Wednesday, June 30, 2010
This morning I didn't really need to be in to work until 7:30am. I've obviously had a lot on my mind there, and I was in by 7:15am. This month there have been a TON of mornings where I needed to be in to work by 6:30am. And no that does not mean that I am guaranteed to leave earlier in the day to compensate. That schedule is hard on me. I normally get up at 5:30am, so that I can do my various morning training sessions with the dogs one-on-one. This works very well when I don't need to be in to work until 8:30am. Not so much for the 6:30am. To get to work by 6:30am I'm getting up at 5:00am so that I have enough time in the morning to spend a bit of snuggle time with the dogs, feed them, take care of Bess' maladies, and grab food and coffee (and yes, I'm aware that I should probably be cutting the caffeine out of the diet for a while when I'm this stressed, but I really prefer being functional in the mornings versus a walking zombie) and head out the door. We've missed a LOT of regular training sessions as a result. So I'm trying to change that.
There are still going to be mornings for a while where I need to get in at 6:30am, but I'm honestly toying with the idea of getting up early to fit at least some training time in with the dogs. Today I got up at 5:00am so that I could do our morning walk/obedience training session. And it felt FANTASTIC! BEST way to start my morning. Good lord it felt good! It probably also helps that it's summer now and my fingers aren't freezing from the cold as I dole out treats to my "little" velociraptors. I'm also pretty sure that the dogs were happy get some semblance of normalcy back to their schedules. Regardless of what time I get up, they're always eager to go with me where ever I'm going. Guess that's what happens when you get to spend the majority of the day asleep on the couch!
I'm also getting my rear in gear on our after work training sessions. I'm trying to figure out a routine for me to shake off the work funk after getting home and get excited about training. I know it won't always be easy, but once I pattern the behavior that should help.;o)
And did I mention that Bess has stopped oozing?! Yay!! She got to go naked today after our morning walk! We are both very happy about this. I'm still sticking to walks with her right now, but I think that next week I'll start throwing in some jogging. I am now very excited at the thought of having both dogs fully functional soonish.
As part of my get my butt in gear on training regimen, I'm spicing up our previous after work "routine." I threw in the rally offset figure 8. Yeah, I kind of forgot that we should be working on that one. Good thing I remembered! Bess has a pretty good leave it and did quite well. I used a bowl of uncovered yummy delicious treats that they don't get very often, on one end. On the other were wonderful toys. Bess did great. Heffner had a harder time. ESPECIALLY with the treats. That took some getting used to. And one of his high value toys was in the toy bowl. I probably shouldn't have started out so hard on the boy, but he actually did adjust quite well. It took a few times around for him to get the idea that he really did need to leave everything alone. Then I put him on a down stay. I took the treats out of the bowl and placed them at the opposite end of the yard on our target disc and released him to the treats. I have a feeling that our "leave it" command and our targetting are about to get a whole lot better! I interspersed some of the other stuff that we were working on with play sessions with the toys from the toy bowl. He was quite pleased.
I really like how Laura makes monthly training goals at the beginning of each month. I'm going to take a stab at it tomorrow and we'll see how that goes!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
My pick for Blog of the Week is Living With Infidels! I think the picture in the header of the blog says it all. How much more disdainful could a dog look?? While not a very prolific blog, it is very amusing and there is definitely a fair amount of effort that gets put into each entry to fully describe the "horrible" life of a saluki in captivity. The blog is told from the perspective of the saluki Stella. Her tales of woe reflect her unfortunate circumstances and the idiocy that she is surrounded by. I have to admit that it gives me a good chuckle when there's a new posting. It's an amusing blog that has the ability to elicit a smile on a bad day.:o)
Monday, June 28, 2010
Things have been pretty stressful at work for me for about the past six months. I normally love my job. While I have tasks that are less thrilling than others, it's an overall pretty great job. There's a fair amount of variety, I work with a lot of really great people who are very supportive, helpful, and hard working. Additionally I have a pretty great boss. Granted that feeling probably isn't very mutual right now, but I understand. We've gone through a fair amount of changes and our work load has just really ramped up. Enough that we just hired someone in May and we're in the process of hiring another person. Things have just been crazy the past six months and I've pretty much been trying to keep my head above water. Every single time that I feel like I'm getting some where and I have things under control, something comes up to just destroy that. It's getting old. It's really wearing on me. And my work performance is most definitely suffering. It's getting more difficult to fully function to the ability I know I have when I'm on this constant roller coaster every day.
Normally, the dogs are my stress relief. There's so many things to do with them! They're not just my pets, not just a hobby, not just a passing fad. They are everything. Lately we've had a run of bad luck specifically with Bess. It is so hard to try to keep my head on straight when I've got a dog that first goes through a very serious and life threatening illness. Then once she's really on her way to recovering, she narrowly misses a life threatening gash. The possibility of losing one of my dogs is not something that I can stand to think about. When that day comes, it will destroy me. Until then, I really can't think about it. I prefer to plan for my dogs to live forever. Being forced to stare their mortality in the face twice within the same month has seriously pushed me to the edge.
When you combine the heavy stress load that I've been trying unsuccessfully to deal with at work, I'm seriously ready to completely shut down if one more thing goes wrong. Which brings us up to last night where I seriously held on to things by a very thin thread.
Heffner got the zoomies in the back yard last night. Nothing new there. On one of his overly enthusiastic turns, he sort of wiped out with his back legs. In the process, he managed to put a small gash on his inner left rear thigh. It was relatively minor and that occasionally happens. While he seemed sore initially, he walked it off. A few hours later, he wasn't putting any weight on that foot. And he was putting weight only on the outside of the back right leg. I seriously freaked out. I had him walking up and down the hallway. As I got more and more agitated, I started yelling at Adam to get in the hallway and watch Heffner walking. I started yelling at Adam about the whole thing. Seriously. Just started yelling at my husband for really no reason, about something that he had no control over. Somehow he managed to get me calmed down after he realized that I wasn't on some random rampage about him. The thought of one of my dogs being injured yet again, just about pushed me over the edge. Having to go through all the thoughts I had with Bess on our two ER trips. All the unpleasant thoughts and emotions that I went through during those times. All the horrible feelings. Thinking that one of my dogs was hurt and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. It was awful.
