I've counseled lots of people on how to help get through times of mandatory R&R for their energetic dogs. This week (November 2010) has been my chance to put that advice to the test. Romeo was neutered last Friday, and the vet recommends a week of no running and jumping. That would be fine if our dogs actually felt like resting after surgery. But they seem more inclined to get right back to their usual activities the next day. How do they do that?

Perhaps it's due in part to the fact that they don't dwell on it like we often do. We know what's just been done to us, but our dogs don't know. Perhaps it's easier that way. Perhaps they have better pain meds than we do so they don't feel as much discomfort and pain? If that's the case, I want whatever Romeo had if I ever have to go in for surgery.

So, how do you keep a dog from running around for a week after surgery when your dog normally NEEDS lots of running around time to burn off energy and make him bearable to live with? Fortunately, we are able to get out for walks, but walks on a short leash just aren't the same as running around in the back yard or walking/running/sniffing on a long line. If Romeo wants to go out in the back yard, he now has to go out on leash with one of us. Not nearly as much fun. But getting out for more controlled walks and giving him chances to sniff definitely helps.

Indoors, we don't play chase or other running around games, but we do spend time training, playing tug, and getting food out of interactive toys. I've also been giving him more bully sticks and similar items to chew on, though he seems to burn through them even faster than usual this week.

Romeo definitely has been harder to live with this week without being able to run around and really burn off some of that crazy energy. I find him resorting back to earlier days of getting into trouble much more often. He tries to take off running when we're outside and forgets he's on leash. He has been trying to dig more holes in the back yard.He steals more things in the house. He annoys the cat more often.

But providing other outlets does help. By spending extra time with training, fetch (low key), and other not-too-active activities, we burn off some of the energy so he's bearable to be around.

We ALL are looking forward to Romeo being able to run freely again!