A banister is the structure on stairs formed by vertical uprights attached to a handrail. Most dog owners and professional dog walkers use the banister handrail for support on wet, snowy, or icy stairs. Dog walkers are safer using the banister vertical uprights in slippery rainy and winter conditions. Holding the vertical uprights rather than the railing affords a better grip with a pulling dog and slick footing.
A grasping hand on a handrail can suffer grip slippage, easily pulled off the handrail or become strained trying to maintain grasping. Grip slippage is decreased with fingers enclosed around vertical uprights. Grasping vertical uprights slow down walker and dog where the weight & momentum can accelerate through the incline of the stairs and slippery surfaces. Vertical upright use can decrease slip and fall accidents on stairs. Stair falls can be particularly painful when your pelvis falls onto the stair edge, turning and twisting an ankle, injuring a knee, or falling forward onto your hands.
Professional dog walkers can query the dog owner about their dog's behavior on stairs.
"Sheba is usually good on the stairs, except if there is a dog walking by..."
"Tony & Bertha are skittish on the stairs for some reason, except when the dogs across the street are outside in their fenced yard. Then they may fly towards the stairs."
"Puli listens to me on the stairs and I keep a short leash, which reinforces my voice commands."
All dog walkers benefit from being informed, safe, and vigilant. Injuries to dog walkers decrease capacity to work, are painful, and expensive. Improper use of pain medication contributes to addiction.
Yoga Standing Postures for Lower Body Coordination, Strength, & Balance
Self-care for all dog walkers can include postural yoga standing positions, which create flexibility, strength, and coordination in the feet, legs, and hips. As a yoga teacher and student, I have slipped many times walking dogs but have prevented total falls by engaging my lower body muscles quickly.
This quick skeletal coordination response allowed me to re-establish my balance, avoiding any ground contact with my hands or lower body, preventing my entire lower body from falling on the ground. I have also limited falls to my hands touching the ground without falling on my knees. Better flexibility, posture, and coordination prevents or minimizes some orthopedic injuries.
Yoga standing postures include the Warrior, the Triangle, the Tree, and the Mountain. A chair can be used to assist practicing these postures if you have health challenges.
Robert Berkelhammer is the Author of Pet Care Givers & Families: Getting the Most From Dog Playgroups, Pet Sitters, and Walkers. Also, see our MULTI-USE FAMILY PET CARE CONTRACT, a must-have organizing tool for you, your family, pet care professionals, and most importantly your pets! www.robertberkelhammer.com
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