Once I was calmed down and we were just talking things through. I flat out old Adam that I couldn't handle another thing going wrong. I seriously could not handle it. I'm stressed while I'm at work and I'm stressed while I'm at home. I'm to a point where I can't get away from it. I'm trying to work a balancing act with my sanity and all it will take is one little thing to upset the balance. And I just can't handle it at this point.
I know that this post is less dog related and more me going off on a tangent, but I can't help it. I really enjoy the blog. It's a little therapeutic for me to be able to gush about my dogs and just have with the whole thing in my own little way. And it does feel a little good to be able to just get this off my chest and air it out. So the blog goes silent for any little lengths of time, I'm probably just trying to figure out how to better deal with the stress and need a little break. It's usually not for very long. Or if I seem to be rambling at times, now you'll know why. Bear with me. Eventually it'll get better. It's just incredibly draining and trying right now.
I should also add that Heffner is doing fine today. No limping. I've kept a band-aid on his scratch and he's left it alone. I ended up giving him some buffered aspirin last night so that he could get comfortable and that seemed to help a lot. So thankfully nothing major there.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
It has been exactly a week since Bess had her slash and gash incident. I took a picture of what it looks like a week after being sewed up. Even though the drains have been removed, the bottom drain is still draining. You'll be able to see that in the picture. I guess it's a good thing that it's still draining and the fluid isn't still building up inside. Unfortunately that means that Bess is still having to wear a shirt around the house. We don't gate her off any more and she's been great about just leaving the shirt on. I'll be really happy when she can go completely "naked" again.
As you can see, a lot of the welling and bruising has gone away. There's still some swelling left, but I'm sure that will be gone soon enough.
While this is small potatoes, I bought a new Zoom Groom! The teeth on our old one were really worn down and I figured that it was time to replace it.
I am soooooo glad that I did!! I got a ridiculous amount of hair off of both dogs! I LOVE it when I can get so much hair off! Because they're both blowing a fair amount of coat right now, I'll probably up them to getting curried twice a week. My normal year round routine is to curry them once a week. Bess will slow down in the winter to losing almost no hair when I curry her. Heffner, however, drops a fair amount of coat year round. It's just roughly twice a year that he really blows his coat.
And last but not least, the dogs and I had a little fun last night. I don't have either dog entered in any AKC events until the end of July. And since we were having a nice and relaxing evening last night and I had some "free" time, I felt that it was definitely time that I got the dogs a little ready for the upcoming 4th of July holiday.:o) That's right folks, I painted their toe nails!! Not just theirs, but I painted mine to match!
I haven't been keeping up on the pawticures as much as I would like because we've had AKC events going on for at least one of the dogs every couple of weeks. And since AKC doesn't allow artificial alterations on dogs that are competing in their events, it was really pointless for me to paint their nails just to have to take it off within a week. We finally have a few weeks off and I took full advantage of that!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Today in the actual show Mia took Reserve Winners Bitch! Yay!! I'm fairly tired right now, but wanted to post the results before I go and take a nap. Tomorrow we don't show until around 1pm.
Friday, June 25, 2010
The latest issue is just keeping the girl quiet. She gets terribly excited over EVERYTHING now! When I come home, it's all I can do to try and get her to hold still and stop flailing everywhere. She can officially start getting walks, but they need to be slow. Yeah, that's going to go over reeeeeeeeal well. We'll probably go back to our obedience training in about a week, since everything we do there is on the flat and she'll be okay to do some more animated heeling by then. Agility is going to be a few weeks though. For obvious reasons. She needs to be really healed up before we start putting any impact on that area. Maybe we'll start working on some shadow handling and rear crosses on the ground. I need some excuse to get my rear in gear on that one! All-in-all, things are looking good for Bessy!
With all this focus on Bess the past few weeks, it would be easy for me to lose focus on Heffner and lose our training steam. Which I do have to admit, I have in part done. Our training schedule has gone pretty out the window between all the vet stuff and my schedule being all over the place. However, my boy gave me a lift up when I needed it the most these past 24 hours! I had originally entered Bess in an obedience match that our obedience club was putting on last night at the fairgrounds of the dog show that's going on this weekend. However, with the results of our little jaunt on Sunday, it wasn't really the best idea to take her. I decided to plug Heffner into her spot even though I had some serious reservations. For one, it was hot. The temperatures were in the 80's. Heffner tends toward the heat sensitive side when he doesn't have a body of water to swim around in. Secondly, I was signed up to be a ring steward in the novice ring for the whole match. That meant that he was going to have to hang out in the soft crate the whole time that I was busy, which was a lot of the time. And thirdly, it was outside and he tends more towards distraction when we're outside. It was less than ideal conditions for any sort of competition that I would consider taking him to. But he totally blew me my mind!!
I have NEVER been more pleased working with him. I really felt like a team with him! And he was so HAPPY the entire time! Even with the heat. Even with all the other dogs around. I had him out in the open working on heeling patterns with all manner of dogs around and about doing the same thing and he was totally tuned in to me! I kept telling him over and over again how proud of him I was. I know that it was only a match, but he just did so well!:o) I even had a friend come up to me and comment on how well he did in his two runs. Her comments were along the lines of him doing really well especially considering that he's my second string dog.:o)
At any rate, I did manage to video both of our runs.:o) I brought my tripod and set it up in one corner of the ring. There were two other obedience rings and a stay ring behind us, so we were kind of on our own little island. Because there was a fence near the ring, I couldn't get the camera set up far enough back to get the whole ring, but you'll see the majority of our runs. I had to cut out all the dead space on the videos because I started it before I went into the ring and stopped it after I got out. So it's a little choppy in places, but you'll get the idea.;o) Here's our first run of the day:
Can you see how happy he is when he's heeling?:) I've kind of started accidentally cuing a word to his happy heeling when we're practicing. I call him my happy prancing pony. When our heeling kind of goes blah, I speed up and ask him where my prancing pony is. Seems to get him every time! And I think it's just adorable! I LOVE heeling with my dogs. Especially when they're this happy and tuned in to me. Our instructor thinks that it would be great if we could really get a full differentiation in gaits as we move through the different speeds. Our slow is definitely a slow walk. Our normal heeling speed is nice and animated. Now if we could sync up our fast speeds so that when I run, the dogs are actually running, that would be quite impressive! Granted, the judge would really have to be prepared for it so that I don't run into anything before they get the command out, but it would most definitely be fun to try! That's on my list of things to work on.;o) His fronts and finishes are also getting a lot better. He just did so much better than I expected! I really expected that he would start to poop out on me with the heat, but he was so ON! I did skip the stays. I knew that would definitely be an uphill battle getting him to hold his sit stay in the heat regardless.
