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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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Exercise and behavior questions for Tripawd with fear based aggression
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Forum Posts: 1
Member Since:
5 June 2019
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5 June 2019 - 6:27 am
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Oh my goodness!  I am fostering to adopt a tripawd!  Adoption will be completed the next few days.  So happy to have found this site.  It’s been a lifetime ago since I had a dog.  He is a rescue from the Dominican Republic and had his front right leg amputated in Dec 2018 after being struck by a car (in the DR).  

Sammy (still thinking about the name as he doesn’t react to it) is a sweet gentle dog.  However he has fear aggression and will lunge and snarl at moving cars and other dogs.  I’m trying to do what I can to reassure him and have found holding him (either squatting down to put my arms around him or picking him up) helps to calm him.  

He is very active – loves his walks and we have gone hiking as well (he gets tired after about 4km and then needs breaks in which he is carried). One of his favourite things to do, aside from napping, is chasing squirrels or scaring off the blackbirds from the bird feeders (he leaves the little birds be)

Sometimes he forgets he is missing a leg and falls down or the leg is tired or slips out from under him.  

Would love to hear if other tripawd have fear based aggression and what may have worked.

Also wanting to find out if tripawds are prone to arthritis or muscle strain in their single leg.

Katrina

The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25602
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5 June 2019 - 10:56 am
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Hi Katrina, welcome! We are glad you found us too! 

Sammy is so fortunate to find his furever home with you. And that’s because you ask great questions! We do have lots of information that will help you raise him into a healthy, strong Tripawd for life. Tell us more about him. What’s his age? Breed type? Size?

I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can and stay tuned for feedback from others too. 

Would love to hear if other tripawd have fear based aggression and what may have worked.

Sounds like a really great trainer is in order. Where do you live? In the UK? Let us know and maybe we can help point you to some. Sammy’s behavior is not at all uncommon for a dog with a rough start in life. And you are smart to get on it and start figuring out how to help him. I’m not an expert by any means, but I have a “challenge dog” myself with Wyatt Ray , and we’ve learned some things with him over the last 10 years (Wyatt also had a ruff start and lost his leg to neglect by a previous person). Here are my thoughts for what they are worth:

Picking up Sammy to reassure him or putting your arms around him feels natural to you, because that’s what we humans need. But to him what you are saying is “Good boy!” when he becomes reactive. So that is not going to be in his best interest over time is my guess. There are many ways to cope with reactive dog behavior and my #1 most trusted resource I turn to is our canine behaviorist Sarah Wilson of My Smart Puppy. See her “Calm = Release” blog post. She helped us sooo much with Wyatt Ray and even does long-distance consulting. Please do check out her website, there is so much info that can help. 

He is very active – loves his walks and we have gone hiking as well (he gets tired after about 4km and then needs breaks in which he is carried)

Also wanting to find out if tripawds are prone to arthritis or muscle strain in their single leg.

Aww that’s wonderful he will enjoy such a great life in the outdoors! There are many things you can do to help him avoid getting so tired that he needs to stop. Anytime a Tripawd sits down on a walk it’s a sign they’ve already gone too far, and the walks should be much shorter. Managing his behavior and helping him to get strong is so important, because yes, Tripawds are definitely more prone to injury and osteoarthritis. It’s up to us to help them have fun, but keep their activity at a level that will not hurt them over time. 

I’m going to point you to some information that will help you learn to help him stay strong and fit. I hope this helps!

Loving Life On Three Legs , the Tripawds health and fitness guide

Osteoarthritis in Tripawds Happens, Even to the Best 

 How Osteoarthritis and Obesity Lead to Poor Tripawd Quality of Life 

How to Take Your Tripawd on Longer Walks 

All About Rehab Therapy for Tripawds 

There is so much more to check out in our Tripawds Gear and Tripawds Nutrition blogs! Let us know what kinds of questions you help, we are here for you and your new pup.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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The Rainbow Bridge



Forum Posts: 25602
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5 June 2019 - 10:57 am
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P.S. I’m in the Tripawds Chat room right now if you want to talk.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.

Support the Tripawds Foundation!

Livermore, CA




Forum Posts: 3587
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5 June 2019 - 11:00 pm
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Hello and welcome!

How big is your boy?  Since you carry him I’m guessing he’s not too big?  And how old is he?

My current Tripawd is a little Pug mix named Elly.  She was hit by a car at 7 months old and lost a rear leg as a result, I adopted her when she was 10 months old and 2.5 months post op.  Elly weights around 15. 5 pounds ( 7 kg).

She wasn’t very strong when she first came to me so spent some time in the stroller.  I got her on a Saturday so when we went for our first couple walks/stroller rides there was no car traffic around.  On Monday I took her out and although we were a block or so away from the busiest road in our neighborhood she started shaking.  It took a minute but then I realized she was afraid of the car noises.  Of course!  From that point everywhere we walked where there were cars she would stop and watch until they went by- she refused to walk again until the car was well past us.  Yeah, we didn’t get too far those first few months smiley4

She was also a bit fear reactive with other dogs, she was also very timid around people.  She would sometime sniff noses with a dog, then bark in their face! Her reaction was sometimes caused by the person with the dog.  She would sometimes let a dog walk by us (not too close) and then bark and lung after it while it was walking away.

We have taken a bunch of classes to work on her fear issues and to find things she likes to do.  One important principle I practice is to reward the behavior I want.  Another thing I do is reward her for focusing on me- the command I use is ‘watch me’.  So as an example when we were walking and a car would come down the road I would tell her ‘watch me’ and if she looked at me and stayed focused on me she got a treat.  I was making the car passing into a good and safe moment for her.  At first we would still stop when the car came by until she was consistent in focusing on  me and not noticing the car as much.  Then we would keep walking while we did watch me and she got a treat if she stayed focused on me and didn’t worry about the car.  I gradually got rid of the command as she had stopped noticing cars going by!  It took a little longer to get her used to big trucks and she really didn’t like motorcycles.  She confidently walks down the street now even with big trucks although really loud motorcycles will still sometimes make her stop walking.

After she found an old chicken bone at the park that I had to wrestle out of her mouth I worked on the ‘leave it’ command.  Again, rewarding the behavior I want.  I use ‘leave it’ often now- for all kinds of things.  I can keep her from picking food up off the floor, or weird things on the ground, I also use it to keep her from reacting to dogs as we pass.  I do use ‘watch me’ for that as well- it sort of depends on the circumstances.

One of the most powerful skills I learned was to teach her to touch something with her nose on command.  I use ‘tag’ although many people use ‘touch’ as the command.  I have used this to teach her games and tricks and to get her over some of her fears.  It’s also a great way to distract her when I’m concerned she is going to react to something around us.  I have her ‘tag’ my hand or foot and she gets a treat.  I got her over her fear of plastic bags with this game!

We practice all the commands in all different circumstances so she doesn’t associate the command with one situation. 

That’s a lot of info- let me know if you have any questions.  Elly is by far the hardest pup I’ve ever dealt with- she also has separation anxiety which has been a huge challenge.  When I saw Elly’s pic on the rescue web site I got excited about doing therapy work with her. She is really cute, small, and a Tripawd…the perfect therapy dog!!  But as it turns out she is very shy, has fear issues, doesn’t like to be touched or held…so really the opposite of the perfect therapy dog!  Elly has made huge progress but our journey so far has taught me that you can’t pick out an activity and fit the dog into it, you have to find the right activities for your dog.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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