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Hydrotherapy and flyball.

by Charlotte Pimm

Hydrotherapy and flyball.


Hydrotherapy and flyball.

Flyball is a very popular dog sport across the world and has been going for many decades. As the years have passed the sport has moved with the times and has grown and developed massively. Two teams of four dogs compete at the same time, each using a parallel 'racing lane' down which each dog in turn runs, clearing four hurdles in succession before hitting turning on the face of the flyball box triggering a tennis ball to be released. The dog must hold before returning over the hurdles to the start line. The first team to have its fourth dog across the finish line, wins the race.

Flyball is a very high impact sport for the dogs and if not trained safely the dogs can incur injuries. From research we have seen the most injuries incurred at flyball for dogs are: muscle strains/sprains, cruciate damage, damaged caused by collisions and luxating patella’s. These are all conditions that can be improved by hydrotherapy and many flyballers do use hydrotherapy to help rehab their dogs.

However, your flyball dog doesn’t have to be injured to do hydrotherapy. Lots of flyball dogs do hydrotherapy in order to increase stamina and fitness to improve their racing ability and speed throughout the course of a racing day. On our working dog program, the dogs can: improving balance, coordination and proprioception, strengthening core stability muscles, increase range of movement and increase muscle mass and tone. All of these improving your dog’s performance.

Our newest hydrotherapy apprentice Robyn, is a member of the British Flyball association and competes all over the country with her team Madmutts Flyball team. Robyn was born into flyball and has been attending shows since she was a baby, running her first dog at age 7. She has developed a strong passion for the sport over her 20 years of attending show sand currently runs her Portuguese Podengo in the Madmutts top team whilst her two young pups are in training. Robyn has competed at crufts in the main areana  doing flyball twice. she is the team manager for a YKC crufts team for 2017 and hopes to qualify for crufts 2018 early next year.  Robyn brings 4 of her team’s dogs along for hydrotherapy to help improve their stamina for the racing season. We hope to be able to strengthen and improve the muscles of the dogs to help Robyn and her team become more elite and competitive.

Case studies:

Chef- Stamina, fitness, fun

Chef is a 1-year-old whippet mix, who is currently attending here at Woozelbears once a month for stamina, fun and fitness sessions in the pool. Chef is currently training with the MadMutts flyball team and will hopefully in the future be an excellent flyball dog. He started hydro to help build muscle gently without putting strain on his joints as he is only young so his growth plates are still developing. Chef began swimming in the pool back in July. During his first swim he began nervous but then he took to it like a duck to water. He now loves leaping in and creating massive splashes to soak his owners. He also uses the jets during his swim intervals to create more resistance through the water. Although he is only using the jets on low currently we hope to build him up and increase his program as he grows. Chef pictured below on the left with his father Pluto. Back in 2015 Pluto helped his team become the first British team to break 16 seconds and held the British flyball association record of 15.79 seconds. We are hoping to help chef fill the big shoes his dad has set for him.

Herbie- injury to left hind.

Herbie is a 20 month old Lurcher who was in the middle of his training to do flyball when he incurred a mystery lameness from a collision with another dog causing an overextension of his left hind leg. His owner took him to a muscle specialist and a physiotherapist both not being able to pin point the area causing the lameness. Herbie started hydro in June with us to help rehabilitate his lameness. He goes in the treadmill to help build the muscle back up and increase his range of movement through his hips. He is on and intensive program to get him back to peak fitness so he can begin training again and hopefully debut in the flyball rings early next year.

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