There was a pretty sizable gap in time between our first and second runs. I was pretty sure that he would be fairly tired by our second run, but he was still happy to be out there prancing around!:)
All told, we were there for a little over five hours. Most of which he spent in his soft crate. I am happy to say that there was no whining while he was in the crate. I had him set up a ways off to the side behind the bleachers. He could still see me, but he was out of the main thorough fair and didn't have hardly any dogs pass by his crate. He did have a couple. There was one dog that walked by his crate that he did bark at, but it was quickly over with. So not only was I impressed by how well he worked outdoors in the heat, but I was also impressed with how well behaved he was in the soft crate for such a long period of time, with me spending most of my time away from him. I'm so proud of my big boy!!
And to top everything off, Heffner earned his Rally Novice title today!! I was a little apprehensive because we were now competing in the B class and I knew that we were going to get graded a little harder for things. And we did to a certain extent. I briefly went over my sheet with the judge afterwards while I was waiting to get our finishing picture taken (yes there will be an official picture!!). We missed some points based on my foot work, which I admit I wasn't paying attention to at points. We also got the dreaded Lacks Team Work at one point. There were a few sections of the course where Heffner was more interested in sniffing the ground than doing anything that I was asking. We had to redo one station as well. Overall, it was not a terribly pretty run. The order of the dogs ahead of us got changed a little bit and it threw me off. I wasn't able to record Heffner's run even though I brought the tripod and camera again. We did manage an 89 with those mistakes and got a fourth place! I will take it! I do know that rally is a little bit harder for Heffner because it's so choppy. I can't build ANY momentum with him or else he sails on past the stations. I know this from experience. So it's harder for him to have to do all of the movements at a slower than normal pace. I'm also quite a bit at fault because we don't really practice rally. I may work occasionally on individual movements, but I don't go to any rally classes and it's rare that I do a match or run through with either dog, and Bess is usually the one who gets that. My goal for him is to do several matches or show-n-gos with him before I move him up to advanced. I think we will both be a lot happier if we're more prepared for the situation. And yes, I know, bad handler!
I'm going to spending a fair amount of time at the Canby Fairgrounds this weekend! There was the match last night and the trial this morning. This evening I'll be going back to show Mia at the conformation match! I'm so excited to see her again! I haven't seen her in almost two months! Then I'll be showing her at the all breed show Saturday and Sunday. It should be a fun weekend! The best thing is that when I get home tonight I don't have my own dot to have to prep for the show!!:) I hope that everyone has plans for a great weekend!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I think this is a good collar if you're looking for something to put on your dog(s) to make them more visible. The battery is also quite easy to replace and will last quite a while.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Mostly good news for Bess. She's definitely feeling a lot better. While I do want my bouncy happy girl back, I would prefer that she be somewhat restrained while she still has fresh sutures in her. I do NOT want any of those many stitches coming loose or tearing or doing something awful. She, apparently, doesn't really care and seems to feel no pain right now. She most certainly will be going off of Rimadyl after her Thursday appointment to get her drain removed. You may notice that I used the singular for drain. Yes, she started off with two, but managed to get the top drain off this morning. I took her dirty shirt off after taking the dogs out to pee this morning and I left her naked while I popped into the kitchen to grab the clean shirt that I had brought down. In that time, she got the drain out. So now she is down to one drain. I called the vet to let her know what happened and she felt that as long as the bottom one was still in that it would be okay. There wasn't much coming out of the top one over night any how.
So things are improving with Bess, I just need to try and curb her enthusiasm!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Okay, so we got her home, got a t-shirt on her, and got her set up in her crate. As much as I would have preferred to have her upstairs with the rest of us because she seems a lot more comfortable knowing that we're right there, there was just no way that she was going to be able to make it up the stairs. She was limping a fair amount on her right leg, and both feet were a little swollen with fluid. We may have been able to get her up the stairs, but getting her down in the morning would have been a trial. I didn't take any pictures that night because it was late and I just really wanted to get her settled in. She was a pretty unhappy and groggy girl and it was all I could do to get all of her medications down her, get a t-shirt on her, and get her settled in her crate. I did snap a picture of the site when I took the dogs out for their morning pee. The whole area looks really nice when it's been neatly sutured shut! And you can see the obvious drains as well (those get to come out on Thur. morning).
As I said, there's a whole lot of draining going on, which is a good thing. Keeps the area from swelling with fluid and becoming more painful. This is what Bess' t-shirt looked like when I got home from work today.
She was in a fair amount of pain still this morning, but was able to climb up the stairs after breakfast (which she ate ALL of!) and hang out with Heffner and I. I really didn't want to take her back down to her crate and figured that she could use the room to sort of sprawl out a bit more and hopefully stay as comfortable as possible, so I set her up in our spare bedroom. We have comforter on the floor in there as well as a pillow that she likes to lay her head on sometimes. I put the baby gate up in the doorway so that Heffner can keep an eye on her, but not bother her. He's been really great with her. He's been mostly just interested in sniffing her. He's very gentle and careful when walking around her.
I really appreciate all of the comments and well wishes! It's kind of a trying time right now for many reasons. I'm reassured now that I'm back home and she's acting a lot better. She's acting more like herself and was a much happier girl. I was very tempted to call the vet today and ask for stronger pain meds because of how she was acting this morning. It just tears me up to have her going through all of this!
