Sunday, April 8, 2018

Work In Progress

I read a recent post by Patricia McConnell titled "Are We Doing Enough For Our Dogs?"  As I was reading it, all I could think was AH-FREAKING-MEN!!  This is an area that I feel like I have constantly struggled with.  I never feel like I'm doing enough or measuring up to what is expected.  Add to that taking a year "off," and I am rife with guilt over not doing enough for my dogs.

Side bar on the word guilt.  I have assigned the feeling of guilt to many situations, but when the actual definition of the word was pointed out to me, it has helped me dissect the feeling and tackle the situation in a more constructive manner.  Guilt is "the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime."  In a nutshell, guilt is when you have done something wrong.  I feel guilty for not fitting in training time last Wednesday with either dog.  Did I actually do something wrong or commit a crime?  No.  Assigning that feeling the name guilt is incorrect.  I feel bad that I didn't fit in training time with either dog.  But just breaking it down and making the situation relatively black and white with that one question, has helped me handle those uncomfortable feelings.  The bad feeling doesn't linger.  And instead of wallowing unproductively in it, I make a promise or a plan to remedy this instance.  For me, it makes the situation more manageable and alleviates the mental anguish.  Sometimes words have too much power.  This is one way that I'm trying to tackle that in a more constructive way.

McConnell goes on to discuss where this question comes from.  If you are in a position where you are able to ask this question, then you are in a position of privilege.  If you can ask this question, then you are able to meet all the basic needs of your survival.  You are not focused on where your next meal is going to come from.  You're not concerned about having a roof over your head.  If you are able to ask this question with regards to a non-human being under your care, you're doing pretty well compared to a lot of areas in the world.  As she points out, this is a first world problem.

For good or for ill, realizing that makes me feel less bad.  I have a job, I have a house, regardless of the past year, I have good health.  My basic needs are not in danger of not being met.  This gives me the luxury of caring about my dogs. 

Life moves ahead at what seems like an ever increasing rate.  The expectations are higher.  There are things that you need and have to do, things that you should do and then there are things that you want to do.  We have the varied expectations and duties of work, which enable us to put food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and enjoy the dogs in our lives.  Through work life and dog life, we meet other people.  We form bonds with those people.  Interactions with those people can take place just in the professional or dog related setting, or we find (sometimes struggle to) time to connect with people outside of either of those venues.  The more people you know, the more pulls on your time you have.  The more expectations you may feel the pressure to meet.  I don't mean this in a negative way, but it is a pull on our physical time as well as a potential pull on your psyche.  If you're an introvert, then you REALLY get this.  We are a social species.  No matter how introverted you are, you need that contact with at least one other person and this can create turmoil within. 

On the home front, you can get inundated with information.  Information on what you should feed your dog and how you should feed it.  How often, what types, durrations and in what contexts you should exercise your dog.  How often and what types of mental stimulation your dog needs.  What activities you should and should not participate in.  The list goes on and on and surely if you do not follow the golden rule your dog will be ruined forever! 

All of that and so much more is what I'm struggling with.  It boils down to struggling with the idea that I am not doing enough for my dogs.  The past year of their lives has been the most sedate and boring year of their for them.  My schedule has been constantly evolving.  My ability, both physically and mentally, to work with my dogs has been gradually coming back.  But for some reason, this feeling of dread that I am not doing enough for my dogs freezes me in my tracks and has been a road block for getting back after it.  Acknowledging it doesn't always help me either.  I've had to make the effort to work at it.  I've had to start doing things that I know will succeed to get my rear in gear.  I'm having to put a lot more effort into my training plan than I'm used to.  I have to really think about what I want to work on with both dogs and where each dog is at.  Whereas before I could work on the same things multiple days in a row, that kind of a schedule demotivates me for training and I'm more likely to prioritize one of the many other things on my list of things that need looking at.  So my training plan has had to evolve.

I now have to schedule a chunk of time each week to work out my training plan for the week ahead, day by day.  I need to take into account project load at work that might have me staying there longer or might have me mentally or physically worn out or both.  I need to take into account any week day evening plans that I have and I've also had to start limiting the number of week day plans that I make.  It got way too easy to let that get out of control if I didn't set limitations and that was doing nothing but causing me to feel more frazzled.  I also needed to freshen up my training.  I've been working on some of the same things with my past dogs as well as the current.  While each dog has something different to bring to the table and I know that it all builds to the individual goals that I have for them, I'm at a point right now where I need to freshen things up a little to get ME more interested and to positively reinforce ME to keep going. 

