How To Walk Your Dog To Avoid Getting A Strain Injury

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The principles we teach our clients in our First Move programme show people how to use their bodies safely and effectively to avoid physical strain and injury. These principles apply in all aspects of our lives be it work, home, sport and recreation. This months' ‘move tip’ is about how to take care of your shoulder and neck while you’re walking your dog.

Shoulder and neck injuries while walking the dog are surprisingly common.
Your dog may be very well behaved but if it sees a cat across the road – all your obedience training probably won’t stop it taking off suddenly – causing a strong pulling/jarring force on your neck, shoulder and arm.

We know from First Move Principles that to take care of your shoulder your elbow needs to be facing downwards with thumb up in the Power Position. This is the position to have your arm in when holding the lead. Then if your dog takes off suddenly – your strong abdominal muscles will absorb the force and protect your neck, shoulder and back.

If your elbow points outwards with thumb down – then you are at risk of injury. When your elbow is out:

• Your rotator cuff muscles are jamming
• Your abdominal muscles won’t work
• Your neck and shoulder muscles will take the strain.

Like all safety you want to prepare yourself for the unexpected.

So, to ensure you don’t injure yourself walking your dog - get into the habit of having your arm in the Power Position – elbow down and thumb up.