Seven things to keep a puppy calm (or how we survived our puppies broken toe)

When the Border Collie, Cynder was about four and a half months old she started limping one evening after waking up from a bit of a nap. The girls had been running around a bit crazy in the backyard the whole afternoon and we didn’t hear anything go wrong, or see anything happen so we were a bit concerned as to what was going on. We put the girls to bed and when we checked on her in the morning she was still limping and avoiding walking on her right back foot altogether.

A quick check-over of the foot confirmed that something wasn’t quite right so straight off to the vet for X-rays which confirmed that she had indeed broken her toe. What did that mean for us? It meant a cast for four weeks and trying to keep a four-month old Border Collie puppy quiet for the next month. Luckily for us Cynder is quite a calm puppy generally, but here are seven things that helped us to get through Cynder’s broken toe:

  1. Her Crate: Thankfully we decided to crate train Cynder from the very beginning. This made things a lot easier because if required she could go to the crate with a treat or a toy and this would keep her calm. Luna was often wanting to play with her so it was important to keep them separated. Cynder is quite calm when she is in her crate and I was also able to take her to work with me sometimes which meant she needed to be crated during the day.
  2. Kongs: These are always a great way to keep both of the dogs calm. Each week I collect up all their stuffable toys, add treats (I’ll post a Kong stuffing recipe in the coming weeks), and then freeze. These worked a treat as they would keep Cynder’s mind active and she would stay calm and focused.
  3. Nina Ottosson Toys: Another way of keeping the mind stimulated. We have the Dog Tornado and it’s a great toy which provides much-needed mental stimulation as they attempt to work out how to get the treats out of it. We would usually try to get this out every week for a while and play it a few times. It’s really interesting to watch Cynder as she is doing this as you can actually almost see the cogs ticking over in her head. Being a Border Collie, mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise.
  4. Pig Trotters: As an occasional treat these were great as Cynder absolutely loves them and they take her a little while to actually chew through them. She was quite happy to sit in her crate for hours and chew through one of these treats.
  5. Her Hippo: One of the first toys Cynder got as a puppy and she still loves it. It gives her something to snuggle into whilst sleeping, and she also enjoys playing with it as well. It’s so different having a dog who doesn’t destroy every toy they touch!
  6. Training: Whilst we couldn’t do anything major that required walking, we could still do some of the basic training things like sit, shake, etc. as well as a few other things like high five and wave. It just goes to show that even with a broken toe there is always a new trick to work on!
  7. Her Ball: Cynder is a little crazy about her little blue ball with the bell inside. She’s really good at playing quiet games with it and will lie down rolling the ball around with her paw. This actually keeps her amused for quite a while so it’s handy for when she needs that little bit of time to play quietly, the only issue with this was that Luna couldn’t be around else she would want to play!

After four weeks the cast was off, she had a few pressure sores from it so had to stay a bit quiet for about another week. Thankfully now everything is better and she is running around like nothing ever happened! I wish I could of added walking to the list, as this is always helpful for calm puppies, but she was having a lot of issues with actually walking on the foot and it was causing her pain so this wasn’t possible.

What are some of the things you do to keep your dog calm?


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  1. Frankie Furter and Ernie

    I think you REALLY did All the RIGHT thingys to keep poor baby Cynder Calm and Quiet. We Remember when that happened to her. We felt so sad fur her. BUTT the good news is…. everythingy is A-OK now!!!

  2. That’s a good list! I’m so glad that Cynder healed up with no problem.

    When Elka broke a toe, we didn’t get her casted, but we did need to keep her quiet for like, 8 weeks. She was about a year old at the time, and that was pretty tough.

  3. Our border collie likes to take care of her toys also. My daughter’s Jack Russell immediately has to tear the “squeaker” out of any toy he receives.

  4. That’s alot of good ideas. Main thing is all is well again. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  5. We’ve been working on the calming exercises outlined in the Control Off Leash program. Not easy. Dexter gets quite enthusiastic during training sessions. Glad that Cynder is all better.

    Mango Momma

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