I've also had to think about my time management.  There are a million papers, books, blog posts and articles that I want to read.  But again, making time for that reading is challenging.  So I've managed to find a happy medium that makes me feel like I'm maximizing my time.  I listen to a lot of podcasts.  Yeah, I'm late to the game, but I'm finally there.  I have a wide variety of interests and listening to various podcasts lets me continue to learn and stay up on a variety of topics so that I feel like I'm continuing to increase my knowledge without that time being taken away from other things. I listen to podcasts while I'm doing tasks that need doing, but don't require my rapt attention.  I listen to them while I'm driving, which has had the added bonus of decreasing my road rage by engaging my frontal cortex and keeping my head in a more logical space.  I listen while I'm cleaning and cooking at home.  These are all tasks that I HAVE to do, so I might as well maximize the time and get something more out of it.  It has made for a happier and more informed me.

And as I mentioned in my last post, I decided to sign up for an online dog training course to spice up my training regimen.  I'm just getting back into the swing of things and I don't want to go so balls to the wall that I burn myself out immediately and defeat the purpose.  So I chose the Relationship Walks class at the bronze level.  As I mentioned, it meets the criteria I had set forth for myself.  So far so good.  This past week had a lot going on and I fell behind, in a manner of speaking.   But I was able to "catch up" today.  So I think I have found what will currently work for me. 

Everything is a work in progress.  I'm getting there.  I'm trying to do enough for my dogs, whatever that feels like at the moment.  But I'm also keeping in mind that I need to take care of myself first.  My dogs depend on me.  If I'm not taking care of myself, then I surely won't be able to take care of them to the level that I think they should be.  That reminder helps.  As McConnell said in her post, "put the oxygen mask on yourself first."

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Week In Review

Despite how that picture looks, Dominic hates bath. :) It took some cookies and some patience, but he got into the bathtub all on his own.  And in case you're wondering, yes those are whiskers on his face and yes those whiskers stayed put.  As I was attempting to shave him the night before the specialty, I realized this was not the time and this was a "battle" that he should win.  What I should have done was what I do when I'm getting the dogs used to the dremmel.  One toe nail at a time with lots of treats and lots of consistency over the course of several weeks.  I just plum forgot and fell back on what I usually do, which is shave the dog the night before the dog show.  Only Dom has never had his whiskers shaved (as a puppy who needed ring experience, whiskers were the least of my concerns).  So really, I shouldn't have even tried doing it.  In the end, I tried a little.  He made it clear that he was not having it.  So we moved along to the bath, which by comparison was much less terrible.

Last Friday was the Willamette Valley Great Dane Club's annual double specialty.  This was my first time back in the conformation ring in a year.  This was a big deal.  I wasn't aiming to be competitive for the points.  I just wanted to prove to myself that I could handle it and that this part of my life was back under my control.  Dominic was the only one in his class, so we got all the wonderful swag that the club offers for winning the class.  It was pretty sweet!  But best of all was how freaking supportive and amazing the group of dane people are who were at this show!  I had the very awesome pleasure to be cheered on around the ring by the other exhibitors.  They were genuinely happy to see me back in the ring and wanted me to know it.  I can't adequately explain what that means to me.  These people are amazing. :)

Dominic did well enough considering that he's had a year off with not a lot of work.  We have things to work on and I have a plan for how to go about that.  But we had a pretty good time in the ring and I was happy to be there.  This was also my boyfriend Tanner's very first dog show.  I kind of broke him in a little hard. ;) But he was a great sport and even won a couple of collars for the dogs in the most excellent raffle that the club had!

Saturday was Miley's 4th birthday and seeing as how her brother had us to himself the day before, I felt it only fitting that she get a special outing for her birthday.  We went to a local park that is relatively new that I hadn't been to before.  Part of the park is a protected natural area and dogs aren't allowed on those trails, but there were enough interesting things to see and certainly the novelty of the location.  The focal point were these giant vine heads.  Miley wasn't terribly impressed.

I tried getting her to take a picture with me inside the heads, but it's her party and she won't cooperate if she doesn't want to.  Naturally, it wasn't like I was going to let that stop me from getting other pictures.

