Keith is still going for sessions at a rehab clinic for twice weekly water treadmill therapy, occasional acupuncture 'top ups' and physio assessments after his somewhat difficult post op complications after his hip replacement last year. He was doing okay, but then developed a form of sciaica, and the muscle groups in his right hip and along his ribs were frequently going into spasm - he wasn't able to extend the operated leg back far enough, and if he overdid himself, he'd be uncomfortable, so he needed the referral for the physio. They've done a grand job.
He's almost there, the muscle he's built up over the last few months has meant that his back end is fully and evenly muscled on both legs, and heck, is he ever strong
But we're still under strict instructions to keep to lead work only, with some walks on a flexi lead, but no actual free running yet. But at least his exercise has increassed to 2 x 20minute normal walking sessions,a day, plus exercises such as traversing over poles on the ground and weaving in between horizontal poles.
None of this is enough for Keith and he has to have a real 'belt and braces' approach to his walks to prevent him from a potential 'oops' moment, from his sheer delight in being alive and out and about. Keith is under the impression he is training for an endurance event, and he intends to win it by a mile.
He wears a gencon headcollar (a better fit and less inclined to slip than a halti, but its a similar thing), and a Ruffwear harness for extra control and support over rough ground and steep hill exercises (I hang on to it so he can pull me up them
) A double ended lead attaches to the clip on the back of the Ruffwear and to the clip on the headcollar. A kind of "Dual Control."
When I used the Ruffwear by itself, Keith threw himself into it, figuring I had plans for him as a sled dog, so the headcollar had to be added to prevent him taking off, he's full of vitality and vigour and he needs to be protected from himself, basically.
But the control it gives me over him is a lifesaver, He can have a free head to interact with other dogs, I just loosen the part of the lead attached to the headcollar, but he's still secure because of the harness, or I can relax the control on the harness and use the headcollar for his flexing exercises. When I want to keep him close and walk at the 'varying pace' exercises, he's right there and paying attention.
I think I'd recommend this approach to anybody who is retraining or rehabbing, simply because it makes life so much easier for dog and handler. And it has to be said, he looks ever so 'professional' in his uniform!