Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Ike is miserable and he would like you all to know.

Last night I re-applied his bandage (as he had very nearly removed it, again!), and he does not think I did a thick enough job of reapplying it. He doesn’t want to walk on his foot. The vet said this was normal because the incision/wound is in such an awkward spot. Ike is looking and acting pretty pitiful.

I thought the incision looked good. It is funny to see Ike’s foot without his furnishings – it looks naked and scrawny. I will have to take a picture to embarrass him.

We went to the chiropractor last night, too and Mr. Ike’s pelvis is out of alignment again. This was a possibility with the surgery. Oh well. Fortunately it shouldn’t take long to get him back in order and then he is not allowed to have any issues for the rest of the year! He has used up his worry allotment! (and it is only April!)

Carmie didn’t get to practice last night due to the rain and it looks like tonight might be a no-go due to weather, too. I am contemplating setting the poles up beneath the porch overhang. Of course, then I would be practicing JUST poles. We’ll have to see how the day goes.

Maplewood is hosting the first of two mini-seminars on canine massage. I am really looking forward to this. I give Ike massages all the time and I would love to have a bit more information and helpful hints. The one book I have on canine massage is a bit dry. I would love to attend a TTouch and/or a Reiki seminar at some point; It is tough to balance my wallet and my educational doggie desires!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Practice and Greek Orthodox Easter

After classes today I went over to the in-law's house to practice weaves with Carmie. I set up a jump, weaves, jump in the same location in the yard. I am VERY relieved that Carmen is kinda-sorta starting to "get" what I want. You can see the wheels in her brain working as she circles AROUND the weaves. Silly goose. A couple of times she started to circle and came tearing through the weaves from the other direction. Yes! Not exactly what I wanted but she is Thinking! and moving pretty darn fast.

We were getting close to done when the neighbor's guests' children came out and they were all 11 years old and under (the neighbor mum is Greek Orthodox). Uh-oh. The kids kept creeping closer, absolutely fascinated by Carmen. I asked them to please step back because Carmen doesn't really like kids, she finds them scary. Some of them got what I meant, some of them didn't. One of the kids RAN and Carmen started barking, then two more kids ran and Carmen started acting like she was going to really go after them and then the kids started SCREAMING! It was scary for Carmen, myself, and the kids! One of the adults came out and said they would play on the other side of the driveway - I explained that I was almost done. Oye!!

Kudos to Carmen for being able to go right back to playing. She really likes this agility stuff!

Ikey P Update and Onion Practice

Yesterday morning did not start off grand. I had to take Ike to the vet (again!) to repair his bandage. Fortunately they have Saturday hours and only charged me $20.

The vet said I could redo the bandage myself if he pulls it off again. I think they are sick of me. :D The vet tech recommended a collar that looks like a clown collar and is made of foam board - It sticks out straight from the dog's neck so the dog looks like a flower. I have tried searching on line for this and can't find it. If anyone knows where to look, please let me know. She said she was afraid the BiteNot collar wouldn't stop Ike. I will be trying the BiteNot and E-collar if I can't find the clown collar. I need to order it before the bandage comes off!

Before I even get into the Carmie-part of this post I should say I have great in-laws. They let me build my own veggie garden in their backyard, take over their perennial garden, and take over their backyard for agility whenever I want, assuming it is dry. They even help me clean up equipment since we don't trust the neighbors' spawn.

I set up Carmen's practice course in an area of the yard I would rarely chose to use because it is relatively narrow (but it was dry!), between the neighbor's garage (on the right) and the veggie garden (on the left -my FIL and I built it 2 summers ago - it is 12 x 24 raised bed).

Carmen was really hesitant to enter the cages on the weave poles at first. I think we will be practicing this A LOT (as we should). Per Katrin's instructions I didn't start our runs at the weave poles - I started at one of the two jumps or the tunnel. Every time Carmen would run by the poles and I would call her back. Once she committed to the poles she drove through them nicely.

Carmen had difficulty with the curved tunnel at Erin's, so that is why I included it in the practice session. I also made sure to incorporate some lead outs and front crosses so I could practice treating Carmen between the jumps. As I mentioned in the post about Carmen's lesson with Erin, the onion is forcing me to work harder on my handling!

It was a really good practice session. The air was cool, Carmen was responsive, and fast. Ike was absolutely BULL that I was playing with Carmen. He was standing in the window making all sorts of noise. Hopefully this will be good for Ike and increase his desire to play with me!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Oh Ike

I had to attend a wake for my husband's great aunt (or grand aunt depending on what sort of word hound you are) yesterday. That kind of thing always stressed me out - a lot.

