Monday, August 30, 2010

Yet Another Sporadic Weekend Wrap Up!

Okay, I think that next week things should theoretically be settling back down. At least I certainly hope so! I didn't get around to posting at all last Thursday because I took the dogs for a trail run to burn off some energy. Then it was time to do toe nails. And because they were pretty dirty and we had a rally trial on Saturday and there was no way that I was going to have time to do it on Friday, they both got baths. I was pretty beat after that. And Friday was just hell. I left the house at 6:15 am and got home after 9pm. It was by far the longest day at work that I have ever had. Thankfully everything went well, it was all just very involved and time consuming. And because of that one protocol, I'm a little behind on a few other things. But I'm trying not to think about that right now!

Anyhow, Saturday was the obedience and rally trial hosted by Sherwood Dog Training Club, which is the obedience club that we're a part of. I got there early to help where I could and to get the dogs set up in a nice spot. The location of the trial was very pretty, the weather was perfect, and everyone there were all very nice and in good spirits. It was a really great trial and the club did a fantastic job with it. I had both dogs entered in Rally Advanced. Unfortunately I didn't get any video of either of the runs, which I'm kind of kicking myself now for because there's a few things that I would like to review, but oh well.

There were a lot of good things that happened for us at this trial. Heffner is getting better and better about being in his soft crate. Especially when I'm not standing or sitting directly next to it. He's still not terribly thrilled if he can hear me, but can't see me. Otherwise, he's actually really well behaved in there as long as he can see me. So that's a pretty big deal. The other big deal for both dogs was how well they both performed.
Bess, for whatever reason, seems to have some difficulties working on grass. I've mentioned it before and I'm not exactly sure why it's that way. Her butt just usually has a tendency to get stuck to the ground and she also kind of moves likes she's walking through molasses. On Saturday though, she acted mostly like her normal self! I say mostly because she got a little distracted a couple of times on the course and got ahead of me. Otherwise, she did well.

Heffner actually paid attention to me! I would have to honestly say that I think that was the best run that he has EVER done. He sniffed a little at the beginning and I just sort of ignored it and talked to him in a quiet voice. I expected it to happen, so I just prepared myself ahead of time for it so that I wouldn't get frustrated. We've had one lack of team work comment already, we didn't need another. After about the second obstacle, suddenly he just tuned in to me. He made actually acknowledged me and was happily making eye contact! His first 90 degree pivot was actually tighter than Bess'! I was so happy with how he was doing and I told him so as we were going along. Then we got to about the fourth or fifth sign from the end, which was another 90 degree pivot and he was just sluggish to move with me. I encouraged him and as he stood from the sit, a stream of pee was coming out. ARG!! Not again!! Heffner peed on the course for the second time in the rally ring. I think it's safe to say that the peeing is definitely stress related. Bess was the first dog that I took into the ring and right after her run it was Heffner's turn. I had walked him and he had peed before that and should have been good to go. That wasn't the case though. Ug! Aside from him peeing, it was a beautiful run.

In the end, Bess got first place with a score of 94 and poor Heff got another DQ. On the up side, our judge was really nice and she complimented me on both dogs. I feel pretty good about that. This is the same judge that Heffner got his last leg for his RN under. Which was probably one of our worst runs. So it was kind of nice to be able to show some improvement in the ring. And I have to say, while on one hand it can be a little more stressful to have the dogs off leash in the ring, I swear that it helped me with Heffner more. I didn't have a leash to be fussing with. And I also wasn't wasting needed mental focus on whether or not my leash was tight, how I was holding it, or just fumbling with it in general. It was nice to be able to just focus on the dogs and what the heck I was doing with my body.:)

After the trial, I was pretty much toast. I've been getting up at 5am for the past two weeks regardless of what time I've been getting to bed. I had to cancel doing a few other activities that I was going to try and fit in so that I could take a nap and try to make a dent in my sleep deficit. It definitely helped!

Sunday was more of a lazy day. The weather was thankfully nice and cool so I wasn't in a rush to get the dogs exercised before it was too hot and I had to wait until the evening. They got a nice currying and then we went off for a little hike. It was a much needed relaxing day for us.:)

There was a photographer at the show and I did get some pictures taken with the dogs. Bess got a placement picture taken with her ribbon and the lovely towel that we won. And then I asked the photographer to take some candids of the dogs together, just because. I'll be sure to post those once I get them.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, I have a couple more agility videos of Bess to share, courtesy of Kennedy!!

This is her reward after a run:

And here's her Jumpers run!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Collar of the Month

My pick for Collar of the Month for August are these cute camo collars from TLC Pet Stuff! I bought these collars quite a while ago and they have held up really well to the dogs' wear and tear in addition to going through the washing machine several times. They're nice and sturdy. And of course I love the martingale style because it allows me to leave the collars fairly loose while on the dogs, but gets them tight enough when I need it. Their prices are also quite reasonable.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blogger Tuesday

Wow, I'm able to come up for air again! I was able to leave work on time again today! Woot, woot! It was a rather hot night for agility and I had Heffner in class. He was feeling it and was really pretty sluggish. Not that I can blame him, I was pretty sluggish as well. He's getting a lot better at rocking those weave entrances though!

My pick for Blog of the Week is I Dream of OTCH....!!! While I am REALLY behind on reading the blogs that I love, I still have a mental tally that I'm ticking off. The blog is primarily about a doberman named Rah and his ventures into competitive dog sports. Specifically obedience and agility. As the title implies, they're working towards the coveted OTCH in obedience. He's one heck of a happy dog to watch doing obedience. So head on over and check them out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Weekend Recap!

