Things to do for dogs (on restricted exercise)

Discussion in 'Labrador health' started by JulieT, May 1, 2015.

  1. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I wonder if, for those of us with young dogs on restricted exercise, we might have an "activity" thread. Just videos and pics of the things we invent to entertain our young hooligans/darlings during the nightmare following the vet saying "just keep him/her quiet, no running, no jumping, no stairs or 2/6/12/16 weeks", Then, when we have new people, there is a collection of ideas, with illustrations, and also it might give us some motivation to finish that clicker training walk backwards/cross paws/identify an object or whatever slightly tedious thing we are using to fill the time.

    Anyone welcome to contribute, of course, your dog doesn't have to be on rest - but whatever you put forward would be most helpful if it is suitable for injured dogs (so 200m blind retrieves are not all that helpful) :)
     
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  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    FIND IT

    I thought I'd start us off with something very, very simple that anyone can train - find it. It's my "go to" activity when I can't be bothered to think of anything new to do but it's useful - I can make 20g of kibble last 20 minutes in a find it game.

    This is Charlie in the garden searching out a single small biscuit. He's good at this now, and I need to make it more difficult than this for him really, but you get the idea. It can be played with toys too, but I don't because that's too exciting for Charlie and he is always tempted to run around with the toy. If it's just a small dry biscuit he is looking for, he stays quiet.

    [Click picture for vid]

    [​IMG]IMG_1013 (1) by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    If you play find it outside, it's only suitable for injured dogs who will remain "under orders" as Charlie will now in the garden, and not take off on a mad hoolie (Charlie has not yet had his op, so he is still off lead in the garden), but you could probably do this on a long lead outside too. It works just as well inside, in a small carpeted room so long as you can make it difficult enough to find each bit of kibble - you can scatter towels and mats around on the floor to give you places to hide the kibble and you can make it harder by using boxes (but Charlie finds that exciting and can start jumping around with the boxes if I'm not careful).

    We started off when Charlie was a pup just tossing a bit of kibble in the kitchen with the cue "find it" just before he started looking, and built it up from there making it harder and harder to find the bit of kibble.
     
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  3. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    CROSS PAWS

    Clicker training cross paws is good for dogs with rear leg injuries. But, you do have to think about the injury and which front paw they can move. Charlie has a cruciate injury, so I want him to be able to lie down with his injured leg comfy, and not make him lie with it bent if he doesn't want to do this. His rear left is injured, so I am only working on him moving his front left paw (because to ask him to take the weight off his front right paw elbow would mean he would have to tuck his left rear leg under him).

    The first steps are to get a dog to target something with his paw, then gradually move the target across his other paw. Then put that on cue and repeat with other paw.

    This is step one with Charlie (I've now got this nearly on cue, but I'm going to stop there for now because I don't want to work on his right paw as explained above:(

    [click picture for vid]

    [​IMG]cross paws step one by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    And this is how you are supposed to do it: :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GlctAeBv44
     
  4. Naya

    Naya Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Things to do for dogs (on restricted exercise)

    After Harley's spay, I brought a game from pets at home where they have to spin and lift flaps to find the treats. She loved it and would happily play with it for 20-25 mins.
    I play find it by using small treats and hiding them under her blankets, under toys, in toys and anywhere else. She loves this game.
    Just a few suggestions
     
  5. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    Re: Things to do for dogs (on restricted exercise)

    I invested in a couple of NiƱa Ottosson Activity toys for dogs for Juno just after her surgery. She had great fun, and still does, finding the treats hidden within the games. As she had one foreleg bandaged for two weeks she could stand and use her nose to move things or pick things up Nd finding treats is always good fun :D
     
  6. JulieT

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    OBJECT RECOGNITION

    This is one I've just started, so I hope I'll be motivated to finish it by next weekend - I'll try to post the items on cue by next Saturday, that'll give me something to aim for.

    So, this one should be good for most dogs that can move about a bit, because you can change it to suit the injury - you can have the dog indicate the object any way you want: nose touch, paw target, standing on it or by it without touching it. And there is no sitting involved, which is good because repetitive getting up and down isn't great for lots of injuries. It would be easy to do this with your dog on a lead if that were necessary to guard against a dog getting over excited.

    First, get a few objects - I've chosen a glove, a pot and a cloth. Then you get the dog to target one object and put that action on cue "glove" "pot" or "cloth". Then you introduce more than one object at a time and so on.

    Here is Charlie on his first clicker session targeting the glove. If your dog isn't regularly clicker trained it might take a couple of sessions to get to this point but Charlie knows the game - he knows there will be a reward for interacting with the prop. I don't want him to pick it up, so there is no reward for that. I want him to put his paw on it, but I don't care how. This isn't ready to go on cue yet, and I won't put it on cue until he stops putting his head down but only paw targets.

