June 18, 2012

Healing and Re-Conditioning

It's been 2 months since the accident and we are finally starting to see Riley using her leg completely again with minimal limping. I purchased a harness ($5 on sale at Petco) and we are having a Springer bike hookup delivered from Amazon today. I've decided to start out her re-conditioning with daily walks and then after about a week I will transition to the bike. Yesterday, we went on two walks and she did really well. It goes against everything in me, but I'm forcing her to pull against me in the harness when she walks so it will build up her leg. She doesn't quite understand why I am making her pull, as we have worked on NOT pulling during walks ever since she was a baby. She kept giving me looks yesterday like "Can you PLEASE walk faster?" and "Why do you slow down every time I speed up???" Haha... the poor girl was so confused. This morning we did a nice, brisk 20 minute walk and she pulled HARD almost the entire time. It was great because we both ended up getting an awesome workout. She hardly limped at all, which made me really happy.

As you can see in the picture below, her right leg is massive - extremely muscular from all the time she compensated for the bad left leg. I like to call this her "hulk" leg! :)

I affectionately refer to her left leg as her "gimpy" leg. The muscle is visibly smaller and she tries to keep weight off it as much as possible. We're not sure if it still hurts or if this is just a habit from when she was really in pain and not walking on it. As you can see in the picture, she doesn't put much weight on it when in a resting stand and it always looks like she's on tip-toe. Our goal with re-conditioning is to get her to use her left leg more and build the muscle to compensate for whatever weakness she now has in the knee.

We will be scheduling a vet appointment for either the end of this month or the beginning of July at Davis to have her checked out and to make sure that there isn't any other underlying damage that needs to be treated. I am contemplating requesting an MRI to make sure that there isn't something else going on with the joint that they can't see through x-ray. There has been a sizable lump on the inside of her left knee ever since the accident and I'm hoping it's just scar tissue and not something worse.

In other news, I grew so tired of her boring leather collar that I heated up my soldering iron and made it pretty! She is an excellent model! :D


  1. Keep up the good work! I am sure her leg will go back to normal. Luna was off hers for a month and had the same problem. But in the end she got back to normal and it never even affected her in the show ring let alone the field. Have you thought about rollerblading with her?? I let luna pull me on blades and she loves it. I do use a special roading/pulling harness though for this as it distributes the weight better due to the design. If you have paved areas near you this might be another great outlet for her. Luna sees the harness and knows she gets to go, I put a short leash attached to harness ring, then another to her neck that allows me to control her neck but allows her to pull with the other. Works out really well

  2. Thanks for the advice! We've never gone rollerblading with her, but I think she would love it! What type of harness do you use? I've been looking at the Ruffwear line of harnesses.

  3. I use a harness called a "Roading Harness" It is meant to be used for dogs who will be pulling. They usually have padding over the chest and you will see the construction is different than most store harnesses as it is all about pulling and thus needs to be built to make it distribute weight evenly. If you do a search for "Roading Harness" you should be able to find some. Not sure where my breeder got hers from (I have been borrowing it for like 3 years lol) I really like the look of this first one... here are some links to get you started. You could also look for ones made for weight pullers, though I personally would stick with the roading as they are made for the sporting breeds so may fit better.




  4. Those look great! I especially like the first one. We need to order Riley a hunting collar as well, so I think I will order it off gundogsupply.com.

    Thanks so much for the great advice and links! :D