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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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Training my dog to use steps again.
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Member Since:
23 July 2012
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1
23 August 2012 - 3:45 pm
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Hi guys,

Just wanted to touch base with you guys and give you an update on Bandit. His surgery went really well and the first 2 weeks really weren’t that  bad. I guess it helped that he was used to walking with 3 legs anyways.

I am having one issue though that I want to ask you guys about.  Bandit was able to  climb the stairs before his surgery using only three legs. After his 2 weeks of surgery,  he seemed to do ok climbing the stairs, but now he won’t climb the stairs. It’s like he lost all of his confidence or something. He approaches the stairs at an angle now so he has a hard time climbing up the stairs. 

Basically my question is how do I retrain a Bandit to  use the steps? Right now I’m using treats and just trying to encourage him to go up the stairs. Thanks Paul

On The Road


Member Since:
24 September 2009
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23 August 2012 - 4:47 pm
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Hi Paul! Thanks for updating us, I’m glad to hear that Bandit is doing well despite this challenge. Stairs are definitely an issue with a lot of Tripawds but this too can be overcome. 

So my first question is, he’s a right rear leg Tripawd, correct?

And another is, did he have an accident that might have messed up his confidence?

Are your stairs carpeted? Are they open steps (with the back side of the steps open)?

How many stairs do you have? 

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

krun15
3
23 August 2012 - 4:55 pm
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Hi Paul,

Good to hear Bandit is doing well.  I went back to your original post since I couldn’t remember details.  Bandit is a rear amp beagle/shep mix.  How big is he?  How many stairs does he have to go up?

As a general rule rear amps have more trouble going up.  My pug Maggie was a rear amp, but very small, only about 12″ at the shoulder. Going up more that 2 or 3 stairs was too much for her.  She would go down anything however. 

Did he fall on the stairs?  Mag fell once and it took forever for me to get her to try again.  Do the stairs have good traction ?  Mag would not even try the stairs on the back deck (two steps) unless her rugs were there.

Even though he was a virtual Tripawd for awhile before surgery his weight and balance are different and he is using his muscles differently.  He may need some time to strengthen his back leg to consistently do the stairs.

Maggie seemed to do more two weeks after surgery, then she sort of regressed.  I think in her case she was such a slug the first few weeks she never pushed herself.  Then when she got more active she pooped herself out and got sore.  Then it was a very gradual increase in activity for her.  For example it took her 6 months to work up to walking a mile on her own, which was half the distance she regularly walked before surgery.

All of that is assuming he does not have any physical problems of course.

Karen and the pugapalooza

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23 August 2012 - 6:07 pm
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Thanks for the replies. Yes bandit is a rear right tripawd and weighs about 52 lbs. His back left leg is built. I wish my legs were that muscular!
The stairs are carpeted and there are quite a few of them. I think he might have had an accident when I wasn’t looking. He won’t even use the carpeted steps that lead up to the bed.

I will go slow with him. Yesterday I stayed by him while he tried to go up the stairs while my partner was on the landing cheering him on. I tried to make sure he didn’t stumble. It’s hard though.

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23 August 2012 - 6:09 pm
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Oh Jerry, we have closed stairs.

On The Road


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23 August 2012 - 7:16 pm
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Your stairs are pretty safe, so yeah, I’m guessing he probably had a spill when you weren’t around. I know that when it comes to our rear leg amp Wyatt Ray , it took him a lonnnnng time to do stairs without hesitating, at least 3 or 4 months. Take it slow and see if not making a big deal out of it will help.

One thing you can try is to be REALLY excited and enthusiastic when you call him upstairs. Run up there, wave your arms around like a nutjob, and call him. Have treats ready. This trick often works whenever we try to get Wyatt Ray to come when he’s called. If Bandit doesn’t do it the first time, wait a day and try it again. He might get curious enough to know why you’re acting completely insane!

Keep us posted, I’d love to see what works here. Oh, and if you search the Forums for “Stairs” you’ll find a ton of results about how people handled the stair issue, some more specific than others. 

Good luck!

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

Breanne
7
23 August 2012 - 7:24 pm
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We have a rear leg tripod and he goes in spurts.  He will go a long time without being scared of the stairs and then suddenly its this huge issue.  I agree with the others that if you just give your pup time he will be going up and down them soon, probably no training needed on your part   

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23 August 2012 - 7:32 pm
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Dozer was a right rear leg too. As a saint bernard he was never able to manage the stairs after his amputation by himself.  I had to hold his tail and lift up a little to help him get momentum, and always be on his right side when we went up even though the banister and rail was there.  It was all a confidence thing, because if he was chasing the cat he would forget he “couldn’t” get up the stairs and be at the top before he realized it.

Try bribery, leave a trail of treats up the stairs and walk up the stairs with him a few times. 

Renee and Dozer angel

JDixon
9
23 August 2012 - 7:41 pm
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My Chance is a tripawd, however he’s a front right leg tripawd. We adopted him from a single floor home and initially we had a lot of trouble with him and stairs. We have a split ranch so there are four or five stairs, a landing, and then another set of four or five stairs. Initially when we brought him in the front door onto the landing we had to carry him straight up the stairs. We did what you did and stayed by him but he was having none of it. We purchased a ruffwear harness for him and held the handle as he went up and down the stairs and eventually he got more and more confident until one day we were downstairs with family and he wanted to know what all the commotion was and down he came. He’s had no problem ever since. We just were happy, reinforced, and had treats when we climbed with the harness.

 

Hope that helps.

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23 August 2012 - 7:42 pm
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Hi Paul,

I am not sure that there is a right answer for this question. My dog became a back leg amputee almost a year ago today.  It really shook his confidence in a lot of areas. He was sad and depressed for quite some time, probably about 6 months.  His name is Jack, 11-12 yo border collie.  Jack used to jump into bed and snuggle with me before the injury. In June he has now finally gotten back to doing that.  He has also regained his happy, smiling personality too. 

I know that trust was an important issue for him, so when he was nervous and would look at me to make sure I was there….I always made sure that I was right behind him and would help him a bit if he started to struggle. 

Hope this helped. Just give him some time and try to tune in to what he is asking you with his eyes.  My sister, Stacy, is the pet psychic that is on this site occassionally, she might be someone to check with too.

On The Road


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23 August 2012 - 8:44 pm
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Thnaks for the comments folks! Be sure to register to take full advantage of these forums.

@trailrider95 Your future forum posts will not require moderation.

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

On The Road


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24 August 2012 - 1:33 pm
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Paul, be sure to check out all of the experiences and suggestions on the Tripawds Facebook page too! 

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

Oakland, CA
Member Since:
20 December 2008
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24 August 2012 - 9:39 pm
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Austin Ray has developed a weakness in his remaining rear leg that we can’t figure out. We have steep stairs coming into our house and he just can’t make it so we are using our Ruff wear harness and helping him up. A little physical help (you could try just using a towel looped under his belly towards the rear) might give Bandit some more confidence and then he would feel better about doing it on his own. It also might help to have him get a running start.

Good luck and cheering Bandit on from Oaktown!

xoxox,

Codie Rae

Woohoo! Tripawds Rule!

Regulator of the Oaktown Pack, Sheriff of the Oaktown Pawsse, Founding member and President of the Tripawd Girldogs With 2 Names ROCK Club, and ... Tripawd Girldog Extraordinaire!

Visit Codie Rae's Blog!

On The Road


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6 February 2013 - 10:03 am
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Bandit, did you ever master those stairs? We’d love to hear how you are doing!

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

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