    [click picture for vid]

    [​IMG]name object by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    Edit: and here is Charlie doing his shaping to the pot:

    [click picture for vid]

    [​IMG]shaping to paw target pot by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    And here we are with three objects down, plus going to mat as well (needed to turn it into a party trick:(

    [​IMG]object rec 2 by Julie T, on Flickr

    And here is how you are supposed to do it: :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cDzgEa4Ado
     
  7. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    GO UP AND DOWN A RAMP SLOWLY

    This is one to train pre surgery - so on restricted exercise while you wait for the op. Too late post op, really.

    if you just have to get up and down one step, it's no big deal anyway. But if you need your dog to use a steep ramp, in and out of cars etc. it definitely helps to train it.

    Charlie is not a fan of ramps - at all. He particularly disliked the surface (painted wood) of a ramp I had installed for the steps I have to the garden. So it helped - a lot - to cover the ramp with his towels. He loves his towels, does Charlie ::) he sits on them very firmly if he thinks I'm thinking about washing them. ;D ;D ;D

    If you google "train a dog to use a ramp" you can find lots of vid of dogs being trained to trot up and down car ramps - the thing is, if your dog is injured, you want your dog to walk up and down the ramp slowly and on lead.

    I adopted a very simple strategy - cover the ramp in his favourite towels (which he wants to stand or sit on as soon as I put them down - because I use them to cover his mats, for ease of washing, and going to his mat has been heavily reinforced), put bits of cheese in a line, and tell him "take it". Here he is enjoying his towels and cheese:

    [click picture for vid]:

    [​IMG]Ramp lure by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    Once he was very happy on the ramp, off we go and click and treat at the top and bottom. He is not quite slow enough, so I'll do a bit more training before the op, getting him to pause every step for a C&T. I will also show the vid to the surgeon and ask whether this length and steepness of ramp is going to be ok for him post op.

    [click picture for vid]:

    [​IMG]ramp walk by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    For info, here is how you would do it if you want your dog to trot up and down a car ramp (this is far too fast for an injured dog though).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeqrCtN8GVM
     
  8. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    KONGS

    So when you have a dog with seriously not enough to do, you need to go into mass kong production. This is on a different scale from the 3 or 4 kongs you need to get through the puppy stage...

    Although there are other chews - antlers, nylabones etc - and many people will swear these are fine for their dog, they do carry risk of damage to teeth. And, if your dog is already poorly, the last thing you want to risk is a broken tooth (what a nightmare that would be).

    I don't think you can really "waste" food by just handing it out for free when you have a bored dog - not when otherwise you could turn a meal into a hour's entertainment. I pack up just about all of Charlie's food in kongs or use it for clicker training. I buy a wet version of his normal food and use this to stuff and then freeze kongs, although soaking kibble works fine too (I occasionally buy a trout and potato "mousse" to use in kongs, but this is more for me to think I'm doing something nice for him, he is perfectly happy with wet dog food). I don't bother with using yoghurt or fruit (not at all good for teeth either, too much sugar) or things like that, I just use his normal food allowance although do put a few treats in for extra challenge. This keeps his diet balanced and because I know how many kongs makes up his daily intake, means I don't overfeed him.

    The kong "goodie bones" are useful because they don't take much food at all but are a bit harder than a normal kong to extract the food.

    If you are feeding food wet in kongs, then you need to clean your dog's teeth (you should be doing that anyway, of course) but that's for another thread...

    [​IMG]kongs by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr
     
  9. JulieT

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    TEETH CLEANING

    If you are stuck for an activity to do with a dog on rest - teeth cleaning is the thing. It involves training them to be still, and get used to you putting your finger in their mouth - even with serious injuries, this is a suitable thing to do with a dog. Err....maybe not if they have been eating batteries, but apart from that....:rolleyes:

    We had a little teeth cleaning challenge on the forum last year, and so there are lots of great videos and tips on the forum.

    This is one of the very best things to do - it is incredibly useful and if you start cleaning your dog's teeth now, you'll see the benefits for years.

    I tried all sorts of brushes etc, but the microfibre finger cloths are the best (but watch your fingers in between those back monster teeth!).

    I'm not going to post my own vids here, because you may as well see the masters at work.....

    Rachael and Obi:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/93962102@N05/14290207431/

    Angela and Dex:

    [The following is a cut and paste of Angela's (Dexter) post from a while ago - the challenges of the new forum software prevents me from doing a quote!]

    First of all,here is my equipment......