Sunday was Easter.  And April Fool's day.  The dogs thought it'd be cool to play a fun little April Fool's day prank on me where they found their prey drive.  I have mentioned to other people previously about how great both dogs are out on hikes when they see deer or elk.  They might look at or be somewhat interested in them, but they don't chase.  Wellllllllll, I can say that no longer.  Sunday morning, as we're sauntering along, a lone cow elk crosses our path and trots off into the forest.  The dogs had their backs turned at the moment so were late to the chase.  Given the thicker underbrush, they didn't really go far into the forest, but did very excitedly go check out the cow's path.  Huh, I thought.  That was way more interest than they've shown previously.  And we moved on.  Until a small herd of about 12 elk crossed our path.  And the dogs both took off after them.  I was both shocked that this herd popped out of "no where" and that the dogs were acting pretty reminiscent of Heffner and Bess.  Thankfully both dogs only chased after the herd a short distance into the forest and then came running back.  Clearly elated at the excitement of being "wild dogs."  Tanner was initially very concerned as this was the first time he has been around dogs chasing after elk.  After calling the dogs' names once and them not responding, I knew it wasn't worth continuing to do so until they were ready to break off on their own.  Which they did and quite happily came running back to us.  All is well now.  I just have some recall work to do on hikes under what are now very high level distractions.

The rest of this week has been trying to keep up on house chores, dog chores, a Sherwood Dog Training Club meeting and baking gluten free, vegan peanut butter blondies for the bake off at work tomorrow.  And bucking with the usual tradition of buying the dogs a physical item for their birthdays, this year for Miley I decided I would get her a gift that would also kick my butt into training gear (that is a post by itself).  But hopefully in a way that wouldn't have me overly stressed out trying to fit yet one more thing into a schedule that occasionally has me hyperventilating.  I decided to enroll in a class through the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy!  We're taking the Relationship Walks class.  It meets the criteria for what I can handle right now.  It's online, so I don't have to actually schedule it as well as factor in travel time.  I'm enrolled at the bronze level, so the price works for me.  And I get to go through the course at my pace without having the self appointed or otherwise, pressure of having to submit videos by a certain time.  I also have less guilt if I have a day where training is just not going to happen.  At the bronze level, I feel like I will be able to capitalize on what I've paid for.  Trying to get a handle on juggling everything has proven to be quite the challenge for me and I'm hoping this will help to ease me back into the swing of things. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Getting Back To Normal

Slowly but surely, things are getting back to normal.  It's taken longer than I would have thought.  But I'm also an impatient person who enjoyed living in a world where I thought that it would be no big deal to start walking again after breaking both legs and spending two months in a wheelchair.  Ahhhh, denial.  Sometimes it's a beautiful thing!

Next month marks the one year post accident time point and I'm trying (at least some of the time) to be kind to myself on my progress.  I'm trying to keep in mind that everything will come as it will and it's certainly not like the dogs are judging me.  Well, Miley is a little, but whatever. 

Throughout this process of relearning how to walk, I have refused to do really any sort of heeling with the dogs.  Even on a good day, my gait was uneven and walking a straight line for very long was beyond me.  I LOVE heeling.  Having this hiccup make a mockery of that was incredibly unappealing.  Not to mention, it just felt counterproductive for the dogs to have me periodically bumping into them through no fault of their own.  So heeling was on hold.  Fine, we'll start smaller-ish.

The physical therapy team that I have had throughout this process has been phenomenal!  They've kept my at home and at the gym routines constantly evolving.  And they were always trying new things during my sessions.  They basically didn't allow me to get board.  Which, in the lengthy process that I had ahead of me, that was pretty key to keeping me plugging away.

Earlier this year, my primary PT asked me what kind of physical goals I had for the year.  I touched on a few different areas of interest where I felt I could set tangible goals that would give me something to look forward to.  One of those areas was getting back into the conformation ring with Dominic.  My PT didn't show dogs, so she wasn't entirely sure what would be entailed in this.  I gave her a general run down and she started thinking out loud.  It might be beneficial to have me bring Dom in to the clinic so that she could see me work with him and get an idea of 1) how I move when I've got him on the other end of the lead and 2) what I need to be able to work up to.  She ended up getting approval from the director of the clinic and they verified that the patients who would be over lapping with me weren't allergic to dogs, and we were off! 

It was one of the BEST sessions I had had!  Hitting specific measurement milestones were huge, but knowing that I was REALLY working towards getting back ALL aspects of my life was beyond words!  Part of me was a little worried that she was going to recommend against me taking Dom into the ring, but after our session with him, I got the green light!!

