Teaching a front leg amputee to use a front wheel is challenging! Unless the dog is experiencing discomfort in his remaining front leg, convincing him that there is some advantage to using a cart may require some creativity on the part of the owner
Most three-legged dogs can run like the wind, and then they collapse in exhaustion. Hopping on three is even more exhausting, as the walking gait puts enormous stress, not just on the remaining forelimb, but also on the cervical spine. So it’s important to use some psychology when training these dogs to use a cart.
Here are some tips:
- If the dog is young and vigorous, play with the dog until he’s tired, so that he’s more likely to notice the relief that the cart gives when he stands in it.
- Make training sessions short and positive, with lots of outstanding treats that will distract him from the cart.
- Use the yoke to guide the dog from behind – just as you’d teach a child to ride a bicycle – until you feel the dog hit his own stride.
- Stay close by to help him learn to steer with his rear legs. Lure the dog with treats to teach him to steer with his rear legs.
- If the top line of the dog is not level, adjust the harness with the velcro to lift the dog’s chest into a level top line, shoulders and rump at the same level, with the remaining front leg toe-touching the ground.
- Adjust the soft yoke, so that the hard yoke is not pressing down on the dog’s hips.
- Here’s a wonderful video taken by one of our customers, showing the learning curve for both dog and owner, over the course of several weeks:
Zoey's Wheels from Videolux on Vimeo.