I left early to go get the boy because I do not trust him and his limber ways. Wouldn't you know - his bandage looks like it has mysteriously slipped down a significant amount. Considering this is a PRESSURE bandage that shouldn't have happened. Hmmmm....wonder what (or WHO!) could be responsible?

I have decided per Katrin's recommendation I am going to try and pick up one of the BiteNot collars (similar to a neck brace). The BiteNot collar COMBINED with the e-collar should prevent our crafty friend from getting to his foot.

I take Ike's e-collar off for his walks and last night we had quite a walk. We must have seen 30 adolescent kids. OMG. Ike was ridiculously good. I think my blood pressure must have been through the roof. Kids were on skateboards, scooters, bikes, walking, you name it they were doing it. I had NO idea that many kids live down the street I was walking on.

I had Ike doing MANY hand touches. I discovered that if I do a hand touch on my left side behind me it leaves Ike is GORGEOUS finish position. I also kept asking him for downs - which he amazingly provided (on a busy street with kids about!). So, it was a good walk, albeit VERY stressful (for me).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ike says....

I am NOT a bastard.

Ike the Bastard

Ah Sir Ike - for a low-key dog there has been nary a dull moment with you lately. Today the bandage came off Ike's foot. Once the bandage came off it became obvious that the 15" e-collar wasn't cutting it. Yoga-dog Ike was easily able to lick his footie to bits. I called the clinic first thing this morning and they said they would have the vet call me when he got in about exchanging the 15" e-collar for a 20".

Dr. Kirk called at 11 and he had the biopsy results!! Benign!! Ike's growth was something called a hystiocytoma and is typical in dogs under 2 years old. Hmmm...Ike is nearly 6. Dr. Kirk did remove all of the growth and it shouldn't come back. Hooray. This is great news.

I stopped at the vet on the way home to pick up the new e-collar. When I got to my in-laws to pick up Carmen for her first weave class Ike came flying to see me. Jack, my FIL, said he was very subdued and depressed all day. I checked out his foot and lo and behold he had torn all the stitches out.

I called the vet and my original plan was to bandage the foot and bring Ike in first thing tomorrow. Dr. Kirk asked me to bring him in tonight because if I waited until tomorrow Ike would have to undergo surgery AGAIN to repair the damage he did. If I brought him in tonight he could have some licodine and Dr. Kirk would staple it shut.

Due to the damage Ike did we now have to treat the incision like a "wound" which means antibiotics and the assumption that it will not heal as cleanly as the surgical incision would have. Argh!!

Check out Ike's new 20" headgear. He is MISERABLE, but crafty. Do you know what I saw him do? Somehow get his foot around and inside the cone from the wide end. He's crazy!

Rated E for Excellent....who us?!

Too cool. Neil and Lael (or maybe I should say Makin and Tessa?) bestowed Molasses Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Us or (Slow as Molasses - depending on when you met us!) with an award. Ike and I are SHOCKED! And excited.

Being the dork that I am I immediately had to figure out where this viral E for Excellence award started.

Voila! Shannon at The Mommy Project created this award because ....

I started this award because I have greatly enjoyed blogging these last few months. I have received many heartwarming comments, I’ve read touching stories, and I’ve laughed at jokes you’ve written. I love being a part of the blogging community and part of all the friendships that I’ve formed so I wanted to give a blog award for all of you out there that have Excellent Blogs.

By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people who’s blog’s you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10. Thank you out there for having such great blogs and being such great friends! You deserve this! Feel free to award people who have already been awarded…

I have to admit that blogging about my training has got to be one of the best decisions I ever made. Blogging about my training has kept me honest with myself, focused, and introduced me to lots of new blog-friends and internet-only friends. My one major lament is the lack of Schnauzer related blogs. The only one I have found that talks about training issues at all is K9-Crazy. Hear that readers who have Schnauzers?! This is a call to action! ;D Tracy and I are lonely (well, I suppose I shouldn’t speak for K9-Crazy).

Without further ado I would like to bestow the E for Excellent Blog award on the following blogs:

By My Side: My trainer and friend Katrin’s blog about her search for her next service dog and subsequent/current training of said service dog, Obi. I like this blog because it is packed with useful information about a topic few are really educated on; and now there are great Obi/James (current SD) anecdotes to read.

It’s a Spring Thing: Cat is a Junior Handler I have known for YEARS from the Agility-for-Fun days. Her first "real" agility trainer recommended keeping a training journal (at least I think I've got that right) and Cat choose the blogosphere. Her blog is why I started my blog – I read it and thought, I can do this. Bonus thought: it will keep me honest (assuming I share the web address - which took me a while to do).