This past weekend was a really nice one! The weather was great, I played CPE agility with Bess the whole time, and we got to hang out with friends that we don't get to see enough of (Kennedy and Shana!). It was just what the doctored ordered for going into this week ahead of work! And we even had some qualifying runs out of it!!:) You will also be happy to know that Kennedy and Vegas were there, so we got some high quality video of some of our runs.

We got to start Saturday morning out right off the bat with Jackpot. It was a combined course where all levels ran the same course and just had to accumulate their level's worth of points. Saturday they were running tall to small, so naturally we were at the head of the pack. We were the second dog out on the course. Friday evening after work, Adam and I met up with some friends for drinks and a movie, which meant that they dogs didn't get a whole lot done with them. Which also meant that Bess was pretty much full of piss and vinegar Saturday morning. Did I plan for this and maybe take her out for a little jog to work some of the sass out of her before we ran our course? Of course not! I figured that since it was a games course and we got to make things up as we went along that we would make our way through some how. I was wrong! Bess took one obstacle and the rest of the time she was zooming around the ring like a dane on crack! Mind you, she was having a blast, she just wasn't doing ANY of the obstacles that I was asking her to. Once I got her back to me the second time, we excused ourselves from the ring. And I learned my lesson!

You'll have to excuse me because I didn't write down the order that we ran the classes and now things are a little foggy as to what we ran when. I'm pretty sure that the next two courses we did were Wildcard and Colors.
We did qualify in both of those runs, nabbing a first place in Colors and a second place in Wildcard. And we have a video of our Wilcard run!!

After running the games courses we had a little waiting around to do before our Standard runs. Prior to our first Standard run Bess had really settled down in our x-penned area and had been quietly laying down on her crate pad. So I figured she would be good to go without a little jog before our run. I was wrong! The first half of the run went well, but then she just got a bug up her butt and decided to trot herself right out of the ring. Yep, NQ. This is seriously one of the reasons that Standard has seemed to be our nemesis regardless of what venue we do. And guess what! We have video of it.:)

Thankfully we pulled it together for our second Standard run and we Qed with a 1st place! We packed up and left and got home a little after 6pm. CPE days are loooooooooong days!

Sunday dawned early with me thinking it was Monday and I had to start the work week. I was a lot happier getting up when I realized that it was still Sunday and the reason I was having to get up so early was for an agility trial.:) Sunday they were running small to tall, so we didn't need to worry about having to think first thing in the morning. First up was Fullhouse for all levels.
Our Fullhouse run was actually a nice run. The reason we NQed was all me. To properly finish the course you need to have three single, two circles, and one jackpot. I plotted our course and it was actually pretty flowy. The only problem, which I didn't realize until after the fact, was that I had included ONLY three single jumps in my plan. We ended up with five more points than we needed for our level and finished before the whistle blew. The only problem was that Bess had knocked a bar and I hadn't compensated. So we only completed two singles. D'oh!! Otherwise it was a beautiful run!

I believe the next course we ran was Snooker. I again had a good plan going and we started off well. I just kind of had her overshoot one jump, which put her in front of a colored jump, when we needed to take a red jump next. I thought that I had pulled her far enough away from the jump that she wouldn't take it if I continued forward. Unfortunately, that was wrong. She took the colored jump and we ended our run there.

After that we had our two Standard runs. The first run I actually almost completely missed. I realized about half way through the dogs that they were running my level. Needless to say, I missed my walk through. Luckily we still managed to pull off a Q. Bess did have one moment where she decided to veer off the weaves and go check out the judge, but I actually saw several dogs after her do the same thing. Perhaps this judge was particularly delectable smelling?;) I suppose that the timer and score keeper must have been as well.;)

Our second Standard run was also a Q, though Bess wanted to go visit someone she recognised.;)

I'm not entirely sure why Bess was so inquisitive this weekend. She had other runs that were perfectly fine with the same people hanging around the ring in her full sight. She just got a little bug up her butt about. I have a hunch it has to do with the fact that she's due to go into season next month. The last time she pulled the whole running out of the ring trick it was also shortly before she went into season. Maybe she just gets a little more headstrong. Who knows! Either way, it most certainly was not the fault of anyone that she decided to go exploring on her own course.

Our Jumpers run that day, which was our last run of the weekend, was also a qualifying run. All-in-all, it was a really nice weekend.:) It's also been a nice start to the work week with things actually going the way that they were supposed to go today. I was actually able to leave on time today! Which made me happy because I got to get home and play with the dogs for a while. AND I'm knocking on wood and hoping that things hold out because Heffner had his last dose of meds on Friday morning and hasn't had an accident inside the house!! I REALLY hope that this continues and he's over whatever it was. If things continue to go well at work, I just might be able to get back to an almost normal rate of blogging again! Though now that I've said that, I'm sure all hell will break loose tomorrow.:oP

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am going to take advantage of a brief bit of down time that I have right now to try and update the blog and to also give out a heads up. I know that I've been pretty spotty with my posts for the month, which is very uncharacteristic of me. Unfortunately, that is going to continue for the rest of the month easily. I think that things should settle down towards the beginning of September, but I can't guarantee that. Things are good at home and with the dogs, it's just work that is killing me right now. My schedule is going to be all over the place and I'm going to have some pretty heavy weeks. To say the least, I'm not thrilled about this. I've got one day next week where I will be at work from 6:30am until, hopefully only, 8:30pm. That is, as long as everything goes well. Which it better. Or else I will seriously lose it. To top it off, I could have been puppy sitting a little 8 week old great dane pup. But that's out the window because there's no way that I could work in the needs of a puppy around a schedule that I have no control over. I will be lucky to get what time I can in with my dogs. Sorry for the rant, I'm just really frustrated and tired of being put in this position. On to happier things though. I do have some pictures from our camping trip this past weekend!

