Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Living with a Tri-Pawed Dog

I have written a bit about some of the "challenges" of living with a blind dog and a deaf dog, but I haven't really written about my experiences with a 3-legged dog. So here are a few points of note:

1. You only have 3 feet worth of nails to clip. This saves time and also results in 25% less drama with a dog who is not fond of nail clipping.

2. Do not expect a similar reduction in running speed or leaping ability. You will be disappointed.

3. If your dog is missing a rear leg,  you may need to help them scratch the ear on the side of the missing leg. They will try, but that little stump just wont reach!!

4. In the winter, when your dog's paws are cold, they may spontaneously start walking on two legs. Inevitably, you will not have your clicker handy when this happens.

5. Three-legged dogs lend themselves well to jokes--like telling people how long it took to wash off 11 paws when the dogs came inside the other day. It's fun to watch how long it takes them to figure that out.

6. If your 3-legged dog is small-ish and is are missing a rear leg, it is extra easy to carry them on your hip.

7. You can threaten 3-legged dogs very handily-- one leg for naughty behavior, two legs for very naughty behavior. I think 3 legs might be just a bit too mean!

8. You can teach 3-legged dogs fun tricks: "Pogo" would be a good one (hop on their single back leg), "let me count your legs" (flip on their back with legs in the air) is also fun, and someday I hope to have that clicker with me for the occasions he starts dragging his back leg. That would be a very handy cue to have for eliciting sympathy and donations if we ever became homeless!

So, as you can see, living with a severely disabled dog like this is quite challenging!

Pic by Anna Belikova. He looks like such a puppy to me here!Love this dog!


  1. 1. Sounds heavenly!

    4. Marker word?

    6. Awesome! I already carry my dog a lot, especially in cold/wet weather (she's a princess about her feet).

  2. That's so funny! I was wondering how walking on two legs would work. I pictured him balancing on his front legs, but I don't think that would be so easy. Why does he drag a leg? haha.

  3. @crystal, I could use a marker word if I could catch it in time. Its always a split second and only a couple times. But a handstand is one of my long term trick goals with him.

    @ shine, you know how dogs stretch forward and stretch out their back legs? Elo's version involves dragging his leg.

  4. This is too funny! You definitely need to shape Elo walking on his front feet only!