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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 Totem???
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Forum Posts: 48
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6 September 2020 - 8:05 am
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Before Totem’s attack, I was gung ho to train him into being the most well behaved dog on the block…and he was only 3 months old!

Since his attack and amputation I have lost motivation to consistently train him.  He is not 5+ months old, and has certainly calmed down somewhat and knows lots of words.  He is attentive and lively and alert, but not terribly obedient.  Frankly, I’m tired.  He comes when called if he wants to but not if he doesn’t want to.   He is hyperactive around new people or new dogs.

I have lapsed into hoping he will outgrow much of this…but it may just be laziness.  I read about what some of you are doing to strengthen your tripawd and frankly it just makes me tired to read it.

So, what is realistic to expect of a 5 month old puppy?  My biggest concern is that he come when called.  Currently he completely understands, “Totem come!” but he hears it as a suggestion, not a command.

The Rainbow Bridge



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6 September 2020 - 3:05 pm
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Aww don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not lazy, you’re tired! You and your pup have been through a LOT and it’s probably just exhaustion that you are feeling. Nobody ever expects to go through something like a dog attack and amputation in such a short period of time. Plus, puppies are a LOT of work under the best of circumstances. 

Take it slow, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself or him. You will both find a routine that works for you, and as long as you make training a priority you’ll have a very well-behaved adult doggy.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Virginia




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6 September 2020 - 5:02 pm
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Okay, sorry, but I’m chuckling again.  Totem takes “Totem come” as a SUGGESTION!!!   OMD.  Fun first description  of a reaction I have ever heard!!!

I am absolutely  NOT the one who should be replying to this post!  I am all about letting a dog be a dog and coming up with new ways to spoil them everyday!!  

You have been through sooooo much with Totem and, on top of that he IS a PUPPY!!!  Getting used to a pupoy after having  mature well behaved dogs, puppies are enough to exhaust anyone!  Especially with everything you”ve had to deal waooooo much!

I abs agree with Jerry.  Do not be so hard on yourself!  Please!  What you have done with this sweet pup thus far  has literally saved  his  life and giving him love and security!!!

I certainly  understand your aspirations  to “have the best trained dog”, but, I have to say, that kind of a lofty expectation  for a dog who has experienced  some of the things he has, plus an amputation!!   I certainly understand the need for some basics trainjng.  The “come on command” is one of THE hardest!  So I wouldn’t  even start with that.  His enthusiasm  as a puppy is ruling his brain right now.

 Maybe just  a “sit” and then get a treat is a good one.  Otherwise, and this is just me, I would just enjoy the puppyhood aspect and let that be your “realistic” goal for now.

You might just want to take some deep breaths, relax  and just enjoy Totem being a puppy. You know YOUR situation better than anyone.   Maybe just enjoying a leash walk for now is a good therapy for both of you.   If you can eventually  get the “sit” down, then you can use that command so he won’t  jump on people.  

Lots of love to you!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie top!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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6 September 2020 - 6:00 pm
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Boy do i feel your pain on this one. Our girl Roane was a tough train too. although we knew this was a breed trait going into it. I use to say that she was beautifully trainned until she thought she had better idea than mom😏

dont beat yourself up its frustrating but one day the light bulb will come on and totem will take your “suggestion” until then lots of repetition. Does he like treats or toys? We did alot of recall trainning with a very long leash and treats. Small bites, anything is a win when there young. Short session are good at that age, if either of you are frustrated you can come back to it later. 

         Hugs ❤ Bev, nurse Moe cat, Autumn's Angel Roane & Angel dog Gypsy 🐾

My sweet soulmate Roane was diagnosed with osteo in June of 2019. Had a rear leg amp on July 2nd & crossed the rainbow bridge to be with her sister Gypsy on the first day of Autumn Sept 23 2019.

Livermore, CA




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6 September 2020 - 11:08 pm
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I don’t think TriPug Maggie even thought of the command ‘come’ as a suggestion…she knew what it meant and chose to ignore it.  Her attitude was ‘if it’s that important you come to me!’ smiley4

Pugs are notorious for being stubborn, Mag was the queen!

The training mantra I’ve learned is to reward the behavior you want.  To make him come to you consistently you have to make that more rewarding than anything else he could be doing.  If he is food motivated use a super delicious treat, maybe something you only use for this command.  If he is more toy driven then use a special toy that maybe he only gets if he comes.  Sometimes moving away from him will make him want to follow you- when he gets to you reward him.  One trainer told me that when Elly follows a command then ‘throw a party’ meaning that make sure she knows she doing what I asked, lots of verbal praise and treats (Elly is very food motivated).

I agree with Bev that short training sessions are good. 

Eventually you can reduce or eliminate the treats or toys if he follows the command all the time. I choose to still reward Elly sometimes, especially if I’m asking her to leave something she really likes (looking for gophers) and she comes right away.

