Sunday, November 21, 2010

Teller's "Back on Track"

I've been eyeing the canine line of ceramic fabric from the folks at "Back on Track" for a while - I've read so many good things and the word of mouth endorsements have been phenomenal - from both horse people AND dog people. Timing was right with an unexpected profit sharing "bonus" from work - so I placed an order for Teller's Back on Track coat. Initially Murphy will share Teller's Back on Track jacket - with the intention to get one for Murphy as well if it works as well as advertised and reviewed. Consider this a part one of a Back on Track review - in this part some more information on the Back on Track blankets and our initial impression of the product.

Product literature lists eight reasons to use Back on Track for Performance dogs:
* Increases blood circulation.
* Reduces inflammation and swelling.
* Speeds up recovery capacity in between competition events.
* Can prevent injury.
* Expedites the healing process for injured dogs.
* Warms up and loosens up muscles prior to and during training sessions, and allows for faster recovery after training.
* Eases stiff backs and tight muscles.
* Relaxes nervous and tense dogs.

From the Back on Track website:
Back on Track is the name of our unique range of painrelief fabric products. They have evolved from a combination of ancient Chinese wisdom and modern science as well as skilled textile production. The result is a polyester/polypropylene fabric with a ceramic powder melted into the fabric's very own weave. The ceramic particles reflect body heat as an infrared wave, a form of energy with a highly documented pain-relieving effect. This reflected heat helps to ease inflammation, reduce muscle pain and increase blood circulation. Back on Track products for dogs can be used to warm up your dogs' muscles before exercise, thus reducing the risk of strains or injury. Most importantly, the products' dual capacity to prevent injury as well as ease and expedite the recovery of already present injuries is what makes Back on Track products so unique. These products' genuine aim is to contribute towards your dog's wellbeing and good health in the easiest, most comfortable and pleasant way.
November 20th, 2010: Teller models his Back on
Track Mesh "rug". Please note the Red Roof decor.
Teller doesn't like clothes. YES he's a party boy at heart and YES he does like to be the center of attention with a flair for making that happen - but he runs hot year-round - and doesn't like to be anywhere warm at night preferring the tile floor in the bathroom to other more comfortable (softer and warmer) locations. Murphy is the opposite, he too runs hot in the summer - but LOVES his baker blanket (sheet) in the winter as "jammies" and when it's below zero he'll often balk at going out the door without his parka from Dover Saddlery. How do you spell Murphy? S-P-O-I-L-E-D.

So when shopping for his new Back on Track blanket decided to purchase the lighterweight "mesh" version of the canine "rug" - made in New Zealand after all where they take their performance horses VERY seriously. Back on Track also makes a full line of other products - including a hock and wrist wraps for canines, and for humans: socks, shirts, hats, knee wraps, underwear, ankle, elbow and gloves.

The mesh version is the same inner fabric - the heavier weight rug includes a cordura nylon shell. The actual fabric doesn't feel like anything special - a bit like polyester or rayon - in that shiny and smooth synthetic feel. It's shiny and light. Unlike the nylon shell version the mesh version doesn't have the giant red "BACK ON TRACK" embroidery on the hip.

November 20th, 2010: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Three days into 
his Back On Track routine Teller's sleeping in his new jammies.
Complete with shiny reflector! Sleeping on his own bed
by the way... 
Teller's other clothes are size 28" (cool coat and dover blanket) - both dogs actually have the same size in both products. Back on Track says to measure from the collar to the tail. The problem with those guidelines is that a collar (at least the several that I use) can be placed anywhere from just behind the ear - to at the point of shoulder/neck. Quite the variation! I ended up ordering the 31" length - which I was SURE was going to be too big for Teller, but would be the right size for Murphy. As it turns out 31" is the perfect size for Teller and a scooch tight (but acceptable) on Murphy.

I initially thought about not using the tail hole or the leg straps, but found that the tail hole is pretty instrumental in keeping the blanket in place and that Q (the cat) finds empty leg straps entirely too tempting to grab and chase Teller around....

For my anti-clothes horse I've been impressed at how tolerant he's been with wearing his BOT blanket. I have noticed that the first few minutes the blanket is on he's a little wired - moving around a lot - on leash he'll bounce. Human reports have said that "it tingles for five minutes or so" when first put on. This would explain the Wheeee! impression from Teller. I expected to find him much warmer underneath the rug - reaching my hand over his shoulder he was certainly warmer under the blanket - but not the radiational warming I was expecting...

This weekend I worked out of my car at the trial - Temperatures were in the low 40's, both boys were quite comfy in the van with the windows cracked - cool and comfy. About 30-45 minutes prior to our runs I went out, took Teller out for a walk and potty and then put his BOT rug on and put him back in his crate for 15-20 minutes before getting him out to warm up for his runs. When I stretched him out prior to our runs I found him to already be pretty loose - particularly his quads which are so heavily muscled that I often have to do a couple of rounds of stretches before I feel like he's warmed up enough to run and jump. The back on track seemed to shorten his physical warm-up routine considerably. I kept his cool-down routine the same - after each run he went for a 15-20 minute walk with Murphy and another light stretch before going back to nap. For the 3 hour drive home tonight Teller wore his BOT blanket for the ride  - napping comfortably the entire way - with a minimal amount of air conditioning to cool him.

Overall, I'm very positive on the Back on Track blanket so far....The enclosed documentation suggests taking every "third" week off the blanket to preserve the healing aspect of the ceramic fabric - so the body does not become overly accustomed to the properties of the product...That is my plan at this point. And I'm going to get Murph his own BOT blanket - To be determined whether that is another mesh blanket or if I go for the nylon version.

11/29: Update to Teller is "Back on Track":


Kristine said...

This jacket sounds really innovative. I'm glad you've seen so much benefit from it already. I will have to keep it on my radar for the future, I'm sure.

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