For Week 2 of puppy class, our assignment was to teach gentle restraint to our dogs; that is, the practice of getting your dog to accept having all four paws off the ground, belly-up, while cradled on your lap. Dogs don’t usually like being restrained like this because when they have no paws touching the ground, they lose all leverage. I was having trouble “cradling” all 49.6 lbs of the Batmanimal on my lap, so I emailed Julie, Carole and Batman’s aunties (Susan and Barb) for advice.
Thank goodness I did because, turns out, flipping your dog over on your lap is NOT a safe exercise for GSDs or other large breeds prone to bloat.
Here’s what Julie said:
NO he is too old and big for that, this would be an ok exercise for a GSD puppy up to 3 months.
Also this is a breed subject to bloat you do not want to flipping them into upside positions. Picture the spine as a curtain rod and the ligaments/tissues that hold the stomach, spleen and other organs in place are like a sling hanging from the curtain rod. Flip that upside down and you are going to have a tangled mess. In a dog you would call that torsion. Torsion can cause bloat and bloat can cause torsion.
Some people think you shouldn’t even teach them the “roll over” trick.
In vet school they are taught a certain way to roll a dog from one side to the other. They roll them feet under so they are rotated to the other side belly down , instead of rolling them over on their back. It is easier to roll them on their back, and helping Mos with xrays I have gone to do that way a few times and man – o-man did I get yelled at.
I would do a flat settle on the ground. You could also put him belly up between your legs …but agin I don’t like the whole belly up thing for a breed prone to bloat.
Do you think this should topic should go on the blog?
YES! We all thought this topic was important enough to go on the blog, so here it is.
Instead of doing the cradling exercise, I have Batman lay flat on my lap. I also practice lifting his front legs straight off the ground from a standing position to get him used to me handling him. He accepts this pretty readily.
Here is a series of photos taken over the course of 10 seconds of safe gentle restraint.
Hope this helps! Thanks, Julie, for the very important info.
This sure does need to be on the blog. Thank you!! Very good information to have for all of us.
Thank you–I never thought about it that way, and I should have. Now I know why I have been doing a “settle” exercise with Raj lying beside me, sometimes flat on his side, but not upside down. If I ever teach a puppy class again, I have to remember this.
Good job, you two! Jennie, I’m glad that you are asking questions! My motto for training has always been, “if it does not feel right for you or your dog, don’t do it.”
I love Batman’s expression in this series. Using this safe method of restraint is serving the same purpose as the cradling. He is relaxed and looking at you like you’re off your rocker, but he is doing it. If Batman will calmly lie flat when you ask him then that is the perfect scenario.
Thankyou for all your hard work and investigative skill Jennie. I am glad Oso will benefit from what you are learning.