Tanner Puts His Foot Down

January 21, 2012

Tanner at 4 weeks








Tanner is my foster with the broken leg.  His hock was shattered racing in Mexico.  Consequently, he had surgery to put in a metal plate and fuse the bone.  He came out of the hospital with a splint and extremely limited activity.  He had to be crated at all times, except to go outside to relieve himself.

After 5 weeks, the splint came off and he was left with a slightly open wound that was healing.  He had to be in a head cone for a week to stop him from licking the wound and opening it back up.  He was allowed slightly more activity, with a trio of fifteen-minute walks a day.  I was also told to encourage him to put weight on that leg, which at this point, had been totally inactive since the injury 2 months or so before.

I diligently started walking him, using a halter, so I could pull up on it and support him if he needed.  I found that if I walked fast he would use the momentum to keep his leg up and walk 3-legged, which by then was the norm for him.  But if I walked really slow he actually had to put weigh on the injured leg and walk through on all 4 legs.  I also pulled up a bit on the halter to give him a little support.

Tanner with Walking Boot


After a few days of walking, every time he held the injured leg up and started hopping, I’d absentmindedly say, “Tanner, put your foot down,” and pulled up a bit on the halter.  Every walk, 3 times a day, pull up on the halter, “Tanner, put your foot down.”  This had gone on for two weeks, as we very slowly increase dthe distance we covered on our walks.  Pull up on the halter, “Tanner, put your foot down.”

A few days ago I was in the back yard with Tanner, who was off-leash to do his “business,” still hopping, which is more comfortable for him.  Without thinking, I said, “Tanner, put your foot down”– and he did!  The next time I saw him hopping, I just gave the verbal command and he put his foot down!


Tanner foot down

He’s still more comfortable hopping and, indeed, by the first of this week was probably hopping at least seventy-five percent of the time.  However, if I saw him hopping around the house all I had to say was, “Tanner, put your foot down,” and he would!

We are now at the end of the week and the Tanner Man is actually walking on all-fours — unless he’s in a hurry, when he picks his leg up.  I can’t believe the progress he’s making.


Tanner horde



He’s such a happy boy.  He has discovered that walks are a fun thing, although his walking time is still limited.  And everything in the house is wonderful:  the trash can, the couch cushions, the blankets covering the den couch, all the squeaky toys, my bedroom shoes, and today, even the dustpan and a pair of blunt nose scissors ended up on his bed.  He doesn’t chew anything up, he just hordes.

He’s a good boy . . . and he’s doing so well.

Walking on his own

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