Thursday, July 26, 2007

No agility, more "fun-plate," raw diet?

Katrin was struck with a stomach virus that is making the rounds this weekend, so Ike and I had Tuesday night off. My husband was excited!

Ike and I practiced with our plate in my in-law's backyard. I was curious to see how Ike would be with the added distractions of street traffic (both car and pedestrian), nature, and heat.

Well, he was very hot and very distracted! This combination translated into a very slow walk over to the plate, very little pounce, and a slow jog back for his treat. But moving our location to a distracting environment did not mean I had to start over, so that is awesome. I half expected I would have to begin at the very beginning.

I did start at about 5 foot distance, but I was quickly able to up it to 15 feet and change the angles up - rather than heading straight to the plate. I am starting to put the word "Go" with it.

Of course, my FIL opted to walk the two other dogs and Ike's mind was then gone. DRAT!

After we got home I put a treat in Ike's food toy and left it. I am trying to do this periodically. I have to make it super easy for Ike (toy not shut tightly/high value beef jerky) because I have a quitter on my hands. Ike doesn't quite get it. He sees me take out the treat and follows me to the toy. He sees me put the treat in the toy. He continues to watch me. Once I leave the room he returns to the food toy and works on it. My vague hope is that if I continue to set Ike up with an easy treat in his food toy eventually he'll be willing to work a little harder for it. We'll see. I am taking it slow and easy with this.

Katrin has a friend who just switched her dog to a raw diet, her site is called Clara Going Raw. She hasn't posted much, but her blog combined with the recent Whole Dog Journal articles are pushing me ever closer to making the raw jump.

I used to feed Ike a partially raw commercial diet (Nature's Variety made by Prairie ), but when I wanted him to lose a few pounds I dropped the raw and added green beans. Regardless I don't think it was varied enough. Anyway, it seems like an overwhelming commitment, but Lisa (Clara's owner) says no, it is surprisingly easy. Hmmm...

The hard, hard part is convincing the husband and in-laws. They are repulsed by the tracheae I give Ike let alone a completely raw diet. I think I might have found the way to win the hubby over though - dogs fed a raw diet are healthier and live longer. Who doesn't want Ike to stay around as long as possible!? I told John I would put together a mini-white paper about the benefits of going raw and we could discuss it. The fact that he is willing to discuss it excites me.

Now I just have to talk to TDI (the organization Ike is registered as a Therapy Dog with) and make sure there is no issue with the organization and feeding raw.

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