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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Our Black Dog's Rehab from CUE surgery - Week 16 Update

Thanks to all of you for your kind comments about yesterday's unfortunate incident. It appears that the sheriff's department isn't planning to follow up on it, and now the evidence is gone. So, we have to tackle the larger problem - the destructive vagrants who are inhabiting our forests. I'm okay - although I've been in a terrible mood ever since it happened.

For today, I want to show you a video of R's rehabilitation from his CUE surgery 16 weeks ago. I don't show his gait in the video because it is so variable. It can look perfect, and it can look like he has a huge limp. Usually, he looks really good in the morning, and his limp gets worse as the day goes on. Our vet says that pattern suggests that muscle fatigue is one reason for the limp.

I still work with him for a long time every day on a series of exercises to strengthen the muscles in his left forelimb (the limb that had surgery). The exercises are getting pretty advanced so I am thankful that I've learned how to clicker train a dog. It's made these exercises possible!!!

My favorite exercise is the first one on the video. He crawls under a long train of chairs to get to a handful of kibble that I placed under the last chair. Then he crawls backward to the start of the train, and he gets a jackpot of treats from me there. We started this exercise with just one chair, and I've added about a chair per week! The hardest part is the "reverse crawling" because he's tempted to bail out from the side of the chairs.

You'll notice in the video that he vocalizes in way that sounds like a growl at times. He makes that noise when an exercise is either physically or mentally hard for him. It's not a growl at me!!!

Enjoy the video, either here or at Youtube.

Although the amount of time I spend rehabbing him sometimes weighs on me, I have truly loved teaching him how to do all these exercises. He and I have become closer through this training process because we both enjoy it. I also love seeing the fruits of our labor when he can run beautifully like in this photo from a couple of weeks ago.

The exercises in the video were for weeks 12-16. Now we are starting new ones, mainly focusing on side-to-side strength and dexterity. He now has a wobble board. I'm training him to balance it by clicking and treating whenever he happens to get it balanced. He's already getting the idea, just three days into our training. The next video should be fun!

If anyone ever reads this because you are considering CUE surgery for your dog - realize that you will have to work hard with your dog to help make the surgery a success. R is already much better than before the surgery but he's not 100% yet. The research says he'll reach 100% around a year after the surgery.

The exercises are tiring - this was the look that he gave me when I woke him up from his post-exercise nap. What a soft-eyed and sleepy boy!
Thanks for watching and reading!


  1. What a great pair you two are. Most orthopedists would be totally delighted if their patients were half as compliant with exercises. Or willing to put forth the taxing effort to maximize the success of the surgery. KUDOS to all of you. It is an inspiration to see your dedication, especially in light of your migraines and spinal pain. And R's willingness to do this to please you.

  2. Your dedication is more than 1000%!!! Those time consuming exercises. the talking to and encouraging, and then the video taking and editing. I think you need a MDR, that is a Master's degree in Dog Rehab!!! He is doing so well, but as you wrote, a long term project. Are you ending summertime up there? I had to laugh yesterday, when Hugh was in hospital in 2012, we met a Dr from Lafayette, Co, and this week my turn to meet one from Rockingham, N Carolina. Our local hospital seems to have the best. ALL OK.

  3. Wow! You are an AMAZING team! Great work, R and KB☺

  4. he looks tired but beautiful and i love the running pic.. so glad he is better. about those vagrants, they could be dangerous to you also, so be careful out there...

  5. Your dedication to his rehab exercises is astounding! Wow, just wow. It is also interesting to see Shyla calmly lying in the background. My guys need to be separated for intricate training as they both want the treats. Jimmy is especially bad and hates to see Wilson be worked with.

  6. Hari Om
    Outstanding work - it's inspiring old arthritic me, never mind any dogster thinking of CUE!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  7. We are so happy you are doing so good R, even though it is very hard work.

  8. Your rehab work and dedication is inspiring, KB. Not many people would have your commitment day-to-day, I think. It's really wonderful that you are sharing the whole process to get the information out there for others :)
    R is such a champ! I especially love the chairs. There was a time when Piper decided to ALWAYS GALLOP through the house, getting a running start coming in the back door and then loping through the galley kitchen. It's a tiny house, and Piper is not a tiny dog, so this was not ideal! I taught her to always "walk" when she comes through the door (which she still tests me on after many years) but to make things more fun I also taught her to stop and "creep" along the narrow kitchen floor for a few feet. Wish I'd thought of using chairs like you do with R!

  9. What excellent work. I know how hard it must be to stick to it...especially when he's grumbling all the time ;)
    It sure pays off though doesn't it - I bet he's happy to be out there romping again.

  10. First I am totally impressed with the exercises R will do. I did also love that sometimes he sounds like he is complaining. It is amazing to me the time you have put into his rehab. I think it is more than most people would put into their own. It is truly amazing and inspiring!

  11. You and R are an amazing team!!! We think it would be very difficult to find many others, pups and peeps alike, who would be patient and determined enough to go through all of this hard work. Kudso to both of you.

  12. We would dare to say that your commitment to everything after the surgery is what made this such a success!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  13. I've said it before but it bears repeating that R is so lucky to have you for his mom to be willing and able to work with him so well. I doubt many of your readers would be able to accomplish what you both have done during this rehab. I know I would probably fail to do half as well if either of ours needed such work.

  14. R, you and KB have worked hard. It DOES look like fun!

  15. Yes KB,,, you and R have worked so hard, and Shyla has been soo patient!

  16. Awesome to see all your effort pay off in that sweet black dog's joy. Beautiful shot at the end, I just want to kiss him on the snoot!

  17. You know I LOVE these videos, and I am glad you confirmed what I said in my email (I hope you received it?) - his knowledge of training and the clicker has helped immensely. I, like Taryn, noticed Shyla being so relaxed in the background without gunning for some treats too! Good work everyone.


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