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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Black Dog Update - CUE Surgery Recovery

We are having a happy day here in Colorado. Shyla didn't have a seizure last night - that makes two good nights in a row. My mood seems to rise and fall with her health these days!

Today, we are participating in the Positive Training Blog Hop. This month, I want to tell you about R's progress since his CUE elbow surgery 5 months ago. The overwhelming message is that we are overjoyed. He's like a new dog!!!
And, believe it or not, the maximum benefit from the surgery isn't supposed to be reached until a full year after it. So, he may get even better.

It was a scary decision to make - having CUE surgery on his elbow - because it's a fairly new surgery with a long recovery period. We both felt very worried for the first 3 months or so, fearing that he'd never recover. Now, we just SMILE when we see him walk and sprint without limping. We still see an occasional limp but it's getting less common.

The reason why this is part of the Positive Training Blog Hop is that I've continued to spend at least 30 minutes every day (and often much longer) on his rehab exercises. Without a clicker and knowledge of how to use it to train R to do his exercises, the rehab would have been impossible!!!

I made a video of our newest exercises. We still do many of the older exercises (walking forward/backward with front paws on the peanut, standing on the peanut, high fives, pushups, crawling under NINE chairs!). However, a video of every exercise we do would be way too long.

Most of the exercises that I show in the video focus on side-to-side strength in his left front limb. Some of them are silly looking but important. For example, he stands on the peanut, and I gradually give him less and less support so that he must use his muscles to stay balanced and prevent the peanut from rolling to the side.
The peanut is in a trough so it's stable for this photo

I use a clicker for the newer exercises that he's still learning. My rule is that I click and give him a treat as long as he is *trying* to achieve the goal of the exercise. For example, when he's balancing on a wobble board, he gets rewarded when he is shifting his weight around in a controlled way that will eventually lead to him balancing. If I waited for him to be 100% successful before rewarding him, he'd get much too frustrated to learn.

Without further ado, here's the video that you can watch either here or at Youtube.

Believe it or not, walking or running in water is one of his exercises. We can't do that one with him everyday but we did when we visited a lake recently.
R is thrilled with his new elbow! Happy Saturday!


  1. That is a very big peanut! I'm impressed with your dedication (and his!) to the rehab exercises! Most people aren't great about doing their physical therapy at home! Good work!

  2. R is so lucky to have such a dedicated mom to do his exercises with. You sure have put in a ton of effort and it is paying off. Congrats!

  3. It is so wonderful to see you healing and coming along, R. You and KB make beautiful music together!

  4. Hari Om
    And we are thrilled that you are thrilled, R, which thrills your peeps!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  5. how great to hear such good news!!! Easy is a fan of the giant peanut... he put it on his wishlist for santa... but I have some doubts that it fits through the chimney LOL

  6. so happy for his recovery and doing so well, prayers for Shyla..

  7. We are so happy R is doing so well and that makes us smile! Purrs and prayers to sweet Shyla from all of us.

  8. I bet your vet absolutely LOVES you! Your work with R is exceptional and amazing. I wish I was half the trainer you are. :)

  9. Your dedication to R's rehab is inspirational. We agree, knowing how to use a clicker and how to shape by breaking exercises into tiny chunks is a HUGE help in doing rehab exercises. The videos of R's rehab exercises are super-helpful.

    We share everyone's concern for Shyla's health and hope you have answers soon. Do your best to live in the moment; most of her moments are great.

  10. I admire your dedication to the daily rehab, very much! And I have to share something funny: I was watching your video just now and when you used the clicker several times in rapid succession, Piper woke up! This is even funnier because I don't use an actual clicker - never have, because I am terrible about losing things like that. I make the double-click sound with my tongue on the roof of my mouth. It's the "squirrel alert" sound, that I must have learned as a kid, because i assumed everyone could do it. I was put right on that assumption in a dog training class, when another student was jealous of my "amazing skill" LOL ;)

  11. Very impressive! Congratulations on how well he is doing, and all of the hard work you've put into it. It's so scary to go into these things with so many doubts, not knowing how it's going to turn out. It has to be such a relief to know you made the right decision!
    Sending thoughts and prayers for Shyla.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  12. And of course it takes some work to even get on the wobble/squishy! Clicker training is so wonderful to mold behaviors and communicate with doggies! Excellent work R and mom!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  13. Hours and hours of rehab, you are dedicated. And your last photo, what a super setting to capture the droplets and the ripples. Well done, satisfaction and great delight with R doing so well, and I'm sure all the vet and medical team people must be equally thrilled at the progress. Love the video, what a variety of exercises, another "well done".

  14. paws crossed for another good night for Shyla. We are so happy for R and his great recovery progress
    Mr Baiey, Hazel & Mabel

  15. The wobble board exercise is very interesting!

  16. So glad that the surgery has proved successful! I also thank you for reminding us that trying to do a trick is often enough to earn a treat! Sometimes if we only demand perfection things fail!

  17. You and R,, have done a tremendous job,, together!


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