Any mental exercises for a bed-ridden dog?


New Member
(I'm cross posting this on the Health 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?


Experienced Member
Front or back knee? If rear knee how about nose and paw targeting. Check out this month's challenge cross paws. I'm having a lot of fun with it. See past challenges for teaching shy, paws on head, fall over dead from down position, head down on paws (are you embarassed?) kind of thing is cute. Teach look at me and the name game and blink on cue, speak, quiet.

You can do discriminatory targeting too, you name each item and the dog must touch the right one. Start with 1 then 2 then add. Ignore incorrect touch, mark/treat correct. Example, touch ball, touch bone, touch shoe. Keep each items name consistent. You can even use a phone and remote if you want to later teach fetch me the phone or remote.

Hope surgery goes well. I've been through double elbow surger for my Golden boy in the past and it was no fun. I did get a nice neoprene sling to help him walk to potty. If you can order on line you'll likely find a much better one that won't slide than if you must run to the local pet store and buy what they have. The orthopedic places sometimes give you one with surgery but I've always found better on line.


Honored Member
Staff member
Just replied with the some of the same ideas on the health forum. ^^ Great minds think alike, Snooks! ;)


New Member
Thanks to both of you! Great ideas. I should start thinking of this as an opportunity to work on stuff that I might never have gotten to otherwise!

(It's the back left knee, by the way. I'm embarrassed that I didn't spot how much muscular atrophy was going on - his right thigh is much more developed now than his left one, so he's been favoring that leg longer than I thought. Poor guy.)