The shoes. We hates them.

pinkspore

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#1
Brisbane's pad issues continue, and the vet wants me to stop using pad toughener or mushers wax on them. I'm supposed to just keep shoes on him for everything and start with a 5 minutes a day of walking barefoot on cool pavement.

Brisbane hates wearing shoes. He gets worked up enough for lure coursing to run in them, but short of that nothing is worth it. He doesn't even get excited enough for sheep, and herding lessons are absolutely shredding his pads.

The herding instructor wants me to leave the shoes on him until he gets over it and chills out. Obviously pairing them with super-fun activities isn't working. I' just not sure if he'll ever get used to wearing them.

I put the shoes on him earlier today and he spent over an hour standing motionless before giving up at life and laying down. He has been sulking in that same spot for over an hour now. Last night he spent three hours standing in the middle of the living room moping and wouldn't even take a step for squishy fancy cheese.

I've got vetwrap strips wrapped around his feet under his dewclaws, and the Ruffwear socks under his Ruffwear boots. Any suggestions for helping him acclimate to wearing the shoes?
 

stardogs

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#2
Does he accept the socks ok? If not, that's where I'd start.

Also, do they have to be the 'real' shoes or could he get away with sleddog booties that are lighter and more flexible?
 

milos_mommy

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I'd start by starting with much shorter intervals than 3 hours, if possible! Like....start with -10 minutes.

Actually, I'd start by rewarding for just being near the shoes. Take the shoes out, click/Treat, put them back. Do this throughout the day, after a few times try just touching the shoe to his foot, C/T. Repeat. Put one shoe on while he's lying down for a second, C/T. Work up to more shoes, letting him lie or sit down without asking him to walk. He might even try moving around on his own to get rewarded. If not I'd work up to leaving all shoes on for a few minutes and then ask him to take a few steps. If at any time he seems anxious about them move back.

This might not work for you though if he needs to get accustomed to them fast :(
 

pinkspore

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#5
He needs to get accustomed to them fast because he can't leave the house without them. Also all my attempts to do things like the above with regards to his feet have resulted in him hiding in his crate the moment he sees/hears whatever treat has been paired with the dremel/clippers/foot touching. We were working on Ez-cheez for foot touching and now he's afraid of Ez-cheez despite starting iiiiiiiiiincredibly slow. He's just stressed and worried at all time, there aren't really times when he is genuinely relaxed and happy.

Also failed: pairing shoes with super-fun activities like lute coursing and sheep herding. He's still bonkers for coursing but the shoes have severely diminished his enthusiasm for sheep.
 

milos_mommy

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#7
Well, if he's having that reaction (hiding in his crate upon seeing the associated treat), you're moving way too fast. Sometimes you need to start by literally just touching the cabinet you keep the shoes/whatever in and then treating for a few days before opening the cabinet, touching the item with the dog across the room, picking up the item and placing it back down, etc.

If you're conditioning him properly then he WILL eventually lay down for you to put a shoe on, and if he doesn't, you're moving too fast.

Obviously this doesn't really apply to your situation, you might have to just make him stick it out for medical purposes :( getting a dog to accept something really adversive can take a long long time, especially if in the meanwhile he NEEDS to wear them or has been pushed past his comfort zone.
 

pinkspore

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#8
If you're conditioning him properly then he WILL eventually lay down for you to put a shoe on, and if he doesn't, you're moving too fast.
No, I actually literally mean he doesn't normally stay laying down while I approach him for anything in everyday life, no shoes involved. He's very high strung and paranoid about getting stepped on. Sometimes if he's really relaxed he'll stay laying down while I walk up and pet him but most of the time he leaps to his feet immediately. This is an enormous achievement, he no longer leaps up snapping when disturbed and is less panicky when he does jump up. We've done a lot of relaxation protocol to help him feel more comfortable with me moving around him while he lays down but it's been years of effort. Getting him to stay down and relaxed while I manipulated any part of his body would be a long-term goal, not something I can do fast enough to help with this situation.

My herding instructor wrapped his feet in vetrap and he was pretty happy in those, so I think that's what we'll do for now. Less convenient than boots, but oh well.
 

stardogs

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#9
My herding instructor wrapped his feet in vetrap and he was pretty happy in those, so I think that's what we'll do for now. Less convenient than boots, but oh well.
Be VERY careful with vetwrap wraps. There's a reason most flyball people rewrap feet between races vs leaving the wrap on all day - the stretch in vet wrap can create circulation issues easily. A friend of mine has a different wrap set up that allows her to leave them on all day (lots of extra room), but she still checks feet frequently, just in case.
 

Dogdragoness

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#10
Be VERY careful with vetwrap wraps. There's a reason most flyball people rewrap feet between races vs leaving the wrap on all day - the stretch in vet wrap can create circulation issues easily. A friend of mine has a different wrap set up that allows her to leave them on all day (lots of extra room), but she still checks feet frequently, just in case.
This is true, race horse trainers use it for horses that "run down" (hit the backs of their front legs during a race) or interfere (scrape the insides of their back legs during the race). Like a dog's leg, a horses leg has very little tissue down there and is vulnerable to injury. But there is a reason they dont use it unless they have to, and that they take it off as SOON as the race is over.