This past weekend was pretty bloody hot. I was looking forward to getting out of town and to what I thought was going to be higher elevations. Unfortunately the camp site wasn't the one I was thinking it was and we were about 3,000 ft. lower than I thought. So we didn't really escape the heat. At the moment, I can't even remember the name of the RV resort that we stayed at. I had taken the whole day off and was hoping to get out of town before things got too hot to travel with the dogs. That's the down side to having a truck for your dog hauler. Unfortunately, Adam was unable to take the day off, but was going to try and get out of work as early as possible. That didn't end up being early enough for me and we were really pushing it leaving town. It was smooth sailing until we hit I-84. Then it was a parking lot and I started to get pretty ticked off. I'm not a fan of cities in the first place and this is one of the many side effects of living near enough to a city, that just drives me batty. Luckily Adam used his iphone to get us around that mess and save us a whole lot of time and save me from utterly freaking out about how the dogs were doing. Once we got to our camp site, I felt a little bit better. As I mentioned previously, it was an RV resort so the tent camping areas were a little tight. Here we are after pulling in to the site.
Once we mostly unloaded, we headed up to the main building with the dogs for the family dinner. I hung outside with the dogs while Adam ran in and got us both plates of food. Needless to say, the dogs were quite the attraction from the family (who all already know we have the dogs) and the other people passing by. I will say this, I don't think I've had more people take pictures of the dogs at any other time than I did this weekend. And I'm NOT counting family members!

I should probably mention that the theme for the night was school colors. Adam's extended family is full of people who graduated from Oregon State as he and I did. There are a couple of University of Oregon people and other areas, but it's pretty predominantly Oregon State. Hence the abundance of orange.:)

After dinner it was time to head back to the camp site to actually get set up. The dogs got put in the ever handy x-pens and we set about getting things put together.

The kids were all pretty enamored by the dogs. Saturday morning Adam let our almost two year old niece take Bess for a "walk." I thought it was pretty cute! Heffner was mostly consoled by the fact that he got to hang out with just mom while they did their little outing.

While I did get up early enough to get a good start on the day and was thinking of getting a hike in with the dogs, the amount of running around and lack of sleep that I've been getting lately most definitely caught up with me. I managed to fall asleep in the chair I had set up inside the x-pen with the dogs. I didn't wake up until it was after 12pm!! By that time, it was really starting to heat up and any thoughts of getting in a hike were out. Heffner was also acting foot sore. I think it was due to all the rocks in the tent area. I tried putting his Ruff Wear boots on him, but that didn't seem to help him a whole lot and appeared to bother him more than constantly shifting his feet while standing outside of the tented area.

As things started to heat up, I decided to take the dogs down to the river that was relatively near by. It was a hot walk down and when we got there, the river was just jam packed with people stationed on the shore, in the water, and every where in between. I knew that it wasn't going to work to try and hang out with the dogs. There just really wasn't room for me to maneuver with two giant dogs. I doused the dogs with the wonderfully cool water and then we headed back to camp. Once we got back to camp I doused them again with water from our pump. I ended up dousing them several more times that afternoon. It was just ridiculously hot. It was so hot that Bess came out of the tented area and just lay down on the ground near my chair.
Heffner was hot enough that he wouldn't even sleep on the dogs beds. However, he was not so hot that was about to actually lay on the dirty ground like Bess (this is a characteristic of him that has been around since he was a puppy).
The heat lasted well into the evening. We took the dogs for an evening walk, but they were mostly zapped from the heat during the day. They're used to hanging out in an air conditioned house for the majority of the day. Being stuck outside in heat in the high 90's is not something that they're well acclimated to. Even with the repeated dousings.

By Sunday morning I think we were pretty ready to head home to our air conditioning and relax. I will say this though, I have never been to a place that allowed dogs where people were actually so considerate of everyone else and actually followed the rules! There were no unattended dogs. There were no loose dogs. Many people had tie outs that they would put their dogs on while they were cooking or seeing to other things around the camp site. But everywhere we went, dogs were leashed and people were considerate of others. I was honestly just blown away by this! It made for a more enjoyable stay, that's for sure!

I will most likely post a couple of short updates this weekend. I've got Bess entered in a CPE agility trial both Saturday and Sunday. I didn't enter Heffner because I figured that the heat in August would just be too much for him. As it turns out, we're supposed to have a pretty mild weekend. Oh well! Hopefully Bess will hold back on the zoomies and we can get some nice runs in. She certainly had the zoomies in class last night!

