Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning Group

September 18, 2015 at 9:39 pm

By Lori Beuerle

Photo Courtesy Of Canine Rehabilitation and Conditioning GroupThe day that I met Donna and Cosmos, my first thought was, “She is going to fall.” Cosmos is a two year-old Golden Retriever and Donna is his person.   Cosmos is a very happy dog; the type who greets everyone with unbridled enthusiasm. Donna is a wonderfully determined woman, who on that first day was along for the ride, hanging onto the end of the leash!

The first evening of class was controlled chaos. One of the first skills I teach in class is how to lift each paw, one at a time, causing the dog to shift his weight to the other paws. This is the beginning of a strengthening exercise and a skill that carries through each level of class. It is harder to do than you might imagine. For Donna and Cosmos, it looked impossible. Each time she tried to lift a paw, he would bark and leap into the air. Cosmos thought this was a fantastic game. The next skill is teaching the dog to put his front paws on a large inflated disc – for Cosmos the disc doubled as a spring-board. At the end of class, I assured Donna that the first night is always a little crazy but that it would get better. I’m not sure that she believed me, but I know that she went home and did her homework.

Over the last few months, Cosmos has learned to stand with his front paws on all sorts of equipment, he can back up placing just his rear paws on equipment, he lifts each paw on cue, and he can stand with only two paws on the ground! Donna and Cosmos are partners now. Total Dog classes have helped Cosmos develop great balance, more control and he isn’t pulling anymore.

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