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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Front porch steps and Tripod dog
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Member Since:
20 January 2012
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5 February 2012 - 4:00 pm
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Hi everyone, 

I was wondering if anyone else has experienced an issue with their "tripawd" dog as far as not wanting to go up 2 steps at their front porch.

My lab who recently had her back leg amputated was going in and out the front door, down 2 concrete steps 10 years prior to this.  Since she had the Osteosarcoma she has fought us to go up and down these 2 steps.  She puts her 2 front paws out and holds herself back. Has anyone else run into this issue or would anyone have any suggestions?  I have put a rug down on the concrete porch to help her stepping, but that didn't seem to help, we also had a ramp that she just didn't want to know anything about.   I'm sure it is something that can be fixed easily since she has been doing it 10 years prior.

Thanks everyone


knoxville, tn
Member Since:
12 February 2010
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5 February 2012 - 4:32 pm
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geesh, we don't have a clue..did she maybe bump her amp incision and she's skiddish of falling??  do you use a harness?  having a ruffwear harness would give you a handle on top to use to 'lift' her up to the step and maybe steady her.  good luck, we're sure someone will chime in with a better answer.


charon & spirit gayle

Life is good, so very, very good!!! Gayle enjoyed each and every moment of each and every wonderful day (naps included).  She left this world December 12, 2011 – off on a new adventure.

Love Never Ends


5 February 2012 - 5:51 pm
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Hi Linda,
Maggie was also a rear amp. She was very hesitant going up stairs. She eventually could go up a couple stairs, but never could do a whole flight of stairs, but I think that was mostly because she was so small, she was a pug. Rear amps have more problems going up.
The rug is a good start- be sure that it is secure-dosen't move at all. And maybe if there is something on each stair. I bought a cheap indoor/outdoor mat and cut it to fit the stairs. Maggie would not come up the two steps to the back deck without the mats.
You may need to assist her until she builds confidence, for Mag it was all about confidence. Also, when we practiced there was lots of praise and treats. Mag was doing the back porch stairs, and going through the dog door for almost 4 years. But she fell on a short flight of 4 stairs at my parents house, and would never try it again!
Maggie would have nothing to do with ramps either.
You aren't that far out from surgery either, right? She needs to learn her new balance and build confidence on three.

Good luck!

Karen and the pugalooza

Member Since:
20 January 2012
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5 February 2012 - 7:19 pm
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Hey Charon, 

I do have one of the Ruff Wear Harnesses!  I love it, it definitely helps us, but we can't even get her out the door.  When we do finally get her out, the harness comes in very handy on, as you said, lifting her up the step and keeping her steady.  Thanks!  BTW I am sorry for your loss of Gayle, I didn't realize it was so recent, my thoughts and prayers are with you, your saying underneath your name is very beautiful!  RIP sweet Gayle.

Hey Karen, 

We have a whole flight of stairs too and I am hesitant to even try right now.  My vet said that the day of Roxy's surgery she went up the stairs at the office.  Im thinking she must have been so drugged up that she didnt know what the heck she was doing!  I appreciate your suggestion about the mat on the stairs, never thought about that.  Definitely worth a try.  You might be right, she may need to build the confidence, I just assumed it wouldn't be a problem since she has done it for so long.  I have been trying the treats thing, usually that would work, but it isn't right now.  Not even a Kong!  I may have to try something else there.   Yes - It will be 3 weeks on Tuesday. Maybe I am expecting this to work a little too soon?  Poor baby, I want her to be upstairs - always more comfortable than the basement.  The family (me, my 5 yr old daughter, my husband and my 11 1/2 old Golden) have been camping out downstairs (no steps to go outside) with her for a month now.  I gotta tell you, sleeping on the pull out couch is starting to get to me, but if I have to do it till she builds her confidence and balance, I will!  

Thanks again girls!


Member Since:
9 March 2010
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10 February 2012 - 7:29 am
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Dante was just a pup when we got him after his amputation, and he's a front legger - but I don't know if he'd ever been on stairs til he got home. We have two going up to our door, a full staircase inside, and steps off the deck outside. For the longest time we had to carry him onto the grass off the deck so he could go potty, or he'd pee right on the deck! 

Lots and lots of treats and encouragement was the key! It for him too, was a matter of confidence - he was just plain old scared of the stairs.  I found for Dante it really helped too, if we just let him set the pace and try on his own. We'd go outside for a bit and leave the dogs inside, he'd try to figure his way out to us on his own, without any sort of pushing or prodding from us. Eventually that worked! 

Now, we have a baby gate on the stairs because the goober flies up and down them so fast we can't let him upstairs unless we're there to watch him. Go figure!  

On The Road

Member Since:
24 September 2009
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10 February 2012 - 12:41 pm
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Hi Linda!

Oh that reminds us of when we adopted Wyatt Ray , about a month after his amputation. As a rear-legger, he also hesitated and refused to go up steps, especially the open style ones like these:

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All I can say is that it takes time. It took Wyatt about 3 or 4 months before he was fully confident on stairs. He only hesitates now if there is no traction (can't blame him). Now he flies up without hesitation. It's funny because with front-leg Tripawds, they tend to have the opposite issue; going down is more of a challenge.

Don't force her to go up stairs, but make it look fun whenever you do go up and down. Find the BEST treats you can get your hands on and leave one on every step so she tries them at least once a day. You may also want to consider something temporary like PAWZ dog booties, which add traction and build confidence.

Above all else, don't baby her. By normalizing your routine and showing her that stairs are nothing to be afraid of, she'll be going up and down them without trouble in no time.

You'll get there!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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