Anyhow, I hope that everyone is having a great week and I'm definitely looking forward to September when things will hopefully be back to some semblance of control and normalcy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

YouTube of the Month

My pick for YouTube clip of the Month for August is of this great dane having a pretty fabulous time on the trampoline! Hmmmmmm......maybe my dogs need a trampoline?LOL

At some point today we're heading up to the general Mt. Hood area for some camping. Not exactly your traditional sort of camping. Adam's extended family does an annual family "camp-out." Last year (which I missed due to dog activities that I had already scheduled a year in advance prior to the camp out getting scheduled) and this year it's in an RV resort on Mt. Hood. Yes, you read that correctly. We will be camping at an RV resort. And yes, we're actually going to put up the tent. It should be interesting. We're bringing the dogs (obviously, or else I wouldn't be going) and the resort is pretty strict about NOT leaving them unattended. I've already started to get the impression from Adam that his definition of unattended and MY/the resort's definition are different. Dogs that are contained in x-pens still require people around to monitor them. Not that I would leave the dogs any how, but since we're not really actually camping, I will be making use of the showers and I'm really going to need to make sure that Adam actually stays with the dogs while I'm gone and doesn't wander off to other people's "camp sites." Thankfully the temperatures won't be as hot up there as they are predicted to be here at home over the weekend. So we should be able to fit in some hiking and some swimming in the many lakes that are in the general area. While many of the extended family are content to just hang out all weekend at the camp sites, I am not. Having the dogs there gives me ample excuse to head out either on my own or with anyone willing to trek along. However, I am NOT just hanging out at the resort and doing nothing. I'm familiar enough with the general area that I have plenty of ideas of places to go and will be able to keep myself and the dogs entertained. This should be interesting though!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And the Saga Continues....

Now for the update on the health of the dogs. As I mentioned, I had a dual vet appointment for the dogs on Tuesday. For Bess, it was a final check up and chest x-ray to make sure that everything was gone. For Heffner, it was basically to talk about what the heck is going on with his GI tract. I would also like to mention that I had a freaking horrible dream on Sunday night that when I took Bess in for her x-ray they found a foreign object in her lungs and were going to have to go in laprascopically to remove it. While this was actually a far off chance that our vet had mentioned originally, it certainly wasn't terribly helpful of my unconscious my mind to mess with my waking mind like that!

Bess' x-rays came back completely clear and she is officially over the aspiration pneumonia! Talk about a relief! Not that I really had any doubts, but it's always reassuring to know for sure. And I could definitely use some good news.

Next up was Heffner. We went over the bouts of diarrhea since the original one that sort of started things off. Basically, every time he went off the medications, his colon would get ticked off again. After two rounds of sulfasalazine and two rounds of metranidazole over the course of a month, it obviously wasn't "just" acute colitis. The current options are chronic colitis or irritable bowel syndrome. Both cases can have flare ups for a number of reasons. One of the reasons can be an underlying food allergy. One of the many advantages to feeding raw is that most dogs are not allergic to the raw form of the most common protein sources that cause allergies. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that it can't happen. Several options were laid out for me, with the "easiest" being a food elimination trial based around protein sources. Since the dogs meals are based around primarily chicken and turkey with some beef products, we are eliminating all three of those sources. The alternate protein source that I decided to go with is pork. Primarily because it's a lot easier for me to find a variety of pork meat, bones, organs, and treats. It's also something that the dogs just don't get. With that being said, there were basically no pork products in our house as of Tuesday afternoon. That has most definitely changed.

We now have plenty of pork products that cover the span of Heffner's regular meal needs as well as pork products for training treats. You know what's made from pork? Bacon. Needless to say, Heffner is in hog heaven! Pun fully intended! While this is not the easiest thing in the world, at least this protein source is pretty readily available and I don't have to place a bunch of special orders.

Heffner is also currently back on the sulfasalazine while we're doing the diet switch so that we don't super anger his colon by completely changing his food around.

Of course, if this does "work" it doesn't necessarily mean that his flare up was food allergy related. That's the real kicker. There are a plethora of things that can trigger an IBS flare up, if that's what he has. Multiple things can also combine to cause it. So I find myself pondering just exactly what the heck to do depending on how this food trial goes. If it "works," I will obviously be incredibly happy. But I won't really know for sure that it was necessarily the food that did it. If the food trial doesn't work initially, I then have the dilemma of what to do next. Do I continue trying more and more exotic protein sources until I find the "right" one? Do I just decide that he may have to be on medication for the rest of his life? Or do I take the proactive route and just get him tested for food allergies? Honestly, the allergy testing is looking better and better right now. While it's not cheap (I know that Kennedy can attest to that!), neither is constantly having to go into the vet or picking up different prescriptions to put Heffner on. It's a little daunting not really knowing what's going on with my poor guy. On the up side, things are going really well so far and he's an otherwise completely happy and normal guy. He thankfully is at a better weight right now so I'm not worried about that, though I would still like for him to put on more muscle.

Anyhow, that's kind of where things are at right now. As always, I will be sure to include any information as it comes along. At the moment though, I'm pretty sure that if this doesn't work, Heffner's going to get some allergy testing done. In the mean time, I'm going to be looking in to getting him an acupuncture appointment. Although I have absolutely no idea where exactly that's going to fit in this month. I've got a pretty crazy out of work schedule, and my work schedule is going to be pretty obscene for the rest of the month. We'll see. And if anyone out there has previous experience with IBS or chronic colitis, PLEASE share with me what you went through and how things worked out for you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We're Back!

