Denny and Charlie (and the rest)
It started with OnePug...

Bribery

Monday, 23 April 2012 18:17 by Robbi

Denny, like most pugs, is very food-motivated. Very food motivated. Extremely food motivated! He will risk injury to try and get a good snack. Especially if it’s people food.

A great example is his visits to his regular vet’s office. He does not like going to the vet anyway, but if they have to touch his paws to draw blood he gets very panic-stricken. Any amount of reassuring or trying to hold him seems to exacerbate the situation. But at his vet’s office they have discovered a magical item that distracts him from what they are doing: cream cheese. They keep a tub of it behind their counter and whenever they need to distract a doggy, they simply dip a biscuit into the cream cheese and hold it at a height so the dog can lick the cream cheese but not quite get a bite. It’s like crack. Whenever the deed is done, the dog can have the biscuit. Denny usually licks off all the cream cheese and then looks at them to give him a top-up. It never fails to do the trick.

When we first started taking Denny for his underwater treadmill sessions, we were a bit unsure about how he would react. He hates being in our pool (though he is a very good swimmer) and cannot stand to even walk around on wet grass. You can see the look of disgust on his face as if to say “but Mum, my paws will get wet!” whenever I try and take him out after a rainstorm. And sure enough, the first time he was put in the treadmill and it started to fill with water, he seemed a bit panicky. A treat helped calm him down. He walked well but his ears were down and we knew he wasn’t thrilled with it. He was rewarded at the end of the walk with more treats.

He obviously remembered that.

The next time we took him he started fussing when the little life jacket was put on him. A couple of treats later and he let us proceed. Then the treadmill started. More treats were needed to keep him focused. This has continued and by last week’s session he was eating during the entire walk. He actually only walked about half the time. The tech would hold out a treat and he would walk to get it. Once he had it he would “ride” the treadmill to the back of the tank. She would hold out another treat and he would go get it, and then “ride” the treadmill again. If she held the treat but didn’t give it to him, he would show his defiance by standing still and riding the treadmill back again. No words of encouragement from us made any difference. Our wild gestures and clapping meant nothing. When his time was up I was exhausted, but he had barely started to pant. He had won the battle.

This week, we tried a different approach. We came armed with a jar of peanut butter and a long-handled wooden spoon. Once Denny had his harness on and was in the treadmill, Richard opened the peanut butter jar and coated the spoon.

We had Denny’s undivided attention.

He didn’t even seem to notice the water filling the tank, as his tail was wagging and his gaze never left the spoon. Richard lowered the spoon at the front of the tank and the tech started the treadmill. Denny licked and walked, licked and walked. I am proud to announce that Denny broke his previous time record and walked for a total of 6 minutes today!

We’re definitely bringing the spoon and peanut butter next week.

Okay…random pug pics!

Charlie says “Hi!”

Charlie

Stewie says “Honest, Grandpa said I could have his slipper!”

StewieSlipper

Um, I don’t think Grandpa wants it back now Stewpot.

AquaPaws–Underwater Treadmill for Dogs!

Friday, 6 April 2012 17:50 by robbi

When we decided we wanted to try laser therapy for Denny, I had to do some research to find one near us.  Our local vet didn’t offer it and the Rescue Vet that does is an hour away.  We were hoping to find someone local.  The Rehab Vet that we did find is only about 35 minutes from us, so multiple appointments in a week are possible without cutting too much into our work life.

The Rehab Vet we found listed a slew of services that I didn’t think we would be using.  One of those is Aquapaws.  It’s an underwater treadmill.  They have two of them – one for dogs and a larger one for horses!  Apparently this vet sees a ton of horses.  In Houston – who knew?

Anyway, I wasn’t very familiar with the underwater treadmill and I didn’t think it was anything that Denny could benefit from.  But it turns out that it has been exceedingly beneficial.  He has gained muscle strength and stamina through these sessions.  And while he doesn’t really like them (he hates getting wet) we know it’s worth it to continue them while we are seeing such good results.  We bribe him with a laser therapy session when he’s done and that seems to keep him happy.

I took Denny for his latest session this Thursday.  I tried to get some photos of the machine and his session, but I was obviously moving too much and they’re kind of blurry.  I’m going to post them anyway, so you can get an idea of what this is all about.

This is a shot of the machine.  There’s a ramp that the dog walks up (though Denny usually gets carried.)  The door is then closed and sealed shut and the water is pumped in. 

Treadmill filling with water

The vet tech stands with her feet on either side of the treadmill to watch over Denny while he’s walking.  He’s wearing a harness here – the first few sessions he wore a life jacket and hated it so badly that they’ve switched him to this.

Note the ears are down :-(

And then this is my view for the next few minutes.  I’ve watched him each session.  The first one he skipped a few times and didn’t always use all 4 paws.  He now goes the entire time without dragging back legs or missing a step.  His time has also been increased and he now does 5 1/2 minutes.  I’m so proud!

Treadmill Time

After it’s all over, he gets dried off with a towel and taken into one of the rooms for his laser treatment.  By the time she’s done with that, he’s mostly forgiven us.

Denny waiting patiently for his Aquapaws followed by his"spa treatment" of laser therapy.

Love that boy!