Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Appointment

Yesterday I had a 2.5 hour appointment with a certified veterinary homeopath. Wow!! Dr. F was great. His background is as a traditional vet before getting turned on to homeopathy. My friend, Michele, was awesome - she came for the three hour ride (x2) and appointment. She was able to add bits of info about Ike and keep me company in general.

Ike was stellar - about 30 minutes into the appointment he told me he was ready to go. Went to the door. Looked at the door. Looked at me. He tried this QUITE a few more times to no avail.

The appointment consisted of me walking Dr. F through every incident of Ike's life health wise and his preferences (food, cold space, warm space, etc). It is difficult because the tool CVH use is for humans, so the vet must translate for canine patients. The vet needs to have a good handle on dogs in general and the new patient. Hence the road trip.

I had to create a veterinary treatment history and profile of Ike for Dr. F. Doing so made me realize how much Ike's nebulous symptoms have escalated in the past year. I am nervous about choosing to go the homeopathic route - who wouldn't be - it is a complete unknown to me. However I don't feel like treating Ike for the bouts of GI distress but not understanding what the underlying cause is accomplishing anything. Michele asked Dr. F if he knew what was wrong with Ike. He said of course, he is out of balance.

The skin eruptions (Ike has had some allergy related bumps this year - the last time he had them was in 2005) and GI distress are signs of his energy being out of balance. Who knows, perhaps his reactivity is also a sign. Although I have to say that I find Ike to be more reactive when he is feeling good which means we might have to take our training and management skills to a different level.

I really don't care WHAT the scientific term for what is wrong with Ike is as long as I can find a more efficient way of having him feel good on a consistent basis.

While we were in the appointment Ike was licking his bum, a lot. This is incredibly unusual. He has only done this once before and I made an appointment for him at the vet's office only to cancel it because he stopped (in August of this year). I groom him myself, so I do not think that his anal glands have ever even been expressed. I know the vet never has - he has never scooted, etc. Last time this happened I saw Dr. Anne while it was going on and she mentioned something about the waning moon and parasites. I'll have to ask her about that again. She did preface the statement with, this will sound crazy. Dr. F did check Ike's anal glands and they were fine. He said Ike was just trying to help him choose the correct remedy.

I had my vet office fax down Ike's fasted blood work and Dr. F doesn't think Ike has hyperlipidemia or that I need to do anything crazy-strict with Ike's diet. Of course, given that homeopathy views all disease as variations of dis-ease, i.e. unbalance of energy I am not surprised that is his opinion.

I am starting a blog to track Ike's reactions to the remedies Dr. F prescribes. It is called Ike Homeopathically. The thing about doing homeopathy properly is every little bit of information is important and a reflection of what is going on internally. Since I do not journal, and if I did I would then have to transcribe my notes into either Excel or Word to send to Dr. F, I thought blogging about it would be ideal. I can just send Dr. F the website and keep it updated.

I don't think it will be a very exciting blog to the average reader, but it might interest some of you who are looking for alternative methods to deal with chronic health issues or even typical health issues without the traditional palliative methods.


Dr. F doesn't think Ike should be on a joint supplement right now. His feeling on supplements is that they are just natural drugs and mask signs of internal imbalance. Since we are trying to figure out what is wrong with Ike we do not want to mask ANY symptoms that might lead us to the answer. He says to continue with the Vetri Science Canine Plus, BugOff Garlic, and 3V CAPS for now.

Ike's diet has plenty of variety and the right amount of fat so for the moment leave it as is.

We didn't even get into vaccines really. We talked about them a bit and his opinion about the Rabies vaccine is that you should do your best to have your dog as balanced as possible prior to vaccinating them. I plan on titering for all other vaccines in the future. I would LOVE where Bug is so young, to be able to prevent the systematic damage in him that I feel vaccines cause.

Dr. F also feels the fact that Ike consistently loses his pelvis is a sign of imbalance (and I almost forgot to tell him this tidbit!). He expects that with homeopathic treatment Ike will only be seeing the chiropractor once or twice a year. He feels it is beneficial to continue seeing Dr. Anne as needed.

Dr. F also recommended if I purchase one book on homeopathy and animals it be Don Hamilton's Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs. I was planning on having Barnes & Noble order me a copy, but Dr. F had a signed copy I could purchase. Very convenient.

