Any mental exercises for a bed-ridden dog?


New Member
(I'm cross posting this on the Training forum)

My oldest Boxer, Trooper Thorn (6 yrs old), is going to be getting knee surgery next week, and will require up to 4 months of rest and relaxation - absolutely minimal walking. We'll have to keep him crated whenever we're not with him, and keep him laying down at our feet when we are.

He's a good dog, and won't argue with us too much, but I know this is going to be mentally very tough on him, especially with his brother BeBop still being fully active. We work on tricks and cues every day right now.

Does anybody have any advice on good low-physical tricks we can work on to keep him mentally engaged without getting too physical?


Honored Member
Staff member
Get really creative with targetting. There used to be a thread around here somewhere that had a vid with a dog chin targetting...chin on a stool, chin on your lap, chin on anything--very useful for movies. =) If your dogs don't already know cross paws, that's this month's challenge(if he can do this--surgery front legs or back legs?).

Object discrimination if you haven't already started this--touch the ball, touch the ring, touch the squirrel, touch the squeaky toy, touch touch touch touch. I have a command for paw targets, a command for nose targets, and if I decide to start it, we'll have a command for rear paw targets and chin targets. Once he feels better, a useful movie trick is hiking on something--the "fake pee." You may have already taught that one. You could work on simple things that he does on his own--yawn, sneeze, etc. Click, treat when he does the desired behavior(being so bored, he may yawn quite a bit). Yes and no is a very non-physically demanding trick.

Hope this gives you some ideas, and best of luck to Trooper. :) My aunt's 4-yr-old female Boxer had to have knee surgery last year, and goodness was she bored. They couldn't keep her down enough and she popped her stitches twice.
Hope all goes well. :dogsmile: