Friday, 17 September 2010

a dog discovers she still has a left hind leg

Eight days out from the cruciate operation (extracapsular) and we were still having to either entice Penny to move, or having to carry her. And yet the receptionist at the physiotherapy clinic said that the sooner she started using the leg the better the recovery was likely to be (within reason, of course). The vet thought she would be touching it to the ground in the next couple of days. But it wasn't happening. Why?

And then I thought of some of the old advice about training puppies and dogs:

  • don't fuss over them;

  • don't keep watching them or they might feel overwhelmed by the attention;

  • if they don't eat their food quickly, take it away;

  • make them come to you, don't go to them;

  • don't give a command or ask for a behaviour if you know they won't do it.

For months, we've been ignoring these suggestions, and Penny has ruled the roost as we worried about what could be wrong with her leg. Training went out the window, along with discipline. And now we've been seeing the result. She pulls us at a three-legged run when she goes out for a toilet break (despite the physio instruction that she should move slowly everywhere she goes) and she waits on her mat for her food to be delivered, and believes it should be pushed right next to her mouth if it's more than ten centimetres away from her.

So... it was time yesterday for tough love. Luckily I had a strong-minded friend visiting, who helped me stick to my resolve.

I put a biscuit on the kitchen floor, in a place Penny could see from her comfortable place near the front door.

I waited.

The crying began softly at first. Then louder. Then louder. I might be anthropomorphising, but I think it said, 'Oh, I'm a poor little hungry puppy with a sore leg and it would be a long painful journey to the kitchen to get that delicious-looking biscuit. Won't someone bring it to me?"

We drank our cups of tea and stayed firm.

And then... click, clicketty, hoppitty click. Penny hurried past on three legs, occasionally touching her left rear leg to the ground. She had remembered that she does have four legs and she can move around.If the motivation is strong enough.

Those biscuits can work miracles. (As I've discovered in the past.)


Maggie and Mitch said...

Our mom is a woos! No way could she listen to us cry or watch us starve! We have her trained to deliver anything we want or need lickity split!
The black swans were pinioned (some flight feathers were removed soon after birth) and couldn't fly. They were gorgeous!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

Two Pitties in the City said...

Isn't it funny how our dogs train us to do things for them? I guess if she really wants it, she can do it.

parlance said...

Maggie and Mitch, it's sad you lost your beautiful black swans.
I'm glad you've got your mum trained so well. It's taken hundreds of thousands of years, but you dogs have us apes really organised to look after you.

parlance said...

Two Pitties, as I said to Maggie and Mitch, it's taken quite a few hundred centuries, but you've got us humans trained.