Sunday, December 20, 2015

Why Is Our Dogs' Mobility Such a Big Deal to Us?

When one of us hurt our leg, we don't make much fuss about that at all. Other than a lot of whining and complaining when it happens to be a male leg that's been injured. I don't think either of us has ever seen a doctor with a limb injury unless it was broken.

Using her body, interacting with the environment,
that's what makes Cookie the happiest.

When our dog has a limb injury, we pull all the stops to make them well.

Why so much effort when we barely do anything when it's ourselves?

Dogs are physical creatures.

They were born to run and jump and play.

While we are perfectly happy to curl up on a couch with a book or a movie, dogs cannot read and they don't get much from watching television. They can't do crossword puzzles or play table games. Their bodies are meant to move and that is what gives them the most joy and fulfillment.

Yes, there are food toys, and puzzle toys, and training games ... Cookie enjoys all those things. But what she really wants and needs to be truly happy is to get out there and run and chase critters and play with JD.

Dogs are not good at holding back.

I bet Cookie would not pass on a squirrel chase even if both of her legs were broken. She just can't. Her drive is too strong. Her drive and enthusiasm is so high it overrides everything else.

That makes it that much more likely for her to keep re-injuring herself. Even being kept on the leash at all times, there is only so much one can do. She can be very good and calm until there is a reason to get excited about something.

Think walking a kite in a hurricane.

I use this comparison quite often because that's exactly what it is like. Even with Jasmine it was like that. I remember after her spay surgery, she was supposed to be on strict rest for 10 days. On the seventh day, in order to preserve everybody's sanity, I figured that a short leashed walk might do her good. And I found myself walking a kite in a hurricane.

For Cookie it can be a squirrel or a bunny, or simply cold wind in her fur. Her brain simply switches to hunting mode or zoomies mode and that's that. Trying to get her to calm down or at least to control what she's doing to keep her safe is difficult to impossible. I don't want to be strict with her for that so I'm after redirection and control.

I believe a dog can only be truly happy when they have the freedom to use their bodies and fly across the countryside.

This is true at least for our dogs. That's why their mobility is a huge deal for us and when there is a problem, we throw everything at it to get our dogs back on track as soon as possible.

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