Friday, October 22, 2010

The Leash Project

Coulee has been randomly, and sporadically limping or hitching on and off now for a few weeks.  I'm not sure what it is.  We've found her worrying at one of her paws, but can't find anything there.  At one point she yelped, held up her paw and wouldn't put it down for a few hours but then she was instantly fine again.  A week or so went by before we saw any hint or soreness again.

So I'm trying two things.

First up - the dreaded leash walks.

I hate leash walks.  Hate, hate, hate them.  I find them mind-numbingly boring. Coulee and Lacey both feed off each other and become lunging, barking maniacs at everything they see, so I have to walk them separately which doubles my boredom.  While together they are a nightmare, alone they are pretty decent on the leash.  Although I did have a mini-meltdown on Lacey today.

I must have told her 50 times in 5 minutes to stop pulling on the leash and every 3 seconds she would be out at the end again.  She isn't stupid.  She knows what I want.  It only takes a "uh uh" or "ehem" to get her back in place.  But I had to "ehem" 50 times in 5 minutes.  If I kept up a verbal diarrhea of "good girl, what a good girl, that's it" she wouldn't pull, but the moment I stopped talking she be out in front again.  Oh and I was rewarding the good behaviour with cookies too.  She couldn't hold a heel for 5 seconds, never mind 5 minutes. Hell, I would have settled for 20 seconds! I'm not sure what she wasn't getting - or maybe it was me that wasn't getting it. I finally gave her a stern jerk on the leash.  She came running for a hug, which I dropped to the ground to receive, and we were fine from then on in.  Apparently she didn't think I really meant it until then and I didn't know what else to do aside from unclipping the leash and letting her just walk sweetly behind me like she does at the dog park.  Seriously, she has the best off leash heel ever - without even asking, she just falls in place behind us on the path and putters along in our wake. I've never had her do this while wearing a leash.

Coulee was good today. She also has a habit of walking at the end of the leash with just a slight tug the entire time.  Seriously drives me batty.  She isn't going any faster way out in front than she is at my side, yet she insists on doing it, even though the nose harness can't be comfortable.  A couple of sudden halts were all that were needed to get her to loosen up the leash a bit though.  That and cookies every time she came back to heel without me asking.

My other complaint about leash walks is that the girls are still feeling rambunctious!  30 minutes on a leash at a brisk pace is a far cry from 45+ minutes of full out running (well Coulee is running, Lacey is usually just puttering) at the dog park.

My goal is to do leash walks for two weeks before heading back to the park.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it.  I'm only at day 2.  On the bright side, I'm walking faster and farther than I normally do!  It is amazing how much a camera slows you down.

My other limping "fix" is to get Coulee started on Glucosamine.  It can't hurt and for some dogs it seems to do wonders.  Hopefully we'll see some improvements. It will be hard to tell though as she might just be in between limping episodes.  That and I don't know what, if anything is actually wrong.


Stephanie V said...

Glucosamine Chondritin + MSM is my miracle 'drug' for my knee. Arthritis makes that old skating injury flare up intermittently - very rarely recently. And, it is just like Coulee says: Ouch! Can't stand on the leg! Advil helps with the inflammation, too. What does the vet say?

Paws on the Run said...

Haven't actually chatted to the vet. I would take her in if I knew she'd limp while there, but it never seems to last long.

I'm not worried about giving her glucosamine though as it is very commonly given to older dogs that have arthritis or other joint issues. Sandy, my pharmacist friend, has a dog on it as well to help with her hip dysplasia so she is going to send me some info about the best kind for dogs.

Karen said...

Those on again, off again limps can be sooo frustrating. Kind of like taking your car to the mechanic 'well every once in a while the car just does 'this', which of course it never does when the mechanic is in it.
Just a thought, have you checked her toenails. Sometimes one gets split, and only if they hit it a certain way, does it hurt. That happened to us once, and of course when you are at the vet, you are thinking how much money you could have saved if you had found that simple thing yourself.

Oh, and I can relate to the leash walks with multiple dogs:(

Megan said...

I've been reading your blog for a while but I don't think I've ever commented.

Anyway--not to scare you but my dog's on again off again limp turned out to be a strained/sprained right quadricep muscle. Rest made it appear better then she'd re-injure it. That said, we've been using Dasuquin with MSM for almost two years now and it's a wonderful product. Best part is that it's regulated so what they say is in there... is in there!

Best of luck on solving Coulee's mystery lameness.

Taryn said...

Have you had Coulee tested for tick-borne diseases? Lyme especially presents with intermittant limping.....