At Archie's first physio appointment, the physiotherapist (Theresa from Canine Reb) taught me massage techniques and showed me stretching exercises to do with Archie. She also asked me to buy a large exercise ball for our next appointment. That's all she told me. I had no idea what to expect.
Archie has always been crazy about any game that involves a tennis ball, but I wasn't sure how he would feel about this one!
I inflated the ball a few weeks before our next physio appointment, so that Archie could get used to seeing it in the house. When Theresa arrived for the second appointment, she showed us what to do.
I am supposed to sit on the sofa with the ball between my legs and get Archie on top of the ball, coaxing him on with treats. Once he is comfortable on the ball, the goal is to get him to stretch by reaching for a treat. The balancing and the stretching combined will improve his core strength. Another "exercise" I can do with Archie is to get him on the ball and then rock it back and forth. Again, the balancing should work his core. Theresa told me to do this 3-4 times a week; on his "off days" we are supposed to do his regular stretching exercises, which are basically the same sans ball.
So, how is it going? Really, amazingly well. I am surprised because Archie's always been somewhat of a scaredy-cat, and new physical objects as well as new experiences are generally cause for alarm. Not this time! Theresa was able to get him on top of the ball in minutes, and each time I've tried this by myself with Archie, things have gone just swimmingly. He actually gets excited when I get the ball out ... instead of getting on the couch first and then onto the ball, he hops right onto the ball. He stands on the ball, balancing like a little seal, reaching for treats like nobody's business. He loves it. We've been doing the ball exercises everyday instead of 3-4 times/week. Hope that's okay - it's so much fun!