Furry Sock Puppets: This is my friend Michele's blog about the ferrets her shelter (South Shore Ferret Care) rescues and sometimes her own sock puppets too. She has a huge heart which is obvious if you read her blog. It is really interesting how some dog training philosophies do transfer to ferrets and vice versa. When I was fostering the great white beast (aka Jazz) Michele sent me some useful info on sign language for ferrets.

Monty's Training Diary: Katrin's original blog. I am sure Monty feels it should be listed first! All things Monty the hairy termite, and anything that might strike his or Katrin's fancy - or her other dogs' (3 Flat Coats).

K9-Crazy: When I was doing heavy duty research for my future puppy (possibly a GS) I discovered Tracy’s blog about her two Giant Schnauzers. Gorgeous pictures and interesting pieces on Schutzhund and miscellaneous doggie stuff. Swoon. Bonus: Tracy often has a foster pup, too - so there is lots of good socialization for working doggies.

ManyMuddyPaws: One of my favorite blogs. Lots of training talk and doggie anecdotes. MMP is mainly a CWC gal, but she has a PyrShep and a CWC/BC, too. I have a virtual affinity for her PyrShep Boone because he is a wee bit of a scaredy dog and makes me think about Ike. The photos on this blog are typically gorgeous. She and Tracy inspired me to figure out what the heck was going on with my camera and post more pictures.

Dolittler: I discovered this blog via CardiParty and fell in love with it. Information packed, easily digestible, and a frequent poster Dr Khuly is hard not to read on a daily basis.

Makin & Tessa: The Vizlas who started this post. A fun blog about two people who love their dogs and are trying to do the right thing for them – which as we all know involves lots of training and dog sports! It is fun to read about their evolution. I especially enjoy their blog because I frequently get to see them in action and then enjoy the recap.

The Rainbow Dogess: Blue and her red merle Aussie Iris having fun doing doggie things. Blue and Iris were in Carmen's ABC class; It's been really fun to watch as they get more comfortable together every week and I expect it will continue. Iris and Blue have just started to explore herding - a sport I am dying to try.

Team Small Dog: I randomly clicked on this from Monty's Training Diary and I haven't looked back. HYSTERICAL is the only appropriate word.

Thank you Neil, Lael, Makin, and Tessa for this thoughtful award. I hope Ike, Carmen, and future-dog's exploits continue to entertain, educate, and put you to sleep! ;D

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Carmie's 1st Lesson w/Erin

I scheduled a lesson with Erin for today about a month ago - prior to any weird Ike foot issues. I really didn't want to cancel the lesson because, 1. I missed our last lesson due to my work being insane, and 2. I can only swing seeing Erin once a month due to scheduling and $. So I e-mailed Erin and asked if Carmen could take Ike's spot. We saw Erin at the trial this weekend and she said yes (!) Carmen could take Ike's spot.

It was a real rush to get to the lesson on time. I left work, picked up Carmie and drove to Seekonk, all in an hour (I work in Newton and Carmen lives in Canton). Impressive. Carmie was squeaking quite a bit when we got there!

Erin had us practice the seesaw a few times since it would sound different at Canine Mastery than at the barn. First she lifted the teeter end and dropped it while I treated Carmen at the bang. Then I asked Carmen to do the seesaw. Carmen ran right by it. Okay. I lured her onto the teeter slowly. The thing I love about Carmen is that she might have HUGE reservations, but once you convince her to do something she leaves all her reservations behind. I lured her once, after that it was like it was HER teeter. She has a really nice teeter performance - lots of drive and her wait is MUCH improved.

Next we did the A-frame because Carmen has really only seen Katrin's A-frame which has no slats and rubber matting versus the Canine Mastery A-frame (slats). Carmen scrambled about two-thirds of the way up and got stuck. After that she really wasn't willing to commit to it. Erin lowered the A-Frame slightly and Carmen flew over it. I will NOT make a habit of this (lowering the A-frame) with Carmen. She has really poor muscle definition at the moment and I think she just doesn't have the strength in her rear to muscle up the A-frame without a lot of steam and confidence.

The course was a typical twisty-to-me AKC-style course. I really had to move it to get ahead of Carmen. Erin and I spoke about how important it will be for me to have lateral distance with Carmen because she can move and also how I can help increase Carmen's speed to obstacles by driving forward myself.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I forgot to include this when I wrote this last night. I was having a lot of difficulty remembering where on earth I was going during a straight tunnel to curved tunnel sequence. One entrance of the tunnel was obstacle #9 and the other end was obstacle # 4. Erin suggested I think about the curved tunnel as two jumps and see if that helped (it did, somewhat).

