Sunday, August 30, 2009
(and yes, I hate it when people do this too!!)
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Acupressure has been associated with helping arthritis most notably, but also behavioral issues (if you're in pain, you're not exactly wanting to be all bright and sunshiny!), skin problems, immune stilumlation and support, as well as digestive problems. It's amazing how something that is seemingly so simple can have such wide reaching benefits!
And as always, I've got some web sites that I found helpful and informative to me!
http://www.animalacupressure.com/Page.aspx?ID=222 This site is AWESOME because it has a whole list of articles relating to acupressure, and it has links to the articles in their entirety!
http://www.luckydoghealth.com/dogacupressurechart.htm This is a dog acupressure chart, which you would have found through the site listed above, but I wanted to include it anyhow!
Just more food for thought on one of the little natural things that we can do to help our pooches!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Now on to fish oil! Many of the different fish oils on the market today, whether they are made specifically for humans or dogs, are composed of primarily omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3's are really great for your dog(s) in soooo many ways! And thankfully, they are a lot less likely than omega 6 fatty acids to build up to a toxic level in your dog's system. Omega 3's have been credited with aiding in:
1) Relief of allergies and autoimmune maladies related to a lack of omega 3's.
2) Slowing down the process that leads to arthritis.
3) Alleviating various inflammatory disorders due to the omega 3's anti-inflammatory properties.
4) Better coats and skin
5) Helping to prevent yeast infections in skin and ears
6) Promoting the good cholesterol
7) Improving brain function
And the list just goes on and on!
You may be wondering why specifically fish oil pills. After all, other sources like flax seed oil also contain high amounts of omega 3's. In fact, flax seed oil contains more omega 3's than fish oil. Unfortunately, these omega 3's are primarily in an inactive form and therefore not useable by the canine body.
Omega 6's are also an essential fatty acid, but with most kibble (and human diets for that matter!) diets, there is an overabundance of omega 6's and you don't really need to worry about it. Studies have shown that ratios of omega 3's to 6's should be in the range of 5:1, 10:1, 20:1, or 50:1, depending on the source that you go to. The bottom line is that you need far more omega 3's than you do omega 6's. I got more concerned about the ratio between the two in a dog's diet, due to a bug getting put into my ear by a rep for a company who was trying to sell me his company's specific brand of fish oil. He was trying to convince me that their fish oil had a much healthier and better ratio of 3's to 6's than what I was giving. Normally I don't really listen to the various reps because they're out there promoting their product and trying to prove that it's better than what you're using. However, the ratio between the two was something that I embarassingly hadn't looked into because I hadn't really heard of it being a problem with raw fed dogs. From what I've read, I really don't think it's an issue. Omega 6's are found in various poultry parts and my dogs get chicken, turkey, and some other types of poultry depending on the time of year. I'm therefore pretty confident that I'm doing right by my dogs, but that rep didn't get me to thinking!
There's a whole lot of information out there and multiple studies done on dogs as well as humans. Here are some links that I found helpful and informative in various different ways:
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sat. and Sun. she didn't do anything. Bummer. We've still got two more weekends of shows, a weekend off, and then another big show. Busy, busy, busy.
And like I said on Fri., Bess is also in heat. Oh what fun! Actually, she's really quite easy when she's in season. She's not a gusher, she doesn't have much of an odor at all, and she's not totally crazy. For about the first week and a half she's really clingy and needy. Which is mostly cute. For the last week and half, we usually have to separate the dogs because she goes into full hoocy momma mode. If Heffner isn't trying to mount her on his own (and yes, he's neutered and has been for a couple of years now, but we didn't remove the parts in his brain that make him a boy!), then she's constantly sticking her butt up in his face and TRYING to get him to mount her. She has some boxers on while she's loose in the house, but apparently that doesn't matter at all. So it's that last week and a half that I'm really dreading. And we're showing all throughout it. Ug!!
Now for this weeks blog pick! I chose Holly & Zac and Their Adventures! It's a great blog about two border collies and, well, their adventures. Their mom takes some WONDERFUL pictures that I just love browsing through! Go check it out!!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The basic premise behind using the various sized stability balls is that you can either do an all over body workout, or you can isolate different muscle groups and strengthen them. I started doing this with my dogs when I started taking classes from Bobbie Lyons (and if you have questions, I doubt she'll mind if you shoot her an email). She had one day seminars as well as a six week class. I have taken both with both dogs. The seminar we've done a few times now and I'm hoping to host one at my house in the fall, once I get my schedule figured out and touch base with Bobbie.