    [​IMG]
    image by dexterpops02, on Flickr

    Yep,our method involves him chomping on one tooth brush while I clean with the other,it isn't as bad as it looks ,we've been using these tooth brushes for about a month and he doesn't eat the plastic he chews,he spits out for a kibble! :D ::)

    You no longer see the blue rubber tip I use in the first clip...the little finger 'sock ' is so much more efficient for moving right round all his teeth and gums.

    He was about 7/8 months in this clip..I'd done it everyday since he arrived bit I'm not efficient,making it still a bit of a game and we lost a tooth brush a day pretty much!

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/970669...2558/lightbox/

    I had to trim the bit near the end where he nips me :eek: ;D to get the vid to accept on Flickr.....oh,and he still had his lovely full tail :'( :'(...I forget unless I look back at old clips or photos ::)

    This was is this morning...again I couldn't upload the full 1 min 27 ( praise be you all say! :eek:) I've trimmed it,I only show you me doing one side so that tells you that really the whole process takes about 2/2.5 mins....I think god was looking after you all making flickr slow....it's not that exciting watching a dog get his teeth cleaned ;D


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/97066992@N03/14283521676/
    At the end he get a whole sea biscuit,makes that lovely fresh breath all nice and doggie again! ;D
     
  10. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    TREATS

    With a dog post surgery, food is at a premium - a dog on restricted exercise needs less food, and so many activities to entertain your dog need food. So it's got to be used carefully.

    Finding tiny treats is the thing. Often recommended on the forum are barkers and barkers training treats at 0.1 kcal per small treat:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Barker-Dog-T...e+liver+treats

    These seem very good - and not all that small, Charlie loves them. Certainly fine for clicker training in the house. Not sure they would cut it as a very high value treat outside, but perfectly ok for clicker training.

    [​IMG]bb2 by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    A bored dog, who enjoys clicker training, doesn't need very high value treats. I want Charlie to have as much of his "normal" food as possible (I don't want him to be getting a lot of calories from things that lack nutrition) so I experimented with ways to cut up kibble and seabiscuits. I have never before found an effective way to cut up sea biscuits, but I've found that my OH's newly bought and super sharp serrated steak knives are absolutely ideal. They make a sort of mini saw that allows sea biscuits to be divided neatly into 4 or even 6....

    [​IMG]sn by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr
     
  11. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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  12. Pilatelover

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    Thanks for starting this topic Julie T, I have found it invaluable with Mabel. I have just started shaping to paw target which she is finding very challenging and progress will be slow which is brilliant as it will keep her challenged for ages and the good thing is she loves it. About 6 weeks ago I introduced "let's play a game" when I was about to start training now when I say it she comes racing into the utility looking at her box which contains all her training paraphernalia. I love the enthusiasm and keenness even the silliness if I'm honest at the sheer joy of working together
     
  13. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Thanks for the feedback! I've been quietly beavering away on the thread so glad it's helpful!
     
  14. Mylestogo

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    I love this thread Julie! Been trying a lot of these things with Myles. Even if not on restriction, great ideas for indoor things when it's just too hot to do much outside.

    I'm just sad we can't get Fish4dogs here in the US. Seabiscuits look yummy (says Myles, mommy thinks they look smelly and gross). Can't get Barker and Barker either but I've been using these at only 1 1/2 cal.

    http://www.amazon.com/Pet-Botanics-T.../dp/B00AZTBOQK
     
  15. Pilatelover

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    It took Mabel 1.5 hours to eat her tea tonight. She had half quantity in an activity toy and the other half in frozen kongs . I have also played find it with tiny lumps of cheese. Great fun.
     
  16. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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  17. JulieT

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    HYDROTHERAPY

    Hydro can be a godsend. A recovering dog can often exercise more intensely in water post surgery (after stiches have healed) than on land - water reduces weight bearing which can be very helpful, particularly for a dog with problematic joints.

    The first thing to say about hydrotherapy is that because someone has a doggie swimming pool and a wet suit does not make them skilled in rehabilitation or qualified to say what is best for your dog. Which might not matter if your vet or surgeon is happy for your dog to swim freely - swimming is great exercise, and swimming in warm water can be soothing and fun (particularly if you can swim with your dog) and very controlled compared to swimming in a river or lake.

    But, if your dog needs proper hydrotherapy, look for someone that is properly qualified. There is an association in the UK, the NARCH, national association of registered canine hydrotherapists. As far as my own experience goes, member of this association can still fall into the "pool and a wetsuit" bucket but may at least have some training - better than nothing, I reckon.

    If you look at the rehab facilities of the major vet schools - eg London Vet School - it will give you an idea of the kind of professional facilities, skills, and training that you should be looking for (if your dog needs it).