Erin commented on how I often start to do blind crosses and catch myself. Blind Cross: A handler performs a blind cross when he changes sides by crossing in front of the dog's path with his back turned to the dog as the side change occurs. I didn't notice this until she called it out. It would be one thing if I was trying to do a blind cross, but quite another that I am accidentally doing them. This came up because I turned slightly away from Carmen and the jump and Carmen came off the jump. Carmen is actively seeking information from me and she takes it from minute (and not so minute) body movement.

Carmen was such a good girlie - she has never been to any sort of indoor ring. I was really impressed that she was able to handle an hour lesson in a totally new environment with someone she has met once for 5 minutes. Carmen bounces back from stress and uncertainty in a way that makes me very excited about her potential as a performance dog. I am also excited because I have to become a better handler in order to work with her successfully. Becoming a better handler will benefit Ike so much, too.

It is interesting how complacent one can become without even realizing it. One of the reasons I love training so much is because it is a reminder that there are many ways to work a problem, many perspectives - your job as your dog's partner is to find the way that works best for both of you. I am excited about the new directions my relationships with both Carmen and Ike are going.

What Trialing means to an Ike....

....two Kongs!

(Now that the onion is travelling with us I prep two. She is too excited to eat hers. Hence, Ike with two kongs.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ike's Surgery

My apologies for not letting everyone know how Ike was doing yesterday. After we got home from the vet the idea of logging onto the computer was overwhelming. I was falling asleep on the couch by 8:30!

The vet called around 12 – Ike was out of surgery and groggy. Dr. Kirk said it was a clean surgery – he was able to remove all of the growth. Unfortunately he had to take a bit of the pad due to how close the growth was to the pad. He doesn't think it will take any longer to recover from because the pad removal was on the edge of the pad versus an incision on the flat of the pad.

John came home from work and we went to pick Ike up at about 4. Ike was VERY lethargic and sleepy. Based on human reactions to anesthesia - I would say a typical reaction.

I gave him his homeopathic remedies every hour. First Nux Vomica to help recover form the anesthesia. An hour later Arnica for the trauma of the surgery. Then Ledum for the puncture of the needle and Staphysgria to help deal with the distress Ike might feel about the surgery. Last night Ike didn't want to drink anything but was willing to eat a little snack.

This morning I gave him his Arnica and took him for a unexpectedly long walk (Yay, Ike!) and he did his business. When we got back he ate and took his pain med. He is onDermaxx for four days (1/2 pill per day).

The bandage comes off Thursday and hopefully the stitches will come out next Monday or Wednesday and he'll be ready for agility the following week. We will get the biopsy results in 3 - 5 days. Let's hope it is 3 days! :D

Ike is definitely more like himself tonight. He was wagging at me and asking for his "I'm home treat." (I spoil Ike and give him a treat when he comes in.) John and I were eating dinner and we couldn't find the boy - he had hopped up on the bed. Woo-hoo Ike! Our bed is pretty tall.

Hopefully the rest of his recovery will go as smoothly. KNOCK ON WOOD.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Act-Up NADAC Trial

Yesterday Ike and I were entered in Act-Up's first NADAC trial of the year. We entered four classes (out of a possible six); two Regular classes (all the obstacles), Jumpers (just jumps!), and Chances (distance challenge). I don't know if I am in the minority, but even though the distance tape/challenge in Regular classes was scary I really liked it.

John and Carmen attended the trial in the morning to help get Ms. Onion used to the trial atmosphere.

Ike and I did not Q in any of our classes, but I am really pleased with how the day went. The big issue for us was the heat. It was pretty brutal and Ike doesn't tolerate the heat well.

Friday night I began thinking about how *I* planned on running. Not Ike - me. I was thinking hard about being a more consistent handler in terms of speed. Saturday morning I was still really concentrating on my consistency. It paid off. A lot of times Ike will stop suddenly mid-course and begging by me will ensue. Because I have become so much more aware of how my stops-starts effect Ike the fact that I was being a more consistent handler allowed Ike to be much LESS erratic. In the first two runs there were a couple of almost halts and in both instances there were people located close by (ring crew and photographer). Ike recovered much better than he typically does.

Our first Regular run Ike was Slow As Molasses, literally. But he ran clean - he actually placed first in our class of two! He only perched on the A-frame for a second - this is HUGE. I am so pleased. Second Regular run Ike started off slow but really picked up speed as the course progressed and he did zero perching. His A-frame was perfect - exactly what I am aiming for - no perching, almost a running A-frame. Yay, Ike. Both of these runs were clean but over time.

