Today was a much milder day and mostly overcast, so I took Rufus out on the roads. I checked his pads before we left and they looked ok—not perfect, but not raw or scabbed. About halfway through his run—and man, can he RUN—I checked his pads again and one was bleeding. He, of course, never slows down even when his feet look bad (to me) until later when we’ve been home for a while. We turned around and now I’m guessing I will need to get boots. I’m not sure the heat of the road is the issue. I’m really thinking it’s the pavement’s roughness. I’m sure the heat probably amplifies the abrasive action of the road, but I think the main issue is abrasion. The location is odd to me though, but I don’t know nearly as much about the biomechanics of foot placement/impact for dogs as I do horses. It’s always the apex of the sort-of pentagon pad about half on the bottom of the pad and the other half in the crease between the big pad and the toe pads. (I’m going to Google the biomechanics now.)
I do brain games and indoor training with him almost everyday and increase it when it’s brutally hot. However, I’ve found that he needs the exertion of running at least once a week to let him focus. He’s a very busy dog without pacing, but vigilant—checking the perimeter, checking in with me, and listening for interlopers (sometimes just a car going down the road). Even with brain games & indoor ‘obedience’ training, he gets into more trouble—barking at every frog peeing in the road, getting in his peoples’ faces, mouthing and trying to wrestle with his people, chasing the bunnies by running around their pen, wrestling with the Aussie until she gets quite angry, etc—if he doesn’t get a good long walk or a shorter run.
Maybe I’m not doing the right kind of brain games…I’m teaching him various tricks, teaching him to play seek while I hide, fetch, working on impulse control using his ‘place’, jumping over obstacles I’ve made for him in the house, basic obedience-type things, using his Kong gyro-ball, and probably more, but I’m not remembering right now. We don’t necessarily do all of these things every time or every day, but when we can’t get good exercise outside I try to do several 15+ minute sessions with him doing one or more of these activities while getting him to focus on me and what I’m asking. The worst days for him are the ones after I have a flare-up of my migraine and can’t leave the darkness of my room for a day. When I’m feeling bad, he’s really good and stays near me, very calm and quiet. When I recover though, that next day I usually have to work extra hard to feed his brain and drain his battery. My kiddos have tried to do the same kind of things with him when I’m down, but he wants to stay with me and loses interest in whatever they’re trying to do with him.
if he were a horse having this trouble I’d probably boot him, so I’m thinking that’s what I should do.