For the past few weeks Kate and I have been participating in Both Ends of the Lead’s new health initiative ‘Oli’s ‘4 Paws 2 Feet’ 21 Day Stretch Together Challenge’. The challenge has been broken up into three weeks worth of stretches each covering different muscle groups in both people and dogs. The aim is to increase flexibility, circulation, range of motion, reduce stress, ease lower back pain in both your dog and yourself and generally just feel better!
Tim Norris, a highly experienced practitioner of a range of physical therapies for dogs and owners and Mimi Fong Master Coach and NLP Practitioner have put together a series of stretch tutorial videos to make up Oli’s ‘4 Paws 2 Feet’ 21 Day Stretch Together Challenge, as a tribute to their little dog Oli who recently passed away. They want to encourage and help as many people and their dogs to live healthier lives and therefore created the challenge which aims to do just that.
Kate and I headed into the challenge not having done much stretching before so we consulted with our vet before starting to see if this would be suitable for Kate. Before commencing any stretching always check with your veterinarian to see if stretching is appropriate for your dog.
The first week kicked off with upper back, shoulders and front leg stretches for Kate and neck, back and chest stretches for me. It was quite surprising how much a difference even a few stretches can make to your posture and comfort throughout the day!
Kate would settle down into the stretches after an initial flurry of movement trying to see what was going on, and quickly found she enjoyed the extra attention and massage she was receiving in between stretches! Each video consists of a visual demonstration of the stretch in conjunction with a commentary full of instructions and handy hints to help you in your stretches.
Week 2 began and we started off with canine neck stretches and human shoulder stretches. I seem to have missed the second part of week 2 but Kate and I enjoyed completing the first weeks worth of stretches in addition to the second to keep some variety going throughout the days.
The easy to understand canine stretch videos are demonstrated by Tim Norris and the human stretches are demonstrated by Mimi Fong. Each stretch is broken down into step by step demonstrations so you can perform the stretch while watching the video at home.
Handy hints such as paying attention to your dogs signals, and they will let you know if you are pushing the stretch too far are little gems found throughout the videos.
And we were onto the home stretch! Week 3 began with moving onto the leg areas for Kate with hip and thigh stretches, and back, shoulder and arm stretches for me. Kate by now was used to the routine of settling down into a stretch session and she was really responding to the treatments.
I’ve noticed her mobility in the morning has increased and she is more likely now to recover quicker from our long runs. A bonus wonderful side effect of our stretch sessions is Kate becomes so relaxed by the massage and stretching she would sometimes fall asleep!
In completing the challenge, I feel I have a better understanding of Kate’s body and how to better care for her after our adventures. She has loved the challenge with all the extra attention and massage she has been getting too! When not lulled to sleep she would often look at me after I had finished as if to say “What are we done?? Keep going!”
If you are interested in completing your own challenge with your dog, visit Both Ends of the Lead and get in touch with Tim and Mimi for a healthier you and your dog! They have also recently launched their new online shop where you can purchase more canine and human video stretching packages along with bonus health and wellbeing guides.