I always start my dogs out with the lowest to the ground objects to warm them up and then I slowly work them up in size. Usually we start with the small balance disc. This I bought at Fred Meyer in their fitness section. It's not too big and therefore requires a fair amount of concentration for the dogs to first just balance their front feet on it and then secondly to move around with it. For the small balance disc, I usually just first have the dogs get their front feet up on it, then I have them pivot around the disc, while keeping their front feet stationed on it the whole time. I work them in both directions. This can be a little tough at first, but after a few sessions they get really used to it and can wip around quick enough that I end up getting dizzy! This exercise helps work the shoulder muscles as well as the core muscles and also helps to increase hind end awareness because the dogs are having to manipulate their back feet while their front feet essentially stay stationary. This is something that they're generally not used to doing. This is VERY helpful for giant breeds doing agility. They need to know where their back feet are when they're on obstacles like the dog walk, which is relatively narrow.
Next we move on to the larger balance disc. These are a little harder to come by, and I'll include the site that I ordered it from at the end of this post. I do basically the same thing with the large disc as I do with the smaller disc. Because it's larger, it poses its own challenges for them when they're pivotting. However, I'm able to more things with the larger disc than I am with the smaller one. For instance, I can get the dogs to sit on the disc, which teaches them to pull their hips in tighter when they're sitting and really focus on their back ends. Bess is very eager to do "tricks" and I can actually get her to sit on the large disc and quickly raise both front paws up in the air, while just balancing on her hind end, in a sit. It's pretty cool and takes a lot of concentration and muscle control. Heffner isn't as eager to even sit on the large disc and we've been slowly working on it. I've been able to get him to start sitting on it, but he's not paying as much attention to his hips and lets them go wide so that his legs will slide off the disc. But we're getting there!
Next we move on to the air mattress. I have just a regular old twin sized air mattress that I got from Fred Meyer in their camping section. Works great! This may seem a little odd, but the air mattress makes simple things like downs, sits, and even just walking around on it, more work because of the air component. I'll take the dogs through figure 8's on the mattress where they're not allowed to let even one foot go off onto the mats. Then we do sits to downs and downs to sits. Doggy push-ups in a sense. Bess likes to do her double high fives on this!
When I was starting Bess out and getting her used to manipulating the various different balls before actually getting her up on them (you really want to build their confidence with this so that everything is a very fun and positive experience!) I would work her with the light blue pill shaped ball that you can see in the picture at the top of this post. I would just have her roll it back and forth with her front feet. These balls are nice because they essentially only roll in one direction because of how they're constructed, versus every direction like the spherical balls. And always make sure that when you're using something that will roll out from under the dog, that you support the object from the opposite side of the dog. That way they are carefully able to manipulate it without injuring themselves. None of these exercises aren't meant for you to just throw your dog at an object and let them try to manipulate it solely on their own. They could seriously injure themselves in addition to making it a very traumatic experience! At any rate, the pill ball is great for smaller breed dogs and for getting all sizes of dogs used to manipulating an inflated "ball." It's also relatively inexpensive. Another "toy" that I bought from Fred Meyer!:o) I don't have any pictures of the dogs on this one, because it's been a while since I've actually used it. I mostly keep it around as a beginner toy, for our next puppy!
