I have been so busy lately that I’ve had no time to post. Hopefully I’ll get caught up this weekend. But for now, just a little anecdote…
A few days ago, I walked into the kitchen to find Ross standing up at the counter, finishing off my dinner. Now most people would likely be furious, but I actually went over and gave him a big “good boy!!!” complete with a cuddle and then putting the plate on the floor for him to finish.
Why would I reward my dog so highly for a behaviour that I am clearly going to regret reinforcing? Because it is the first time Ross has actually been physically able to counter surf, and this is a direct result of the rear-end work we have been doing.
One of these days I’ll get around to putting up Ross’s profile, but he is a rescue who had a horrible start in life. This included being hit by a car while struggling as a stray to survive on the streets, and subsequently spending a month on death row in a shelter with no medical treatment. His broken bones were never mended, and his internal injuries never addressed. By the time he came to live with me (more than a year later) I was told he would need a bi-lateral hip replacement, and one of his front legs amputated. He also had bloodwork indicating a lot of underlying health issues.
Instead of putting him through this surgery, I put Ross on a raw diet, stopped all drugs, built him up slowly but steadily through exercise, and treated him with homeopathy and chiropractics. Today you would never know his history to meet him – he runs like the wind and has no limp, no hitch in his gate. But if you observe carefully, you will still see that he doesn’t jump up, he has trouble using his hind end to step up on things like furniture, and he often falls going up stairs.
All of this has reduced dramatically since doing all this hind-end work. Ross can now hold a ‘sit up’ for 15 seconds (neither Hannah nor Mira can make it past 3 seconds), and is getting really good at doing individual foot work. He can even easily get all four feet into one of those little mandarin orange boxes and I need to start shaping him to the next size smaller.
So all in all I am seeing very encouraging improvements in Ross further to regularly doing all these exercises. But for him to counter-surf, and hold the position for a good 30 seconds while he finished my dinner – WOW! That is a big deal. I was so excited and happy that I couldn’t help but reward him. And really, since Hannah, Mira and both the cats are all horrible counter snitches, what’s one more food thief in the house?