I'll touch on a few of the questions and concerns that people brought up. I think I was able to keep it together on the way to the car because of what we already went through with the pneumonia. When we took her to Dove Lewis two weeks ago, I seriously thought that my dog was dying in front of my eyes. There is just nothing that can quite compare to that feeling. I was breaking down at home while getting her ready, I was breaking down on the phone when I was talking to Georgia before we left, and I was barely holding it together on the drive to the hospital (thank goodness Adam was driving). That was the most awful time. And knowing now exactly how bad off she was doesn't help any. However, with that very vivid image in my mind, there was a definite difference between my dog who was rapidly going downhill and in a very bad state versus my dog who had a gaping wound and was in pain. She was able to walk, though obviously painfully. The wound also didn't bleed much. My reaction may have been different if I was also trying to keep enough pressure on the wound to keep her from bleeding out. Thankfully she only lost a few mLs of blood. Nothing significant for a dog her size. I was so focused on her the whole time down the hill, on the drive to the hospital, and getting her checked in, that I didn't really have a spare thought for anything else. It was a tricky climb back down and I had to focus on finding the best path for her that would jar her the least and also give her good enough footing. It wasn't difficult to stay clear headed. However, once she was checked in and I sat down, it all came crashing in. I got fairly light headed and was hyperventilating a bit. Thankfully the technicians and the vet were checking in with me pretty frequently to let me know how things were going and what the plan of action was, that I also didn't have a whole lot of time to stew about it much.
Brooke asked if I look into ER vets when we're going places. I didn't really used to in the past, but I started to more recently. It's not a huge deal at dog shows because there's usually a vet on site of some sort. The agility trials that we go to are all fairly local, so I generally know how to get from where I'm at to an emergency clinic. The hiking part is the tricky thing. We could be in the middle of no where. I do now tend to play a sort of mental game of sorts where I take note of any vet clinics along any of the routes that we travel. That way I can just back track to one of them and something has got to be open. I also have both Dove Lewis and Rock Creek (the e vet that went to yesterday) programmed into my phone. You can often call a major emergency clinic and ask them if they could tell you where the closest clinic is to you if you're too far away. If we're planning a longer road trip, I do now look into that. And obviously now I'm a lot more paranoid and that's more of a priority.
The majority of the times that we're out hiking, it's just me and the dogs. I also mostly look for places to take them that others don't frequent. So the likelihood of having random people around to help me in an incident is pretty low. That is the one thought that bothers me when we're out hiking. Another little mental "game" that I play when we're hiking is what if the dogs got hurt here. I think out scenarios and how to handle them. While others like to play the "what if zombies attacked" game, I play the "how the heck would I transport my dogs if they were injured" game. While it may seem a touch on the dark side, I do feel like I'm a little more prepared mentally for an instance to occur. The down side of having such huge dogs is that they are not of a weight that I can easily carry for long distances over tricky terrain. While I'm in decent shape, my upper body strength is not enough for me to easily pack either dog around. How I would transport them depends a whole lot on how and where they're injured. Bess was far too with it for me to try picking her up and putting her into any position for me to carry her. If they're gonna fight being carried too much, then they're well enough to walk until they can't. I think that I would prefer the around the back of the neck method. Kind of how you can see some people carry lambs. It seems like a good way to distribute the weight. Now if both dogs got injured, I'd be in a heap of trouble. Either way, I always carry my cell phone on me in case I need it.
All of this has only served to remind me that I really need to seriously carry a canine first aid kit with me at least in the car. While I can't prepare for everything, I can prepare for some instances. I don't think that there was a whole lot more that I could have done to help Bess in this instance, but it would be nice to have a little something more on hand.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I took the dogs out for a little hike today to burn off some energy and so that we could all get out and enjoy some fresh air, nature, and solitude. The majority of the hike was indeed great. However, when we topped one of the hills that we were climbing and took a break for some pictures, the dogs spotted a deer. Not a big deal at all. We see deer all the time when we go hiking. Bess likes to chase after them initially, but she's usually sure footed enough and agile enough that the most she comes away with is maybe a scratch or two. Usually she's unscathed. Not so this time. We were travelling along an old logging road and had topped a hill where there was a pretty well cleared area. There was a fair amount of underbrush and debris that was left over, but nothing that would otherwise be a big deal for either dog. The dogs saw the deer bounding away on the next hill top. Heffner was excited, but also not about to go down our hill and all the way up the next for something that was already running away. Bess had other ideas. She went down the hill and dropped out of sight for a brief period. Again, not something that I would normally worry about. When she came back up the hill it was obvious that she was favoring her front right leg. The reason, became readily apparent. My best guess is that while going down the hill she either misjudged a leap, tripped, or just moved wrong and cut herself on an old exposed limb of some sort. And when I say cut, I do not mean a minor abrasion. This was a fairly major laceration. I did take a picture, and I will warn you that it's fairly graphic. If you don't want to see just rapidly scroll down. I didn't have the camera in close up mode, so the laceration is actually not the part that's fully in focus. This was also taken in the parking lot after having to walk all the way back down the hill. Bess was able to do this on her own, but it obvious that it was causing her a fair amount of pain. It would have caused her a lot more pain if I had try to carry her down though. She also did not lose much blood, even though the wound looks like it should have bled a fair amount.
I had been wearing a sweatshirt when we started the hike and I'm glad for that. I rolled it up and tied it up and over her shoulders with the bottom section supporting her chest and trying to keep the area closed while I transported her from the trail head to the ER vet. Thankfully I knew of another ER vet other than Dove Lewis who was closer and I felt totally confident that they could handle taking care of the stitches that were very obviously needed.
In order to get that ghastly image out of your minds, I will relay the enjoyable part of our hike to everyone. I was pretty pleased with some of the pictures that I was able to take! It was a fairly overcast day and not terribly warm. It thankfully didn't rain on us though. There were some beautiful views along the way!
There were some hills to climb that gave us a great work out!
At the top of the primary hill we took a much deserved break and I snapped some pictures of the dogs in various spots trying to get different scenery and different poses in each one. I like the results!