After these objects, we move on to the egg ball. The one I have is the 85 cm EggBall (I'll explain about size mattering later). This ball is GREAT for getting a more timid dog the confidence to actually fully get up on an inflated object! I use food lures to slowly get the dogs up onto the egg. The nice thing about these balls is that they're oblong shaped. They're not too tall, so it's relatively easy for the dogs to climb up on them. And because they're longer shaped the dog can fully lay down on them. Even giant breed dogs! This ball is where the real workout starts. Just standing on the ball initially will be a work out for your dog. They will be engaging ALL of their muscles to balance themselves on it. You may see some initially shakiness. This is their muscles having to work really hard at doing something that they're not used to doing and therefore are weaker at. Kind of like when you start doing situps or crunches. When you do a lot of them after doing none, your stomach and core muscles start shaking while you're doing them. But after a while of doing it, the shakiness goes away because you're getting stronger. It's the same things with dogs. You can have them go through simple exercises like stand to a sit to a down and back up again. You can slightly rock the egg ball with the dog laying down on it. This way they are having to adjust their muscles to compensate for the movement. When you get your dog to this point, start off with only spending a few minutes at this. It's hard work and your dog will feel it the next day if you over do it. Build them up slowly just like you would when starting a new work out routine! Here's Heffner laying down on the egg ball:
As for ground work with this ball, you can have them do a sort of pull up. You start the dog out in a stand with just their front feet up on the ball. Then you have them lower their body down into a sit, while leaving their front feet on the ball. Then back up into a stand. This REALLY works their hind end and core muscles! Here's Bess with Bobbie during a seminar for danes at my house doing this exercise:
After the egg ball I sometimes pull out the 85 cm silver ball. This is the first ball that I got Heffner all the way up on. It's not ideal for a dog that size to be up on because there's really not that much space up there, but he was willing! I mostly use this ball for having them roll it around all over the place in different directions working the shoulds, hind end, and core muscles. I don't really use it quite as much any more.
And now for the REALLY fun ball! I use the 120 cm ball for getting both of the dogs on it and doing exercises from there. This ball can very adequately hold them and has enough space for them to be comfortable up there. It's pretty much the same exercises as with the egg ball, it's just that this ball is for focusing on exercises meant to do on top of it. It makes me nervouse to try and use this ball in the garage because I don't have a nice smooth wall to prop it up against, so I always do exercises with this ball outside. I prop it up against the side of the house (we have a covered "patio" area) and put a tarp underneath it to protect it from the paved area. This is not a cheap ball and I'm a little paranoid about random things that might pop it. I keep the dogs' nails short and blunted, so I'm not worried about them popping it or tearing it. Here's the dogs up on their big ball (again, these are pics from the seminar at my house with Bobbie working the dogs so that I could get some pics)!
And here are a couple of videos that Adam took of me working the dogs on the ball (sorry that they're so dark. This is before we got our new camera):
I do have a few tips for you!
1) Keep those nails short and blunted! It'll save your balls.LOL ;o)
2) Inflate the balls in the room that you want to use them in. I'm speaking from experience here! Before we got our air compressor, I pumped them up by hand and wasn't thinking about the fact that most of these balls DO NOT fit through door ways (another reason why I use the garage, so that I can just open the front doors there and walk out with the ball when I need to). It really sucks to spend an hour or more inflating a ball only to have to deflate it to fit through a door and then reinflate it once you get it where you want it!
3) Keep the balls UP when you are not using them. As soon as the various balls hit the floor, my dogs are ready to jump or at least put their feet on them. If I'm not ready, then the ball would go flying some where and I might have an injured dog.
4) For a ball that they just roll around you want it to be roughly 4 inches shorter than the dog at the shoulders. For a ball that they get fully up on, you want it to be 4 inches taller than the dog at the shoulder.
Places online that you can buy balls:FitBall USA
The Active Canine (if you want a REALLY great deal on a 120 cm ball, $70, give Kristine a call and see about ordering one. I don't know if she'd be willing to ship or not, but it's worth a shot!)
Hopefully this post has been helpful and gives you something fun and new to do with your dog!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Why aren't there more hours in the day? There are so many things that I want to do with my dogs! Trying to fit all of it in, in addition to competing, in addition to working full time, in addition to trying not to completely ignore my husband who's not so into the doggy sports, and in addition to trying not to alienate my non-dog friends (who are admittedly a very small population). It's a tough balance and I was sort of having a little freak out over the past week. Oh yeah, and fitting in all the study time that I'm going to need to pass the test to become a certified veterinary technician!