Ike's first remedy is Nux Vomica and I already have a post I need to write on his morning behavior!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Today Bug and I had a herding lesson and Bug got to work ducks!

The control pen was still icy, so we opted to work ducks in the barn. It was pretty cool. Diane had three ducks (I believe they are Indian Runner Ducks) in the barn, separated from the rest of the flock.

We started by Diane letting me know that the ducks will NOT go to the human. Unlike the sheep, the ducks find the handler as frightening as the dog. We let Bug get worked up over the ducks and he was pretty interested.

I am now very glad that we did not switch to ducks when Bug didn't warm up to sheep immediately. Would you like to know why? He was a bit stressed out by the ducks! Even though they are smaller than him. Considering he lets DJ, one of my 'tiels boss him, I wasn't that surprised. He did get braver as the lesson went on and we ended with him bringing me the three ducks a few times.

We worked quite a bit on me exerting pressure with the rake correctly, not moving, keeping my eyes on the stock - not my dog, and keeping my mouth shut! Diane gave all the verbal encouragement today for two reasons - she knows what she wants to see again and Bug tends to return to me when I verbally praise him.

We worked on moving the ducks together out of the corner. To do this I had Bug on a tab leash. I used my hand right near his nose to push the ducks out. The ultimate goal is to get the dog to use his nose to boss the ducks around.

It was interesting to watch Bug try to figure out how to get the ducks to move. He was definitely pretty confident with them but couldn't make the mental leap to moving them with his nose. Considering he does use his nose to move things I don't think it will take him that long to figure it out.

Bug was much less sensitive about the rake which is great. I showed Diane how I have been practicing him moving away from the rake and I have been doing it all wrong. Oi! She said to make sure I always do it on lead so that I can control his head movement. If he moves sideways when I am attempting to have him back away I am to return him to the same location and try again.

It was a good lesson. We both had a lot to take in.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rally-O #3

Today was Ike's 3rd Rally class. Ike was in a good mood today and really felt like working. He is starting to believe that Rally really doesn't involve agility equipment and enjoy it completely.

I walked him on the course while Jenny was setting up the signs so he could sniff the signs and cones. He didn't become fixated on them when we were "working" so I feel like it was helpful. Jenny also said I could allow him to sniff the unused signs outside the ring (I neglected to, though). She also mentioned that if he continues to be *too* interested in the signs/cones when I finally get around to trying to trial I could bring a couple with me to let him sniff before we were actually showing. I hope that he'll be over it before then though.

Things I need to work on with Ike:

Our fronts are painfully bad. As I noted last class, part of this is he needs an adjustment. Part of it is a training issue. Jenny recommended that I leave my left foot forward a bit as that is the side his little tush kicks out on. It definitely seems to help, so we will work on it. I also need to remember to not look at Ike but look where I would like his tush to be.

Sit-stay while I walk around him. Jenny has given me quite a few good pointers and at this point we really just need to practice. First pointer, The leash stays stationary while you walk around your dog. i.e. it is on an imaginary hook. Second pointer, don't look at your dog!!

I have worked so hard on eye contact that it is a problem .... for me!! I have been trained to maintain eye contact. gah! ;D

Those are the two main trouble points at the moment. The good news is that with PRACTICE they should get better. Jenny also commented that his turning is getting much better. I think I am thinking less about my feet (which will probably bite me is the @ss later).

I still have to figure out my plan for Ike and Rally. We are both enjoying it a lot. Right now the next session isn't a possibility as I only have once Saturday free in January. There is a weekly Heeling with Rally Moves drop-in class I might be able to manage every so often. Two Sundays a month there is a Rally drop-in class (that I have yet to make it to!). I am also going to be doing some semi-privates in January focusing on heeling. We'll see, I guess.

WHO are my dogs?

Hmmm....Holly tagged us on her blog with a fun new game.

We have to think about who each dog would be if he/she were human (personality wise), in general or as a specific person. I will tell you right now, this is REALLY hard. The only one I can easily figure out is Carmen!

Carmen would without a doubt be Reese Witherspoon. She is pretty (when the beard is in good shape) and driven. A GREAT work ethic. Reese Witherspoon's production company is called Type A Productions.

Ike is a very difficult call. He likes a low-key environment and chillin' out, but isn't really that chill a fellow himself. He is a contrarian and a thinker. I think Ike reminds me of Gil Grissom from CSI (Las Vegas). Not really a touchy feely kind of guy, but a good, smart individual.