Other than the ending, it was a nice outing and Bess was definitely enjoying being able to get out and stretch her legs after being so restricted with her pneumonia diagnosis. The vet did say that there was going to be a fair amount of chest bruising and Bess will be on Rimadyl for a few days to help with the pain management. It's looking like it's going to be another week before she can go back to getting some exercise. I will definitely be happy to have her home again though!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
There was Vandy with her lovely Dalmatian Chaska.
Nicole with her handsome dane Gus. They were trying rally out for the first time!
Shana with her tibetan mastiff Waldorf.
There was also Andrea with her bullmastiff Brody. Sandi with her dane Seger. And Denise with her Leonberger girls. It made for a really enjoyable day!
I had Bess entered in two runs of novice obedience and two runs of advanced rally and we were raring to go. Obedience was up first. I do have to admit that I kind of got a little lazy with the warm up. I knew that we had two runs that we were doing and the first one would work out just as well as a warm up. I do know that we need to work a fair amount more on obedience outside in different settings. Our morning sessions during the week are outside on school grounds, but we alternate between the same school grounds, so there's not much variety. Anyhow, Andrea was nice enough to video our second run in obedience for us!
Once we were done with obedience, we popped over to the rally ring for our runs there. They had a course set up with all three levels nested within. This was our first time in the advanced ring. I wasn't too terribly nervous about being off leash because we already were working that for obedience. The only bobble that we had along the way was one station where I was pretty sure that the backing up in heel position was an advanced level station, but not entirely sure. Thankfully it was because we aren't there yet! Otherwise, I was quite happy with her run! We haven't practiced heeling over a jump very much and I thought she did really well not charging ahead of me. And thank you to Nicole for videoing us!
I am just really pleased with how Bess is coming along. Our training sessions lately have been fairly sparse and lax for various reasons, but we're going to be getting back onto our regular training schedule and I know that we'll continue to see improvement! It makes me really excited to enter her in rally next month! I really feel that we're ready! I'm also hoping to enter her in obedience at the end of August. It just really depends on where we are at the end of July.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The only down side is that Bess had to be sedated to get good clear scans of her chest. She doesn't do so well with the whole recovering from sedation. She's been sedated one other time since we've had her to check out a front leg that we were concerned had something going on with it. "Thankfully" I had that experience to draw on and I was ready for how she was going to be. Last time, I'm pretty sure that she was showing signs of getting ready to bloat. Her tuck up dropped and her abdomen was a slightly more swollen. It wasn't hard and balloon like, but not normal. She was also definitely feeling sick. As I do with anything, I called her breeder to get her advice. Her advice was that danes are more prone to bloat right after they've been sedated. To help combat this, you can automatically give the dog a good strong dose of the Maalox liquid that treats the symptoms of gas and bloated feeling in people. Adam rand out and got some, we gave Bess a large dose and she ended up being fine. So after Bess had her x-rays today, I dropped her off at home and got her set up in our spare bedroom with a baby gate across the door so that Heffner wouldn't bother her. Then I went out and got a new bottle of Maalox because our current one had expired. She's had a couple of doses of that already and we aren't going through the same symptoms that she had last time.
This time around though, she's just having a hard time settling down. She's a bit more whiny, but settles down when she's in physical contact with me. If I lay down on the floor or the couch, she'll come and curl up on me and actually settle down and rest. If it weren't for the fact that she's not feeling great, it would be really cute. If I get up to do something, she's back to standing and whining. So I've been cuddled up with her for most of the evening. I did take Heffner out for a run and she held vigil from the downstairs window. Originally she was content to lay on the couch with Adam while he was playing video games, but once she figured out that I was leaving with Heffner, she wouldn't have it.
All-in-all, things are good and she is definitely on the way up. She should be back to her normal self tomorrow and then I'll have to figure out what to do with her.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
If you're wondering if there are any organisations out there besides the Delta Society to go through to get your pet certified to be a therapy dog, I would recommend looking into Therapy Dogs International or you can also ask your local veterinarian if they know of any local programs. I have lost all respect for the Delta Society at this point. I was hoping to look into getting Bess eventually certified through the Delta Society, but that will NOT be happening and I WILL be going elsewhere. Obviously, since neither of my dogs would be allowed to participate anyhow.
Monday, June 14, 2010
First up his Novice FAST run:
Next is our Novice JWW:
And finally our Novice Standard run:
You can see how slow he was going towards the end. Our missed entry into the chute was definitely him just getting tired and not feeling like working those muscles to crouch down. When I was looking at this, I'm now wondering if I was compounding his slowness by me not moving very fast either. It's kind of like the compounding effect of slow heeling in obedience. Your dog slows down so you slow down, which causes your dog to slow down more, and on, and on. So many things to tweak and play with! I'm now starting to think that I should be trying to video our runs in our agility class so that I can watch what I'm doing in practice as well. I will DEFINITELY be renting barn time this summer to work on all of this!
And now on to obedience! As always, we all had a really good time. I have so many ideas on what I need to work on with each dog. And yes, I did bring Bess and she got her turn. I had emailed our instructor letting her know what Bess came down with and that she was fine, but I just had to watch for her acting like she was getting out of breath. She did very well and definitely enjoyed herself and had no problems breathing wise.:o)
He definitely does better on his sits and in general when he gets worked on a regular basis. With everything that was going on with Bess, my chaotic work schedule last week, and then the agility trial this weekend, I didn't work him much at all. So I wasn't terribly surprised that his sits were more crooked than they had been. I need to make a conscious effort to treat him out of my left hand and hold it a little ways out from me to keep that big butt in. We still need to do lots of halts along walls and solid structures. When we're heeling, even though his head is turned in and he's nose bumping me, he does a good job of staying in heel position. When we slow down or halt, that butt pops right out.
We're also starting to work more on getting him to finish (right and left) with me minimizing my body movement. For the left finish, I need to not exaggerate my movements so much and work on keeping him tighter to my body. A front pivot would be more ideal and that's the mental image that I'm sort of striving for. For the right finish, I need my arm movement to be not as exaggerated and to still keep it relatively slow. He gets it better when I slow down the movement more. I've sped things up more for Bess because she's really caught on to it, and I just need to have a different pace for him.