I've uploaded the few pictures that I have off of my camera and I'm ready to finally post an update! Lets see, the last time that I posted last week, it was Wednesday. On Thursday I took the dogs out for some trail running. More like trail jogging because it was still a little on the warm side. We had a really nice evening outing and ended it by playing around in the creek near the trailhead. I took some video of the dogs running around a bit there, but it's going to take me a little bit to get the videos edited and uploaded to YouTube. By the time we got home it was time for dinner and then nail dremmeling. I was pretty beat after all of that and just went straight to bed. Then Friday evening we were just basically kind of gearing up for the overbooked weekend. Adam wanted to do a light jog on Friday to kind of prep him for the race the next morning. After everything was settled, I was again to tired to post anything. Then Saturday morning rolled around!
We loaded the dogs up and headed out to Silverton for the Homer Davenport fun run! I will preface this by saying that Adam has NEVER done a foot race, of any sort. He also doesn't run much. I had hoped to get him out running more routinely in the weeks leading up to the race, but it was really up to him to plan his workouts based on what he wanted to get done. He didn't get as much running in as I would have liked for him to considering it was an 8K run that we were doing, but he did make it through the race! He actually ran the majority of it as well! The weather was not quite as perfect as it had originally looked like it was going to be, but it still worked for us. The original forecast was that it was supposed to be overcast all morning and stay pretty cool. When we got to Silverton, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Hmmmm....on the up side, the dogs are in shape. On the down side, the race route left us pretty exposed to the sun for most of it. Bess did great and had energy to spare. Heffner was definitely starting to feel the rising temperatures (low 70's by the time we finished). Overall, we did pretty good and I'm really happy that Adam has accomplished this!

My parents were both supposed to enter the race with my mom doing the two mile fun run and my dad doing the 8K with us. Sadly, there was some confusion on there end as to when the race started and they thought it started a half an hour later than it did and they arrived after the race had already started. That was a bit of a bummer. Plus I was hoping to have them help take some pictures while we were there. I don't have a ton of pictures, but I did take a few. Here they are!

As you can imagine, we garnered quite a few questions as we were waiting around for the race to start. Runner's World magazine more recently ran an article on dog breeds that are good running partners. Needless to say, great danes didn't make the list. I actually had a handful of people bring up this article to me and mention how they didn't see great danes listed and were genuinely interested in how it worked out for us. I think that regardless of breed, as long as you build the dog up to the distance that you want to do and are always mindful of how they're doing, any breed could do this. Are great danes meant for long distance running, not really. I definitely wouldn't train for a marathon distance with either dog. A half marathon I could see as long as I chose my terrain and temperatures appropriately for them. But obviously I don't have any problems having my two as my primary running partners.

The other comment we got that totally cracked me up was someone asking me how old Bess was. Before we got this question Adam had been doing a little warm up jog on the grassy middle of the track (we started and ended with a lap around the track) with Bess and she was full of piss and vinegar! Leaping through the air, playing tug with her leash, and just generally acting like a total spaz. The person had asked me what her age was because he had watched her dorking around and thought she was still a puppy!LOL

After the race, we headed up to my parents for a little relaxing, visiting, and to let the dogs run around in my parents' yard. That's where we took our "official" family post-race picture.:) It was nice to kind of unwind after the race like that. There was a photographer along the route, but I haven't been able to track down any pictures along the way. Hopefully I'll come across them!

Once we got home, it was a mad dash to fit in showers, a birthday party, and an evening get together with friends. It was all great and we had loads of fun, but it was a VERY packed day!

Sunday was the Dane Outreach Education day!! I got to the event site about an hour early because I needed to get Bess set up in her crate and then I needed to inflate all of my balls. I had the pleasure of doing a demonstration again this year of some of the ball exercises that I do with the dogs.:) Additionally we got to help with the agility demonstration and I was filling in for Georgia (she was showing dogs at the hound specialty) and did a talk on the common health problems that crop up with great danes. Busy, busy!

There were some great talks by Marta Brock and Allison White on a variety of topics such as picking the right puppy and how to start them off on the right foot and how to go about teaching your dane basic manners. They also did a rally demonstration and I snapped a few pictures during that. The decided to hold the demonstration inside to be better heard and make it easier for everyone to watch.

And looky who we got to see in person!! Darwin and her family!!
Brooke did a fantastic post on the event and got some AWESOME pictures too!! I definitely recommend that you head over and check it out!:)

Once things got rolling, we got pretty busy. Bess and I headed outside for the agility demo and Bess got to show off her amazing tunnel sucking skills. Oy! At one point, I can't remember whether I accidentally sent her into the tunnel or whether I was just trying to fix the end of it, but she dove into the tunnel after a jump. The problem was that the opposite end of the tunnel had been collapsed by her previous run (I didn't bring along anything to hold the tunnel in place), and the exit was facing down into the ground. There was no way for her to get out that way. So what does she do? Somehow she manages to turn around while inside the tunnel and come shooting out. I have no idea how she did it, but that girl definitely likes her tunnels! I wasn't entirely sure how she was going to be on the course because of how exciting everything was and she definitely full of herself already. Thankfully she behaved, stayed with me, and had a great time playing around. While I was running, Marta was explaining different thing. Then Marta was up and ran Jive. Jive was also feeling pretty good and was having a great time out there. So good, that she decided to poop in the ring.:)

I then ran in from the agility demo to get ready to do either my ball demo or the health talk. We were running a little behind schedule, so I wasn't sure what was going to be next. Edie did her talk on disaster preparedness and brought up lots of good points and had good ideas for an emergency kit for people and dogs. After her talk, Bess and I were up!

