Friday, October 5, 2007


With the kind permission of Jim Colla, here are the details of the exercises for dogs with CDRM. Jim kept his GSD Sabre walking for nearly another three years by doing the following exercises five or six times a day.

Hip Flexers
This is simply slipping one hand beneath the top of the hip to support it. If the dog's left leg is being worked on your left hand would be slipped between the dog's belly and hip so that the left hand is supporting the hip bone at the joint with the next bone. The right hand then holds the leg at the ankle/paw area and the leg is straightened out backwards to it's full extent. Do this three or four time.

Hip Abductors
This is a very important exercise. It is strengthening the muscle that keeps the leg straight. With one hand under the hip, supporting the hip bone and the other supporting the leg below the knee, lift the hip slightly upwards and away from the body until a slight resistance is felt. You will see that there is a traingular section of the dog's skin that is being stretched by this action (do not overdo the pressure) and hold that position while you count to five. Release and repeat five times. The dog's paw should be down near the floor when you are doing this. It is only the hip that you wish to lift away.


Starting at the base of the ears, work your fingers gently down each side of the spine as though gently massaging the spine.

With your dog standing, position his back legs so they are nice and square then gently push him on the right-hand side of his back leg over towards his left leg. What you are aiming to make him do is reposition his leg himself. You can also achieve this by gently swaying him from side to side causing him to have to transfer his weight from one leg to the other to keep from falling over.

With your dog standing, lift his rear leg off the ground to make him stand on his left leg for a few seconds. Do this five times.

With your dog sitting, lift alternate front legs off the ground.

Passive movements
Do all the joints in the back legs. Working down the leg there are four joints. Hip, then hip to first leg joint, then ankle then paw. The hip has already been done so supporting the hip, stretch the upper leg back as far as it will go and hold for a few seconds. Then as far forwards as it will go for a few seconds.

Do this five times then move down the leg to the next joint remembering always to hold the leg above the joint you wish to work on. So if you were flexing the paw you would be holding the leg between the ankle and the paw.

Tail rolling

This is just taking the base of the tail and slowly wagging it both in the hanging down position and then as though the dog were wagging it when it is held high. This helps the dog balance.

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