We're also going to be working on getting him to read my left shoulder specifically better. The end result is that when I drop that left shoulder back, he should automatically start backing up. To get to that point, I'm going to practice backing him up around corners of solid structures. That way it's not just a straight backing up which doesn't require a whole lot of body reading from him.
The other thing that I need to work on with him has to do with our fronts. I need to wean both dogs off of the cue of both of my hands at my chest to cue them to get in closer. To do this, I'm going to have treats in both of my hands and my mouth. I will hold both of my arms straight out to my sides and then tell him to watch me. As soon as he makes eye contact, he gets a yes and a treat. It'll be easier to get him in closer and maintain eye contact when I'm spitting food at him. But the arms are there to help proof it. I can do this with him in a sitting position, or if he's running out of juice on holding his sits, then he can do it from a down and I'll crouch down.
We didn't focus on it necessarily so much this lesson, but I do need to remember to work on her maintaining eye contact with me when we start our heeling patterns. She originally liked to dip her head and look towards the floor when we would start. She's gotten a lot better and maintains more eye contact when we start now. I just need to practice it more to get her closer to 100%.
With Bess I'm going to be pickier about how she sits when we halt and pretty much any where. I want her in a nice tight heel position because she can do it. When she's out of ideal heel position, I give her the "get in" command with my little hand cue and she scoots her butt into ideal position. When she does this, she gets a "yes" and a treat.
While we were doing some heeling patterns, our instructor pointed out that I have the habit of holding both of my hands at my waist instead of letting my right arm hang freely at my side. While it's okay to do that in novice, after that my right arm needs to hang freely. As a result of my habit of doing this with Bess especially, she has come to expect my arm to be there and is a little thrown off when I tried a heeling pattern "cold turkey" with my hand at my side. The plan is to bring my right hand up to my left hand on turns to keep her in tight and "reassure" her that she's doing what she's supposed to be doing and I'm not expecting something else. Once the turn is completed, my right arm drops back down to my side. When we did some heeling patterns like this, she did much better. So I have to slowly wean her off of my right arm.
Overall with both dogs, I need to also stop using their names so much when giving commands. I want to save their responsiveness to their names for a trial setting where they're more likely to be distracted and need that little reminder to pay attention to what is about to follow.
This weekend there's an obedience and rally match going on at the fairgrounds that are near our house. Our obedience club is putting on the obedience match and I'm heading over early to help set up. I also want to try and score a nice spot in the shade for the soft crate. My plan right now is to bring Bess and enter her in both obedience and rally. Depending on the weather and how things are going, I MIGHT bring Heffner over and do the same with him. We only live a couple of miles from the fairgrounds so it's incredibly easy for me to run one dog home and pick up the other one. It just depends. There's a conformation match in the afternoon that I had originally planned to not enter Bess in, but I might just go ahead and do it. I'm going to be sticking around any how to meet a harl dog that I may be helping to show depending on a few things. We'll see!
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Now on to more dog related things! On Saturday we had an agility trial! I was really hopeful that things would be better than last weekend. I was so incredibly disappointed and frustrated with how Heffner was that all I really wanted was a glimmer of something to keep me going. And we totally had that!! There will be videos forthcoming. Kennedy was competing with Vegas as well (they're shooting for getting a spot at the AKC invitational, so they're trialing a fair bit, not to mention wanting to earn that coveted MACH title) and was nice enough to record our runs!
Our first run of the day was FAST. The send portion of the course was worth a whopping 34 points out of the 50 needed to qualify for the Novice level. It was also quite straight forward and easy. It was just a straight tunnel to a jump. The lateral distance to the line that I couldn't cross was 8 ft. at the widest point. I really felt confident that we could nail it. I had a new plan of sorts for warming him up prior to our run and I think it helped. It was really simple. Get him out far enough in advance that I could walk him around a little bit to pee and do whatever. Then jog for a little bit to warm him up and sort of play a chase game where I slow down and go the opposite direction. He has to pay attention to what I'm doing in order to stay with me. I think it helped. My plan for the course was simple and looping. I had put together a course that was nice and looping that would put us with well over 50 points at the end and lots of buffer space. And he nailed it! After we finished the send portion, my plan was to just head straight for the final jump to stop the timer. I let him do whatever the heck he wanted to on the way there. I thought that he would just run with me, but he chose to take a few jumps on the way. There were several bars knocked, but I'm not terribly surprised since I was just heading for the final jump and not really paying attention to what he was doing or trying to direct him or set him up. He maintained speed and did so well!!! I was so incredibly happy at the end! After being so frustrated last weekend and feeling so out of sync with him, I seriously could have started crying I was so happy with our run. We got our Q (his second novice FAST Q), 1st place for our jump height, and were the only ones in our jump height to Q!
Next up was JWW. It was a really nice flowing course that I couldn't see any particular problems with. This was a course that he was fully capable to doing and I was fully capable of not screwing up. The only slight concern that I had were the weaves. My plan was to give him two tries and then just move on. I also was working to keep my mouth shut for most of the course so as to hopefully avoid giving those late verbal cues. And I think it worked! He nailed the course and nailed his weaves!! I was again soooo thrilled with our runs. I couldn't have been more thrilled with him! We earned another Q, another first place, and were again the only novice dogs in our jump height to qualify.
Our last run of the day was standard. It was starting to get warmer. I think it was in the low 80's at this point. That's generally the temperature when Heffner starts to melt a bit. He seemed to be holding up just fine though. It's a lot harder on him when we go from cool temperatures to warm temperatures like we just did. When he's had time to acclimate, things are much better and he can handle it better. Though he really can't deal with an all day agility trial with temperatures in the mid to high 80's. The standard course was really straight forward and also something that I felt we could handle. I was really proud of the way he handled the course. He really tried and had a very accurate run. No dropped bars. We did have to make a second attempt at the chute because he bypassed it the first time (something that I know was due to him being hot and tired). Otherwise, he had a clean run. It was just really slow. We were 21 seconds over on time. No Q there, but I was still so happy with the fact that he was working with me and we were actually a team! At this point, I would rather have to work on speed with him than accuracy.
