Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Concessions (or, admitting your dogs are getting "up there")

On Sunday, Dad re-furbished a carpetted ramp from my grooming table (leftover from my dog showing days) into a ramp for my greyhounds and the Scion! The ramp (and grooming table) have been stored in my parents' shed for years. We got the ramp out, dusted it off, and Dad fitted it with a hinge that locks over the back end of my Scion to make for a sturdy, secure loading/unloading doohickey.

I hate to concede to this type of thing, but both of my hounds are getting older. Lucy, at 12 1/2, has to be lifted in and out of the Scion. She's around 59 lbs. and I am a major weakling, so it's a bit difficult for me but do-able using the "Lassie method" of lifting. Clifford is 10 1/2 and 74 lbs., and I am DREADING the time he'll need help getting in and out. If I can barely lift Lucy, how in the world am I going to lift him?? He's already starting to exhibit some tenderness in his right back leg- the vet thinks it's his toe, and arthritis starting from an old racing injury- I hate to have him jumping out of the Scion and jarring himself.

Enter The Ramp.

We are beginning the slow training process, with the ramp currently laying on the art studio floor. Lucy, who will do almost anything for a Begg'n Strip, will walk across it (while it is laying flat) and when I angle it on the couch, she will step up it halfway with her front two feet (not the back ones yet, but that'll come soon I'm sure!). Lucy is quite smart and took a year of Agility training when she was 7-8 years old. She was great at the catwalk and okay on the A-frame, so she has that "climbing skill" way back in her brain. I am confident she will succeed because she is interested and motivated.

Cliff is another matter. It's funny, because he acts like such a loudmouth, confident brat ALL the time. He bullies other dogs, prances around like he owns the world, and is gung-ho to get out and explore the world- rain, shine, hurricane, blizzard, nuclear winter, whatever- he is willing to get out there in anything.

Yet I get out the ramp and lay it on the ground, get out the bag of cookies, and he takes one look and goes into the bedroom and lays down. It's not even an "I'm scared" response so much as an "I don't even want to try." At least that's how I read it?? I had the ramp down for 3 days before he would even come over for a cookie. Today he took his first few steps... I sat next to the ramp (laying flat on the floor) and praised him and treated him whenever he touched the ramp with his foot. Thankfully he knows the "paw/shake" command so I just asked him to paw the ramp. It was a huge step, considering he wouldn't even get near the ramp for several days! He was very excited about it to, and sometimes got so excited in his "pawing" that he really spanked the ramp hard- but he didn't scare himself!
Slow but steady.
Updates to come!

1 comment:

Hiking Hounds said...

Wow, I would have never guessed they were that old. They are doing great.