Regardless, my dogs will stay in shape, which is usually my top concern. I don't like fat dogs and I want to make sure that my dogs stay in good shape so that they can live forever.;o) But trying to work in different exercises to help with various aspects of agility and other things, as well as agility practice, agility trials, conformation shows, picking back up with tracking training, starting conditioning for scootering in the fall, skijoring in the winter, and skijor racing with Bess, as well as a few other things that I have in the works for 2010; it can be a bit daunting if I think about it all at once! So I'm trying to take things slowly. One day at a time. And I'm really trying to not over burden myself. But it REALLY would be helpful if there were either more hours in the day or I just didn't need to sleep. Ever. Of course, being independently wealthy and not having to work would also help things along!LOL
Changing subjects completely, Steve the friend taking pictures are the trial on Sat., has posted the pictures that he took from that day!! Here are the two links:
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
First of all, I highly doubt that it would be all that helpful for a dogs this size. And secondly, I doubt that it would be all that comfortable for very long. Ruff Wear just really has a great design and sizes that are actually appropriate. Here's the jackets on the dogs:
And here's how the coverage looks on their bellies (they're bellies are a little pink and red from rolling around and wrestling on the carpet for a bit before I put them in the jackets):
The top picture is Heffner and you can see that he doesn't get quite as much coverage as Bess does in the bottom picture. They don't have complete coverage of their bellies, but it's the best that I've seen so far. And the jackets definitely help to keep them afloat. I also haven't noticed any chafing or sores developing on the dogs, even after a couple of hours of swimming and running around on the shore.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
We started off our morning with Fullhouse, which could have gone either way. The first way is that she could have had the zoomies and raced around the course making it difficult to acrue the necessary number of points (you need at least three single points obstacles, two three point obstacles, and one five point joker and however many other obstacles you need to hit to fullfill your point requirements for your level) in the time that we had allotted. I REALLY wanted to Q in this class because we only needed a Q in Fullhouse and Standard to finish her level 1 title. I had mentioned before that I was tempted to bring the scooter with me to run her around a bit before the trial started. However, a short while after I got home I took the dogs out to this private foresty area to run around and chase some deer and what not. Poor Heffner got ditched at home once again (sucks to be a heat intollerant dog!), so he needed to let loose. They both ran all over the place! So when I got up this morning, I kind of thought that she probably wasn't going to be quite as peppy as she was yesterday. And I was right!! But I'm getting away from the run.
It was really a pretty good run. I wish that I had remembered to grab someone to record it, but oh well. I'm seriously starting to think that recording the runs is bad luck. But I really want those videos!! Anyhow, we Qed in that and I was very pleased with her because she totally stuck with me throughout. When we click, things juts go smoothly. When we're off as a team, that's when it's not so pretty.
Our next run of the day was Jackpot. I do have video of that. A friend of mine who takes lessons from the same instructor that we do, was nice enough to tape us. Today they were running all levels tall to small and Bess and I were the very first ones out on the line. I'm not sure what my luck was today, but I had a few courses where I got out there "early" and had to wait while some problem or other was figured out. Unfortunately on this run, Bess decided that she needed to run out of the ring and go visit Vegas. Somehow, these little things always seem to surface at trials and not in practice. She's never run out of the ring before. And she knows Vegas, but still, they had they're crates next to each other for crying out loud! It's not like she hadn't just seen her. Thankfully that was the only time that she ran out of the ring. Kennedy felt really bad, but it wasn't her fault. She was just standing in line waiting for her turn to go in the ring. Bess just for whatever reason got so distracted that she didn't listen to me. I have a feeling that she's going to be going into heat soon. She's "due" at the end of this month and she's already been having some behavioral changes that happen when she's getting ready to go into heat, so I'm going to just chalk this stunt up to that. At any rate, we got an NT for that one. You gotta keep your dog in the ring at all times. Makes sense!;o)
Next came our Snooker run. I have video of it, but it's really not that long because we major faulted before we hit the sequence section of the course. I didn't swing wide enough around a colored jump after Bess took her final color, and she took another colored jump to get to me. Automatic DQ. :( It was a different type of Snooker course (and if you're getting all sorts of confused with the different games classes, you can look up the rules on CPE's web site, but I gotta admit that the rule book isn't always the best way to go to figure things out. Being at the trials and watchign other people do it makes sooooooooo much more sense!) with some interesting angles to hit. Not my favorite, but that's okay!