    Free swimming can be excellent, but it's not suitable for all dogs. Lots of joints in recovery are better off being stabilised on a water treadmill rather than experiencing side to side forces in water. So it's best to look very critically at what you are being offered. Ask hard questions, of both your vet (who, remember, is not necessarily skilled in rehabilitation) and therapist, to make sure that the treatment or exercise offered is suitable for your dog.

    I'm very lucky, and live within striking distance of a great centre that employs qualified vets and canine physios, and provides great facilities and tools for measuring gait and progress to help with designing a suitable hydro programme. Which for Charlie is the water treadmill, not free swimming. And not until 7 weeks post op for cruciate surgery.

    Charlie has no fewer than 3 therapists with him during his water treadmill sessions. He has someone kneeling in the treadmill behind him to make sure he is putting weight evenly on both legs. And he has a therapist each side to keep him straight and control his forward and back motion. Plus, someone monitors his gait through the glass and keeps records of how he is doing on the exercises to calibrate the overall exercise programme.

    He spent time as an in-patient at this centre, and so he is a bit of a pro in the treadmill. Very calm and he strides out very well. Hydro days are a bit of a relief because he settles (for a bit, anyway) like he has had a decent amount of exercise....

    Here he is on a break between sessions on the treadmill:

    [click pic for vid]

    [​IMG]treadmill by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr
     
  18. JulieT

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    CALM CHIN REST

    I reckon this one would be ok for just about any dog that can stand, so a really good one for recovering dogs I think.

    I am always amazed that some people have dogs that stand still. My own dog doesn't do "stand still". If anyone goes to touch him he thinks "yay! play time!". It's got a bit embarrassing at the vet's now, a 2.5 year old dog that immediately rolls on his back, squirms and paws at hands like an 8 week old puppy. :rolleyes: Occasionally, he sits down very firmly with an expression that says "look, I'm a bit sick of people messing with my rear legs now" and I can have a job to keep him standing.

    After radiator-knocked-off-wall-gate (and general wreaking of physio lady's office), I also need a calm cue to get him to come to me calmly and stay still. I don't have any problem getting my dog to come to me, it's just I've never got him to come to me slowly or calmly. My hand touch and recall cues are fast, high energy cues that have him bouncing around like Tigger.

    A calm chin rest seems the thing. So this is where the dog puts his chin in your hand and keeps his attention on you. I'll proof it against other people touching the rest of his body. Hopefully....

    It is trained without a clicker, so as not to associate it with high energy exercises (Charlie definitely thinks "yippee" when the clicker comes out).

    He is not all that thrilled by having my hand under his chin. I don't think he dislikes it all that much, but he does move his head away a little, so I perhaps need to back up a bit.

    [click pic for vid]

    [​IMG]chin rest2 by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr

    Here is how you are supposed to do it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHRhiwqrYRg
     
  19. claireng

    claireng Registered Users

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    How restricted activity can impact your relationship - a reflection :)

    Thank you for all these ideas I found them so useful when 6 month Hemi (chocolate Lab) cut her paw pad badly - stitches and bandages for 2 weeks then gentle exercise for a couple of weeks. Now 7 month Hemi has sprained leg and here we are again on restricted. !! @&*

    I am posting right now because I realise I need to re-focus on positive. There is no denying trying to keep a lively pup quiet is a challenge. I noticed today I was becoming grumpy in my relationship with her - in the sense that I am focusing on preventing her using her leg too much and this equals nagging. Goes against the positive reinforcement path we have been on and the rapport we have established. It's building frustration for me and her. So, I will have a deep breath and structure her 'out of crate' time more creatively - and make it a positive experience for us both.

    I have been feeding her food frozen in kongs - a great resource - and feeding her 3 times a day still to provide activity. Loads of clicker games. Massage time. Follow me around the house on lead time. Help carry the recycling / washing. Learnt 'on your mat'. I have mixed up crate and non-crate time for different periods of time. Trips out in the car - just to sit and watch people/ dogs walk past. Lots of reinforcement of quiet actions ! If I wear the lead I am ready to clip it to her harness and re-direct when she gets excited.

    Of course she feels fine in herself, full of life. Just a question of channelling that full of life-ness into fun yet suitable activities . And perhaps what I have learned is to keep focus on enjoying that full of lifeness rather than on the 'problem' and the winces and grimaces at every ( inevitable ) over-use !

    This has been a helpful outlet for me- so thanks :) x
     
  20. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Hello, and a warm welcome to the forum - having a young dog on restricted exercise can be quite testing, for sure. There were times when I absolutely felt like I was going to go nuts (and my dog probably felt exactly the same!).

    Glad some of the ideas help. :) I hope Hemi's sprain clears up and you are back to normal soon.
     

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