Fast forward to now. :) After many weeks of plugging away, being persistent and consistent regardless of how awkward I felt, tomorrow Dom and I will be getting back into the conformation ring!  We're only entered tomorrow for the double specialty, but I'm really excited to get back into the ring with him.  It's going to be awkward and I know that I'm going to be self conscious about it, but it's working those bits of normalcy back into my life that I need.  And it's also about damn time.

So here's to getting back into the conformation ring and here's to making an effort to blog semi-regularly again!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

And Things

Yeah, wagon, falling off....but hey, at least I didn't end up in the hospital again. ;) Recovering from this accident has been a thing.  Many things actually.  I wrote my last post last August with the intent of the blog posts helping me to work through everything and using the blog as the outlet that it frequently has been.  It still is, but jeez, the accident and subsequent recovery have been such an involved and lengthy process, that getting "caught up" on everything has happened would be quite the task.  And life got busy and involved with me getting back to work and life slowly picking up speed.  Oh yeah, and appointments.  Dear god there were so many appointments!  I'll attempt to summarize, so that this aspect of my life can get more back to "normal."

After the hospital, I spent two months in a wheelchair and was completely non weight bearing on either leg.  As in absolutely, no-go, not happening, even if I had wanted to try cheating, that shit was NOT gonna happen.  While you're in a wheelchair, you realize just how un-differently abled the world is.  And quite frankly, just how inconsiderate the general population is.  By all means, even though I'm the one in the wheelchair that really can't go onto the grass, yes, let ME get out of YOUR way on the sidewalk so as to not inconvenience your day.  Until you're in a situation where you experience these things first hand, you don't realize how crappy situations can be or just how crappy those situations and people's responses can make a person feel.  

But I digress, two months in a wheelchair basically hanging out at home.  Basically all of my muscles had atrophied, so even if I had wanted to attempt going out of my house, I have a slanted drive way and was not strong enough (I know, I tried, under supervision) to halt my wheelchair from skidding down the drive way into the street, let alone wheeling my way back up that previously insignificant seeming incline.  Not being able to leave the house unsupervised wasn't the worst thing.  I had a LOT of healing to do.  And because I'd had a couple bouts of my appetite and ability to eat going out the window while I was in the hospital (head trauma is a serious bitch), I hadn't been really fueling my body as much as it needed for the crazy amount of all over trauma it experienced.  So small activities, even just having conversations, wore me completely out.  I could interact with people for a MAX of two hours before I was basically falling asleep where ever I was.  My endurance for focusing my eyes and my brain on reading or typing anything was also shot.  The physical therapist in the hospital actually had me doing eye exercises.  In a nut shell, I was easily exhausted and spent a lot of time sleeping and generally recovering.  

During this time, Miley was my constant companion.  We started nicknaming her Nurse Miley.  Because I wasn't very strong and my legs were so sensitive and not mobile, we had to be really careful about how close she got to me.  Any of her previous rough housing or even some of the snuggling that she would do with me were out of the question.  She had a hard time initially, but she adjusted and she was content to be as close to me as she could.  She was also a HUGE fan of the fact that my bathroom door had to be taken completely off in order for my wheel chair to fit in there.  Miley LOVES to creep on me while I'm in the bathroom.  She'll nose punch the door handle multiple times.  And if that doesn't work, she very loudly inhales along the edges of the door.  With the door no longer in her way, she was able to see everything that happened in the bathroom and basically keep a constant eye on me.  She would even lay down in front of the bathroom door while I showered.  It was all very sweet and through the whole process she was very careful to modify any of her physical interactions with me.  She was incredibly gentle and calm.  Now, of course, she's completely back to her normal crazy self. :)

Throughout the wheelchair period, I understandably couldn't wait to be weight bearing and walking again.  I had a this INCREDIBLY unrealistic thought process that once I was weight bearing, I would just start walking and within a month everything would be back to normal.  Yeah.  That was cute.  Though I will admit that this wonderful ignorance is likely what kept me in a much more forward thinking mindset than I would have otherwise been in.  I basically had to learn to use everything from the waist down all over again.  In some cases I had to form new neuro-muscular pathways for the different ways that my legs were now moving.  Plus there was a whole lot of muscle imbalances.  And atrophy.  And hardware in both legs.  And my favorite, limited range of motion in my right knee (almost a year later and there is still 20 degrees that I don't have).  Relearning to walk is hard and painfully slow.  You know how long it takes kids to go from crawling to walking and walking fluidly?  I know very much understand that struggle.

