My dogs are not thrilled with me this week.
I had foot surgery a week ago Friday, and I have been on crutches all week, and hopping around the house for the most part when I’m not. I did “cheat” and limp around on my foot on Saturday for the dog show.
The foot is healing a bit and I’m starting to put some light weight on it, but for the next month or so, there won’t be any long walks or hikes with the dogs. So how on earth am I going to manage with four dogs in the house?
Well, last week and most of this week, they were pretty content to snuggle up on the couch or bed with me and rest (see photos above). Snoopy is still pretty happy just to sleep, but the other three need some mental and physical stimulation!
I have written before about some training exercises I like to work on for days when I can’t get the dogs out to run or walk. Let’s just say Jeni, especially, has been learning lots of new tricks! The main things we are working on right now are opening and closing a door (opening is harder for sure – we are using a fleece handle for her to “tug” the door open) and “cover your eyes” with her paws. Garth is working on the basics (sit, down, stay, touch, spin etc.).
Using inflatable balls, discs or “peanuts” like the FitPaws products is a great way to work on core muscles and give the dogs a physical workout. It is great for balance and confidence. I will admit – I own a balance disc that is actually a human brand balance disc because it was cheaper than FitPaws and it does the exact same thing. So if you are looking for something nicely priced, do some snooping around online and see what you can find.
Of course, my husband deserves a shoutout, because he has been great in helping me around the house and also taking the dogs out and taking them for walks from time to time. So having another person around the house is certainly handy!
Training classes and indoor playdates are great indoor ways to mentally and physical wear out a dog as well. Jeni and I will continue going to our “All Star Dog Club” after missing last week since it was only a few days after my surgery. A local daycare offers indoor playdates once in a while, which is basically an indoor dog park, but all the dogs have to show vet records to make sure they are healthy, and professional dog handlers are supervising to make sure all goes well. It’s a great way for the dogs to run off some energy without me having to do much moving.
But… the absolute best way to exercise multiple dogs?
Own multiple dogs.
A friend of mine who has had one Icelandic Sheepdog for about a year now, just brought home a young puppy and exclaimed on an Icie Facebook group that nobody told her that having two dogs is actually easier than one!
And if you have the right situation and the right dogs – it’s true.
Don’t get me wrong – there is a LOT of work that goes into having multiple dogs, and it is important that all of your dogs are properly matched. We are lucky that our “core” three adore each other, and are also welcoming of fosters (especially Garth/Garfunkel – explanation on his name change coming sometime this week…).
If you haven’t been able to figure out from the photos of the gang that show up on this blog, they love playing together. Send the four of them outside and they will race around, wrestling and chasing each other and generally having a blast. It makes it much easier when a bored dog has another dog to ask to play instead of just a human that has an injured foot and is on bed rest.
Now, I will admit, we’re trying the best we can, but the poor dogs have been getting much less exercise than usual and we have had some “mischief” popping up in the house, including destroyed stuffies, a chewed drawer knob on the dresser and some cat chasing.
At least my inability to walk is coinciding with freezing cold and deep snow which would make it harder for us to get out anyway. Now I will be up and walking in time for warm weather, and I am so looking forward to hiking and playing in the local parks – and I am sure the dogs are looking forward to when “mom” is at full activity levels again!