Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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I am working with Tres (but we say it “trace”) towards his Canine Good Citizen certificate. We had a lot of trouble with the walking on a loose lead test last week and I’m looking for advice.
Tres is about 4 years old, and it has been about 2 years since his amputation. He’s missing his back left leg. (He was probably hit by a car, but we don’t really know what led to his amputation – we adopted him this way. We love him just as he is!)
The way the class has the test set up is to have your dog walk on a loose lead with you; you make a right turn, a left turn, and a U-turn. In class we went through the course slowly – I know now that was a big mistake, because he is more stable at higher speeds. Also, the course is in a narrow room, so he had to make sharp turns – I don’t think this worked for him either. So, I think we need to go through the course faster and with wider turns. Yes/No?
I’m at a loss, because we have to do this with a loose lead – how can I get Tres to make these turns while still having a loose leash? I’ve normally given him a gentle tug to get him to change direction.
I do both agility and in the past couple years started doing Rally-O with my two dogs…so maybe I can help. My dogs have been taught rearend awareness exercises..various things you can do but might be really tough now that your dog is a Tripawd are:
1) Teach dog to back up – Maggie can still do this as a rear tripawd
2) Teach dog to read your body language of shifting your left shoulder back and holding up your right arm(see videos for examples of this)
3) Teach dog to pivot around on a perch…but again, may be tough for your dog being a rear amp…but again, Maggie can still do this as a tripawd BUT she was taught all this before being a tripawd.
The biggest things I can offer you is yes, go the speed your dog wants to go and two, use exaggerated body language for your dog to read the turns…
Check these out…maybe they'll help?
Tracy, Maggie's Mom
Welcome and thanks for joining! Maggie is our resident agility training expert, so we hope her tips help. Jerry got his good citizen certification through Thepay Dogs International back in 2005, but he had four legs at the time. Best of luck for Tres passing his test.
We will also have to practice our “look” command so I can keep him paying attention to me…
Here's a video of animal expert Sarah Wilson doing just that with Wyatt.
Thanks Admin 😉
Glad the videos helped…much easier to show rather than to try to explain in words.. I don't think I'd put a treat in my RIGHT hand, however… I might put one in my left though…do you clicker train? If so, I'd put my clicker in my right hand, treat in my left(hidden in a fist)…I would then raise my right arm as I have done in the videos, push my left shoulder back and push my right arm into the dog's space all at the same time. As/when the dog moves away from this pressure(each dog has a varying amount of pressure they allow…some dogs are harder to move from pressure than others), I would click the movement BACK and away from you and then feed with your LEFT hand. Takes some coordination 🙂 If you put the treat in your right hand, I can only assume that would draw your dog TO your right hand…not what you want…you want him to move AWAY from your hand. Make sense?
A little game was taught to me once – it's called the “Space Game”….with your dog in front of you, step into their space, when they back away from you stepping into their space, click and treat that movement backwards…then YOU back away from dog and dog will then gravitate toward your space…again, click and treat(or you can use your reward marker word such as “yes” if you don't clicker train). Do this 'give and taking' of space back and forth between you and your dog…this might actually help what you're trying to achieve, as he'll learn to give to pressure? But again, might be tougher due to being tripawd…but perservere! 😉 Doesn't have to be a full step back just leaning backwards when you put pressure into his space will do too…
I don't always use that right arm for turns…I often can just use my exaggerated left shoulder pulling it back…use your hips too…left hip back… BUT when the dog isn't giving me good eye contact, I opt to use my right arm as it is more of an attention getter 🙂
Regarding your 'look' command…I have that too…..use it when I need to…but my dogs have been highly rewarded for eye contact…no verbal cue for it…they just do it alot cause I've rewarded for it…Maggie is better at it than my other dog, Haley. Try this:
Have Tres stand or sit at your side/heel position…either way…you look straight ahead…but you can see him out of the corner of your eye…put treats in your left hand in your fist…when he even glances up at you, say “yes”! (or click) and give him a treat. Just keep doing that for a couple days a few times a day..no movement…just him glancing up at you and reward! Yum! I can guarantee, the attention will get better if you do this 🙂
Hope this lengthy post is worthwhile to you! 🙂
Tracy, Maggie's Mom
5 December 2009
Ooooo, even though Gerry will only be starting a beginner dog training class soon, (not nearly so challenging as Good Citizen or Agility!) a lot of those training tips still sound (and the videos look) quite useful. Cool!
Gerry has been a tripawd since 12/16/2009.
He was a shelter dog with a mysterious past and an irrepairable knee injury.
Videos and pics of Gerry's pawesomeness can be found at: http://gerry.tripawds.com
13 July 2009
I love your discussion of “look” commands. Doesn't your Maggie have border collie in her? (as opposed to the Maggie-pug crowd) If so, probably no need for 'look' commands – don't they just do that?
When I first got Tazzie, it was a bit disconcerting because he would just stare at me (or anyone) and never ever break eye contact. Now I am accustomed to the idea that animals are usually uncomfortable with direct eye contact and that the submissive one would eventually avert their eyes. When Tazzie refused to avert his eyes, I worried – I better not avert my eyes or he will think he is dominant. But eventually, I'd really need to blink and I didn't want to continue the stare-down but Tazzie never needed to blink or look away.
Anyway, no need for a 'look' command there, although I suppose the situation might change if a kitten or squirrel were in the room.
As it turned out, there was really no dominance issues, but it took me a while to figure it out. Tazzie was never dominant to other dogs or to humans, but then he was never submissive either. He just got along.
According to the DNA test, nope, no Border Collie in Maggie! (but I don't believe that – she comes from an area full of unneutered BC's!) Her Mom was GSD mix.
Maggie no longer does agility 🙁 But she's going to debut in the Rally Obedience ring in May! 🙂 Her sister, Haley, competes still in agility and Rally-O.
I need to download a video of Mags doing agility sometime to YouTube so you all can see her when she used to do it though…
Tracy, Maggie's Mom