I really think that the improved A-frame is due to the rear work we have been doing. I have yet to have time to re-work Ike's A-frame, so it is the only logical explanation.

In Jumpers Ike did stop before the fourth to last jump but he pretty quickly, with minimal begging, made the decision to continue working with me. His YPS was pretty good for an Ike, too. Again we were clean but over SCT (Standard Course Time).

Chances was a blast. I was so pleased that I thought the "chance" was such a piece of cake. I knew we were not capable of making the course time (40 seconds - ha!), but I was hoping Ike would think the "chance" was as easy as I did. I tried very hard not to move too quickly ahead of Ike and give myself room to "support" him if needed. Well, I didn't need to move any closer to the tape to support Ike - who knows if this is because I handled it correctly from the get-go or because Ike is slowly getting more distance or a combination of all the factors. We did have a couple of halts during the course at jumps, but considering it was about 3pm and oh-so-hot I don't care. I didn't have to do any ridiculous begging and believe me I have done my share of ridiculous begging (hangs head). Again, clean run but way over course time.

At the Webb Anderson seminar, Webb had me touch the end of the tunnel, peeking over my shoulder, waiting for eye contact with Ike. Then the second Ike's muzzle left the tunnel I was to move. I have been trying to incorporate this in the way I run Ike. I used it Saturday - Nancy and Sandy both said that he seemed to be really rocketing (for Ike) out of the tunnels. Hooray. I am also pleased that I didn't really consciously decide to do it, my subconscious made the decision for me and it was very effective. It is interesting how sometimes a part of your brain will recognize how effective a method is without you consciously recognizing it and then you'll incorporate it into your routine/method.

Carmen was great. I expected her to scream the entire time she was at the trial but she didn't. I discovered that she does better when she can see out of her crate versus Ike who does better covered. Interesting. Carmen met Erin's new puppy Kitt and tried to play with him! She is so different than Ike it blows my mind. Since both of them are reactive I always grouped their reactivity and quirks together/as the same, but they aren't (uh, D'UH).

We also had the opportunity to visit lots of Schnauzer friends and Cat/Tessie/Strata. It was a VERY good day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Carmie's Tunneler Fun Run

My great FIL met me in Wrentham today so that Carmie could do a couple of tunneler fun runs. Yay! She was surprisingly focused. She's a good girlie!! I hope that she will be as good crated at the trial (hah!). It was a great opportunity for Carmen to chill out in an unusual (for her) environment.

We saw Marlene and Sophie, Nancy and Remy, and Katrin and Obi among others! Sophie has been seeing the chiropractor and it was great to see how much more fluidity her movements have. She seemed like she had an awesome time running tunnels.

Yippee Izzy!


Izzy is munching away at some hay. I saw her and Zeke running around like crazy g-pigs. I am so relieved!

Izzy and Zeke

Alley says, "What?"


I am a complete nervous nellie about tomorrow’s trial. I have no idea how Ike will be after being “off” for a few weeks and having the foot issue going on. He is continuing to lick the growth and it is looking very red. : ( I have been giving him arnica because I am assuming the licking is making it tender – even though he obviously thinks the opposite!

I am nervous about Carmen, too. Hopefully she will be a good girlie. I checked the worker schedule and for some reason I am not on it. Well, maybe this will work to my benefit. Usually I try to work as much as possible, but this way I can run Ike, do some work with Carmen, visit friends, and just work a wee bit.

You know, the very apt cliché when it rains it pours? This morning I gave my g-pigs some herb salad and Ms. Isadora Voilet did not come out of the Woodland Get-Away. Not good news.

No healthy, happy piggy passes up veggies – especially herb salad! Usually all the pigs are standing up wheeking for their hay - when they realize I am giving out veggies too they go ballistic! Often times popcorning (running around like a maniac and bucking) ensues. Today only Zeke and Alley were doing the jail break veggie dance. I put some salad right next to Izzy which she did eat, but it is very unusual that she didn’t make a beeline for the veggies.

I am really worried, but I am going to try and keep my worry in check. G-pigs can suffer from bloat. I will have Izzy out tonight for an extended period of time so I can make sure she is making the all-natural treats Ike likes so much. Physically she looks healthy – her coat is nice, she is clean, there are no eye gookies, no sneezing (g-pigs can go downhill fast with upper respiratory infections). She just is not ACTING healthy. I will continue to keep a close eye on her this weekend. I can always take her to the e-vet or make an appointment for Monday when Ike will be having surgery if gods forbid something IS going on. I am taking deep breaths! I think I am going to run home at lunch and check on her.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I just got back. Izzy seems slightly more normal. She came out for hay. Phew, I think/hope!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Update: Ike's foot, Monty, and Meeting Obi!