And then there is Bug. I think Bug would be Owen Wilson in real life. A complete goof with an intense, slightly dark side. I know that is hard to believe of the Bug, but I think it is there.

I am going to tag Blue, K9-Crazy, Dawn, and Diana. If I didn't tag you and you'd like to play, please do. If I did tag you and you don't want to play - please don't! ;-P

-------------- UPDATE --------------

John unequivocally disagrees about Bug being Owen Wilson. He is leaning towards Jack Black. He said Bug has to be someone short, pudgy, and goofy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays, etc.

Ike played with Bug & Nellie!

This Christmas I am thankful that Nellie is spayed. Otherwise we might have cocka-porgis running around. They LOVE each other that much. I think part of it is Bug is just so happy to have a dog that will cuddle with him!

We survived the holi-daze. Ike was sick AGAIN Christmas eve night. He took John on an hour jaunt through Reading at 2am in the morning in the pouring rain. You KNOW Ike is sick if he is voluntarily out in the rain.

Tuesday we had a fasted blood draw done. This will let us know if the boy does have hyperlipidemia. We have an appointment Monday with a homeopathic vet.

Wednesday was the first day back on a raw diet and he got sick. EVERYONE has been diligent about not over feeding him or feeding him table scraps, etc.

It was a stressful day for him - we were at the in-laws with the niece and nephew, their father and step-mum, etc. So, was it the stress?

I gave him pheasant on Wednesday - it is a Primal mix so it is not JUST meat. Is he allergic to pheasant or something in the pheasant? Does he need a home cooked diet (versus raw)?

Yesterday he had rice and cooked turkey treats that I had made (just turkey, parsnip, and carrot) for dinner. Today I gave him some chicken and veggie Oma's with rice. We will see. He seemed to be rubbing his face immediately following his meal. Allergy?

Tuesday we also had a follow-up eye appointment for Carmen. No change in her retinal health. Unfortunately she still has conjunctivitis! What the heck? So the vet prescribed some prednisone drops (which are very expensive!) for her eyes. They already look completely better. The vet feels she is allergic to something in the house. This is basic deduction - everything outside is now dead and she doesn't display typical food allergy signs (paw licking, face rubbing, etc). So dust mites or a cleaner of some sort.

My concern is that the prednisone drops will work and we will stop them and she'll get conjunctivitis again. Since the red eye doesn't really seem to bother her much I am not clear what the course of action should be. It seems silly to be treating something that doesn't really bother her? What am I missing?

Ike has Rally-O class tomorrow and Bug has a herding lesson Sunday. Should be a fun weekend. Due to the snow I think Bug will be working ducks. Very exciting!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Corgis Heart Snow

Schnauzers....not so much.

Pics are from this morning...waking up to a Buggie-wonderland and an Ike-nightmare! Ike's Rally-O class has been cancelled. Now I must see if I can convince him Schnauzers do go the bathroom in the snow. He has been boycotting since 2:30 yesterday. Crazy dog!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh my!

Llama Treats!
That is.... treats made of llama meat for dogs not treats made for llamas!

Same recipe as the ostrich jerky, but baked.

2 lb meat
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup diced fruit.

Bake 25 minutes at 375. Flip and bake 10 more minutes. Voila! It does not smell meaty - rather fruity actually. I suspect the boys will give the llama treats two paws up! And no dough!


Bug and I attended handling class again last night. It went well. Due to the holidays there are no handling classes for the next two weeks. Then I have a chiro appointment with the boys (1/7) and our first UKC show (1/10)! Gulp.

Last night there was another Cardigan there! A blue merle with tan points! Very cool! She could have been Buggie’s relative in appearance.

I really need to work on picking him up and putting him on the table. I am SO not graceful.

I also need to work on adjusting his feet. I remembered to move from above but was holding his leg too low. Kerry suggested I move his leg up higher, near the shoulder. She said it typically does not bother the dogs as much.

Bug was very happy gaiting and I remembered to relax my hold on the leash while he was doing so!

Lisa was also there with her Vizsla Ryan. We spoke to Kerry after class and she gave us the low down on the Hartford location (February show). Does not sound very nice AT ALL. In a cold basement with a marching band practicing. And a not very safe neighborhood.

I am seriously reconsidering it as my choice for my first AKC show.

