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Training a Ramp
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New England
Member Since:
11 January 2022
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19 September 2023 - 7:37 am
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Saturday I set up the ramp on a 24" high column.  I worked with each dog individually on leash, traversing the full length of the ramp in both directions.  Loki is feeling more calm and confident on the ramp! 

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Sunday, Tempest had a nosework class and I decided to bring the ramp for our first time in the car.  I forgot to take pictures of our setup!  Loki did great both getting in and out of the car via the ramp!  Tempest didn't mind coming down the ramp, but kept trying to avoid it going up.  She's very athletic, but as she ages I worry more about her jumping in and out of the car.  I think she just needs more practice.  Loki usually gets in and out of the car being lifted by the handle on her Flagline harness , which she doesn't love, so I think the ramp is a welcome change for her.

The Rainbow Bridge



Member Since:
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19 September 2023 - 11:39 pm
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She looks so comfortable just hanging out on it. She's even smiling a bit isn't she?

It's a true feat of patience on your part to teach not one but both dogs how to use a ramp. This is something that four legged dogs benefit from too. A rehab therapist told us that jumping in and out of vehicles is really hard on the joints, and that it's not even great for 4-legged dogs. So you are doing a LOT for their future by minimizing impact when you're out and about. 

New England
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20 September 2023 - 5:35 am
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Oh, yes, Loki has a great smile.  She really looks proud of herself in that picture.  

I feel like I should note that a big "smile" can also be a sign of stress or anxiety in dogs.  IIRC, behaviorists refer to it as "smiling too wide" because of how far back the lips are pulled.  If there is tension in the lips, the dog isn't as happy as they might look at first glance.

Pennsylvania


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20 September 2023 - 11:50 am
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This has been a great process to follow, and your learned patience with Loki is such a beautiful thing. I love following the customized approach you’re taking with each dog’s needs and personality.

I know what you mean about fragile trust, Juno has a long memory for offenses and bad experiences so I need to go carefully with so many things. sp_hearticon2

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

New England
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20 September 2023 - 12:15 pm
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Between this and the nail scratching board I'm training the dogs on, I've been really cultivating Loki's trust over the last couple of months.  I'm really amazed with the changes I'm seeing in her!  But... Tempest seems to be feeling a little left out.  We're heading into nosework trial season and the relationship with your dog is such a huge part of being successful in competition.  I think I need to plan some special one-on-one time with Tempest over the next couple of weeks.  There's absolutely no point in competing if my dog isn't absolutely thrilled to go out there and work with me.  

I really don't know how people have more than 2 dogs and maintain individual relationships with them.  I barely have the bandwidth for two!

The Rainbow Bridge



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24 September 2023 - 2:44 pm
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And I can barely handle one! 

I'm always envious of folks who have more than one dog and have such great relationships with them. We are surrounded by mushers here in Alaska, and it's incredible to see how they maintain bonds with every single one of their dogs.  I don't know how they do it!

New England
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25 September 2023 - 12:04 pm
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Finally got a picture of the ramp set up with my SUV (this is the "old" one - hoping to get the new one in the next 2-3 weeks).  Both dogs did really well with it this weekend, however, Loki tripped over the side more than once in her hurry to get out and sniff.

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@Jerry - how's Alaska so far?  It sounds like such an incredible experience to spend a year up there.

The Rainbow Bridge



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26 September 2023 - 11:24 am
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That's a good photo. Doesn't look like its too much of a rise but then again I'm not a dog. I hope Loki was OK when she tripped!

How heavy is that ramp?

@Jerry - how's Alaska so far? 

It was 28 this morning! Ice on everything. I think I'll start a Nellie Tripawds blog, it's definitely needed more than ever this year so we can track her adventures. So far she is giving us signs that she is not a fan of cold.

New England
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26 September 2023 - 11:38 am
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I bought the extra-long ramp specifically to keep the angle low.  The new car will be 3" taller AND my driveway is on a bit of an incline.  The ramp doesn't feel too heavy - it's got a convenient handle on the side.  The annoying part is the length.  Even collapsed, it's just under 4'.  

Loki just took a misstep and kept on going.  I think it's a life skill for tripawds.

Tempest and Loki would like to recommend their favorite winter jacket for Nellie.  Actually, Tempest wears an older version that's now discontinued, but very similar.  I like the material of the one I linked better.  They hold up well.  Very tripawd friendly design for easy on/off.  The "extreme" version may be more Alaska appropriate.  It's rare the temps here drop below 0.

Pennsylvania


Member Since:
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26 September 2023 - 12:39 pm
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@mischief - The set up looks great! Bummer about the collapsed length. 