We do need to work on our jumping though. He's big enough that all he really has to do is hop over the jump. He doesn't have to put a lot of thought into it. However, as we move up, the courses will get more difficult and he needs to have a better understanding of where to take off for each jump. He also tends to be more front heavy and pull with his front instead of pushing off with his rear. We will definitely be working on all of that over the summer! This will be Heff's last agility trial until probably late September, depending on what conflicts I have.
Bess was originally entered to run today, but I pulled her for obvious reasons. As of Tuesday, she was operating on less than 50% lung capacity. While she is acting totally normal now, with hardly any coughing, I have no idea what her lungs are looking like. She could probably handle some physical exercise, but I'm worried about her oxygen saturation. I probably wouldn't know anything was wrong until she passed out. And that's just not what either of us needs! On the up side, we are already entered in a CPE trial in August!!
After these past two weekends of trialing, I really realized just how much I have missed this! It was so much fun, even when it was frustrating at times. I have missed not only the competing, but just being in that environment. It's one thing to go to class every week, but it's a whole different thing to be surrounded by a ton of other people who love this sport and are really invested in it. It helps to buoy you up! I am definitely going to be trying to trial more with both dogs in the fall. I may even suck it up and enter both dogs both days. We'll see.;o)
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I will warn you though, if you're feeding kibble and thinking about switching to raw and you read this book, be prepared. The author is very adamant that raw feeding is the ONLY way that dogs and cats should be fed. You need to read the book for the good information that it contains and gloss over the propaganda part that is basically all throughout. Billinghurst will definitely make you feel awful for feeding your dog kibble. I actually caught myself feeling guilty that I use kibble for training treats! I know that it can be hard to listen or read something from a person who is so vehement about feeding raw, but there is good information inside the book that can be quite beneficial. You just kind of need to have a thicker skin when reading this book.
I will also admit that it's slightly annoying how he basically blames every single skeletal problem that a dog may have, on feeding kibble. His primary focus is hip dysplasia. He has found a way to irrevocably blame kibble feeding for all the ails of the canine world. However, there are plenty of kibble fed dogs who are perfectly healthy and don't suffer from these ailments. Bess has excellent hips and she was fed kibble for almost the whole first year of her life. According to Billinghurst she's either a freak of nature who has managed to evolve to a point where she can handle the damages of kibble (even though he talks about how slowly dogs evolve and that they can't possibly have evolved fast enough for the digestive system to be able to deal with kibble) or it's a fluke.
In a nut shell, it's a good book for information on feeding raw. Just be aware that the author is basically one of the nazi raw feeders who can be quite intimidating to those contemplating switching (and I know how that feels because I've been there).
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Now on to my pick for Web Site of the Month for June! This web site totally cracks me up! The site is called Rear Gear and is an interesting "specialty" product. The product is a little charm that hangs off the base of your dog's tail to cover up that unsightly dirty brown eye.LOL I think I particularly like the bio hazard one! I have to admit, it is incredibly tempting to buy a couple for the dogs just because it's such a novelty. And a cheap one at that! It's definitely a way to catch people's attention coming and going!;o)
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
I do have a little Bess update and I have to apologize ahead of time. This is obviously a topic that takes up the majority of my focus right now and it's hard to concentrate on much else until I know for sure that she is doing better. So bear with me. The blog will get back to normal, but I need for my little girl to be better so that I'm a little less preoccupied.
We had our appointment with our vet today at 3pm. Our vet read over what the emergency clinic faxed over and did a general exam. Bess did some of the coughing and wheezing that she's been doing and just generally looked like she felt like crap. We went over the medication that the vet had prescribed. I'm going to try and not get too pissy in this post, but it would appear that our little trip to the ER was really a waste of time and money. We definitely got more out of our time with our vet today than what we got Sunday night. As it turns out, the antibiotic that Bess was prescribed, cephalexin, is used to treat staph infections. Not any sort of infection that could potentially be pneumonia related. I'm not familiar with that antibiotic so I wasn't away of it's total lack of strength. The normal protocol for treating dogs with pneumonia and specifically aspiration pneumonia is to put them on at least two antibiotics if not three. Since you don't know what's in there, you kind of need to hit it with some heavy duty stuff to nuke what it is. Even after speaking on the phone with the emergency vet on Monday when he let us know that their radiologist though she had aspiration pneumonia, he didn't say ANYTHING about changing her medication. All he mentioned was getting some chest x-rays done to confirm and highly recommended a trans tracheal wash. Which happens to be something they only do when the ailment isn't responding to any antibiotics. On top of that, he prescribed too low of a dose of the weak antibiotic. In a nut shell, we paid for x-rays that only ruled out pyometra and we paid for antibiotics that are ineffective and we are no longer using. Oh yeah, and wasted four and a half hours of our time. Thanks dude!
Anyhow, Bess got her chest x-rays done and once the vet put them up on the light thingy to show me I could immediately see where the problem was. Her entire right lung was white. We should have been able to see through it. The x-rays have been sent off to the radiologist to get a final reading, but Bess possibly has a collapsed right lung. Her left lung definitely has signs of pneumonia in it, but her right lung is pretty bad. The fact that one lung is more drastically affected than the other is what leads to the diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia versus just pneumonia. Essentially she inhaled some foreign body into her lung and it has resulted in pneumonia. We'll find out for sure later on tomorrow what the diagnosis is, but that's what it's looking like.
While we were there, Bess got some fluids. She can be a difficult dog to keep well hydrated outside of the house even on a hot day, but when she's not feeling well (and her "antibiotics" aren't doing anything for her), it's even harder to get her to drink. We definitely don't need her being dehydrated on top of everything else!
Bess' meds have also been changed and she is now on Baytril (which is holy cow expensive!) and amoxicillin (sp?) (of course I could just look this up on her meds sheet, but that's all the way downstairs!) for the next 21 days. She'll go in for another chest x-ray in 7-10 days to make sure that she's responding to the medication.
