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We have a 6 year old Golden Retriever who recently broke his front right leg and was waiting for surgery next week. A couple of days ago he developed paralysis to the right side of his face and now has a partially torn cruciate to his back left leg. His surgery has been cancelled for further investigation. In the meantime, we have a basement entry house....so instead of keeping him in the basement alone, we have been trying to control him going up and down the stairs. We purchased a harness for him but when I put it around his chest, he is panicking on the stairs and lunging through the air with his back legs. He is 80lbs and I am 120lbs, so I end up going with him. He has now bruised my foot twice and I’ve fallen down the stairs and into the wall. I don’t know why he is so aggressive and scared on the stairs and I don’t know what to do. He is going to hurt himself more and me as well. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could use or do to calm him down? He is going crazy from lack of exercise. He is such a sweetheart but right now he is frustrating me terribly.
 

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We have a 6 year old Golden Retriever who recently broke his front right leg and was waiting for surgery next week. A couple of days ago he developed paralysis to the right side of his face and now has a partially torn cruciate to his back left leg. His surgery has been cancelled for further investigation. In the meantime, we have a basement entry house....so instead of keeping him in the basement alone, we have been trying to control him going up and down the stairs. We purchased a harness for him but when I put it around his chest, he is panicking on the stairs and lunging through the air with his back legs. He is 80lbs and I am 120lbs, so I end up going with him. He has now bruised my foot twice and I’ve fallen down the stairs and into the wall. I don’t know why he is so aggressive and scared on the stairs and I don’t know what to do. He is going to hurt himself more and me as well. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could use or do to calm him down? He is going crazy from lack of exercise. He is such a sweetheart but right now he is frustrating me terribly.
He is probably aggressive and scared on the stairs because it is very painful for him to move on them and being taken up/down the stairs without his normal balance and control is additionally scary. Pain can easily cause aggressive or panic reactions.

I suggest setting up a large crate in the basement (assuming this is climate controlled?) and an air mattress or futon for a human. Crate him 100% of the time when not directly and immediately supervised. Put some blankets down for him to lay on and have a chew toy while you sit with him. Basically, set up camp for you and him in a location that does not require him to use stairs at all. He also should not have any furniture that he might jump up and down from like a sofa or bed that isn't only a few inches from the floor.

If he is really stir-crazy, ask your vet about a mild sedative to keep him calm now and for after surgery.
 
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