Loki just took a misstep and kept on going.  I think it's a life skill for tripawds.

^^^ I feel like this truly is the sage wisdom of tripawd life.

@jerry - Juno also recommends the same coat - like Tempest she wears a discontinued version that has seen her through Chicago, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania winters. Interestingly it noticeably helps keep her feet warm by keeping her core warm.

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

New England
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26 September 2023 - 12:46 pm
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@jerry - Juno also recommends the same coat - like Tempest she wears a discontinued version that has seen her through Chicago, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania winters. Interestingly it noticeably helps keep her feet warm by keeping her core warm.

Now this is fascinating to me.  Tempest is extremely sensitive to cold paws, even wearing a jacket.  If there is snow on the ground and the temp is below 20, she needs boots.  I've literally seen her tip over trying to get her paws out of the snow after just a couple of minutes.

Pennsylvania


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26 September 2023 - 1:04 pm
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@mischief - Agreed. Below 20 we usually opt for indoor exercise as Juno (as a quadpawd) would constantly be raising her feet and refusing to move. But in the 20s and even low 30s and especially on ice (which we have a lot of), the thicker coat noticeably reduced the foot-raising incidents (that and a nice coating of Musher Secret, mostly for the salt).

As a tripawd since she can’t raise her paws any more as a signal, I am going to need to train her to boots. …probably should have years ago now that you mention actually being able to go out walking in the teens. She does love her walks!

Weirdly it’s ice that’s her nemesis (something we quite a lot of here with our rhythm of freeze and thaw) snow seems to affect her feet far less.

What boots do you prefer? (…just to thoroughly pull things off topic!😜) I was thinking of giving the Ruffwear a try, but as Tempest and Juno are similarly sized I’d be interested in what you’ve found that works for her.

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

New England
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26 September 2023 - 1:21 pm
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Tempest wears a set of silicone boots I got at the local Petco or Petsmart years ago.  They hold up well and give her amazing traction .  We don't usually walk when it's that cold/icy, but even just going out into the yard to potty she needs boots.  

I have tried a variety of boots and slipper socks with Loki and she gets very upset about having something on her feet.  It was going well very early on, but I made a critical mistake.  One day I was doing yard work and couldn't watch her super closely, so I put her boots on to prevent her from digging in the yard.  I don't know if something actually happened or if it just freaked her out wearing them for a couple hours, but she's been extremely against anything touching her feet since. 

I can get boots on her if I give her a quarter dose of Xanax.  It's my biggest regret as a dog owner, having fucked up her relationship with boots.  I don't want to Xanax her regularly enough to really make progress with the boots either.  I've tried boots that are soft like the ones Tempest wears, ones with a harder sole (RuffWear), slipper socks with a nice thick grippy bottom... hates them all.  I thought the slipper socks might be the least aversive because they're soft and flexible, but nope.  If I try to do too much with her paws, the teeth come out.  

I actually like the RuffWear boots the least of the ones I've tried.  That firm, molded sole means there isn't a lot of room for getting the sizing wrong.  I'm not convinced I bought the right size.  They're hard to get on because they need to be such an exact fit, they don't open wide.

I want to try Dr. Buzby's Toe Grips again... I tried them when Loki was about 6 months old and she ripped them off promptly.  I'll probably wait another year to let her really get out of adolescence.  I don't even think we'd need them full time - but it would be a good option to have if I know we're going somewhere with challenging flooring, like the vet's office.

Oh, look, I wrote a book.

Pennsylvania


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27 September 2023 - 6:33 pm
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Tempest wears a set of silicone boots I got at the local Petco or Petsmart years ago.

I was looking at something similar that June's rehab specialist recommended. Maybe I’ll cruise the local petshop to see if there’s anything else compelling first and then order them if not.

It's my biggest regret as a dog owner, having fucked up her relationship with boots.

I feel you here - I’ve burned some bridges with June in my time as well. Ugh. 😔

My reservation about the Ruffwear even as I was leaning toward them is that the hard soles might not have great grip once they’re cold and on ice. 🧊 Though they did just come out with these flexi-sole ones. Good to know about the particularities of sizing! 

Re: toe grips for the vet’s office. Great idea. Why are vet floors so slippery?! (…well clean up, I suppose...)

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

New England
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28 September 2023 - 4:51 am
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Those come in such fun colors! That's another annoyance I have with the ruffwear boots - the color options suck. They make harnesses in so many beautiful colors, but boots only come in black, bright red and day-glow yellow? Ugh. 

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