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

Raleigh, NC
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7 September 2020 - 8:41 am
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First, have you given yourself permission to grieve for the loss of Totem’s limb and the future you had imagined with him?  All of your hopes and dreams for this puppy were crushed because of your neighbors unsocialized dogs.  It is normal and healthy to grieve all the could have beens and should have beens. This has been such an intense experience for you when all you wanted was a friendly little dog.  You never asked for a special needs dog and it is so normal to be feeling tired and overwhelmed by this because it is tiring and it is overwhelming.  Please give yourself permission to not be OK.

Second, what does Totem need to know right now?  There are only two critical skills he needs in life right now at his age.  Bite inhibition for people and dogs and he needs to learn to be friendly with all types of people including screaming children, men, people wearing hats, riding bicycles, people who are unsure of dogs, that people are great even if they trim their nails or hug them.  Little dogs tend to be much better at hugging and handling than larger dogs but not always.  Since the amputation was rather invasive, he’s either going to be a pro at being handled by the vet or absolutely hate it.  

Can he mouth your hands and not hurt you?  It sounds like when he meets a dog the right age and size, he has a great time with them and plays really well so I think you’re doing fine there.  The human socialization part is tricky  under the best of circumstances and during COVID it is really, really hard.  I just lost my greyhound Will who was 94 lbs of LOVE and he was so lonely the last few months of his life because almost no one would pet him at the park during covid.  I even got a 9 foot leash so we could keep our 6 feet apart.  Just my immediate neighbors would say hi but we live in a town of 520 people with one stoplight and those hellos were few and far between.

The other skills that he needs to fit into the human world can just happen organically around the house – what to chew, where to eliminate, where to dig, when to bark, how to walk nicely on leash, and how to greet people.  Recalls tend to be tough with scent and sight hounds.  They can be done but the selective hearing is legendary.  They can hear you opening up a bag of cookies from across the house with a football game blaring but somehow just can’t hear you when no one else is home, all the tvs are off, and you’re 10 feet away.  With puppies, lure and reward tends to be the best way to train them.  Super high value treats given out randomly can help train a recall in such an independent dog.  Or train it on leash with lower value treats.

I used to do “Nothing in Life is Free” training.  Eventually I moved to relationship based training.  Relationship based training still has strict rules but we also believe that Plenty in Life is Free.  My dog is allowed to have my affection simply because they’re cute.  I also allow rules to become less and less after a dog hits 10 and if they make it 13, well there are no rules for the dog as long as we’re not violating safety.  All of this backfired with Will because he came into my life when my other dog was over 10.  I’m kind of grateful that he pushed back on the rules cause he didn’t make it to 10 but that’s just me being human and trying to rationalize it. 

One more Titan story. You and your husband do not sound like this family so please don’t think I am comparing you to them.   This was an extreme case and the family continued to stick to extreme choices. Once all the drains came out of Titan and the stitches came out, his family felt so overwhelmingly guilty that this happened to their puppy that they just decided to not train him at all and let him do whatever he wanted to do.  I’m not sure when they had to call in the Behaviorist that I used to work under but their little miracle puppy had become a demon dog.  After a couple of months with the behavorist, it became clear that Titan needed to be rehomed.  One of the other dog traininers who worked under Molly took him in.  He eventually became a good therapy dog….eventually…but he was always testing boundaries with everyone but the people he did pet assisted therapy with.  He actually was a great reading assistance dog and enjoyed having kids read books to him.   He also would allow himself to be dressed up as the Grinch at Christmas and wore a green and red fursuit with pants.  I don’t know if I have any pictures of that now but it was hilarious.  

Totem sounds like a great dog though and you’re doing amazing considering all the hoops you have had to jump through mentally and physically.  Please, please give yourself a pat on the back. 

The Rainbow Bridge



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7 September 2020 - 12:41 pm
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Ingrid, you really need to write a book about all that you’ve learned from your doggies. That is some incredible insight and great storytelling you shared. Thank you!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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7 September 2020 - 3:01 pm
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Wow Ingrid.  Thanks so much for all the time you took to encourage and educate me!  I am reassured.  To answer your question on my other post…vets guess Totem will be around 25 lbs when full grown.  We will see how accurate that is.  

To everyone who has been advising me on Totem’s care…I so appreciate your taking the time.  This community has been a godsend.  And yes, every day is an opportunity to Be More Dog .

Who could have predicted any of this the day we walked into a stranger’s backyard and placed a tiny black pup in my hands, told us it was a female and we could have her for free.  I couldn’t hand her back.  Can you believe it was 2 days later we actually checked and saw she was a he???  Diva quickly became Totem.  And has he ever been a totem for us!

Virginia




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7 September 2020 - 6:53 pm
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Ditto on Ingrid writing a book!!!👍

And Stubborn Pug Maggie….”If it’s that important,  you cone to me!”😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

And the “selective hearing” thing….sooooo true!!😎

Totem thinking “come Totem”  it’s just a suggestion …😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

And the biggest laugh of all…Girl Diva is now Boy Totem..also the luckiest dog in the Planet to be so loved! 🥰🥰🥰.

Okay, I confess.  I have actually done some training  with Frankie and Merry Myrtle.  I’ve trained them to let me have just enough of the bed so I don’t  fall on the floor while sleeping!  And they never fuss or growl if I try to have a tiny corner of the pillow!  Best trained dogs in the world!!!😎

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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