As I mentioned, we're creeping up on the one year anniversary of my accident and I'm at a point where I can look back and be pretty proud of what I've accomplished and everything that I've had to push through and deal with.  It has been a crap load of work and there have definitely been chunks of time where I was having a hard time dealing with everything.  But I'm proud of the progress that I've made, I have a plan for continuing to move forward, and now I can say that I wrassled a car and it didn't beat me. ;) This life event will definitely continue to color things moving forward, but life is getting back to normal and I'm looking forward to getting back to everything with my dogs.

I hope anyone still reading these posts is doing well!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

So This Happened....

You were probably thinking I was going to announce that I brought home a new puppy.  I REALLY wish that was the update I had to share.  I mean, I'm not crazy enough yet to ACTUALLY want a puppy right now, but I would seriously much rather be dealing with the trials of bringing up another puppy and figuring out how to juggle three dogs versus the current situation.  But I digress.

Mid April I was out for a run on my normal route, at my normal time, doing normal things.  While I was crossing one of the intersections I normally cross, I was hit by a car.  The driver was found to be completely responsible, because he completely was.  The light was red.  Two other cars coming the opposite direction had stopped for the light.  He did not and hit me at 40 mph, sending me 30 feet.  I suffered a concussion, head lacerations, some minor facial lacerations that needed suturing, a fractured nose, fractured T6 vertebrae, broken left femur (from the x-rays, definitely the most impressive break out of everything), broken left heel and broken right tib-fib plateau.  I spent three weeks in the trauma unit with a few different hiccups along the way and four surgeries.  I now have a titanium rod in my left femur and other hardware in my heel and tibia.  I spent two months in a wheel chair after being released from the hospital and am more recently weight bearing on both legs with the aid of crutches.  I hesitated on including this whole ordeal in the blog, but if I want to continue with the blog, there's really no way around it.  This accident has very dramatically impacted my life and will continue to do so for some time to come.  If I want to continue with this blog, there is no avoiding this topic.
As you can probably imagine, there's a whole lot that has gone on throughout this whole process.  However, the focus of this blog is the dogs.  I feel like I could have a completely separate blog going into things just about the accident and everything that has happened since that day, but I'm going to stick to that pertaining to the dogs.

First and foremost, neither of my dogs was with me on my run that morning.  I have taken my dogs running in the past, but due to a hamstring annoyance last year, it was easier on me to run without Miley.  And I have never been more thankful that I left her at home.  I remember very little of the accident itself.  I have a memory of interacting with at least one of the emergency personnel after they had secured.  I remember realizing that something was going on, but not exactly what.  I thankfully don't remember being in any pain at that moment, but I was trying to get from them what had happened.  It was kind of like waking up from a dream and realizing that something was very off and I had not really been sleeping.  Someone did tell me that I had been hit by a car and my first, that I could remember, reaction to that was to make two requests.  The first was that someone had to go to my house because my dogs hadn't been fed yet.  I gave them my home address and stressed that it was very important that my dogs were taken care of.  At this point, I remember thinking that I wanted them to give my roommate a heads up so that he could feed the dogs breakfast and I would worry about them once things were taken care of at the hospital.  My thought was that this was just common procedure and they were required to take me to a hospital to get checked out as sort of a liability thing.  Again, I don't remember feeling any pain, so there wasn't anything that was actually cluing me in to how bad things were.  I thought I would get checked over, maybe they'd take some x-rays and then I'd arrange for someone to drive me home.  No biggie.  Insert HUGE eye roll.

The other request I made was that they contact my work to let them know that I wouldn't be in that day.  Again, I thought this was just a minor incident, but I wanted people at work to not be wondering where I was.  So I prattled off my work number and they did call the lab to give them a brief update as to what was going on.  This seems like a minor request right now, but it does come to play a bigger role with regards to the care of my dogs.  And the people I work with are seriously some of the most amazing people.  Which was only further emphasized throughout this whole "experience."

So the police stopped at my house and roughly filled my roommate in, though they wouldn't given him too many details since he wasn't family.  He then found my parents' home phone number and called them to let them know what was going on.  And yes, he fed the dogs their breakfast. :)

The crew at work were contacted by my mom after she and my dad got to the hospital.  Which started the immediate task of figuring out how to take care of my dogs while I was at the hospital for a duration of time that no one knew.  I seriously cannot stress enough how AMAZING the people I work with are!!  Everyone in the group is an animal lover.  Everyone knows how important my dogs are to me and they all stepped up to figure out how to cover their care for as long as I needed.  One of the ladies in the lab was the point person on coordinating the dog care.  She has two dogs of her own and a full house and wouldn't have been able to take in either dog.  So she coordinated which dog went with who and the picking up of their food from the house or the store.  No simple task since I feed raw and was actually going to be picking up a three month supply of food for Miley that week.  My roommate was able to watch Miley during the week, but was out of town on the weekends, so different people from where I work stepped up and took Miley in on the weekends.  Dominic went and stayed with the couple that he has stayed with every time I'm out of town and they were willing to watch him long term.  With that aspect of things out of the way I could focus on dealing with what I needed to while I was in the hospital and focus on getting well enough to leave.

