Jean Donaldson’s Prep Training for Orthopedic Brace Casting

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The following protocol was written with a specific process in mind: preparing a dog to happily hold still long enough to make a cast of the dog’s leg (needed for making a custom-fit mobility brace). But with a little imagination, you can customize Donaldson’s protocol to train your dog to accept any equipment.

Wearing a Supportive

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You will need 1) Glad Press ‘n Seal Wrap; 2) a roll of gauze; 3) a measuring tape; 4) six jars of meat baby food; 5) your dog’s normal ration for one meal (to be hand-fed); 6) six days lead time before your casting day. Plan on spending about 5 minutes per day in place of one of your dog’s meals; don’t cram multiple sessions into one day.

Any time she fusses or vacates the area, just say, “Oh, too bad!” and wait for her to come back and re-volunteer; whatever you do, don’t coerce her.

Day 1

– Decide where the casting area will be; standardize this and train here every day.

– Assemble all the gear at one of your dog’s mealtimes and go to the casting area.

– Put it all down, then pull out a length of the Press ‘n Seal and crinkle it.

– Hand-feed your dog her ration.

– Pull out another length of Press ‘n Seal and wrap it around your dog’s upper (injured) leg.

– Open one jar of baby food and let your dog lick it all out of the jar.

– Unwrap your dog’s leg just before she finishes the baby food, then put everything away.

Day 2

– Get all the gear at one of your dog’s mealtimes and go to the casting area.

– Wrap your dog’s upper leg in Press ‘n Seal and then hand-feed her meal as before.

– Unwrap her before she finishes eating.

– Pause a minute or so.

– Wrap her upper leg again in a fresh piece of Press ‘n Seal.

– Open a jar of baby food and let her eat it as before, unwrapping just before she finishes.

Day 3

– Get all the gear at one of your dog’s mealtimes and go to the casting area.

– Wrap your dog’s upper leg in Press ‘n Seal and then hand-feed her meal.

– Unwrap before she finishes eating.

– Pause a minute or so.

– Wrap her entire leg in a new piece of Press ‘n Seal.

– Give her the jar of baby food, unwrapping just before she finishes.

Day 4

– Get all the gear at one of your dog’s mealtimes and go to the casting area.

– Wrap your dog’s entire leg in Press ‘n Seal and hand-feed her meal.

– Once she finishes, wrap her leg with dry gauze over the Press ‘n Seal.

– Feed her the baby food, unwrapping everything just before she finishes.

Day 5

– Get all the gear at one of your dog’s mealtimes and go to the casting area.

– With the measuring tape, do all kinds of measuring of your dog’s leg (length-wise, circumference, lots of messing around) before wrapping her or feeding anything.
 
– Hand-feed her a couple of handfuls of her ration.

– Wrap her leg in Press ‘n Seal and hand-feed the rest of her meal.

– Pause briefly.

– Wrap the gauze over the Press ‘n Seal.

– Feed her the baby food, unwrapping everything just before she finishes.

Day 6

– Get all the gear at one of your dog’s mealtimes and go to the casting area.

– Do some measuring, then feed her a couple of handfuls.

– Wrap her leg in Press ‘n Seal and feed her a couple more handfuls.

– Pause briefly.

– Wet the gauze, then wrap that over the Press ‘n Seal.

– Feed her the rest of her ration followed by the baby food, unwrapping before she finishes.

For the actual casting, have really good treats and a few jars of baby food on hand and be generous with these throughout the procedure.

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