Tips to keep our 9 month old puppy entertained during physical recovery?
November 19, 2016 12:08 PM   Subscribe

A veterinarian has diagnosed our 9 month old sheltie puppy with a soft tissue injury in her front leg. In addition to a regiment of anti-inflammatory medication, the vet advises against running, jumping, strenuous play, and outdoor walks for the next 2 weeks. How do we keep our pup entertained during this duration?

Like most puppies, our dog is energetic and most fulfilled by physical activity. While she is presently limping, she’ll soon feel better, and will expect playtime and walks to resume. How do we keep her occupied given the limitations placed on her physical activity? We’ve already thought of administering doggie IQ tests (which will test her intellect and problem solving, like this), but are pressed to think of other options.

Here are the requisite photos of Bambi:

The day we adopted her.

A few months later.

And presently.
posted by kiki_s to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dogs find training fun if it's done positively. You could teach her fun tricks using clicker training. They don't to be highly physical ones. Several short 5-10 minute sessions a day is the best way to go & the thinking will help tire her out. If you're stuck for ideas there are lots of videos on YouTube on not only how to clicker train but ideas for tricks. I've taught my dog to pull out a tissue & bring it to me & to get certain toys by name as an idea of things you can teach besides the basic sit stay etc.

You might also want to look into chewing toys. Kongs filled with frozen treats like peanut butter etc. While too much isn't a good idea, freezing it makes it a bit of work for them to get out & keeps them busy for a while.
posted by wwax at 12:44 PM on November 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

She's beautiful! What a bummer that she hurt herself- I hope she heals quickly.

We got through a two week medical delay with my bonkers high-energy dog with a whole bunch of scheduled, deliberate clicker training and some bully sticks and frozen Kongs. Mental activity can be almost as draining for dogs as physical activity. Almost. We got this book of step-by-step puppy tricks (and later the 101 Dog Trick followup), filled up baggies with tinnnnnny bits of string cheese and part of his daily kibble rations and went to town. Maybe start with 3-4 10 minute sessions a day and see where that gets you.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:53 PM on November 19, 2016

My (now dog, formerly puppy) had pano, so we had this exact same treatment regimen (walks were allowed but only directly outside to do his business and then straight back).

What we did is we went to the butcher's and got the most gloriously enormous bone I have ever seen in my life. The bone was half the size of the puppy. It was impossible for him to chew through. We got it for him and set it down and let him excitedly chew it FOREVER. Something about the fact that it's way bigger and cooler than the normal stuff really attracts the attention.

We also did nose games, with liverwurst sausage. You show it to him, then cover his eyes and hide it. He really really loved that one.
posted by corb at 2:16 PM on November 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

Kongs. You can in fact put his entire caloric intake for the day into... Kongs.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:20 PM on November 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Similar to Kongs, our pup loves eating his kibble out of a ball that he has to roll around to get the food out of-like this one. It took him a while to figure out but now he'll push it around for a long time.
posted by clarinet at 3:52 PM on November 19, 2016

My lab has had 3 knee surgeries in the last year and a half with significant down time as a result. If your pup is on pain meds, it could help with some sleepiness. Or, and this happened with ours, she might feel she is all better and really want to go. Something to watch for.

Absolutely yes to chews and frozen Kongs. Bully sticks, big marrow bones and cheese chews worked well for us.

Mental exercises are great. Try stuff like teaching her smaller/bigger big putting different amounts of food in your hands. Also, great time to teach the names of toys etc. Other light click training for tricks that don't cause stress is a great idea. Just remember to keep sessions to 10-15 minutes at a time.

If you do end up doing more treats/chews, remember to reduce food intake some. Kongs can be used to serve a meal.

2 weeks sounds like a long time, but you and your pup will get through it! Crate as needed, lots of cuddles and training exercises.
posted by MandaSayGrr at 5:26 PM on November 19, 2016

When my dog had his neuter surgery as a puppy, it got infected and I was told I had to keep him "quiet" for a week. I straight up told my vet I didn't know how that would happen, and she prescribed a sedative. I felt horrible giving it to him, but it was quite safe and it kept HIM safe.
posted by lunasol at 5:40 PM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Our lab had knee surgery when she was a year old. We spent a lot of time playing stationary catch with her while she was recovering. We would throw her a tennis ball straight to her mouth from a short distance away, and it didn't take her long to get the hang of the game. She'd catch the ball, we'd praise her "good girl!" and ask her to drop the ball. More praise. Lather, rinse, repeat. Also - chew toys, bully sticks and treat-filled Kongs.
posted by netsirk at 6:27 PM on November 19, 2016

I straight up told my vet I didn't know how that would happen, and she prescribed a sedative.

I did the same thing when my dog was recovering from an abdominal surgery. It made dealing with the recovery much easier -- you can only wrangle them so much!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:26 PM on November 19, 2016

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