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"Lafitte": I Need Some Advice on New Potential Activities for Him (sorry for the length)

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I have had “Lafitte” for a little over 2 years now. It has been quite an adventure, always rewarding and challenging, which in turn, I believe, makes us better people. At 6 months I became aware that Lafitte had hip dysplasia. I threw a ball a little too high and he jumped up, quite high, only to land and cry for a full two or three minutes.


I brought him to a specialist and had him x-rayed. The results were, unfortunately, what I thought they would be. I had other people look at the x-rays, as well, to make sure that the results were being conveyed to me in an accurate way.


It was in both hips, but the left hip was significantly worse than the right. We went through two TPO’s, which is difficult for me to think about – not at all easy procedures. I wanted him to be OK, to be able to do all of the things that his instincts guided him to do, and I knew there was no guarantee this would be the result, but as he was I did not feel I had much of a choice.


Luckily, at my home we had a pool and did rehab with him in the pool. He seemed to really be doing well and his successive x-rays looked good, there were no complications and gradually he healed and recovered completely. The vet said he would be fine and when I asked about agility she said he could do – we had practiced going through the tunnel and similar activities when he was a puppy - I was very hopeful and excited for him. Earlier this year there was a cracking sound that I heard when he walked, about six months after his last surgery was when I noticed the sound.


I got it checked out and found that he had developed Arthritis – he had just turned 2. I lost it in the vet’s office, just began crying. This poor dog and what I had put him through and he wasn’t even better? Is he just more accustomed to the pain now? Is that why he doesn’t cry or limp except after long hikes?


I put him on 50 mg of Rymadyl and he seems to be thriving with the medication. Now onto my question: he needs a job and I have no idea what to do because of his limitations.


Lafitte has some initial restrictions regarding his potential jobs, for instance:

1. kids are out of the question – he sees a child and growls, which in itself is a problem that I am unaware of how to fix

2. He is initially not good with strangers. A convalescent home or similar activities would not work for him, it would be very traumatic for all involved, with the exception of those people he always seems to initially take to - usually very confident people with experience with dogs.


So, we have done basic obedience and practice it on a daily basis. He is amazing with scent detection, in fact, I can hide my insulin kit in almost any place and he will find it. Yes, his prey drive is high, but his ability to find things, not just my insulin kit but keys, toys by name, etc. is uncanny and even surprises me every time we practice – he is gifted. I contacted a group that does search and rescue, but unfortunately, he is not able to participate because of his hips. I feel like I want to take him with me and learn something new with him, watch him thrive, enjoy life again instead of being bored with my lack of new things to do, but I am at a loss. Can someone please give me some suggestions? Does anyone know of a way that his amazing gift for scent can be utilized?


Thank you, for those of you that made it through this post… I sincerely apologize for its length.


Alison and Lafitte


Lafitte is on the left and his buddy, "Abbey", is on the right


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You can do tracking work with him without being involved in SAR. Here is a website with some good information on training. And tracking would be fairly easy on his hips while still allowing him to use his brain.


If you have access to a few acres of land, you can hide objects he's familiar and have him find them - again you have lots of brain work without being physically hard.


Do you have him on any glucosamine supplements for his arthritis? If not, you may want to find a good hip/joint supplement for him. Sometimes dogs can be weaned off medications by using a good supplement.

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Do you have him on any glucosamine supplements for his arthritis? If not, you may want to find a good hip/joint supplement for him. Sometimes dogs can be weaned off medications by using a good supplement.



My neighbor had miraculous results from these glucosomine treats for dogs...and their dog loves them. They thought they were going to have to put the dog to sleep it was so arthritic (old age.) Now, it can actually run. I have boarded the dog and have seen the progress.


Here's a link and a copy from their shipping slip to show you what the product is:






1 JMTSCH120 Joint MAX TRIPLE Strength SOFT CHEWS ( 26.99


Sub-Total: 26.99

Tax: 0.00

Shipping & Handling: 4.95



DH swears by the glucosomine for his arthritic knee, but he doesn't use the dog treats :rolleyes:

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I just bought some of the Joint Max Triple Strength for my acd. They should arrive this week.


In the past I used Arthrimaxx with great results but with time I think she became too accustomed to it so I wanted to switch out. I also give DogGonePain. It has done wonders for my toy poodle and his back issues.


I would definitely put your dog in supplements to help ease the pain. You may be able to cut back the rimadyl at that point.

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I've had good success with supplements for my arthritic dog. He takes Dog Gone Pain and he gets a joint supplement from Dogzymes. I also give him Grizzly Salmon Oil.


Chiropractic treatment has done him a TON of good, too.


Having an arthritic dog, especially a young one - Speedy was only 5 when he was diagnosed - is heartbreaking and challenging, but the condition is managable and there are a lot of supplements and treatments that can help the dog be more comfortable. He's 7 now and he feels and moves better than he did when he was 5.


Tracking would be a good thing for you to check out. Also, water sports might be a good idea, especially since you have a pool. Musical Freestyle and Rally are excellent activities for an arthritic dog to take part in.

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