It has been quite a few days since I posted. We have had plenty of excitement, just not the fun-sort-of-excitement! Last week Monty was in his glory scarfing things up right and left. I get the feeling the dog-gods are going to send me a scarfer for my next dog. They are breaking me in – first with Jazz and now with Monty. It’s enough to give a girl a heart attack.

On the Schnauzer-front, I groomed Ike and Carmen on Saturday. I discovered a lump that is slightly bigger than a pea on Ike’s left hind foot. The lump is right above the back of the large pad. I took a photo and sent it off to the Performance Schnauzer list and some dog savvy friends asking the question, WHAT is this!?

I clip Ike’s nails every week to two weeks and did not see this lump last time. Hmmm.

Generally everyone thought cyst or abscess. Ike needed to have his blood tested for heartworm, so I made an appointment Monday morning for Monday afternoon.

The vet aspirated the lump in two different locations and prepared some slides. Dr, Kirk *thinks* that it is a benign tumor, but there is no way to know with a 100% certainty without either sending slides out to the pathologist or performing surgery and biopsying it. The vet spent about an hour with me and he essentially said that the pathologist would request a biopsy for confirmation that it is benign anyway.

SO, Ike is scheduled for surgery on the 21st. Originally I scheduled him for the 28th because I didn’t want to withdraw from the Bo-Gee trial (on the 26th). However, Ike has been licking his foot non-stop since the vet visit. All that licking, I am afraid he’s going to cause an infection! So, I called the vet this morning and rescheduled for Monday.

The vet assured me that the recovery should be about 10 days and that after the first week the skin will have healed to about 80% tensile strength and Ike can return to agility. Please cross your paws and fingers that the growth is indeed benign.

We are still planning on playing at Act-Up’s first trial of the season this weekend. I am very excited because Cat and a bunch of Schnauzer people I know from online will be at the Scottie trial (AKC) less than a quarter of a mile away! There will be multiple Miniature Schnauzers, a few Standards, and one Giant named Ellie! There is the possibility that Robin and Soleil (who organized the Webb Anderson seminar) will get their MACH – they need one more QQ. I hope it is on Saturday so I can give her a big congratulations.

John and Carmen will be at the trial in the a.m. – this is the beginning of Operation Get Carmen Acclimated. I am going to take her to the Fun Run on Friday evening, too. As I mentioned last post, Act-Up is hosting a Tunnelers fun run – I think the proceeds will benefit On Course For Kids (assuming it happens this year).

I took Ike to see Dr. Anne tonight and filled her in on his upcoming surgery. She sent me home with an after surgery care-package and under strict orders to come see her Monday night if Ike doesn't appear to be recovering well. If he seems okay we will see her on Wednesday.

Katrin came to pick up Monty at about 8 o'clock. Sniffle. We are going to miss the big goober. He has been a terrific houseguest, even with his snarfing. He got used to the birds so quickly and didn't even bother with the pigs!

Most exciting of all, I got to see Monty and Obi meet! and meet Obi myself. What a doll. I think Monty and Obi are going to be best buddies in short order. John said Obi might be the cutest puppy he's ever met. Wow, big praise from a Schnauzer guy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Without class I have been thinking a lot about what my goals for Ike and Carmen are this year.

CPE Nationals are going to be in Massachusetts next year. I wanna go! This means Ike and I need 15 legs this year – I think the actual cut-off date for collecting legs is February 2009.

Last year I started trialing in August and picked up 11 Qs by December, so I *think* this is doable. Of course, as we progress the challenges will become more difficult, so maybe not? Regardless, that is my MAJOR goal (15 CPE legs – we have 1 for 2008 so far). Then of course it will all depend upon being lucky enough to make the draw.

Toward the end of accumulating enough legs for Nationals, I really need to work on Ike’s A-frame performance. Currently Ike hates the A-frame – more accurately he hates the descent. Katrin and I have worked out a plausible fix – essentially a running A-frame with a target plate after the down contact. The target plate would ensure collection and therefore no missed contacts. I think.

I think that if I continue to work on building up Ike’s rear (with the step-stool work, backing up, and hills) that will also help Ike feel like he is capable of controlling the apparently scary/stressful descent.

