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How Do You Keep a Dog from Being a Dog?

Author: Paulette Solinski | Date: February 22, 2013

Following my dog’s recent hip surgery, the vets gave us a daunting set of instructions to follow to make sure the hip replacement healed properly.

The most important rule was that there was to be absolutely no walking for one month.

She could go outside to eliminate, but that was it. The first week or so was pretty easy. She was on regular pain medicine which appeared to make her sleepy.  In addition, after major surgery she just didn’t feel like moving – it was a production to get her out the door.

But how quickly the tides turn.  After two weeks, we were left with a 15-month-old dog who wanted to walk, run, even to play with our other dog. At one point my husband said to me, “Can’t you teach her some trick to keep her busy?” My initial reaction was “No, I can’t do training with a dog who can’t move.”

But then I decided to challenge myself to come up with some behaviors that might at least distract her for awhile but that she could do while sitting. I started out by having her practice the “Drop It” command.  I would give her a toy and reward her when she dropped it into my hand. We also worked on Touch. Touch is a focus exercise where you wait for your dog to bump your hand, then reward.  There are a lot of great uses for Touch – it can really help when you want to practice getting your dog to come, for example.

While these behaviors didn’t really keep Sophie from wanting to run (giving her a frozen peanut butter Kong was so much more distracting), it did serve as a reminder that training doesn’t have to be a big production. While setting aside time for training is important, you can also do it while you are  sitting on the couch. Think about this the next time a commercial comes on.

I’d really be interested in hearing your ideas for keeping an invalid dog busy.  Please share here.

On a personal note: thanks to the staff at Ohio State University Companion Animal Hospital. Dr.  Dyce and his team were amazing; they gave us a new dog!


We now have a happy, peaceful home – thanks to AnimalSense.

Diane R. | View Client Testimonials


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