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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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Member Since:
16 May 2009
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3 February 2011 - 11:40 am
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Now, to start with let me say that I know that Flexi leads can be a darned nuisance and in fact NOBODY recommends them for greyhounds but I'm starting to think about it, and in fact took Sid today out using one. 

 

Why?  Because I can't always walk as fast as he wants to and when we're off-road I can let him have a little more freedom with his pace.   He can hang back a little bit and bound to catch up, or go ahead and then wait for me. He seems to find this varying speed more comfortable than a steady 'just a little bit slower than he would like' walk, and on our longer steady walks he often comes back with a cramp in his back/shoulders.

 

I hold the reel of the Flexi in one hand and grasp the tape with the other so I can warn him/slow him if he gets a little too fast and he's already learned that he might have more rope but he still has a limit.  I also hold it because I know that some people have had the Flexi fail on them and come to pieces.

 

I'm not really worried at all about him taking off, because he really isn't that kind of dog, but I wanted some input from the good folks here on whether this is really a good idea for him or not.

 

Is the extra length of lead going to outweigh the possible dangers of the Flexi? What do you think?  question

Las Vegas, Nevada
Member Since:
14 August 2009
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3 February 2011 - 11:49 am
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OMG!  I always used a flexi leash!  It gave Comet the "flexibility" of going at her own pace.  She had to have speed to get moving. I knew from the get-go of having a three dogged dog that she needed to go at her pace.  She'd have to get "reved" up!

I'd actually say, the flexi leash is the best thing for 3 legs!  I alway knew I could probrably out run her if the leash broke.  But the flexi leashes with the tape are way better than they used to be.

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.

krun15
3
3 February 2011 - 11:58 am
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I've used Flexi leads for years and never had one fail- but then my pugs are pretty small.

All three pugs that I have had have learned how far they can go, and usually stop near the end of the lead.  They have, however pulled the handle out of my hand if I was not paying attention- that would be more of a concern to me.  Same result as the whole thing coming apart- loose dog!

I am very careful to keep them reeled in when we are on sidewalks near streets, or close to other dogs and people.  The tangles can be embarrassing.

One other thing- I know in my city a 'leash' can be no longer than six feet, so when you must keep your dog on a leash technically a flexi does not meet the requirements.  I have never been called on it, and have not heard of anyone around here getting in trouble.  The intent of leash laws is to have control of your dog.

I always use standard leashes when taking the dogs to appointments or when I need better control.

 

Karen and the pugapalooza

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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3 February 2011 - 12:11 pm
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Great question, nopawdy's ever brought this up.

It really depends on the dog. As for our Wyatt Ray , we know we couldn't use one, he's too much of a maniac. But it sounds like you and your pup have a great relationship and are in tune on your walks. If it works and it doesn't seem like it's throwing him off balance, I wouldn't worry about it.

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

littlemanjake
5
3 February 2011 - 2:38 pm
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I'm biased, because I personally don't like flexi leads from a safety or training standpoint. Having said this, I have  used one, for similar reasons. I don't use it as a flexi, but just a long line with built in storage. I don't want anything pulling on her neck, which the flexi by design, does, or risk it getting caught on a limb. I extend the leash out, lock it, & let her walk at her own pace. Inefficient? Completely! Do I look like a crazy person, winding it up & following her around? Absolutely! I'd never use it in an unfamiliar area or where unknown dogs might be encountered. It was more of an issue in the first few months post amp. Isabelle now does well at a regular pace, on a standard leash, something we worked on in rehab. We have the luxury of walking off leash a lot also. I don't know why this font is so bold & enormous…., but I am not able to change it

Cynthia 

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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3 February 2011 - 2:45 pm
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littlemanjake said:

I don't know why this font is so bold & enormous….

We fixed it for you. That can happen when pasting text from another application, or maybe it was just a hiccup. If it happens again, please post in the tech support forum with details and a link to the post. Thanks!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene
tripawds.com | tripawds.org | bemoredog.net | triday.pet

Member Since:
16 May 2009
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3 February 2011 - 3:28 pm
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Thanks for the replies and the reassurance! 

I guess I'm posting from the point of view of a greyhound owner.  Flexi's are NOT recommended for greyhounds because they can reach 30mph in just a few strides and really hurt themselves (or you).  Also, there have been cases of recently-retired dogs pulling the handle out of their owner's hands and then being so badly spooked by the thing rattling along behind them that they've run into traffic/got lost and starved because they were wearing a muzzle/injured themselves badly somehow. Just in the last few weeks I heard of one who'd taken off with a flexi and was found after several weeks with it wrapped so tightly around a hind leg that it had to be amputated.  Greyhounds are not your average dog.  🙁

And yes, Cynthia. I agree. Not ideal for training purposes or for anywhere you need good control.  And that's exactly how I used the leash this morning - I completely agree on the 'pulling on the neck' thing.  Even without a tripod, you don't want it with an older, arthritic dog. I don't know how big Isabelle is but .. well, Sid's legs are so long that his pace is never going to be slow enough to be comfortable at my speed. laughing

Cometdog - You're right, the tape is way better.  I'm so sorry to see you lost your Comet.  🙁

Krun15 - good point!  We don't have that law here, to my knowledge. If we do, nobody frets about it, that's for sure. There are plenty of Flexi's around here.