After Snooker was Standard. I was also really hoping that we'd Q on this run so that her level 1 title would be completed since she Qed in Fullhouse. Unfortunately that was not to be. I didn't set Bess up well enough on her entry to the dog walk and then I went ahead of her when she was unsteady, so she bailed. The judge asked us to go on to the next obstacle. She did well on the rest of the course and nailed her down contact on the A-Frame! That's something that she likes to pull out in trials. So I was happy that we nailed that! Here's the video that one of Kenedy's sons took of us:
And our final run of the day was Jumpers. Things were getting a bit warm and we were the last class of the day. Bess did really well and stuck with me. We had a bobble going into one of the tunnels where she shot past the entrance, but I got her back and got her in. Then I lost myself on the course temporarily, but thankfully got it back together to finish the course with a qualifying time!!
One more agility weekend down in the books! Phew! I started looking through my competition spreadsheet (I seriously need this to keep all the different events, results, judges, registration numbers, and locations straight and not totally overbook myself!!) and realized that Bess and I are going to be hitting up some good sized dog shows over the next three weekends. Holy cow! I have yet to do three weekends in a row of dog shows, and ones that I'm going to have to do some travelling for to boot! Oy! I think I'm going to be one tired chica by the end of Sept.!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Bess was getting to try out Heffner's new soft crate to see how it compared to the soft crate I have for her. She especially enjoyed the skylight!
Kennedy made us some GREAT signs for our tent area to declare our breed pride!:o)
We ended up having some visitors! That's Stever (Kati's boyfriend) on the far left, then Kati, then my mom, and finally my dad.:) Steve was snapping pictures (which will be forthcoming!) and Kati (who is barely starting to get over pneumonia) was nice enough to video.
I'll give a general run down of the courses that we ran today along with the video. The first course of the day was Jackpot. This was a nontraditional Jackpot course. You had to use one of the three "bridges" to get from side to side. You also had to do at least three of the bridges in order to get your Jackpot points. The course is basically one that you make up entirely on your own depending on what obstacles are out there and how many points you need to acrue for your level. Bess had lots of energy for the morning part and while she didn't have the all out zoomies, she was a little more amped up than I would like. She had a harder time focussing. But we did manage to get a Q on the course!
Friday, August 14, 2009
Bess was getting a little annoyed at the camera in her face and gave me this look!
And if you want to check out some of the highlights from last night's Dog Show, just check out Andie's blog!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
There were yummy treats for people and dogs alike. I got to bring home several samples with me so that both of the dogs can enjoy them. Bess got many admiring pats and compliments! We also stepped into the "photo booth" that benefits Second Chance Companions. Andie was the photographer and I'm looking forward to seeing how the picture came out. All-in-all it was a really neat experience to be able to take Bess into an area that dogs wouldn't normally be allowed!
Oh yeah, and I was given the official okay from my podiatrist to take Das Boot off!! I'm to take things slowly and not do any jogging for another two to three weeks and then only a very light jog on a soft surface. But it's off!!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I didn't have quite enough room in the main freezer, so I had to spill over into the thawing frige's top freezer.
And now for the Dane Outreach (DO) 2nd Annual Great Dane Education and Fun Day!! Like I said, we had a total blast! There were a whole lot of danes and people and Heffner would have been whining and fretting the whole time that he had to stay in his crate, so he ended up staying home. Which I felt immensely guilty about! But other than that, we had a really great time. I'll sort of chronicle the events of the day through pictures.
That's right, there was a Louise Peterson statue at the raffle!
Marta Brock did an agility demonstration with both of her danes. That was a big hit! Everyone loves seeing these big dogs do this stuff!
There was a talk done by Alison White and Marta Brock about dane manners, whether they're a puppy or an adult.
During the talk, Bess got to meet her half brother Morpheus. They have the same dam, CH Ruatha Daynakin Ladyhawke "Abby," but have differen sires.
There was also a woman there who had recently lost her dane. She came to the event to get her dane fix. Bess was more than happy to help out there!
I ended up missing Alison's rally demo, but I got out there in time to watch the Dress Your Dane game! I didn't even think about doing it with Bess until they had already started. She's been dressed up so many times already that she totally would have won!
After all that fun it was back inside for Georgia's (Bess' breeder) talk about health issues in great danes and health testing.
Then it was time for musical "chairs." Yellow rope circles were used instead of chairs and you had to get your dog into the circle when the music stopped.
And rounding out the day were Bess and I demonstrating some exercises using various stability balls and other core strengthening objects.
And I even won some pretty cool prizes in the raffle!!