Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A big step for Wall-e and his fears!

Wall-e's classes are held at an indoor/outdoor venue. Although we've dealt with his fears of the indoor arena where his bad experience happened, he was still terrified of the arena/building at this venue. Well, he wasn't really scared of the building, more the commotion and noise made by other dogs inside the building, as well as the sound of the fan.

So before our class last week, I rented the building for 30 minutes. I'd planned to first train Mika inside the building, with Wall-e watching by the door, so that Wall-e could see that being in the building can be really fun. Then, I'd planned to slowly shape Wall-e to step inside the building.

The beginning of our rental went as planned. I just did simple stuff with Mika; running through a tunnel for a game of tug, doing the teeter a couple of times for freeze-dried liver. She was great. Then it was Wall-e's turn. It turns out that since the fan was off during our rental, Wall-e didn't have a problem with going inside at all. He just walked right in! Later, when the fan was turned on for the classes (which were held inside that day), I saw that Wall-e was very hesitant to go inside, so we shaped it. He wasn't as scared as he used to be -- going inside without the fan in our rental had helped that -- and within 5 minutes, he was able to step all the way inside. Within 10 minutes, he was trotting around inside the building with his tail up. Wow!! He wasn't even too nervous when the other dogs made a noise. He flicked his ears back for a second, but soon recovered and went back to being happy. Go Mister Meister!! (I don't even know why I call him that.)

I didn't run him in class that week because of his injury. He wasn't showing lameness when we arrived at the venue, but when it was time to go home, I saw that he was slightly limping again. Too much trotting? He'd also bounced in the air a few times during training, although I tried to prevent him from doing that by rewarding him close to the ground (I don't want to correct his enthusiasm that he shows through bouncing). Bouncing definitely isn't good for his knee!

I checked out what Kathy had written about Breeze's partial CCL tear a couple years ago. It was really informative! It also made me realize that if Wall-e does have a CCL injury (I really don't know if he does, but all of the signs are pointing to it), it's a bit more serious than I was treating it. When I posted about it in the middle of August, I said that I planned to have him back doing simple agility exercises in just 2 weeks. I realize now that 2 weeks is too soon for this kind of injury. After doing lots more reading from lots of different sources, I think that Wall-e can *gradually* get back to doing a bit of agility after a month of room rest, which will be 2 weeks from now. He'll just do one obstacle per session; not a lot of running at all. After 6 weeks of room rest (4 weeks from now), he can start doing sequencing again.

I'm following a home rehabilitation program that I found in the September 2007 issue of Clean Run Magazine. The program is meant for dogs recovering from surgery complete ruptures, so I'm modifying it a bit for Wall-e, since his injury isn't as serious; I'm dividing the days in half. For example, instead of waiting 30 days to do the second set of exercises, I waited 15 days.

I probably made it sound complicated, but basically, right now Wall-e is doing room rest, 10-20 minute walks, and the home rehabilitation program. I don't know if he does have a CCL injury, but I'm playing it safe, just in case.


  1. Im glad Wall-e did so well. Have you taken him to a vet? You know, iliospoas injuries can have the same symptoms as a knee injury. Just a thought. I hope he gets better soon. Diana

  2. WAY TO GO WALL E, sounds like he did fantastic and you are such a great trainer to takee him and work on what you could. We did a LOT of walking with Breeze, and they let her do the sits to stands, making sure she did them slowly, we did some gentle stretching a few weeks later we did the balance ball work, and as Breeze got better if you have places where you can walk in sand that really helps. To tell you the truth the walking,was just sooo huge in helping Breeze, I took her on a couple of long walks a day and kept her quiet most of the rest of the time. if you have an old mattress or a balance ball to work on that will really help after a few weeks ;-). Make sure to go really slow and give that lots of time to heal if you think it is an ACL, those can be BAD and require surgery and get reinjured ;-(.

  3. I took him to our vet back in April when he originally injured his leg, but she didn't see anything wrong. If this happens again, I might take him to a rehabilitator and see what they find. :)

    Thanks a lot for the ideas Kathy :)

  4. Wow, fantastic news about the fan! What a brave little man! Sorry to hear about his injury though. I don't know if you've heard of Dr. Gumley, but he's a fantastic Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, out of Cedarview in Barrhaven. He checked Walter out when his mom was found to have hip dysplasia, and he's diagnosed a friend of mine's dog with an iliopsoas strain. Does an extremely thorough check of the dog and really knows his stuff. Highly recommended for sports-specific stuff that regular vets may not be aware of. (No need to explain what weave poles and a-frames are to Dr. Gumley, lol!) Anyway that was just fyi; sounds like you've got a good plan of action. or plan of rest, should I say!

  5. You have a lot of patience about waiting for Wall-e to heal and helping him with all the right rehab. I feel sure that he will recover soon because of you, Nat!