Lessons from a Rescue Dog

If you’ve ever welcomed an 11-month-old rescue dog into your home, you know the unique challenges that come with it. Much like a body with poor movement habits, this not-so-little pup has likely picked up a few undesirable behaviours. These habits, though perhaps harmless in the short term, can lead to bigger issues down the line. The solution? Just as with our bodies, we need to go back to basics.

Imagine this: You’ve just brought home an adorable, playful, but slightly unruly rescue dog. In its previous home, it was allowed to jump on furniture, dig holes in the garden, and pull on the lead during walks. These behaviours, while not necessarily problematic for the dog’s previous owner, are not acceptable in your household.

The first few days are trying. You realise that simply telling the dog to stop its unwanted actions isn’t working. It’s clear that it’s not the dog’s fault; it’s just doing what it’s always done. It’s learned these behaviours, and unlearning them won’t happen overnight.

In this situation, the answer is clear: retraining. You need to guide the dog, step by step, back to the very basics. Start with simple commands like sit, stay, or heel. Gradually, with patience and consistency, the dog begins to understand. It learns that not pulling on the lead results in a pleasurable walk. It learns that sitting patiently leads to treats. Over time, the bad habits are replaced with good ones, and harmony is restored in your home.
Retraining Your Body for Pain-Free Movement

Now, let’s compare this to our bodies. Maybe you’ve developed a habit of slouching at your desk, or maybe you’ve been lifting heavy objects without proper form. These “bad habits”, much like the dog’s, might not cause problems initially, but over time, they can lead to pain and injuries. And much like the dog, our bodies need to unlearn these detrimental patterns and relearn proper ones.

At the Sussex Back Pain Clinic, we liken our role to that of a patient and knowledgeable dog trainer. We work with you to identify your body’s “bad habits” – the movement patterns that are causing you pain or hindering your performance. We then guide you through the process of retraining, breaking down complex movements into their basic components, just as you would break down dog training into simple, manageable commands.

This is not an overnight process. It takes time, patience, and dedication. But the rewards are significant: a body that moves efficiently, with less pain and a lower risk of injury.

Just as the once unruly rescue dog becomes a well-behaved family pet, your body can transition from a source of discomfort to a well-oiled machine, ready to take on whatever challenges come its way.

So, if you’re struggling with persistent pain or recurrent injuries, consider this: perhaps it’s time to take a leaf from the dog trainer’s book. Go back to basics. Retrain, and enjoy the freedom and joy that comes with pain-free movement. It’s time to reclaim control of your body, and our Rehab trainers at the Sussex Back Pain Clinic are here to guide you on that journey.

If you have any questions, concerns, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment with our rehab team at the Sussex Back Pain Clinic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to support you on your journey to pain-free movement and optimal well-being.


Steve Morris is a highly experienced Osteopath with over three decades of hands-on experience. As one of the pioneering figures to introduce IDD Therapy in the UK back in 2010, Steve has not only established himself as a leading authority in the non-surgical treatment of disc conditions, but he’s also recognised as one of the country’s foremost experts in mechanical decompression through IDD Therapy.

Related Articles