I started out with the simplest exercises that anyone could do with their dogs and also not have to spend a small fortune on equipment. The cheapest thing to buy is the air mattress. So we started there. I hadn't thought about the fact that I was going to be holding a microphone and still trying to position everything so that everyone could see what we were doing, but we made it work! After the air mattress we moved up to some of the core disc exercises and Bess got to show off her balancing skills. From there, we moved on to the pill ball and we showed how to do the weight shifts while the dog sits on the ball. Then we went for the big guns and pulled out the giant ball!! I had been working with Bess on mounting and dismounting for the two weeks leading up to the event. Last year, she was so excited that she just vaulted straight onto the ball. This year, I wanted to be able to demonstrate how the dog should PROPERLY get onto the ball.;) And thankfully she cooperated! I think the whole demo went really well and Bess had fun showing off her skills!

Once I got her settled back in her crate, I ran back to the microphone to do the common health ailments in danes talk. I was a little out of breath from running around so much and I was really trying to condense the talk as much as I could because we were still behind schedule. So I was a little flushed and short on breath, but I think I got the information across.:)

It was another great event and I'm looking foward to doing it again next year!

I'm going to save my description of our vet visit yesterday for tomorrow because this post is getting pretty lengthy and I've got a couple of pooches who are in need of some exercise. I hope that everyone had a great weekend, happy hump day, and here's to looking forward to this upcoming weekend!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I haven't updated the blog in almost a week. Definitely strange for me considering I'm not on vacation or anything. Things have just been crazy busy. We managed to pack a whole lot of stuff into the weekend. It was fun, but I was pretty much doing something non-stop and trying to fit everything in. Everything went very well and I'm looking forward to being able to update on that this week hopefully. Yesterday I was pretty much gone from about 6:15am until 9:30pm almost solidly. I had just enough time in the evening to jet home from work to let the dogs out and potty them, then to run off to a work related dinner. We had some big wigs out yesterday and there was a lot going on with that. Which has left me pretty much spent for today and out of energy. Which also wasn't really an option because I had a vet appointment for both dogs today. That was fun! Bess is officially all clear on the pneumonia and there is nothing left! And her gash is nicely healed as well. Heffner is another story. He now either has chronic colitis or irritable bowel syndrome. It's not fun and we just started him on an elimination diet tonight. Which meant that I got to run all over town AFTER the vet appointment for both dogs, to find the appropriate food. We are eliminating beef, chicken, and turkey. Which is just about ALL of the dog food and treats that I have in the house. We're going to try pork combined with meds and just hope that it works. I'll have more details on everything when I'm better rested and can actually think straight. Because Bess had an x-ray today, I took Heffner to agility class and that most definitely was the highlight of the past two days for me! He was fabulous and totally in sync with me! And now I'm completely spent and must go to bed. I will update more tomorrow!

P.S. We got to meet Darwin and her people on Sunday!!:o) (I'm such an internet stalker!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This Weekend!

I know that it's only Wednesday, but since it's the middle of the week, it's all down hill towards the weekend! We have a pretty fun weekend ahead of us. On Saturday we're heading down to Silverton to visit with my folks and do the Homer Davenport days 8K fun run!! This will be Adam's first ever "competition" run of any sort. Even better, we get to run it with the dogs!:o) I've done this fun run every year since we got Heffner, except for last year due to the stress fracture in my foot. So I'm really looking forward to that.

Even more exciting is what we've got on the docket for Sunday! Bess and I will be attending the Dane Outreach 3rd Annual Education Day!! (click the picture below to biggify and see the details)
We've attended this event the past two years and had a really good time both years! This year promises to be just as fun! I will be back with my assortment of inflatable props to give a little demo of some of the exercises that we do with the various balls, explain a little about why I do each one, and just generally show those interested that just because you have a giant dog, that doesn't mean that you are limited in what you can do with them. I got a lot of good questions last year and Bess had a blast demonstrating how enthusiastically she can do the exercises. The bonus this year is that I won't have Das Boot on!:) There's a whole lot of great information that is not just applicable to great danes, but dogs in general. Obviously the focus is to be a resource for those with great danes, but the event is open to all well behaved dogs on a 6ft. or shorter leash. If you're in the area and want to stop by, DEFINITELY come say hi to me! Did I mention how freaking great the raffle prizes are??? I got some really nice stuff last year and I'm hoping to score again this year. The event is important enough (and so fun!) that I'm driving three hours each way that day to go.:)

As a quick off topic note, I got back into the swing of practicing the dumbbell with Bess and on the first try of me presenting it to her she took it! Not only did she happily take it, but she held it when I told her to hold it without mouthing it! Score!! I sort of made an attempt at trying it out with Heffner, but his version of taking it is to repeatedly try and grab the dumbbell by the ends. He's always gotta be different!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Blogger Tuesday

My pick for Blog of the Week is Exercise Finished!! It's an obedience based blog, but also about the daily adventures of Phoenix and Jamie, her two belgian dogs (tervuren and malinois). There are some good tips on training, fun, well written posts, and there's also some agility thrown in! You really must check out the post on the canine freestyle team!! How freaking awesome is that??

