Hip Dysplastic Agility?
According to EN-US Karen Machin, DVM PhD, hip dysplasia doesn’t mean you can’t partake in agility, if your vet says its’ all right for your dog. It does mean you need to keep your dog in the best shape possible, and it certainly means you need to be careful, but that does not mean you can’t get out there and run a course! Given that so many of the agility ‘breeds’ (Border Collies, Shelties, Labs) have a predisposition to the malady, it’s probably a good thing they can!
Some things to keep in mind if your agility buddy has hip problems:
- Take it a little bit easy. Compete in preferred classes when available, so your dog can have all the fun and none of the strain that can come with jumping too high (or scrabbling high a-frames).
- Keep your training sessions short. All dogs learn best with short training sessions, but dogs with dysplasia should especially not have very long practice times! Have several short sessions instead of one long one.
- Talk to your vet. See if a glucosamine or chondotrin supplement can help your dog!
- Exercise. Get a lot of non-agility exercise, too, to help strengthen your dogs’ overall health as well as the affected joint. Consider water training, since water work takes the strain off the joints and puts it in the muscles!
- Contact Obstacles It may be worth your while to consider rubber coating your obstacles to make it easier for your dog to grip the surface, thus making the climb and descent easier on all their joints, not just their hips.