The Show Must Go On!

April 16, 2017 10:50 pm

Technology is great, until it lets you down. There are so many things in life that we often take for granted… your car will start in the morning, your shower will always be hot and your phone will have signal wherever you go. We’ve got used to so many devices ‘just working’ that when they don’t it can be a bit of a shock! However, as I found out recently, it can also be an opportunity…

On the evening of Tuesday 28th March I was raring to go and present my Intro to Veterinary Physiotherapy talk to the Berkshire Dog Training group (Mutt Mates Dog Training School) . But a technology failure/breakdown/catastrophe (call it what you will!) meant that I found myself without slides or videos and feeling somewhat exposed in front of an eager audience at Knowl Hill Village Hall. Technology 1, Kim 0. So it was time to go back to basics. And you know what, it couldn’t have gone better.

Luckily for me I had a really brilliant audience and what I had yet to appreciate was how well versed I am at giving my talk. It actually felt great to just ‘talk’ and to start conversations, debates and dialogues. I even discovered that I’m pretty good at acting out the exercise videos, and fortunately I had a willing model in CJ, the beautiful collie who is cared for by Sandra (the organiser of this event and a Berkshire Dog Training group dog trainer). He aided the demonstrations of some of the basic stretches wonderfully and it’s always nice to have a glamorous assistant!

CJ and Sandra helping Kim with some demonstration!

As always there were some great discussions during the Q&A session. We talked about the importance of managing and maintaining a healthy weight in dogs with hip dysplasia (disease of the hip in which the ball and socket is malformed). This is especially significant because the condition will often lead to arthritis, and the biggest aggravating factor for this is obesity. The good news is that body weight is a factor that we can help to control, and it is particularly important to stay on top of this for these dogs.

The very next evening I was off to present my talk at St. Johns the Evangelist Church Hall, hosted by the Clever Paws Dog Training club . The talk was a little further afield but luckily the roads were clear and we made it in good time.

I’d learnt from the previous evening’s technical glitches and we were well prepared with multiple laptops. Technology wasn’t going to get the better of me two nights in a row!

Again, the crowd were brilliant and were really engaged in my presentation and also the Q&A session that followed. We had a particularly interesting discussion around the use of ball chuckers (handheld long arm gadgets which are used to throw balls). I am really not a fan of these! However, the most important thing is how you use them to throw the ball. It sounds silly but I can’t stress it enough. What I especially advise against is throwing the ball in the air for your dog to leap up and catch, as this action increases the chance of damage to their cruciate ligaments (the tough fibrous tissue that helps keep the knee joint in place). It is better to throw the ball long and low so that your dog is running after it, but before you do this I would strongly advise that you teach your dog how to ‘stop’!

The best method to teach your dog to ‘stop’ is to start this training early (ideally when first starting to ‘play ball’ with your dog) and in a location where you have a visual corner, such as a fence or a hedge. Stand a very short distance from the corner, with your dog by your side, and then throw the ball into this corner. The advantages of this are that your dog will be starting from a stationary position, so won’t be able to build up a huge amount of speed, and they can see a physical ‘stop’. They will therefore learn to decelerate, allowing you to gradually increase the distance. Some dogs love to chase a ball and whilst it’s great that they have fun, it’s really important wherever possible that we help them to play safely!


A massive thank you to everyone who attended and helped organise these talks. It’s great to meet so many new people and to visit so many fantastic dog clubs!

To ensure that my talks are as relevant and interesting as possible The Ralph team and I collect feedback at every event. We’re already starting to plan and discuss the next format of dog club roadshows which I am already getting excited about! If you would like us to visit your dog club, then please drop me a note on kim@theralph.vet.

“Really interesting and relevant – thank you!”
(Feedback from an attendee)

It’s always lovely to hear that people are finding the talks useful, and great to get suggestions for further topics to cover in the future. Veterinary physiotherapy is my passion, and it is a real honour to have the opportunity to talk to so many animal lovers and pet carers who are truly passionate about looking after their dogs!

Next on the veterinary physio talk roadshow, we are being hosted by Bizzy Rascals at Husborne Crawley Reading Room (MK43 OXB) on Tuesday 9th May at 7pm. I’m already looking forward to it.

Please do keep checking back here for more updates, and hopefully I will see you at an event in the future!

Thanks as always for reading,

Kim

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