Tonight was Heffner's turn in our agility class, and I'm not going to lie; he was on FIRE tonight! Holy freaking cow! Can I please have this dog at every single trial?? We did not have one knocked bar, one refusal, or a single missed weave entry! Wow! We had several weave entries tonight from some interesting angles and that big lug nailed them all! I was so impressed! Even when I bobbled in a couple of places, he made last minute alterations and saved the runs. Oh yeah, and go me for actually remembering the various different courses tonight (we do such a variety of courses that it's not uncommon for me to get half way through and forget what to do next). It was definitely a stellar night!:)

Monday, August 2, 2010

August Goals

Yikes! It's the start of a whole 'nother month! I have to admit that I did not train as much or as diligently as I had originally planned to last month. I'm shooting for being more specific in my goals for the month and I'm going to break them down by sport. Usually the more specific I am, the better I am at sticking to it and the easier it is for me to see when I'm improving on something. We also had our obedience lesson today, which has helped to give me a better idea of what to work on.


*Right finishes. I'm stealing this from another blog, but my goal is going to be to practice right finishes 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening. Doing that twice a day for a month should get me to the point where I can actually start nit picking positioning on the finishes, phase out the verbal cue all together (I am so almost there with Bess and she's responding REALLY well to this kind of repetition), and get Heffner to actually do them the first time that I ask for them. He's been a little less than stellar at picking up on it and I'm half tempted to increase his repetitions to 15 twice a day. We'll see.

*Dumb bell. I am going to work with Bess with the dumb bell. I started to and then slacked off. I'm shooting for a few minutes each night of having her just holding it. That's all for now. Just hold it until I tell her to release it.

*I'm also going to try and fit in some practice matches that the club hosts at the training facility. Our instructor is there quite often and it would be REALLY great to get additional feed back from her as we're going through the exercises because she knows EXACTLY what we're working on. Pretty much I'd be rather dull witted NOT to go to these sessions.


*Work on the moving down. While we're not at the excellent level yet, I'm pretty sure that this is going to be an exercise that I will struggle with. I'm going to again use repetition on this one. I'm shooting for practicing it three to four times a week in the evenings. It's been working well for the moving stand, so we'll see.

*Fine tune the moving stand. Both dogs are doing really well in the backyard, but I need to take it else where to proof it where they aren't sort of expecting it.

*180 left pivots. It's coming along, but it's still not where I want it with either dog. I'm going to use the same formula as above. However, I'm going to "warm up" the dogs by doing 90 left pivots. Just to get them mentally where I want them.


*I have real jumps on order. When those jumps come in, I will begin working the Susan Salo jumping exercises. Until then, it's too frustrating without being able to vary the height of the jumps.


*Yes, you read correctly. Though nothing major. I want to work with the dogs and the leather glove to get them to start indicating. This is something that is simple enough to work on inside the house and can even be incorporated into a find it game. The one thing that I need to figure out is HOW I want the dogs to indicate the article. I definitely do not want them laying down when they come to the glove. That's something that could carry over very badly into obedience and I don't want to have to spend time retraining and confusing my dogs. I'm going to consult with our obedience instructor on this one. Either way, we're going to start working indications.


*Finish up the kisses trick and proof for distance and having Adam give the command as well.

*Start working on the back scratching trick. This should be interesting!

I feel pretty good about these goals. They feel attainable and they will work on things that I need to work on with the dogs. I also feel like I have a grasp on how to go about obtaining them.

During our lesson today, it became very clear that I need to work on my footwork. I actually spent a portion of the lesson practicing heeling without a dog. I've kind of known that I needed to work on my footwork, but haven't really done a whole lot about it. However, now I definitely will be working on it. I'm going to shoot for taking some little breaks at work and finding an out of the way area to practice heeling, turning, and keeping the right pace. I'm going to try and see if there's a way for me to download some sort of metronome app. onto my phone. I don't have an iphone or one of the other smart phones, so I'm not entirely sure my phone is capable of that. We'll see. But practice heeling with an imaginary dog I will!

We worked the figure 8. We're setting the cones further apart so that I can work on speed transitions better with the dogs. Hopefully we'll get to a point where they will automatically know when to adjust their speeds. We worked the whole session again with toys as rewards. It's definitely a fair bit different and I'm still getting used to it.

We also worked on recalls with Bess. She has a tendency to move in an arc when I call her in. She does the same exact thing when I send her out to a target plate. I have no idea why. To try and correct that, we're using planks to create a chute of sorts to bring her in straight. The planks aren't very long, so she actually has the option of arcing if she wants to, but she stays straight. It's interesting. A very small part of me wonders if her arcing has anything to do with injury. The direction she arcs is to the side where the cut is. Prior to the accident we didn't have this issue. Hmmmmmm......just another one of those little things that I have a feeling are going to continue to pop up as that area finishes fully healing and Bess gets back to 100% normal.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

Our much anticipated camping weekend didn't quite turn out the way that we had expected. The way that things were SUPPOSED to go was that we showed up to our campground, got this specific site that's right down by the lake and backs right up to our intended hiking trail. We were going to spend Friday playing around in the lake and I even went out and bought a two person raft for playing in that I figured was big enough to fit me and one of the dogs. Then Saturday we were going to spend the majority of the day hiking. Saturday evening and Sunday morning were going to be for basically just chilling around the campsite. Pretty much the perfect weekend. I should have known that the plan was a little too perfect to actually get pulled off.