On the up side, she does seem to be starting to feel better. We got home too late for me to leave with Heffner to agility class, so I took him out for a run instead. When we got back, Bess came to great us at the front door and seemed to be in really good spirits.:) That was very encouraging! The other part of her treatment is doing copage (again, I'm not sure I'm spelling that correctly) patting and then taking her for brisk walks. The reasoning behind this is that we want to break up the gunk that's clogging up her lungs and get her to cough and expel it. However, when I took her out for her brisk walk, she didn't cough once. This is a huge change from yesterday and earlier today where she couldn't be upright without coughing and wheezing. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. On the one hand, it's nice to not hear her hacking up a lung. On the other hand, we want her to hack up the gunk IN her lungs. I'll ask our vet tomorrow.
The big thing now is to get Bess eating. She's still refusing food and hasn't eaten anything since yesterday morning. I'm going to pick up some other stuff at the store tomorrow and hopefully I'll find something that she's interested in. If she doesn't eat anything in the next 24-48 hours, she'll get hospitalized for observation and so that they can get food into her any way that's necessary.
And just in case you're wondering, yes, this is adding up very quickly. But nothing in the world could replace Bess. So that's what credit cards are for!
So anyhow, I got up at the time I normally would to go work the dogs in the ball studio, but I didn't finish cleaning it up from all the meat packing this weekend and the floor still needs a mopping. I find myself sitting in front of the computer just staring at Bess watching her breathe and I figured that I needed to do something to keep me from worrying endlessly about something that at the moment I can't do anything about. Then I start feeling guilty that so much of my attention has been focused on Bess and Heff has just been on the sidelines. Not that he lets me ignore him!;o) It's just that my primary focus and anxiety is about Bess right now. Since I have this extra time before I head off to work, I think it's time that I give Heffner's agility update from Sunday.
But first, I have one more video from Bess' novice FAST run on Saturday:
As you can see from the above picture, it rained over night. It rained and rained and rained. Pretty much a torrential downpour. When I got up that morning and took the dogs out to potty, it was raining and our back yard was already flooded. That wasn't a good sign, but I was hoping that Canby would be better and the clouds would get the rain out of their system in the morning, leaving the rest of the day rain free. That wasn't the case.
Heffner's first class of the day was novice JWW. While the ground may look pretty slick, I can happily say that it held a lot more traction than it looked like. Of course, I don't have a super fast dog, so that may have also been in my favor. As you'll see from the video, Heffner had a lovely start to his run. Full of pep and he just dove into that first tunnel. We don't do many tunnels in class with him for obvious reasons and I wasn't sure if he was going to go for it or not and I was pleased that he did! He was really with me until he skidded a bit on the landing after the third jump. Then the Distractacon came out! And yet again, we had a fail on the weaves. That was probably the most frustrating thing about this weekend is that neither of my dogs were nailing their weaves. It's the one agility skill that we consistently practice at home and they have been NAILING it! Not so this weekend. The rest of the course went fine, I was just disappointed.
Next up was novice Standard. It had started raining again at this point, but I decided to ditch the rain coat. Kennedy was using my camera to video us and that's why the picture is blurry. My camera is kind of hit or miss when videoing. After looking at things through Kennedy's video recorder, I have to admit that I want one!
Anyhow, we started off our standard run with some problems at the start. Normally Heffner is great at holding his start line stays. Not really the case this time around. I had wanted to lead out more and get in a better position, but once he started moving I just went with it. Unfortunately that meant some dropped bars. Ug! Our weaves were pretty awful and I was getting pretty exasperated by that point. It's really hard not to expect more out of your dog when they've been doing so well in class and at matches. While he wasn't quite as distracted as he was at our last trial way back in October, it's still a bit of a problem.
I left the trial just feeling so frustrated. I had expected more out of Heffner. And while I know that the last trial that we went left a LOT of room for improvement, we didn't really show much out there on Sunday. I had been hoping that the time off would have allowed us to really hone things better, but I kind of felt like we were still stuck in the same rut. This is one of those times where it's really helpful to have a friend there with you to just listen to you vent your frustrations. Kennedy was the lucky one on Sunday.;o)
We have many things to work on and improve. Mostly we need more practice. I do have a "dirty little secret." Due to time conflicts, distance to drive to instructor, and the expense of doing everything that I've been doing with two dogs, I attempted some cost cutting. I have both dogs going to the same agility instructor, but we only have class once a week. I've been alternating each dog each week. Bess goes one week and Heffner goes the next. So I guess that I really can't be surprised that we haven't made a whole lot of progress. I'm kind of shooting my self in the foot. I've ordered some DVDs on various different skills and once our back yard dries out enough that the dogs can actually move around on it (and Bess is back up to par), we'll doing more at home work. I'm also going to start renting some barn time through our agility club. There are some other potential changes coming up, but I'll wait until we get there to post about that.
And thank you everyone for the well wishes on Bess!! It means a lot! It's so hard to see them lying there not feeling good and yet there's not a whole lot that I can do about it.:(
Monday, June 7, 2010
In a nut shell, she was lethargic, there had been some vomiting, she refused her dinner, and she was running a fever. After some x-rays and blood work, pyometra was thankfully ruled out as well as anything gastro intestinal. However, they did see what appeared to be some irritation and inflammation in her lungs. Since they didn't do a specific chest x-ray, it was kind of difficult for them to tell.
I got a call from the emergency vet not too long ago and he ran the scans past the radiologist and they know think that she potentially has pneumonia. She's on antibiotics at the moment, but she will need to get chest x-rays to confirm. I worked a split shift today and have spend the middle of my day getting the information coordinated between our vet and the emergency vet and trying to catch up on a severe lack of sleep. I'm hoping to get her in to see our vet tomorrow for the x-rays to confirm.
Anyhow, that's why there's been no Heffner update. I'll have more to say about the big guy either tonight or tomorrow possibly. I've just been otherwise very occupied! Fingers crossed that Bessy can get over whatever this is quickly!!