I remember people saying “the hardest part of this surgery is keeping your dog quiet and I totally underestimated this. We were told “crate rest” for 4 weeks, with only a short walk to potty and this has proven to be extremely difficult. The moment she hits the backyard it is GAME ON! I have begun to take her out once in a while on a prong collar to prevent her from “digging in” with her hind legs to pull. And as soon as she goes potty and we start to move back to the door, she is distracted by EVERYTHING. She picks up every leaf, stick, rock, and bug she can find and will toss them in the air to catch. And as each day goes by, it is getting more and more difficult to keep her quiet. In fact, if we let her go, she would gladly get the zoomies, running and jumping like crazy.
But here are some lessons that we have already learned that may help someone else prepare for this:
· Crate training long before the surgery is an absolute must. Thanks to a puppy gift from a friend, months ago we did the Susan Garrett “Crate Games” and thankfully Tulla will go willingly into her crate and wait patiently to come out. Without these 2 skills, we would be in deep, deep trouble.
· As a puppy, Tulla jumped up on people to great them, and while we were breaking that habit, I wish that I had completely eliminated it before the surgery. We cannot walk near anyone else or she will try to get over to them and jump up.
· We have 2 “puzzle” games (one from a friend and one from my daughter). Between this and trick training (next), Tulla has not eaten out of a bowl since we got home. It isn’t a lot of exercise, but it does give her something “to do”
· After a whining Facebook comment about how I am struggling with the crate rest, a friend sent me a youtube link of a bunch of tricks that you could train to a crate bound/mobility impaired dog. This has been working very well! But because of her reduced exercise, I can’t load her up on treats, so she “works” for her dinner. She has already learned two tricks using her dinner and a clicker.
· I’ve learned that she is more difficult to keep quiet when she is on pain meds. Therefore, we have reduced them away and she is now on only antibiotics and NSAIDs. No more pain meds. This surprises me-I thought the Tramadol would have a sedating effect. It did not.
· The most important thing I’ve learned is that a network is THE most valuable aid that you have. Between puzzle games and hints on tricks, I have had people to whine to when I’m at the end of my rope, people to encourage us both, and people to ask “what do you think about this?”
On last Sunday night, my husband said “well at least we are through the first week” and I said “no, this was only 4 days!” and he said “well it seems like a week already!” This sort of sums up how it is going at our house. Tulla seems to be recovering nicely while we continue to struggle and worry.
Pictures this weekend, I promise!