There were occasional offers of maybe bringing one of the dogs in to visit me, but I thought it would be more confusing for either of the dogs to see me in this very strange place and not in great shape.  This stay away from the dogs was unlike any other separation I've had from them.  Obviously it was very unexpected.  When I'm going out of town, there's a pattern to the way that I prep myself and them for me leaving.  This case had none of that preparation for what was to come.  I thought it would be best to wait to see them until I was home and we could start the process of establishing our new normal.  Plus I wasn't exactly sure how either of my dogs were going to get into my room unnoticed. ;)

So that was the hospital stay.  Three weeks of thankfully awesome people making sure that my dogs were well taken care of and that I didn't have to worry about them.  The next phase of this process was coming home and being in a wheelchair for two months.  But I'll leave that for the next post. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rose City Classic, Day 1

I had this whole grand plan of doing all this videoing today of the process of getting to the show and all the neat things at the show.  But that went completely out the window when I had to deal with unanticipated, stupid traffic.  It took me an hour and a half to go 24 miles.  This isn't LA people!  I budgeted for an hour, which I felt was generous given that I was hitting the road at 6:00 am.  I wanted to make sure that Dominic had a solid hour to acclimate to the show grounds and all the hubbub.  That didn't happen at all.  We got there so "late" that I was debating even setting up his crate.  But it was still good practice for him and I did want to be able to watch as much of the rest of the danes as I could.  So we worked with what we had.

Dominic is still really great in his crate.  He is also less distracted outside of the ring.  There is still general squirreliness and distraction while inside the ring, but that'll get better with more handling classes.  And that's the key for him.  He needs the distraction and commotion of a handling class in order to learn how to work regardless of it.  Last week I was hoping to go to two different handling classes with him, but both were understandably cancelled due to the weather.  This week I wanted to stay at home in the evenings because Miley got spayed and gastropexied on Monday and I wanted to keep an eye on her (she's recovering like a freaking champ!).  So my plans for added preparation for Dom were a bit foiled.  But it's four days of shows and I'll be sure to leave extra early tomorrow morning.

I did video a little bit of my traffic frustration, some of the best of breed ring for danes and then Dom and I burning off some energy after the show.  The numbers at the show today are definitely down.  With some highways still closed, many people are struggling to get here.  Today was probably the quietest day at the show and the chaos will only increase.  Thankfully we show at 8am all four days and, particularly on the weekend, we can show and get out of there before it gets to be too crazy.

Without further ado, here are the video clips that I did manage to get:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Dominic - Learning the Ramp

And now for Dominic.  I go through the same process with him.  Starting off with the ramp flat on the carpet.  Then I add a little height by using the aerobic step to rest it on.

He's never really had the opportunity to use the ramp, so he doesn't have any negative associations with it like Miley seems to have.  The only thing he knows is that she is hesitant around it, which I think has given him some confusion as to what he's supposed to do with it.  Otherwise he handles it pretty well.

A couple of "fun facts" from these two videos.  I actually watched myself this time and realized that I'm wearing the exact same outfit in both videos, even though they were shot on different days.  Scandalous, I know!  I have a habit of just throwing a hoodie on over whatever I'm wearing when I get home.  This video is a perfect case in point. ;)

The other little caveat is that the carpet is not the first location that I tried putting the ramp on.  Initially I put it on the kitchen floor.  I chose that surface initially for a couple of reasons.  One, the ramp has been sitting in the garage and was otherwise used in outdoor locations.  So it's not super clean and it has some cobwebs and such on it.  It's much simpler to just sweep up anything that comes off as opposed to vacuuming up.  And secondly, it allowed for a little more space.  I thought the kitchen floor had enough texture to keep the ramp in place, but it didn't.  Dominic's first time on it he came excitedly up and pounced his front feet on it and sent it scooting across the kitchen.  Which, of course, also unnerved Miley, who was holding a down stay on the carpet behind us.  So yeah, I recommend REALLY testing out the soundness of the surface that you're practicing on.