Last Tuesday I attended Part I of a massage seminar hosted by Maplewood Animal Care and Training. Last week’s session focused primarily on stretching. I am a dork but I did not previously think of massage as involving stretching, so I learned a lot! The presenter Mel Henkel is a soft-spoken woman who treated James (Katrin’s current FCR SD) for a soft-muscle injury. James ADORES Mel. He was like a pile of spaghetti as she demonstrated useful stretches on him for us.
Carol and I got to work with Obi (Katrin’s new FCR puppy) who is an absolute love and is REALLY into string cheese. String cheese - such a great affordable treat!!
I didn’t end up posting anything about Part I because Ike was being such a nutter about his paw I didn’t have any brain cells to spare on writing. Also, while I feel like I learned a lot and can replicate the stretches I can’t even begin to think about how to write about them in a coherent fashion. All I can say is that both Ike and HonorBug will benefit from my new knowledge.
I brought the Bug to the seminar last night. Last night's session focused on strengthening exercises. Since Ike has such a weak rear-end, and this is something we are actively working on, I was very excited to see what exercises Mel recommends for strengthening. And adding HonorBug to my household makes me even more conscientious about stretching and strengthening exercises due to his unusual body configuration. There is a wee corner of my mind that is paranoid about that long back and I want to do everything I am capable of to ensure he has the core strength he needs to be safe(r)!
Carol mentioned that her dachshund Mia takes Vetri-Disc. I will have to ask my cardigan owner friends and vet if they think that is worth adding to Honor's diet. Cardigan-owner friends/bloggers, what do you think?
I currently feed Longevity and BugOff Garlic (both by Springtime), Glyco-Flex 600, and Vetri's Canine Plus (multi-vitamin since I feed raw). I wonder if Glyco-Flex 600 essentially does the same thing as the Vetri-disc?
Carol and Blue worked on Mr. Bug with me. He was a very good boy. He has been a bit leery of new people looming over him, but once we got into the barn and on our blanket he was a loveBug. Considering he had been at work with me again yesterday (and today!) I was afraid the seminar would push him over the edge - after all, I am basically flooding him with new experiences and people. I was so pleased that he was relaxed and happy - and willing to take treats from both Blue and Carol! Of course it helped that I gave them string cheese. Bug thinks string cheese is the # 1 creation of all time.
Mel recommended a dig box because digging is so good for dogs physically and mentally. I have never had a big digger before (and I do not know if Bug is), but it might be a fun thing to make for the boys (and Carmen!).
Another exercise that Mel recommended is the wave or high 5. Bug picked this up very quickly! We held a piece of cheese over his head toward either side and he would stretch and support himself on one leg while reaching. Very cool.
We sat out quite a few exercises because they involved the dog laying down and Bug and I haven't worked on down yet. He isn't comfortable enough to be lured into a down in a public situation with people and dogs galore. Instead the three of us took turns feeding him cheese for sitting and waving while we listened.
The next exercise Bug took part in was the sit-up and beg exercise. For a dog with such a long back he has some core muscle strength - he was able to sit-up, beg and hold it. Yay, Buggy!
Bringing Bug to the barn last night went well. I wasn't able to do a lot of the exercises with him yet, but he got out and about and had a very positive experience. And I was able to listen and learn a lot!
When I got home my mum had dropped her dog Nellie off. My mum is headed to Texas to visit friends and Nellie will be staying with us until the 13th. Bug thinks Nellie is WAY cooler than string cheese. In fact, I might go so far as to say those two are going to be bosom buddies! Ike is being quite worried about their playing - those rambunctious kids!
I snuck a practice session with Carmen and Ike in before the seminar. Carmen was having a bit more trouble with the weaves than she had been, but that is the learning curve. My FIL insists she is left-pawed. Oye! Don't let Katrin hear you say that. ;-P
I have also been thinking about my steep stairs and I think I am going to try and teach HonorBug to do them slowly - this will be better for his body and manage to do some strength training at the same time!
I intended to attend my first drop-in handling class tonight, but with everything that is going on and how new HonorBug is I think we are going to take it easy and maybe go for a hike instead.
5 days ago