Tripawd or not, canine physical therapists tell us that no dog should ever be allowed to jump in and out of a vehicle.
Jumping seems so harmless at the time, and they really do seem to enjoy it. But in reality, every time your dog jumps up and down from the vehicle, he is exerting unnecessary stress on his joints that will lead to arthritis in later years. Rehab specialists recommend using ramps to preserve a dog’s joints, especially for Tripawd dogs.
With patience and lots of treats, your Tripawd can learn how to use a ramp.
Ramp Training Tips
The Canine Behavior Series: Ramp Training
Teach one Direction First
Support the dog’s body ascending or descending the ramp. It works better to teach one direction first. Dogs experience more injuries from jumping down, so this is a good direction to start. After the dog has mastered that direction, teach the other direction. This is less stressful for the dog and probably also easier on the muscles as they get used to new exertion.
Expect to spend a minimum of a week on this stage, and it may take longer. Don’t let the dog bypass the ramp and make the jump. Use a leash . . . restrict access . . . You are trying to help your dog form a solid habit.
No Pulling, Be Gentle and Supportive
When guiding a dog up or down a ramp, don’t pull on the collar. It’s tempting to do this, but don’t. Either support the dog with your hands in front of the chest, or put the dog in a non-restrictive harness to use for support.
You could really use three hands for this—two on the dog and one for the food! But you can make do with the two hands you have, plus perhaps support to the dog from your knees, tummy, elbows—whatever works that is gentle and supportive to the dog.
One hand needs to keep a steady supply of little treats flowing to the dog’s mouth. Don’t tease with the food—give it, give it, give it, in a flowing pattern. Focus the dog’s attention on that food. Besides serving as an incentive, the food helps keep the dog from fretting about the ramp.”
But for pawrents with giant breed dogs or those who aren’t able to hoist their dog up into a high-clearance vehicle, you may find a dog ramp or fold-out stairs to be more useful.
Two unique, sturdy step and ramp options we have discovered are:
Solvit Half Ramp II
The Solvit Pet Ramps weighs only 7 lbs, but these dog ramps for cars support over 200 lbs. The unique, wavy walking surface with high-traction coating provides a sure footing for pets, plus it’s easy to clean. These portable dog ramps have rubber feet that hold the ramp steady during use. Constructed from high impact polyethylene for long-standing use. This company also makes Xena’s sturdy “Big Dog Stroller.”
The OttoStep is made from lightweight, nylon glass-filled plastic that can easily hold over 200 pounds – yet weighs less than six pounds. It’s small, portable and much easier to handle than most large pet ramps.
The OttoStep attaches to any standard hitch receiver for easy access to the rear of most SUVs and pickup trucks.
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