Tag Archives: training

Pets At the Vets – ACL Recovery – Part 6

22 Sep

On the morning of Sept 18th, Casey slipped a few paces ahead of me and leapt onto one of the elevated backyard planters. Damn. While only fifteen inches that was too high. Per medical notes, I lifted her down. She was not to jump down herself thereby putting additional stress on the bones we hoped were healing. We would have lots of “old” habits to break during her recover. All of us. That was one of my jobs. Not to let her risk the bone mending progress by preventing her from jumping up — or down. Retraining her to not jump gleefully onto one of the beds or the sofa, as she was used to doing. Hopefully I had not failed to watch my charge with her one quick leap. Casey had been such a compliant dog til now. Actually she still was. It was I who had let my guard down, if even for a moment.
Actually, Casey was a wonderfully good, well-mannered dog. To acknowledge why I must give kudo’s to Sue Myles (www.suemyles.com) of Orange County whose 36-years of cognitive “positive” reinforcement dog obedience experience certainly paid off for us with one of the best listening and communicative dogs we’d ever had the pleasure of sharing our lives with.  When we spoke to Casey, she would often cock her head one way as if trying to assimilate exactly what we were saying, weighing the pros and cons, and deciding to do it our way.
We had heard that Sue Myles was the go-to gal for all types of doggie obedience work. And everyone was right. Immediately upon finding ourselves in the middle of one of Sue’s beginning classes, Casey responded well. She was a fast learner. Under Sue’s watchful eye, all dogs were quick learners… as were their human parents. Sue was humorous and entertaining in her own right, but also very cognizant of the inherent dangers which could wait in bringing different breeds together, and made a point of letting us know that she grouped her classes accordingly. Immediately everyone felt secure being under Sue’s watchful eyes. And learn they did.

I see now that it is we, our pet friends, who must learn to read our four-legged pals so much better than we do. Sue made it seem eminently possible and not at all too formidable. And in short order she had all of our/her dogs doing things no one would have believed before class.

So now, after about four obedience semesters and having moved on to “Agility” with Sue’s friends Kevin and Erin, Casey was a model student. The timing was perfect. Casey was an “A++” student. So was Cindy. I mention this only in the context of Casey’s recovery. Since I’ve been with Casey 24/7, I’ve witnessed her inherent trust in both the commands she knows from us and her ability to appreciate “long down stays” and “go to your mat” have helped her greatly. She still gets to use her mind, even though her body is still enclosed in the exercise pen.
It’s hard to believe that she only had the TPLO surgery fifteen days ago. With her stitches out yesterday, Casey is now free to lick. And, we suspect, that’s just what’s she going to be up to as the new fur grows back.
Thank you, Sue Myles, for having created the opportunity for Casey and us to learn a “long down stay.” Already, this is holding her in good stead. While she probably does mind lying in the exercise pen for long periods of time, she knows that she is pleasing us. And, just to add a dollop of anthropomorphism in, I think she knows that we have given her the chance to walk, run, and do her beloved agility again.  It’s going to be up to us, the collective us, for the next few weeks. The two bones must grow together for her to heal properly. #