I retrained both Ike’s teeter and weave poles and now those are his two favorite obstacles, I am hoping I can get Ike to feel as much joy about the A-frame. I am also hoping that because I never gave him strict rules for the A-frame and was so vague about what I expected that retraining it might not be as much of a bear as it would be if I was training him a “new” method. But maybe the no rules method is still a method? We’ll see.

For Carmen, gads the list is long (but in some ways easier)!

1. Name-Game
2. Solid recall
3. Solid down
4. Clear job descriptions for all pieces of equipment
5. Trial site experience – John is going to help me with this.

Fingers crossed, maybe Carmen will be ready for some CPE trials next year. CPE does not include the teeter or weaves in Level 1. I am hoping to get her measured at the Act-Up trial on the 19th. I think she is going to have to jump 12”, but I will start her in Skilled so she will only be jumping 8” at first. She is a peanut compared to Ike. She is also a lot more motivated to play agility than Ike, so if I can get her out of the zone (when she is moving, she is moving) and focusing on me we might really be able to go places!

I think Act-Up is going to have a Tunnelers run the Friday evening (the 18th) before the trial like they did at the fall trial. I think Carmen would enjoy doing that, so I will probably bring her to check it out. It might be the Addicted to Agility trial the weekend of the 26th – I will have to double-check. As I mentioned a while ago, I don’t think I will ever enter Ike in another Tunnelers run now that I recognize how much he hates them (with a passion!). EDITOR'S NOTE: I obviously need to work on tunnel-joy with Ike.

We have a lot to work on. My fingers are crossed that I can work through Ike’s current A-frame apathy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Carmie Goes "Off-Leash"

Next on the agenda for the Onion is a solid recall. I forget she is not my dog and hasn't had all of the experiences Ike has. Today my in-laws and I took Carmen, Ike, evil-Joey, and Monty to the Bradley Estate.

Carmen is bloody fast, but she doesn't recognize her name! Swear to gods. The first time I called for her, she stopped and kind of looked at me. Meanwhile Monty and Ike are doing perfect sits in front of me - "Don't you see how quick we came?" So I treated them and then Carmen came. Okay.

Onward....next time I called her I got down on my knees and leaned slightly back. She came flying. My FIL wanted to put her back on leash (i.e. start holding the leash because it was never off her) but I wanted to continue to reinforce that when she came she could keep playing. So, we repeated this the entire walk. By the half-hour mark she seemed to more or less grasp what was going on.

So, two major things to work on with Carmen are the Name-Game and Recalls. Name-Game is toss a cookie, as the dog is chomping it say their name. Eye contact will equal another cookie. This is a puppy game, but Carmie obviously doesn't know her name means look at Julie! or the human who is calling.

Ike had very nice recalls throughout the walk and really seems to enjoy running with Monty and Carmen.

Monty Goes to Work

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment after work, so I went home at lunch and got Monty. He was such a good corgi that my boss invited him back whenever he wants. He said Monty is the perfect office dog! Pictures above are from yesterday afternoon. Monty chewed on a bully stick for a while and then took a nap practically under my chair!

I brought him in again today because he was having a bit of tummy trouble this morning and I wanted to keep an eye on him. Once again he won over hearts and minds.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bad vet!!

My mum has two Quarter Horses that live with her friend in NH (Taffy and CB). I grew up riding and showing, you can now understand why the transiton to agility has been so complete!Taffy is going to be 28 yo this May and isn't doing so well. The vet was out to see the horses yesterday and my mum asked the vet about what she thought about pharmaceuticals for dogs that have severe fear issues - as an interim step while de-sensitization and counter-conditioning can occur. The vet said that my mother should see a behaviorist and recommended a company that I will not so cleverly disguise the name of, WoofCrushers. Eeeek!!

How on the gods green earth does a franchise equal a behaviorist? I gave my mother an earful, to which she said "Calm down, I am not calling a franchise to help Nellie." Oi! Too late though, my blood was boiling. What a terible vet to recommend such a thing. Everyone I know who has used WC them has paid $500 for the initial consultation and walked away with a fabric bag that has choke chain links in it that the human part of the equation is supposed to throw at the dogs feet when the dog barks. VERY EFFECTIVE.

Singing Beach

We took the dogs to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea today. It was pretty windy and cold, but the dogs had a blast! We ran into some Schnauzers and a cute 5-mo PWC named Tucker who loved everydog!

Shhh....don't tell Ike he is having fun!

Something smells tasty....

The full Monty....

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie


I just read the most recent Border Wars post, Border Collie Who? Are You?. Dogster has a new quiz up and Christopher rips into the selections for BC reps. While I get the sense I am much further left on the political spectrum than Christopher I REALLY enjoy his writing.

