Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The frog dog phenomenon: Is a flat puppy a healthy puppy?

Sinead the Boston terrier in the frog position

When Sinead the Boston terrier is really sacked out after a long day of play, she'll pop her legs behind her in a perfect flat-puppy position. Her hips are nearly inline with her knees, and her feet are resting with the paws pointing up.

This is a variant on the frog-dog position that Liam has perfected. And there's one important distinction. Note how his hips flare out to the sides when he's in a frog. His feet are pointing to the inside of his body, not straight up at the ceiling. (There's another photo of this position in this blog entry.)

Liam the pug doing his frog dog

So which is healthier?

On the one hand, Sinead is getting a deeper stretch here. She's pushing her hips through an extreme rotation in order to put them in that position. And she's almost completely flattened when she's perfected the move.

Sinead the flat puppy

I'm tempted to say that her hips are healthier. But, I have a tidbit of knowledge that might change things.

Sinead has a luxating patella, meaning that her knees aren't as healthy as they could be. Supplements and food choices help to keep the pain quotient down, but I still think she has a little discomfort from time to time. By keeping her knees nearly straight when she's in flat puppy mode, she might be reducing her pain.

And that might also explain why she goes into this kickstand mode from time to time, keeping the impaired leg straight while the healthy leg is bent.

Sinead the Boston terrier kicking out her leg

Either way, I'm a huge fan. There's something about the frog-dog pose that just really appeals to me.

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