Consult with Nutritionist

Yesterday I had a phone consultation with the Angell nutritionist to discuss Ike's diet.

I heard rumors that she wasn’t as “chill” with raw as I had been told by my vet. I expected her to attempt to dissuade me from feeding raw. Nope. Hooray!

First she taught me how to correctly calculate the fat content of the prepared meats I am feeding raw. Take the fat content listed on the bag (in this instance NV, Primal, and Oma’s) multiply times 4. That number is your fat content. (The reason you multiply by 4 is because most raw foods are 75% moisture, give-or-take [Primal Pheasant is 68%]. 4 gives you an easy number to work with.)

In the Primal pheasant that works out to 32% fat. For a Schnauzer my personal goal is to keep it at or under 15%. So, if I were feeding Ike JUST the patties it would be WAY too much fat.

Fortunately for Ike I do not feed him just the raw patties. He gets 1 ounce of meat with squash and cooked greens each meal. The ratio I feed him brings that fat content down to around 10%. Phew.

We discussed the lean meats. No more duck or beef for Ike, even rarely. Game meats, please.

Chicken – white meat only
Turkey – white meat only
Venison (which Ike doesn’t tolerate well, alas)
Ostrich – she recommended Blackwing Farm
Possibly Goat – depending upon the cut (leg/muscle would be preferred)
Possibly Llama – depending upon the cut (leg/muscle would be preferred)

Dr. R feels I should get fasted blood work done on Ike. If he does have hyperlipidemia that I should put him on a diet that contains no more than 5% fat. Yikes!

We discussed supplements and the calcium/phosphorus ratio. This ratio was the big concern of the vet who gave me major grief. Dr R does not feel like you can balance calcium/phosphorus ratio by making sure you feeding bone. She says the calcium/phosphorus ratio is balanced IN the bone – then you add more phosphorus with the meat. So, you should be feeding eggshells or calcium carbonate with with all meals. (This is if you are feeding raw meaty bones – not an “AAFCO” balance diet like NV, Primal, which the vets prefer). Dr. R feels that Balance IT is the best supplement available as a multi-vitamin/all-in-one supplement.

I have checked the calcium and phosphorus ratios compared to the Canine Plus by VetriScience which I currently use. They are higher in the Balance It formula. There are similar ingredients but different amounts. I e-mailed the makers of Balance IT and unfortunately unless you use one of the "recipes" there is no recommended dosage for the supplement. What a crock. At $20 a "recipe" you could buy Monica Segal's Optimal Nutrition which deals with homecooked meals and nutrition AND raw for the same amount.

Full disclosure: I used a promo code to download a free recipe. It really is a joke - I am not just being a jerk.

Dr. R feels that most supplements do not provide enough of the key ingredient to be preventative/therapeutic/effective. I asked her specifically about joint support and salmon oil.

With joint support she feels that it is very important to give dogs who are involved in performance sports joint support prior to them actually displaying an issue. She feels that the supplement MUST contain both glucosamine and chondroitin to be effective. She recommended Cosequin DS (Double Strength). I currently use Glyco-Flex Classic 600 mg. While this contains 600 mg of Perna canaliculus (Green Lipped Mussel) which have been shown to reduce joint pain, that doesn’t break down to an adequate amount of glucosamine and chondroitin to effect change.

The typical initial dose recommended is 1500 mg of glucosamine and 1200 of chondroitin daily for 1- 2 months. If a response is obtained, the dose can be reduced to 1000 mg of glucosamine and 800 of chondroitin or less.

The Cosequin DS contains 500mg glucosamine and 400 mg chrondoitin.

In terms of salmon oil Dr. R said that the typical product owners use does not contain enough DHA or EPA to be therapeutic. I currently use the Grizzly Salmon Oil and took it out of the fridge to work this over. Each pump is 3.5 ml. 12% of which is DHA and 9% of which is EPA. Doing the math, it works out to under a mg(.4 mg/.2 mg) of those oils! Dr. R said I would have to do about 500 pumps a day to reach a therapeutic level. Gah! I have a brand new bottle I just bought, not even opened.

Dr. R recommends 3V CAPS HP Snip Tips made by DVM Pharmaceuticals. Each capsule contains MORE than the daily recommended dose of EPA and DHA. Since the EPA and DHA will be beneficial to Ike if he does indeed have hyperlipidemia (and it is also good for joint support) I will be switching products.

