Friday, September 7, 2012

Pre Season Check Ups aka The Dog Spa

Our kennel turned into a dog spa over the past week. Most of the time spent with the dogs and most of the action took place in the tiny dog kitchen, which was now filled with the soothing and warming aroma of rosemary and cloves etheric oils, vaporising into the air from a little aroma lamp, reaching every corner of the room, but most importantly, of the dog´s body and soul, as well as ours J

29 main string dogs got their pre-season thoroughfull check ups, which included stretching, balance exercises, massages, REIKI and aromatherapy!

I must say that working with each of the dogs individually and regularly teaches one very quickly to not only know their bodies perfectly, but it is a great training and shaping of several therapeutical skills! J

Chilli gets some balance exercises. He is in overall great shape.
What a difference between the experienced athletes and the novices – the young dogs did not know what to expect, many were scared to enter the kitchen-turned-therapy room, only to relax within minutes on the warm blanket and not wanting to leave J The Pros went in, stood calmly and cooperated beautifully as I checked everyone or did a few adjustments.

As you can see, the dogs really love and enjoy the sessions
Some of the dogs even fell asleep during the massage and REIKI session. Everyone relaxed and appreciated their sessions and few minutes for just themselves, while our dog handlers Lucka or Katka and myself struggled with our sore backs, wishing someone would give us a voutcher for such a day in a spa J
Inuk´s big smile says it all :)
I learned a lot again, while working with the dogs and I can happily announce, that besides a few tiny bits of issues, everyone looks in a great shape and ready to rock down the trails as our training starts next week.

Hawky´s overall balance exercise
The most comon problems seem to be on the back muscles, besides the vertebrae between 6 and 7th rib. I need to learn more from a professional what that might be and what other ways I can use to help smoothen it out, besides massage and REIKI.
Couple of the big boys have a bit of a balance problem, which I am sure is connected with how hard they pull and maybe tend to pull more towards one side. I checked my last year´s training log to see if anyone of them had perhaps worked too often on one specific side of the gangline, but since I am quite careful with that throughout the entire season, I found that everyone was switched around regularly.
I wish to have a specilaized, experienced sled dog chiropractor near by to work with.
In the meantime, there is still a lot to learn J There is actually always a lot to learn and I am amazed at how the more I work and tend to my dogs, the more I realize I need to learn or imporove in one area or another. I love this constant oportunity to grow and improve!

The biggest reward for the "therapist" :)
I am beyond excited to say, that Galena´s old back issue at one spot has improved tremendously over this summer – with REIKI healing, massage and every single day of loose raunning and playing made the trick! Seeing my super leader and soul mate dog in such a great shape before the season starts makes my heart dance.

I am also amazed at the condition of some of the dogs – the six years old Goosak, Star and Magneto, 5 years old Chilli, 7 years old Tazlina, 8 years old Magpie, Ziggi (9) and 10,5 years young Frostie are all in excellent shape, balance, flexibility and kept great muscles over the summer.

Checking Frostie´s perfectly healthy back
Since Sparky´s old neck injury seems to still make him stiff quite often and causes him unflexibilty, making him work extra hard to keep up with his team mates, we are most likely going to make the decission once the hard training starts, to retire him from the racing team.
As long as he´ll have fun pulling with his buddies, he will of course be on the team, plus he will be a great coach for the young dogs. I love his enthusiasm and passion for pulling, and his incredible strength and attitude! Last year, he remained in training throughout the entire season, making several of our 90km runs, so he has nothing more to prove to me. He is a great and unique dog.

REIKI session for Skittles
So these are the news so far on the canine athletes, lined up and ready for the season to start.
Once we make the final decision on who´s on the team and who´s not, I will let you know all their names J

With the help of the girls I also managed to get the check ups and therapy sessions photo documented  (thank you Katka and Lucka) and am preparing a more of a „how to“ post with pictures, that I will post soon.

Until then – stay tuned, and stay safe!

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