As we were approaching the turn off for our campground (a mere five miles away!), we noticed that there was a sheriff's car blocking the road. Hmmmm....that can't be a good sign. I was hoping that it was something minor and maybe we'd have to pull over a wait a bit for something to clear up. No such luck. Apparently there was a missing hiker in the area and they were doing a search and rescue mission. Therefore, the whole area was essentially in lock down and no one was allowed in. Super (don't get me wrong, I know it's awful to have someone missing, but I was kind of feeling like it would also be helpful to have extra people about who are aware of the missing person and could also be on the lookout for him. Especially since some of these extra people have two giant dogs.)!

We back tracked to the next closest campground and decided to set up shop there. When we first got there, there weren't any other dogs so I just let the dogs kind of run amok. Except that they were pretty pent up and nosy. It's difficult to set up tents and camping gear with two giant and obnoxious goobers running around. Thankfully, I had thought ahead and we brought our x-pens!!
After the tent was pretty much set up, I left the group to take the dogs down to the creek that was behind our campsite so that they could cool off a bit.

And let me tell you, that water was not just cold, but frigid!! It's a mountain stream, so you would figure it would be cold. But there's cold, and then there's this. It was that kind of cold that just makes your feet ache right through the bone. There most definitely was NOT going to be any swimming or lounging in this water. While we were hanging out there I noticed a couple with a little cavalier kind charles spaniel that was off leash. So I gathered the dogs up and headed back to camp. The dogs hadn't noticed the little dog, but I didn't want either of mine to bum rush her. Well, the people followed us back to our campsite. They weren't there camping, just looking around. As they came through our campsite (I had both dogs on leash), Adam warned them that Heffner isn't terribly fond of a lot of other dogs. The guys response was, "oh well, she's in heat right now so he should like her plenty." ARG!!! That really annoyed me. I pretty rudely said, no, he still won't like her. First of all, when someone warns you that their dog isn't friendly, take that warning. They are warning you for the benefit of your own dog. While that dog may not be outwardly acting at all like it's not friendly, be thankful that the owner not only has enough control of their own dog to prevent that, but also be thankful that they're warning you. Especially when there is such a size differential that it wouldn't take much for such a giant dog to do any harm to such a small dog. Secondly, if your bitch is in season, do NOT have her walking through someone else's campsite!! Are you kidding me??? How stupid can you be??? I don't need random coyotes and whatever else in those woods sniffing around our campsite and riling up my dogs because you let your in season bitch drip her delicious smelling juices all over the place!>:o( Not only that, but with a dog that small, that's a really great way to get your dog flat out killed by any number of things that are running around in the woods. People really don't stop to think about these things and it drives me nuts sometimes!!

After they left, Adam finished setting up the x-pens around the tent so that the dogs could go in and out of the tent to lay down or roam around in their "yard." I'm also totally in love with our tent (another Costco buy!)! It has an exterior room that is perfect for the dogs. They can have an area to go to that's protected where we can lay their beds that doesn't involve our stuff getting trompled on! While they weren't entirely thrilled at getting locked up again, it was better than the individual pens on the dirt.

Unfortunately, there weren't any trails leading any where in our campground. And since it was a relatively small campground that led out onto the main road, it didn't leave us a whole lot of options as far as walking the dogs or places to take them to let them run around off leash. We figured that we would just find some where to go in the morning and settled in for a fun evening of relaxing and watching the fire. Adam had made some yummy strawberry infused rum that made for some wonderful drinks! Thankfully the rum was pretty weak, so I could drink a lot of the delicious drinks!:)

As the night wore on, clouds started rolling in. We weren't too concerned because the forecast for the weekend showed it being overcast. But then the rain started. And stopped. And then the thunder and lightning began! I will again state here that I am very thankful that neither of the dogs have issues with thunder and lightning. The pretty much slept through all of it. After a while, it became obvious that the rain wasn't going to let up. We doused the fire and retired to our individual tents. Even though it was still relatively warm out, I put nice winter coats on both of the dogs for the night. I knew that it was going to get cold over night and I didn't want them shivering.

All went well throughout the night and the dogs got me up at about 6:30am because they needed a potty break. That was pretty quick and then I went back to sleep for a little bit longer. By the time that all of us were up and eating breakfast, we decided that we would pack up the camp (Jeremy and Tilly were only planning on staying one night anyhow, and we decided that there just wasn't enough to do to warrant us staying another night), and go looking for some hiking. Of course, eating breakfast and getting the camp packed up took a fair bit longer than expected. I don't think we actually left the campgrounds until 12:30pm. At that point, it was getting pretty warm. And I managed to tweak my knee somehow and that was getting pretty sore. And Adam had tweaked his ankle. And Heffner had gotten bitten by something and both his back feet had swollen lumps on them, in addition to him acting like his front feet were a little sore. We opted out of the hike and decided to just head home.

So there you have it. We actually got home yesterday, but I've been doing a whole lot of laundry (it's amazing how much stuff gets dirty/smoke covered in just one night of camping) and some other things since them. I was pretty bummed that things hadn't worked out the way that we had originally planned it, but I think I'm going to try for a make-up camping in September if I can get it to work with my schedule.

I did have a bit of time yesterday that I spent compiling random video clips that I had taken of the dogs during the month of July! There's always those random snippets that I capture that don't really fit with anything else, so I hadn't bothered uploading them or doing anything with them. So I figured that I would just smush them together into one video and see what happened! I think I actually kind of like it and it gives me more incentive for doing more random video captures of the dogs. I'm going to try to do this on a monthly basis. Here's the video from July.