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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Forum Posts: 106
Member Since:
20 February 2011
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29 July 2011 - 5:45 pm
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I know that having a tripawd to sit is not one of the better training options. However, I can't figure out how to get Cocoa to understand "down." Even my trainer doesn't have any ideas (I think we're her first tripawd). Any suggestions?

Thanks mucho.

Susan

Cocoa

Stray Rescue – Ampuversary 2/15/2011

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29 July 2011 - 6:10 pm
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sooz said:

Even my trainer doesn't have any ideas...

Your trainer needs to be more like Tami.

Positive reinforcement got us nowhere with Wyatt. Try training with a slip collar high and tight. Have cocoa sit. Upon the down command, force her to the ground... as gently as you want, but once she realizes she has no choice but to lie down when you say down it shouldn't take too many tries. Then you can reward the behavior with lots of praise.

littlemanjake
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29 July 2011 - 7:31 pm
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I would not force Cocoa into any behavior she is that resistant to, unless it were a long term safety or control issue.

Maybe, for some reason no one will ever discover, the down position is uncomfortable physically or mentally for her.

As a general rule, a dog who is not confident, is not comfortable in a down. Cocoa had a rough start and may still be cautious.

You really have to decide why this behavior is important to you. Why not substitute something she is able to reliably return, such as a stand or sit (it isn't the sit itself that is a problem, just excessive repitition over time)if she is comfortable, and allow her time to build confidence by being successful.

You can revisit the down as she matures. Just because core behaviors are routinely taught, it doesn't mean every dog has to master them all. You have to figure out what works for both of you and your lifestyle. You want to avoid turning your training sessions, which should foster the bond between the two of you, into a battle of wills, or worse, make her fearful of you.

When Isabelle first arrived, she was absolutely not going to go into a down for ANY reason. She sat & stared as if she had no idea what was being asked of her. I left it alone for some time. Gradually, as her confidence increased, I started slowly working on it at home, where she was most comfortable. I carefully avoided getting to the point of frustration for either of us. She eventually began to return the behavior and we slowly moved on to repeating it in other environments. She did not assume a down position in the presence of other dogs for a very long time.....and still won't if she doesn't trust her surroundings....which is completely appropriate.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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29 July 2011 - 7:55 pm
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I with Isabelle's mom - I bet Cocoa understands the command!

 

Funny story - When Rocket (aka Monkeybutt) was in Advanced Puppy Classes he was so good but he wouldn't speak on command.  No way, no how!  Nothing was going to get a bark out of him!   End of story. 

On his final test to graduate his class, my husband told the trainer, "he won't do speak".  And then he said, "Rocket, speak."

 

.....Rocket barked.  laugh

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

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29 July 2011 - 8:00 pm
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Hi Cynthia!!

 

I don't know how to get Cocoa into a down position. She lays around all the time. She will sit, but I don't know how to coax her into a down from there. The usual training techniques aren't working.

She's moved into her pre-teen years and is becoming stubborn. I don't push her into doing anything. We'll try in class a few times and then let it go. I don't mind looking like "that" pawrent!

Her behavior at home is pretty good. (Well, except that she's still driving her monkey-butt sister Gigi crazy.) The crazy chewing has stopped with the into of the nylabone. She's usually pretty low key. Still crates without problem and has never had a potty accident. Leash walking is much better.

I have noticed that she is very indifferent to people. She doesn't pay them any attention, which confuses people who want to pet her. People love seeing her and  want to love on her, but she is not interested. Maybe that will change with age, but it puts off our therapy dog plans indefinitely.

It has been bloody hot for so long now. I look forward to Fall when we can get back outside more. I know that will help in training too.

Cocoa

Stray Rescue – Ampuversary 2/15/2011

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Las Vegas, Nevada
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29 July 2011 - 8:05 pm
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Maybe a video showing what you are doing?  I bet Cynthia can tell you how if she saw you trying to do it!

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

littlemanjake
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29 July 2011 - 8:12 pm
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Hi Susan,

Her indifference to people, coupled with her resistance to the down position may speak to a lack of confidence.
I would focus on things she's good at. Forcing the issue won't help and could do much more harm than good. No one knows what past experiences may be influencing her responses.
Not every dog is destined to be a therapy dog. She sounds like she's making progress and is very happy with you. Enjoy her for who she is, and see how things evolve. You're doing a great job.

Cynthia

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