Jerry - Thanks!  No, he's not a maniac on walks, but obviously, I'll take care in the presence of other dogs and near roads.  smile

Madison, WI
Member Since:
5 December 2009
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3 February 2011 - 6:11 pm
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Well, looks like you got plenty of good input already, but I'll just add in another couple cents that I've been using a flex leash more often with Gerry.  I did have the problem initially with him pulling it out of my hand and it chasing him down the sidewalk a few times.  But now and then I got lazy and pulled it back out anyway and we've been using it a lot this winter.  I'm better now at making sure I hang on for dear life, but for the most part it hasn't been an issue, because we've worked on his recall, so I'll come back when I call (usually) or, even easier, if I press the lock button partially down it makes a clicking noise and he's learned from practice this means he's about to run out of lead and he'll choose to slow down.  But my general advice would be, if you're going to use one (and I'm probably repeating others) work on your "come" command if it's not already good, maybe teach a warning signal (like the clicking of the leash I do) and if your pup is prone to taking off suddenly and/or there are a lot of dogs and/or blind corners in your neighborhood, you might need to reconsider in the end.  But I wholeheartedly agree, it is easier to deal with their new "tripawd pace" with a flex leash.

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

Portage Lake, Maine
Member Since:
8 December 2009
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3 February 2011 - 6:24 pm
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I'll add my two cents FWIW.  I use flexi's...both before and after amputation!  I LOVE flexi's. (the all TAPE one's not the rope one's).    One thing that I started after Maggie was amputated is put HER flexi away and buy her a smaller one so that the tape wasn't so hard to pull out for her and pull on her backwards...know what I mean?  I use a flexi that is weighted for a smaller dog than she is...I think it's the medium weight one whereas I used to use the large size on her.  I also always use a harness on her...never from the collar.  I use the Ruffwear harness or her Comfortflex harness...did that prior to amputation as well.  For Maggie, she understands once she gets to the end of it to not keep pulling but is is tougher now being a Tripawd, so I have to speed up my pace for her, so not to 'drag her down'.  I also often tie her to my waist via my skijor belt that way I don't have to hang onto the flexi, it hangs from my waist belt.(being a little inventive and using a large snap from belt to the flexi handle.).

She has gotten better as time has gone on and able to slow her pace up a tad while being on a leash...but I still try to walk faster for her when needed to make it easier on her.

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13

http://maggie.t.....t-24-2013/

Member Since:
16 May 2009
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6 February 2011 - 2:17 am
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Thanks, Gerry's Mom and Tracy!

Yep, I do the same, making noise with the flexi to teach him when he's about to run out of leash, though it's more difficult since I hold the handle part in one hand and the tape in the other to 1) reduce the drag and 2) make sure I don't drop it.  I'm also teaching him that 'Steady!' means that he's about to run out of tape too, and he's smart, he's responding to that. It's the only time I use that word with him.

Not sure about attaching the lead to me ... Sid would pull me over in an instant if he ever decided to go for it! No sense in us both being under a truck, huh?  

Seriously, if he ever DID shoot out into the road and I couldn't hold him, he'd have a darned sight better chance to dodge traffic on his own than with my dead weight on the ground behind him.  laughing

We do recall work, and he's pretty good ... for a greyhound!  As you might know, greyhounds can go temporarily deaf if they see something to chase, but we're still doing the training.  I'm thinking of finding a trainer to work with actually ... I've never had to use one before because I've always been able to get my dogs sufficiently well-trained by myself, but I do worry about using a long line with Sid to work on recall.  I worry that he'll get tangled in it and bring himself down - and maybe injure his back or his remaining hind leg. 

Portage Lake, Maine
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8 December 2009
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6 February 2011 - 5:54 am
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Jay said:

Not sure about attaching the lead to me ... Sid would pull me over in an instant if he ever decided to go for it! No sense in us both being under a truck, huh?  

Seriously, if he ever DID shoot out into the road and I couldn't hold him, he'd have a darned sight better chance to dodge traffic on his own than with my dead weight on the ground behind him.  laughing


 Hey Jay,

I hear ya' on worrying  about Sid pulling you over.  Has he really pulled on you since he's been a tripawd?  I just ask cause Maggie will pull and pull hard(like rear up on her hind legs now leg) if we see a deer, for instance.  After being a Tripawd, I was ready one time for it to happen...I put two hands on the flexi handle(not tied to my waist as my other dog was!) and plant my feet to the ground waiting for the big lunge from Maggie....but then, as she did it, I was pleasantly surprised that yup, there is a benefit to being a Tripawd! LOL!  She didn't have near as much "torque" as she used to have and I didn't need my two hand hold stance for her now! wink

But seriously, I LOVE having my Aussie(weighs 38#) tied to my waist as she pulls ALOT - so by tieing her to my waist she can't pull my freakin' arm/shoulder out of joint!  Go ahead and pull on my waist...there!  Gotcha little dog! LOL

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09

Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13

http://maggie.t.....t-24-2013/

Member Since:
16 May 2009
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8 February 2011 - 3:30 pm
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No, in fact he's not a puller, but I have weak joints.  My ankles give way repeatedly, and my back and neck are an issue for me, so having a dog jerk on my waist wouldn't be too good.  Better control all round (without injury) if I hold the lead, I think!  winker

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