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Improving a Horse’s Ability to Hold Up His Legs for Hoof Trimming

Damn it! Just give me your leg!” Hearing these harsh words, I snapped my head around. Just as I suspected, a farrier was holding onto the hind hoof of a horse who was trying to break free of the man’s grasp.

The farrier, Joe*, had been patient with the big chestnut Warmblood. But Joe’s patience – and his back – were wearing thin. He had completed the trimming job, but he told the gelding’s owner that the horse needed stretching exercises to improve his ability to extend his legs. Joe picked up the chestnut’s leg again, and began to stretch it behind the horse. This time the gelding pulled it away from Joe violently.

Someone’s going to get hurt”, I thought. Both the horse and Joe were in danger of sustaining an injury. I caught the owner’s eye. My face must have conveyed my dismay, because she suddenly asked Joe to stop.

The woman thanked Joe, putting a check into his large, calloused hand. As he got into...

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An Akita Overcomes Hip and Knee Pain – and Changes His Behavior Too

I drove down the unfamiliar street, reading the house numbers. 2403… 2405… 2407… Bingo! I parked on the street and was about to get out of my red Toyota Celica when a woman called out to me from the porch. “Wait in your car while I bring Bruno into the house!”

I watched as she used a piece of food to lure an Akita, apparently Bruno, to the front door. She unhooked his collar from the vinyl-covered metal cable that it was tied to, and Bruno went into the house. The woman followed, closing the door behind her. She waved me in from a window.

I opened the front door and came upon the largest Akita I had ever seen. While I didn’t feel that I was in imminent danger, it was clear that this dog was not particularly friendly to strangers. So I didn’t make eye contact. I simply strode past Bruno and into the living room. It was then that I noticed that the woman, Gail, was standing the hallway, watching from a distance.

Bruno went ahead of me and...

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Is This Common Household Mistake Harming Your Dog?

Could your floor be causing your dog to age prematurely?

Over the years, I've seen a great number of dogs struggle as they negotiate tile or wood floors in their home. And many dog "parents" have no idea that their flooring choice is causing undue hardship for their dogs.

I had the opportunity to help a friend correct this common household mistake that could, over time, contribute to her dogs' arthritis, soreness and increased risk of injury.

 

You might want to listen in as I explain how her new flooring was affecting her dogs' health and mobility.  And how she could make it right. 

 “Doesn’t our house look great?” my friend Kathy shouted as two barking Australian shepherd crosses tumbled into the living room to greet me. The long-awaited renovation complete, Kathy’s house was a designer’s dream come true. 

But as I looked around at the expanse of beautiful cream-colored tile flooring, I couldn’t help but wonder...

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Elf the Cat’s Recovery from a Dislocated Hip

Placing the white and grey cat on my lap, I let him choose how he wanted to arrange himself, knowing that he would position himself in a way that would afford comfort and security for his dislocated right hip.

About ten days before, Elf had started dragging his right hind leg. A veterinarian determined that Elf’s right hip had been dislocated and it would take at least several weeks for it to heal.

Elf’s person, Amie, had brought him to me for a Debono MovesSM session, since she wanted to give her kitty the very best chance that he would recover fully from his injury.

Debono Moves works by teaching an animal, through kinesthetic touch and non-habitual movements, how to move in a way that enhances healing and prevents the strain that often accompanies limping.

When one part of the body is favored, other parts have to work harder. This harder work can result in new strains and injuries.

I wanted to minimize the strain on Elf’s non-injured parts while...

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Lengthen Your Hamstrings Without Stretching

It’s not just runners and other elite athletes who suffer from tight hamstrings and sore, stiff backs. Even among people of varying fitness levels, it seems that many people struggle with tight muscles and stiffness.

And it may come as a surprise to you that stretching is not the answer. In fact, studies have shown that stretching can actually weaken muscles.

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, the originator of the Feldenkrais Method, spoke about the pitfalls of stretching decades ago, and now science has validated his teachings*. Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais espoused a more intelligent, comfortable approach that respects the innate wisdom of the body.

His movement lessons enhance awareness, improve overall functioning and create a sense of well-being.

I invite you to explore the movement lesson below and notice how you can easily improve! Please go slowly and do not do any movement that is uncomfortable for you. Consult with a qualified health...

