Crate Rest Enrichment - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-01-2017, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Crate Rest Enrichment

I never realized how much I do with Kaizer to expel all the energy he has until we can't do anything and he's bouncing off the walls. Literally bouncing - he's trying to jump from couch to couch to couch. Then he tries to do zoomies in the house, then he chases his tail. It's very worrying and very annoying (especially the tail chasing!! it's not like he has much tail to begin with). We have sedatives but I don't want to keep him sedated all the time if I can avoid it. For now, he's leashed when it seems like he's about to go over edge (which happens like 1-2 times a day).

For background, he has three incisions - one is a normal neuter incision, the second is where his inguinal canal is, and the third is a three inch vertical line starting from his penis and going up (near his bladder), so he's not supposed to move much. On top of that, the incision near his inguinal canal has developed a seroma, so we're supposed to limit his movement even more. Vet said we should ice it a couple times a day until Tuesday, at which point if it's gotten bigger/hasn't gone down, we bring him in. Of course, it got even significantly bigger today. The absolutely worse case scenario would be that he has to be on crate rest for even longer than the original 14 days.

So, I'd like some ideas about what you guys do when your dog is on crate rest and needs an outlet for his energy. Preferably nothing that requires Kaizer from moving around too much.

I've frozen kongs for him but they don't last very long - any recipe recommendations? So far I've done:
mashed bananas and yogurt, mashed bananas and yogurt and water-softened kibble, pumpkin and mashed bananas, pumpkin and mashed bananas and mushy kibble. All frozen and all have lasted about 20 minutes. If you have anything harder (or anything at all), let me know!

Tricks wise, this is Kaizer's master list: spin, rollover, back up, put both paws up on my arm (unnamed), boing (jump with all four paws off the ground onto me), touch (nose), target (paw), get in/on a box, catch, place, squish (in between my legs and walk), say hi (lifts a paw), speak, zoomies on cue, paw (right paw), high-five (left paw), and an informal hold. We're working on him balancing a biscuit on his nose. Any other ideas? Kaizer and I need all the help we can get!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-02-2017, 12:00 AM
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When Pilgrim had a TPLO operation over 10 years ago, I came across this site when we were tearing our hair out, trying to keep him occupied. The information may be old, but it is still relevant. Hope it gives you some good ideas. Our TPLO Experience: Recovery Center
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-02-2017, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim123 View Post
When Pilgrim had a TPLO operation over 10 years ago, I came across this site when we were tearing our hair out, trying to keep him occupied. The information may be old, but it is still relevant. Hope it gives you some good ideas. Our TPLO Experience: Recovery Center
Thank you!! Kaizer is pretty good at shaping (I shaped a lot of the stuff he knows) so this has a lot of good ideas for me to use:-)
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 10:34 PM
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So, with the Kongsicles, here's what I do. This will fill a *bunch* of them:

I make a cup of oatmeal, really thick - almost like a paste. As soon as it's finished cooking, I stir in about 1 TBSP of peanut butter. Since it melts in, the oatmeal tastes and smells of it, without being a calorie overload.. Then I dump in about half of a can of pumpkin and cup of yogurt. This usually cools everything down to room temp (or if you're using leftover frozen pumpkin, it cools even faster!). This mixture should be pretty thick and gloppy. I spoon it into a ziploc bag and close the bag.

Now it's Kong filling time! I plug the tiny hole with just a little bit of peanut butter and then stand the Kongs in glasses with the big hole facing up. Then I dump in 3-5 little treats (mostly Zuke's peanut butter) - the amount depends on the size. Now, take your ziploc of glop, cut off a bottom corner and pipe the mix into the Kong. When it looks like it's full, take the peanut butter knife and stick it in. That'll pop the air pockets and you'll find out the Kong is only 3/4 full after all. When it's almost all the way full, I take a long and thin treat (some chicken stick roll things from Trader Joe's, but a milkbone type thing will work too) and stick it in like a popsicle stick. This way Pepper gets something immediate to chew on when I give him a giant frozen block and it's a fun textural variation.

A Kong like this takes *forever* to finish, because the thickness of the oats makes it slow to melt. It also keeps the mess level really low, because there's much less melt spill.

If Pepper were to work solidly at an extra large Kongsicle, it would take him about 90 minutes of solid work to empty it. He likes to go at it for 15-20 min and then let it defrost some more and so on. He plays with it for about 4-5 hours in total.

You can either do one really large Kong a day or two of different sizes, but either way, it should give you more than 20 min.

Can you use feeder toys or will that be too much movement? That mushroom toy with the adjustable holes taped into the smallest possible opening means that only 2-3 pieces come out a minute. It takes forever to finish it but they're not actually covering much ground or jumping around. After he uses a tougher feeder toy, Pepper totally crashes and pants for awhile. It really stimulates his brain and hunting instincts.

Good luck! We're going to be where you are really soon and we're just dreading it. The good thing is our indoor daycare told us they'll take him some days and keep him on a bed or crate right behind the front desk, so he'll get some stimulation and people will pet him and it'll be interesting and not boring like our boring boring house. So that will help a bit!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!! I'm deathly allergic to all nuts, so peanut butter won't work. Would cream cheese work in its place?

Kaizer's seroma finally decreased in size (it's about half of what it was) so it looks like we can resume normal activities by Wednesday/Thursday, but still it's nice to have the recipe. The more things to keep him entertained, the better.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 11:56 PM
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Thanks for your really great tip about incorporating the oatmeal. I wouldn't have thought of that.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 02:31 AM
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I would actually go for hard cheese! The point is to find something with strong flavor and *extremely* high value, but use just a little to permeate the flavor of everything. So I'd shred like a little pinch of cheese and melt it in. Dogs go nuts for cheese. Cream cheese is super tasty but the flavor isn't that strong. I think it'd just be subsumed by the pumpkin and yogurt.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 09:04 PM
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great tips re: kongsicles, thanks!

To the OP - try going for duration on some of the tricks you've already trained - long duration on a nose touch, for example... I was just working on this for a nosework indication (what I want the dog to do when she has located the source of the target odor), and it's HARD :-). And doesn't reuire the dog to move around too much. by duration, I mean a count of ten bananas.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 09:24 PM
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Snuffle mats help a lot. I use them when I get home late from work in the winter and the dogs are all over me. I let them go for it when I am taking a nice long shower, alone, and then they are fairly calm afterward.
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