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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dog is severely cowhocked, (have mentioned his other health issues on another thread but want to concentrate on this issue here). Does anyone have any suggestions on how to strengthen his back legs. He is only a year old and sometimes has trouble getting up the stairs without my help and he can't get into my Kia Sportage without help either. He can get one foot into the vehicle but does not have the strength to lift himself up and get the other leg up. I ALWAYS have to help him (after letting him try himself) I do not coddle him, but can tell when he just can't do it himself. We take long walks and I play a lot with him in the backyard, making him run for toys, chase him around the yard etc, but his back legs still are not building up muscle tone. Have even thought about just walking him up and down the stairs in my house to strengthen his back legs, sort of like a homemade stairmaster. If anyone has dealt with this and found a way to strengthen the back legs, please let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, but with the cost of meds for his other health issues and having to monitor/get bloodwork on a monthly basis, cant afford to take him somewhere for regular PT. Though I will take your suggestion and call them and see how much it would cost for an evaluation and see of they can give me exercises to do at home and save up the money to do that.
 

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also swimming is a great muscle builder with little to no stress..
 

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Since you can't afford PT or underwater treadmill, how about adding some resistance to your walks. Walking through water, yeah, it's a little late in the year for that, but next summer you can get yourself a little kayak and take him swimming.

Also, (draft) carting or light weight pulling can be helpful. I have a carting harness and I attached two gallon water jugs on some drag lines for my girl to pull. Start with empty jugs and gradually fill them. I have my dog pull them on grass so they don't make noise. Always start very light and build up strength gradually.

I used to be on a carting list with mostly Swiss Mountain Dog owners. One owner said that carting really improved her dog's cow hocks. And by carting I don't mean the dog pulls you, it pulls a draft cart.






I built my dog cart for about $20 using mostly leftover lumber laying around the house.
 

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Yikes, I didn't know it but I think my dog is cow hocked (heels in) too. She gets tons of exercise, runs like a deer and is very agile. Will have to watch it. Her front feet point out somewhat but she gets around just fine and moves like machine at a trot.
 

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Yikes, I didn't know it but I think my dog is cow hocked (heels in) too. She gets tons of exercise, runs like a deer and is very agile. Will have to watch it. Her front feet point out somewhat but she gets around just fine and moves like machine at a trot.
Many dogs are a bit cowhocked especially when young and growing. I see mostly show lines with bad cowhocks (and looseness in general) but I've seen some equally bad working lines as well. Just being "cowhocked" isn't necessarily a problem, depends on how severe it is. The OP's dog sound severe since it is interfering with her ability to do normal things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you everyone for the suggestions, I will look into getting a cart! Chance has cowhock in the back legs and it just seems to to get more pronounced as he gets bigger. It is so upsetting to see this in such a young dog, 1 yr old, and am worried about how this will progress as he gets older. Responding to PaddyD, from my research, this is mostly a back legs issue. Have not seen any info about front legs, that may be a separate issue, I may be wrong about that, certainly this is a new issue for me as none of my previous GSD's have ever had this problem. He even needs help to climb onto the couch to cuddle with me.
 

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Can you buy a used treadmill (they are often on craigslist for fairly cheap)? Put it at an incline (we do 6% for Nash) and walk him on it for 20 minutes a day. Swimming is great, but now its to cold for that. Trotting up hills helps a lot too. I take Nash to Animal Rehabilitation Center of Rochester, mainly just because they are right near my house, but they have been helpful with Nash's issues (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/stories/144502-its-his-hamstrings.html).

Getting a pulling harness and having him pull light weight will help too. Be careful with that though, keep the weight light. Walking up the stairs several times a day will help too, have him walk slow, one foot per step. Teach him to back up on command and have him walk backwards several feet a few times per session, a few sessions a day. You can make a couple of jumps for cheap from PVC, just keep them low and on grass, just above hock height is high enough and run him over those a few times a day.

It may also be helpful for him to have some core conditioning as well. Have him roll over, going to both sides, a few times a day can do a lot for his core muscles, which will help with over all condition. Teaching him to "sit up pretty" also works those muscles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What a great idea! Looks like a good way to make them use their back legs. Will definitely need bigger books or maybe stack some flat pieces wood. He has been recently standing up and opening the dutch door for me by putting his paws on top the door and hold it and then backing up with his back legs! He has started to open the door for me when I come out of the kitchen, but he will NOT try to go into the kitchen. What a smart boy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the great ideas! I could use a ball too! LOL Will check them out at Target this weekend. Maybe I can figure out a way for us to both use it! Anything to get him using those back legs more! You have all been so helpful with ideas and I appreciate it so much. Have a friend that is a carpenter/contractor who owes me a favor, going to ask him to build a cart for Chance and get him a harness. They are so expensive to buy on the internet (carts) and have not found one locally on Craig's list yet. Going to try and incorporate everyone's ideas and see what I can come up with. Thank you so much everyone!
 

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Dog Physical Therapy 2: Pet Strength Training

I found information on google for exercises.
When I went to that website it said it was no longer available
Can you buy a used treadmill (they are often on craigslist for fairly cheap)? Put it at an incline (we do 6% for Nash) and walk him on it for 20 minutes a day. Swimming is great, but now its to cold for that. Trotting up hills helps a lot too. I take Nash to Animal Rehabilitation Center of Rochester, mainly just because they are right near my house, but they have been helpful with Nash's issues (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/stories/144502-its-his-hamstrings.html).

Getting a pulling harness and having him pull light weight will help too. Be careful with that though, keep the weight light. Walking up the stairs several times a day will help too, have him walk slow, one foot per step. Teach him to back up on command and have him walk backwards several feet a few times per session, a few sessions a day. You can make a couple of jumps for cheap from PVC, just keep them low and on grass, just above hock height is high enough and run him over those a few times a day.

It may also be helpful for him to have some core conditioning as well. Have him roll over, going to both sides, a few times a day can do a lot for his core muscles, which will help with over all condition. Teaching him to "sit up pretty" also works those muscles.
Teach your dog just get right on to the treadmill? I do have a treadmill and I have AGS T with cowhocked legs that I would like to strengthen so if getting on the treadmill would be an option I would do it!
 

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My dog is severely cowhocked, (have mentioned his other health issues on another thread but want to concentrate on this issue here). Does anyone have any suggestions on how to strengthen his back legs. He is only a year old and sometimes has trouble getting up the stairs without my help and he can't get into my Kia Sportage without help either. He can get one foot into the vehicle but does not have the strength to lift himself up and get the other leg up. I ALWAYS have to help him (after letting him try himself) I do not coddle him, but can tell when he just can't do it himself. We take long walks and I play a lot with him in the backyard, making him run for toys, chase him around the yard etc, but his back legs still are not building up muscle tone. Have even thought about just walking him up and down the stairs in my house to strengthen his back legs, sort of like a homemade stairmaster. If anyone has dealt with this and found a way to strengthen the back legs, please let me know.
I would recommend supplements! Earth Vet has great supplements specific for joint health and overall developmental health
 
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