out. I do spins to the right and left, warming up my spine. I stand still and just follow a treat with my head up and down, left and right, warming up my neck. I do "push-ups" ("sit" to "down" to "stand" to "down" to "sit" and repeat!) I do core and balance work, that is also great for my joints, on balance discs. I get stretched and massaged before and after exercise too. Bethany and Jason focus a lot on massaging on my neck and shoulders. I also have a SAMP come see me twice a month.
The third way I carefully stay fit is to do lower intensity exercise for longer periods. I have never limped after a 10 mile walk or hike! We do stop along the way, sometimes just to rest, for water or for a little stretching or massaging, but this sort of endurance work is what herding dogs like me where made for.
I'm not sure if you have ever known any cardigan corgis, but we are not really ones to show or admit to weaknesses. I really hope that my opening up to you about my chronic limp and how I still manage to stay active, lean, fit and, most importantly, happy is inspirational. No matter what a dogs age or issues, there is always a way for them to be a fit dog.
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What creative ways have you kept a fragile or frail dog fit? Have you got a suggestion on how I can stay fit without causing a limp? Please leave a comment. Thanks for hopping by!