An Update on Safire
It has been over two years since Safire dislocated her hip and I thought it was time I gave everyone an update. I’m happy to report that she is as happy and as naughty as she was prior to the injury. You can read the earlier parts of the story here and here.
There have however been changes to her life because of this injury and her mature age:
Safire is on a low dose of Previcox (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) each day. She has been on these for about six months because we were having problems with her holding onto her number 2s while we were out during the day and overnight. We adjusted her food and put her on pain meds and the problem has (thankfully) resolved. It’s interesting that this was a sign that she was uncomfortable, even though she was happily running around, jumping, playing with the other puppies, and generally being a dog.
My bed is back up to normal height!! After Safire had surgery, I opted to put my bed on the floor so she wouldn’t be tempted to jump up and down off the bed. It also allowed me to have her crated during recovery right next to me. I was finally brave enough to put my bed back up on its frame, with a set of stairs for access. I have been working on teaching Safire to use the stairs.
I often hear people say that their dog won’t use stairs to get up onto their bed, and to get off. However, in many of these stories people didn’t actually spend time training their dog what the hell this new piece of furniture was!! So Safire had two weeks of being lured up and down the stairs so she actually understood why they are there. She now uses the stairs if she is tired or if there is not enough space to jump up. It gives her options and at this point in time I am happy for her to swap between the two options.
As an aside this is a skill that is MUCH easier to teach to young puppies. I did not lift Pix onto my bed as a puppy, instead I assisted her to walk up the stairs. When I put her down I put her on the stairs and encouraged her to move down. This started the day she came home and wanted up on the bed. It was not repetitive and there were no zoomies on the stairs so it helped her build up muscles. She still uses the stairs regularly at four years of age so I won’t have to teach her as a mature dog what stairs are.
I wanted to work on Safire’s rear end strength, but with work and time constraints it was proving challenging. So Safire now stands on different fitness equipment while she eats from a slow feeder!! She has two meals per day so now reliably does exercises at these times with no additional effort or time spent. Of course when we do have time she gets to do fitness training, but making meal times multi-purpose has drastically improved the compliance in our household significantly. She knows where she gets fed and usually is ready and waiting on her current equipment before her bowl is put down.
Safire spends less time walking on hard surfaces since her injury. This has resulted in some pretty out of control nail care requirements. She is also an interesting case because I can hands down tell you her quicks do NOT recede. So we now have to work on her nails every two weeks to keep them at a reasonable length without needing to take too much off. I ended up buying a Dremel because freshly trimmed nails can be quite sharp and I kept being scratched by her asking for pats.
I also consider her posture as she is having this and other grooming activities performed. She is now encouraged to sit or lay down rather than standing and having to balance for any long period of time. This took some training to convince her to do because she has always preferred to stand. I also make sure that when she is being blow dried that we keep sessions short. I did grab a video of violet (blog to come on her) being blown out so you can see how much energy grooming can use up.
Safire is now 1eleven years old (I can’t believe it!!). Enrichment is very important for more mature pups to keep their brain engaged and to slow brain ageing. She receives regular short training sessions, usually working on targeting behaviours because it doubles up as a proprioception exercise. She also gets daily treat scatters which involve throwing kibble in the long grass and getting the dogs to find and eat the food.
I am so happy with how Safire’s rehab has gone and how she is doing now.