Don’t Lower the Dog, Raise the Bowl!

(Dog Sports Magazine 12/98)

Anyone wishing to contact John may do so at the following address:
Beyond Obedience K9 Training
15 Cliff Court
Succasunna, NJ 07876
(973) 927-7387
Copyright © 1998

“It requires a very unusual mind to make an analysis of the obvious.” – Alfred North Whitehead

How many times have we lost a great dog due to hip displasia? Too many times. Although a lot of it is genetic, how can we be sure? What we should be doing as trainers and breeders is to eliminate as many factors as possible that cause these type of problems. To begin with lets take the obvious: RAISE THE FOOD AND WATER BOWLS UP OFF THE FLOOR!!!!! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to people’s houses who own English Mastiffs or Great Danes, and there they are, food bowls on the floor. It’s bad enough for a GSD or a Rottie to be fed and watered this way, but with a giant breed, they’re just asking for trouble down the road.

By raising the bowls up off the floor it helps our K9 companions in the following areas:

  1. Better posture (especially with older dogs)
  2. Better digestion (ever try to eat a sandwich while doing a handstand?)
  3. Less stress on the pasterns (K9 forearm/wrist area)
  4. Therefore less “leaning”, so as not to impart more stress on hips or shoulder area.

It is my firm belief that many dogs that have been euthanized for hip/joint problems might still be with us today had these precautions been taken early on. Its kind of like having a bad back. If you keep on lifting things the wrong way, you’re asking for trouble. Start lifting correctly, and you may barely notice the discomfort. So do your dogs a favor. Raise the food and water bowls. Need some proof that this method works. My first dog, Brutus, was born in 1985 and shows little if any signs of joint or hip problems. How many Rotties can attest to that?

(He does a hilarious guard the article routine. Just lays on the article and growls).