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A little background -

Tessa had shoulder and elbow surgery about 2 weeks ago and will be in rehab for about another 12 weeks. I need to find games that do not require a lot of physical activity to play with her. She is limited on walking and there is absolutely no running or jumping allowed and I don't want that wonderful brain of hers turning to mush.

I have started playing a scent game with her using socks (putting food in one and asking her to find the sock for me) and the PT suggested teaching her to backup onto a box to make her more aware of her rear end. This will exercise her hindquarters for her w/o putting stress on the shoulders.

Do any of you have any suggestions for other ways to keep her mentally busy with out physical stress to the shoulders?

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!
 

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How about teaching her stuff like the dumbell retrieve with the clicker? There are lots of fun things you could teach using that.


Good luck with recovery. I have been in your shoes (hips) and it is not easy.
 

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Hi Chruby -

I am little hesitant to do retrieves because Tessa only has 3 speeds - Faster, Faster and stopped...


I have been working on the slow part but when she gets overly excited, it goes out the window!
 

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You can work on a stationary retrieve - mark/reward looking at the dumbbell, then reaching for it, then taking it, then holding it, then walking with it, then picking it up, etc. She may already have a nice natural retrieve instinct but this kind of training really helps build a very solid retrieve.

The scent games are fun and you can expand them to having her find the sock someplace in a room (hide it before she goes in) IF she doesn't tear around trying to find it. Once she figures out that she's got to have her nose well-engaged she would hopefully slow down to let the nose work!

You can also work on a number of tricks, just to keep her mind working. Teach her to point her nose at the ceiling on command, shake her head "no", lay her chin in your hand and leave it there, speak/bark (one quiet, one loud), bring various items by name, touch a target with her paw, etc. And you could work on heel position too - that can be done slowly, with lots of reinforcement for being in position. All the turns can be taught too, as can backing up in heel position. By the time she's out of rehab she could be ready for rally obedience!

It's so tough keeping an active dog inactive for months - I feel for you! But this experience will also expand YOUR training ability as you search for things you can do with her. I'd be interested in hearing how it goes!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
 
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