So, I took the quiz.....

What dog breed are you? I'm a Labrador Retriever! Find out at Dogster.com

The Caretaker
Your family is what makes you tick, and you never "flea" from an opportunity to hang out with the whole gang. A family picnic complete with hot dogs, deviled eggs and a refreshing swim in the lake is hard for you to stray from. Your sparky temperament and dogged intelligence mean you are not only a blast to hang out with, but great to work with as well. Your close pals appreciate your patience and forgiveness, knowing you'd rather let sleeping dogs lie than dwell on the mishaps of the past. Your dashing good looks may one day lead to a modelling career, if only you can tame the unfortunate clumsiness that sometimes causes you to go flailing from the catwalk.

All I have to say is, Eeeeek!! Sorry Ann & Partner - I just don't think I am a LR.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Monty Update and Food

Monty is settling into the household. He has a new nickname courtesy of John. John feels dogs with short names should have longer nicknames and dogs with long names need shorter nicknames. Without further ado, I present Monty’s current nickname…. Montgomery Clift.

In my house, Monty is called Montgomery Clift on a decidedly regular basis by John. For those who lack a complete internalized pop culture lexicon (like me….Montgomery who?) check out his biography on IMDB.

The in-laws are also luvin’ themselves some Monty. They keep saying that Monty is “as good as gold.” This is because Evil-Joey is quite a jerk to Monty and Monty just ignores him! When Joey becomes too obnoxious Monty aroos at him!

I was a bit worried about the birds, because Monty does have a pretty high prey drive. I didn’t take them out until Sunday (I think) and it was very successful. Monty was a bit over-interested, but when I told him to leave it he went back to chewing a nylabone. The birds still view him as a threat, or at least the Deej does. She spreads her wings and hisses "I’m a vicious snake. Beware!!" I have tried explaining to her that doing that just makes most normal dogs MORE interested, but she doesn’t believe me! None-the-less even with DJ’s snake impersonation, Monty has been great about them (KNOCK ON WOOD!). I have been able to have them hang out on me for scritches and are keeping them closely monitored.

Ike can take or leave Monty. He is much more comfortable with Monty than any other houseguest. I think this is because Monty is not an in-your-face dog. The other night at the park he was willing to chase after toys with Monty, which is huge.

Today we went to the Bradley Estate in Canton (over by Rt 93 and Blue Hills). I dropped the dogs leashes and let the boys run through the woods. They had a blast and I was really pleased to see Ike running to catch up with Mont, and the two of them galloping along more-or-less together. They also checked in with me a lot. Good doggies!

I have been working on down with Monty. Carmen does not have a solid down either, so this is a good skill to work on while we are on break from classes for ALL the dogs. (Ike needs to get comfortable downing on the table.) I think I screwed Ike’s down up when I was teaching him “front.” I would use a down-sweeping motion to indicate closer, so now when I ask Ike to down his immediate response is to sit and get as close as possible to me. I think I need to work on using only the verbal cue with Ike because he is confident about that and then teach him a new hand signal.

I am happy to say between the step-stool work, walks, and chiropractor that Ike’s hind end has muscle tone once again. Phew!

I almost forgot to mention that I switched Carmen and Evil-Joey to Pinnacle Trout and Sweet Potato kibble, made by Breeder's Choice, last Wednesday (they have three options, two have NO chicken). The kibble eating dogs were almost out of the Nature’s Variety Lamb Meal and that is the only NV kibble that doesn't have chicken in it. DRAT!! I had to make an on-the-fly decision at Coolen's about food! My other top contender was Orijen, which is grain free. Since Ike has done so well with a little bit of grain re-introduced into his diet I did not want to go grain-free right now. I wish I could just convince the in-laws to go raw. : (

I have fed Pinnacle before and was happy with it. It does not have a giant ingredient list, and it is lower calorie than the NV. This is good for Evil-Joey because he is a pet and for Carmen because I would still like her to lose a pound.

The unexpected benefit of the food change is that Evil-Joey's gooky eyes are remarkably clearer. He used to be fed some crap food and his eyes were in AWFUL shape, weeping all the time and he had chronic ear infections. When I switched him to NV he stopped having ear infections and his eyes got somewhat better. I was resigned to the fact that Yorkies just have icky eyes when about 4 days after the switch to Pinnacle I noticed that his eyes were much cleaner. Hooray!! He obviously was allergic to something in the crap food and the NV. No idea what since both have such extensive lists of ingredients, but I am happy with the results!