Maybe try some gauze (if he will tolerate it) or rolled cotton under the vet wrap to keep it from getting too tight (if you arent already doing that already).
 

pinkspore

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#11
Good idea! Right now we're just doing wraps during herding lessons, about 45 minutes. The instructor used to be a vet tech and has a wrapping technique she showed me that includes using athletic tape to keep it from slipping off. Doing that means I don't have to wrap him as tight. For lure coursing we're still going with boots and I'm just taking them off between runs. Lure coursing is so exciting it eats the part of his brain that hates shoes.
 

-bogart-

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#12
Have you considered no activity until healed? Loosing money on classes sucks, but stressing a dog until shutdown cause his feet are bad does not seem fun. Maybe no running and things for a bit might help them heal well enough that his poor feet won't keep getting ripped open. I can imagine the pain from walking on open wounds.
Whatever happens I hope he heals well and you two can have fun!
 

Dogdragoness

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#13
What is it about the ground at herding class that is so bad on his feet? I have never experienced the level of pad damage you are explaining, the closest I came is when Josefina burned her pads turning too fast on a rough asphalt road years back as a young dog.

Knowing what kind of terrain it is might give people more ideas and tips. But in the end you might just have to put the boots on him and let him just pout it out.
 

Dogdragoness

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If I remember right, it's not the terrain. It's that this dog has really soft/easily injured and re-injured feet?
I went and read back, but "soft and easily injured" could mean a lot of things, though. To someone who gets a lot of snow, my dogs' feet would be "soft and easily injured" because they arent accustomed to snow.

But most herding classes are done in a pasture or arena, which shouldnt be damaging, not to this degree.

How damaged are they? are we talking bloody paw prints when he walks, or just that he is sore? Because if it is the latter, short of just toughing it out with him and the boots, or just plain old letting him "toughen his feet up" I am not sure ther is anything you can do.
 

pinkspore

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Have you considered no activity until healed? Loosing money on classes sucks, but stressing a dog until shutdown cause his feet are bad does not seem fun. Maybe no running and things for a bit might help them heal well enough that his poor feet won't keep getting ripped open. I can imagine the pain from walking on open wounds.
Whatever happens I hope he heals well and you two can have fun!
I tried that. 3+ weeks of almost zero activity, and the first time we left the house and walked across the cool asphalt street he started bleeding. I think the issue is that his pads are very easily injured.

The type of injuries I'm talking about are sort of where a layer of skin peels off the pad. I've heard it described as a "slipped pad" a couple of times. Usually I catch it before the raw pink skin is exposed, and it's only gotten as far as bleeding a couple of times.

We're in the desert, so the ground is pretty rocky with lots of coarse gravel. The arena where we're herding sheep has a lot of loose sand, but also lots of coarse gravel. It's not a riding arena as far as I'm aware.
 

amberdyan

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#17
I tried that. 3+ weeks of almost zero activity, and the first time we left the house and walked across the cool asphalt street he started bleeding. I think the issue is that his pads are very easily injured.

The type of injuries I'm talking about are sort of where a layer of skin peels off the pad. I've heard it described as a "slipped pad" a couple of times. Usually I catch it before the raw pink skin is exposed, and it's only gotten as far as bleeding a couple of times.

We're in the desert, so the ground is pretty rocky with lots of coarse gravel. The arena where we're herding sheep has a lot of loose sand, but also lots of coarse gravel. It's not a riding arena as far as I'm aware.
Poor Briz : ( It sucks to have hurt feet. I know you say that you think his pads are just easily injured- has this been an issue his whole life? Or just since he slipped his pads last? I had a friend whose dog slipped both pads on his back feet (she called it the same thing- the dog peeled off part of the rough part and it was hanging there like a flap). The vet had her wait until the flaps had become rough and dead and then the vet snipped them off. But then the new pad that grew underneath was incredibly sensitive and was easily harmed until toughened up. She started out walking him entirely on soft grass and loose sand, then moved on asphalt and rougher terrain. I don't know if that could be the case for him, but it would sort of make sense if he still got hurt after 3 weeks of healing. Hope he feels better soon!
 

pinkspore

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#18
It's been an issue for three or four years now, more so after he hurt them badly while lure coursing. After that I had him on house rest for several weeks and only walking on soft surfaces for several months after that. His pads have never toughened up. I'm not sure how many weeks/months/years of nonactivity would be required to heal them adequately, but I know that gradual toughening has not worked and neither have any of the products that are supposed to help.
 

Dogdragoness

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#19
Then you just might have to put the boots on him and force him to tough it out ... for his own good, because I cant imagine that "house arrest" cant be any fun either, poor dude :(
 

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