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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Why do I have a crabby dog?

We have a thing with Rothko, every time when we go out for our walks he starts walking funny - we call it sideways or crab walking. Now we had him checked by the vet with Xrays; the lot but nothing major was found - so the assumption is it is behavioural. But he looks like he is uncomfortable.
The common denominators are:
- he is on the lead (on collar or harness makes very little difference) off lead he is fine
- we only have it on our regular walk, it has some paved bits (on our other less regular walks we have hard surfaces too but no problem then, even on the lead)
- off the lead he is fine at home on the courtyard he is also fine.
It's like he is jerking the lead himself no matter if this is a long lead or short one. Also on the way back from the walk he wants to stop at every tree, bit of grass etc if we pull him along (GENTLY) he start walking funny again. Now we tried several things but nothing seems to help - like walking on his own with Steve, walking with me alone, walking with our other dogs Nadar or Merz etc.. walking with a very very loose lead...
Also unrelated to anal glands.

Tried a Thundershirt, no change.
Anyone any ideas?

Judith Broug, by email


  1. He has an old injury caused when a pup that has affected the nerves that pass down from his brain these lie and spread like an upside down tree, from each side of his head starting just under his ears, any pressure on these nerves, makes the crab walk visable, as the pinch on these nerves. As dogs get older and their jounts sieze up and necks especially stiffen, a dog begins to crab walk, appearing to be trying to have his rear end walking alongside his shoulders. Massaging from the upper lips and then the point of the nose over the head, espcially down and up the ear flaps, and around the whole neck the shoulders, chest front legs, each paw, and then from shoulders down spine, across flanks, and down the spine to rump and hips, down each side of hips and each back leg and all the toes and back up and down the tail to the tip and then back up and repeat backwards until you reaach the tip of th nose, and re do the top lips. If you can do this morning and night, and add Oily fish like sardines in sunflower oil to his diet, you may find this will help xxx Jackie

  2. Yvonne Collins1 May 2012 at 04:15

    Hi Judith
    Even after Xrays I would get a specialist to look at his back, I like McTimmoney Chirpractic or Galen Therapy - just in case it is something musculo skeletal involving soft tissue - which wouldn't show up on xray.

    If you are certain there is no physical cause consider whether there is something he is trying to get to in these specific areas. I have to admit one of my collies does it going down my drive because he wants to pee on the hedge and because I have him on a short lead he swings his back end nearer to the hedge - would that be a consideration with your dog?

  3. Thanks for both your comments and the time to write them, I will look into the soft tissue issue and chiropractic therapy - very helpful. And Jackie he gets quite a bit of good oils and loves his sardines ;)

  4. Dogs can get locked into postural patterns for lots of reasons. They some times need help to let go of tension which may have developed for whatever reason. Seeing a Tellington TTouch Practitioner can help with this assessment and also advise what over modalities will help. We don't need to know how it started but can easily spot what is going on and aid the dog to come back into balance.