Today I visited a wonderful hydrotherapy Centre with the lovely Bailey ( our first time - pictures below). I've always known about hydrotherapy and the benefits it can bring to our dogs. However, my version of hydrotherapy is taking my dogs to the nearest marina and running along side them, up and down the pontoon holding a stick, whilst receiving funny looks from fellow dog walkers! What? it worked.. But since the revelation of having such a fantastic facility on my doorstep, well, no more cold murky waters for my pooches!
It was truly fascinating to attend a session with Nicola today, to really acquire a better understanding of why canine hydrotherapy is good and the difference it can make to our dogs, both physically and mentally.
Hydrotherapy can help dogs suffering from hip dysplasia and the amputation of a limb. Hydrotherapy may be especially beneficial for dogs who suffer from arthritis due to old age; the warm water helps reduce joint swelling, another benefit! But, what especially caught my attention was how this can help dogs with neurological disorders and behavioural issues.
Nicola has a fantastic force free approach when it comes to 'the big plunge'. Not all dogs are cool with diving head first into the pool without fear or suspicion. It's a new environment, a new face. It's understandable that it can be all be somewhat overwhelming for them . In fact Nicola has worked out that it takes on average 3 visits to get her new, fluffy customers into the pool, willingly! Nicola's technique to introducing your dog to the water is very gradual and conducted with gentle persuasion, using either your dogs favourite toy or their favourite treat and lots of encouraging voice cue's. Nicola makes it very calm and inviting for your dogs, as it is absolutely paramount that your dogs first visit isn't an scary, uncomfortable and dramatic experience!
In this instance, we know our Bailey and his love for the water and swimming, so after 15-20 minutes of him doing the 'in out in out shake it all about' dance, we established he wasn't at all scared he just needed a helping hand to overcome the last little step. So we helped :) - Bailey was in his ELEMENT, enjoying every single moment!
I will be attending weekly sessions with Bailey, so stay tuned to follow our journey and find out more of the benefits in Canine hydrotherapy :)
Please feel free to visit Nicola's Facebook page and do not hesitate to get in touch with her with any questions/Enquiries.