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From Hip Dysplasia to Agility

The following story is excerpted from my award-winning, Amazon #1 best seller, Grow Young with Your Dog. Click here to learn more about the book.      

Painful hips, stiff hips, dysplastic hips and arthritic hips. Many people worry about their dogs’ hips at some point. And as dog lovers themselves age, they may notice that their own hips are not as flexible or comfortable as they once were.

Many will simply accept these limitations as inevitable aspects of aging, but what if you are no longer able to take your dog on a nice, long walk? Did that get your attention? And is hip trouble really inevitable?

 A Young Dog Overcomes Hip Dysplasia

Emma

Emma the Border Collie

Emma was even more energetic than your typical Border Collie pup. And if you’ve spent any time around Border Collies, you know that is saying a lot!  Strikingly marked, the active black-and-white puppy enlivened Akiko and Michael’s household...

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Chihuahua Recovers From a Stroke

Chilee’s First Session

Alighting from the Cadillac, Marion placed the small bundle gently in my arms. I looked down to see a tiny tan head peeking out of the swaddling. Wrapped safely inside the blanket was Marion’s precious companion, Chilee the Chihuahua, who had suffered a stroke 18 days before. The stroke left the little dog unable to move his right side.

Chilee had just been released from the care of the a specialty animal hospital, where the team of veterinarians and support staff had fallen in love with this little tan dog.

Even with their veterinary skilled care, the Chihuahua hadn't moved in 18 days. His right side was completely still and he barely anything else. The vets recommended euthanasia, as they held little hope for his recovery.

But Marion had read about my work with animals and hoped that Debono Moves would help her dog regain the ability to walk and joyfully engage in life again.

Before his stroke, Chilee had served as a Delta Society...

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Improve Your Flexibility with a Simple Rib Rope

 

For human Rib Ropes: You can purchase rope for your human Rib Rope from Horse Rope Connection.  This link takes you directly to the 3/8″ soft yacht rope. We usually use about a  5′ length for the human Rib Ropes. The way you order 5′ of rope is to type “5” in the quantity field, since they sell the rope by the foot.When you order, in the comments section, ask that the rope be cut and the ends glued to prevent fraying.   

If you don’t have a human-sized Rib Rope yet, you can use your horse’s lead rope or a similar type of rope for the time being. I’ve found that people generally get the most benefit when they use high-quality yacht rope which has more “life” or “feel” in it. This transmits the movement to your rib cage more clearly. But any rope is better than nothing. Please use very, very gentle pressure and don’t do anything that causes discomfort. Check with...

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Senior Dog with Spinal Arthritis Walks Easily Again

Older dog

Have you ever looked at your aging dog, with her stiff back and arthritic joints, and wished you could help her move easily again?

But you assume that there’s nothing else you can do. You’re already providing your dog with regular vet exams, a high-quality diet, joint supplements and lots of love and attention.  The increasing stiffness and fatigue is just part of getting older, right?

Whether your dog is already a senior or still an active pup, I’m betting that you would like her to be as active and happy for as long as possible.  So I invite you to read how an arthritic senior dog – and her person – regained the spring in their steps!       

The black and tan dog looked like an adorable cross between a Beagle and a German shepherd.  Her name was Princess, and she walked with mincing steps into my office, her lower back rounded as if in pain.

Princess was accompanied by Janet, a tall, blonde woman in her late...

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A Terrier's Holistic Recovery from Hip Surgery

When Natalie was told that her three-year-old dog needed hip surgery, she was devastated. She wondered if her little terrier mix, Zoey, would ever be able to run, play and chase squirrels after femoral head ostectomy (FHO) surgery[1].

After being assured by her veterinarian and other experts that small dogs do especially well with this hip surgery, Natalie began to breathe easier. Everyone she consulted told Natalie that her canine companion would be running around again in no time!

After more than three months post-surgery, the terrier still wouldn’t use her leg.

But that was not the case with Zoey. While many vets say that dogs should be weight bearing two to three weeks after FHO surgery, Zoey was still not standing on her leg after three months!

Worse, the dog’s leg was stiff and her muscles were atrophied. Natalie, an experienced physical therapist, did rehabilitation exercises with her dog. She also took Zoey to swim therapy (canine hydrotherapy), which was...

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