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The Damage of Training Dogs to Walk on Their Hind Legs

Viral Videos of Dogs Walking on Hind Legs Stirs Controversy and Spreads Misleading Training Techniques

For the past few months, a barrage of videos showing dogs walking on their hind legs have been going viral all over the internet. The most famous of these is a brown Poodle wandering around China’s Sichuan province. The dog is dressed in girl’s clothing. The reactions in the video mirror the ones posted online. Many think the video is precious without knowing the real implications behind this kind of dog training.

Another video from Toronto that was also widely circulated on the internet shows a professional dog walker dragging a dog by his hind legs. The dog was in a harness and was being lifted by a leash. Just as disturbing is that the same dog walker had other dogs walking beside him without a leash. The dogs were walking and jumping in the streets with oncoming traffic close by. The city’s municipal licensing and standards committee have since taken actions to tighten up regulations for professional dog walkers.

Are Dogs Walking on Hind Legs in Medical Danger?

Most veterinarians agree, that yes, a dog walking on hind legs is not natural. The posture can be harmful if the dog walks like this for a prolonged period of time. “If it’s chronic that they’re on their legs like that, then it’s not a natural posture for a dog to be in, so it does produce more wear and tear on the joints,” Dr. Patrica Alderson tells GlobalNews. “This can lead to muscle and joint disease.”

Many aging dogs like German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are already predisposed to diseases that cause limb weakness and in bad cases, paralysis in the hind legs.  Canine degenerative myelopathy (DM) usually occurs in dog’s over five-years-old. A dog will begin to lose muscle coordination, balance, and will develop paralysis in the hind legs that can spread forward. Training dogs to walk on their hind legs can exacerbate this.

Unnecessary pressure on joints and ligaments can cause inflammation and tearing. Senior dogs can develop osteoarthritis which will prevent them from getting into the car or climbing up stairs. A great way to prevent this is by providing foods packed with nutrients found in dog broth like glucosamine. These compounds act like hormones when ingested—stimulating cells called fibroblasts that lay down collagen in joints, tendons, and ligaments.

These Poor Dogs are Most Likely Abused

A 15-minute video found within a pen-drive in a shopping mall in Malaysia shows graphic footage of a man beating a Poodle into standing on her hind legs. This video and others have surfaced alongside the cutesy videos showing what is more than likely the truth about the situation behind a dog walking on hind legs.

Many animal rights activists have released statements condemning the dog owners in these videos. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, commonly known by their acronym, PETA, are controversial leaders in animal rights. PETA takes fringe stances on many issues but videos surfacing that actually show the abuse can’t be ignored.

“Dogs have four legs for a reason,” says Elisa Allen, director of PETA.  They don’t naturally walk on two—and certainly not over long distances—because it can be uncomfortable and cause them physical injury. There are many ways that people can have fun with their dogs which are respectful and don’t involve ridiculing them.”

One of the dog owners from these videos has come forward stating that his dog, Dou Dou, has a congenital condition and has been walking on hind legs since she was a puppy. We at Splash and Dash hope that this is true. We have expectations that dog owners are using humane training with positive reinforcements and are careful not to overburden their dogs. Sadly this is not always the case.

Cool Tricks that Aren’t Harmful

Why potentially injure your dog when there are so many other cool tricks out there? Many advanced dog training tricks are movements that your dog can perform naturally. Best of all you don’t need an agility course, or even need to hire a dog trainer to show your dog how to pull these tricks off. You only need a few treats, some patience, and your dog!

Cool Tricks:

  • Kiss
  • Bark/Speak on Command
  • Shake Hands
  • Fetch
  • Roll Over
  • Play Dead
  • Spin
  • Roll Over
  • Leave It

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