You know it is REALLY cold when your Schnauzer's beard freezes.
Friday I went to the Cluster with two of my friends from the Shelter days (Marlene and Michele). Bug had an appointment with Debbie Gross Saunders in the morning to see if she had any recommendations for proactive treatment for his long back and hip. Yes, I am a bit anal, but I would rather be doing this stuff now when he is 2.5 yo and healthy than later.
DGS has very nice energy. Buggie thought she was swell and wasn't really a nudge about her handling him. DGS felt him over and asked if it was his right hip that is slightly dysplastic as it felt a bit tighter. I believe that is the correct hip - although I will have to talk with Holly.
DGS did some deep tissue massage and Bug looked pretty content. Due to the tighness and massage DGS decided we should also use the laser on Bug. To which I said, newbie that I am, "The laser?" Apparently there is a fair amount of research that supports the use of laser in aiding with inflammation and tissue injuries. I have to say that Bug did seem to be moving particularly well after the session.
DGS recommended a couple of exercises that we learned from Mel Henkel at the seminars she did for Maplewood - including what I think of as the flying dog exercise (and might in fact be the actual name). You extend a front leg and the opposite hind leg. The dog uses his core muscles to balance. DGS uggested putting a cd on Bug's back - as long as it stays balanced on his back I will know he is correctly using his core muscles during the exercise. Doing this with Bug - hysterical. It is going to take some time to get him used to being handled in that manner. At the moment he thinks it is freaky! She also recommended extremely steep hill walking and ball work.
Bug, Carmen, and I stayed over at the Red Roof Inn in South Deerfield to make getting to Saturday's trial a bit easier. We were at the Breeze Thru Agility CPE trial in Conway, MA. The temp was about 20 degrees and the wind chill was single digits. We were trialing in an unheated horse barn where the temp inside was still about 20!! We had snow flurries in the afternoon! Our water - along with Carmie's beard - kept freezing!
Even with the brutal cold, it was a great day - what made it even better was that we had the opportunity to hang out with Bill (a member of the Performance Schnauzer e-list) and Maggie, a really sweet rescue Schnauzer. I saw some of their runs and Maggie has really nice drive - she obviously enjoys the sport and enjoys working with her human! Hopefully I will get to see them again at the upcoming (end of Jan) SCAT trial, if we enter it. We also met a Schnauzer cross named Toby with a lovely temperament. I love meeting other Schnauzers at trials - it makes my day!
Carmie and I had a great day. We finished our Level 1 title with a Non-Traditional Jackpot Q/1. Carmie accumulated 54 pts!! The Dog-gods were with us - I was worried as Carmen doesn't have a ton of distance yet. We are working hard on it though as the venues we play in all have some distance requirement and ultimately it benefits you to have a dog that is wiling to work away (right?). Jackpot is similar to USDAA Gamblers, unless it is Non-Traditional. In Non-Traditional Jackpot, the gamble is at the judge's discretion. i.e. they can do whatever they want!
In this class, the gamble didn't have a distance line. You were required to complete 4 obstacles, which included either the A-frame or weaves and had to end on the table. The other two obstacles in the gamble were of your choosing. Weird, but I guess we will take it!
We also Q/1 in L2 Fullhouse and Q/2 in L2 Wildcard. We got whistled off L2 Snooker almost immediately when my body language had her backjump a colored obstacle. Oh well - I need to be more careful! ;-P
In Wildcard - Carmie acted a bit lost on course twice. On the ride home I was thinking about this a lot. That class happened when the sun was at its brightest in the barn. Although the most noticeable issue with PRA is low-light vision, I have read that very bright light can have a similar effect for dogs with PRA - washing out the area. Considering the judge was using her hand as a visor I can see how the same thing could have happened to a dog - especially a dog who's vision is compromised.
The weather was EXTREMELY difficult for humans and canines. I made sure to stretch Carmen and have her do spins and figure eights, etc. I appreciated very much that the judge mentioned that in her briefing. After trialing in such brutal conditions, I think it is safe to say I am an addict (as if I didn't already know that!).
Today Carmen had a spa day and Bug had CGC Class # 4. I am so proud of the Bug. Even with a very bad mum who doesn't do her homework his stays have improved dramatically. He is such a quick study! I think I might need to take some competition obedience classes with this dog. I think he would really do well. And to be honest I need the push of structured classes. CGC has been terrific for making me work on some of the little skills I haven't paid much attention to yet.
Today's new items were:
Test 8: Reaction to another dog
Test 9: Reaction to distraction
Bug did really well with reaction to another dog. Katrin split the class in three and had three teams on one wall and three on the opposite side. Each pair would walk towards each other. We did this multiple times prior to stopping and asking our dog for a sit. We did this a few times prior to actually greeting the individual. Then we rotated so that every team had the opportunity to do a run thru with every other team.
I also decided against using "boo" as my nonsense word. My friend Marlene commented on how it could be considered part of Bug's name since I do call him Bugaboo on many an occasion. Instead I am doing a very annoying "beep" noise. I felt like Bug did better walking with me this week. I don't know if it is because we have been practicing a bit on our walks or because I am not incessantly chanting his name so he isn't forced to tune me out. Either way, I will take it.
We did not do so well with the reaction to distraction. Katrin dropped a stainless steel bucket and Bug tried to hide behind me. Then when she picked it up he acted like he thought maybe she was going to hurl it at him. So, I borrowed the bucket and we are working on making it the funnest thing ever. Right now it is in the middle of my kitchen and I have already kicked it three times.
Do you know you can find salmon treats in buckets that are lying about?