All in all I found the consultation to be worth both my time and money. Now on to the fasted blood work (appt. Tuesday a.m. - same day as Carmie's follow-up eye appt.) so I can make an informed decision about how to proceed with Ikey P’s diet!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

6th Photo

Amanda from manymuddypaws tagged us!

Here's the deal: You have to check your Photo Archives (or wherever you store your images) then select the 6th file folder, open it & post the 6th picture contained there, with the story behind it.

Now I am supposed to tag six friends to do the same - instead I will be lazy and say, join the fun if you'd like!

Here is the photo:

My mum and the boy on a VERY blustery day!! Kind of funny....I have no clue why she was holding him. Unusual to say the least.

Canine Eye Exams - A Good Idea

I belong to a Schnauzer e-mail list that is very active and has many informed members. When I first mentioned my concern about Carmen's eyes one of the longtime members and breeders stated that she feels "performance" dogs should have their eyes checked on an annual basis. I kind of took it as her typical hyperbole and shrugged it off.

However, I have come to believe it is a good idea. Our classmate Makin (Vizsla) has just recently been diagnosed with an eye issue.

Neither Carmen or Makin were doing agility prior to this year, but the idea of having an annual exam or every other year exam makes more and more sense for a performance dog. Like humans, dog's eyes change as they age.

A CERF exam only costs $50.

I think $50 is pretty reasonable for both peace of mind and the potential to cut off development of an eye issue early. Something to think seriously about.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quickie Training

Worked with Ike on "down" means stay in a down! And let me walk around you.

Fronts....continue to be very crooked and ugly. This is going to need some serious rehab and advice from Katrin/Jenny/Marlene. Perhaps even a private or at the very least SO much more practice/rehab it makes my head spin.

Around - moving to my right and behind me. MUCH smoother than it was Saturday!! Thankfully Ike is a quick learner.

Bug worked with the rake. The rake comes into a neutral position (upright) you move in. The rake moves out (think sweeping leaves away from you, but one motion, kind of?) - you move out.

He actually seemed to think it was fairly fun. I did incorporate clicker and treats, so that is probably why. I am also using a larger rake per Diane's suggestion.

Short and sweet!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Walk Rudely Interrupted

6:20am....dark morning

Cars whiz down Washington Street.

Bug and Ike cross the street at the cross walk with human in tow. Ike is suddenly struck by a smell in the four feet of grass beside the sidewalk and before the house's/yard's retaining wall. Julie spots a human approaching. Out come the clicker and treats. Total attention on dogs. Through the focus we hear,

"Excuse me."

"Excuse me."


Julie, turns, a quizzical look on her face, "Yeah?"

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

"This is my house," says the lady walking to the train.

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

"Good for you, " says Julie anticipating where this is leading.

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

"This is my house," the lady repeats. "What are you doing?"

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

Aggravated Julie replies, "Getting out of your way so my dog doesn't bite you - you see how he's barking? He's afraid of you."

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

"This is my house," the lady repeats like a broken record.

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

"Great, this is public domain, too."*

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo

And off she went to the train while Julie and the boys walked home plotting surreptitious dumps of dog crap late at night.

*Note: I actually contacted the town about this before after another run-in with a totally unhinged lady. Yes, I am a little unhinged too.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rally-O #2

Ike and I had a very good time at class today. Much improved from last week. It was a little quieter and we were both more on the ball.

New things to work on.

Ike will not down and allow me to walk around him in this environment. Or rather he will down but pops up when I start tomove. Need to work on this and then proof while outside and in more exciting places.

Left about turn. Oh, difficult. Remember to turn toward my dog and then bring him behind me.

Straight fronts. Currently they tend to be VERY crooked. Part of this is surely that Ike is not in alignment but most of it just needs training and refining. I find if I use both hands and pull them just a wee bit toward my left knee I get a straighter sit.

I forget what the other station we had a lot of trouble with was called - it was the second one and involved a front and then you took your dog to the right and behind you. I remember what we did, just not what it was called. Maybe Marlene will. Anyway, I need to work on Ike moving around behind me.

A general thing I need to work on is him being tighter with me (in terms of heeling and turning) - I think this will come with practice and comfort.

After class was over I tried to get Ike out to sniff the signs before they were all picked up. He finds the cones and signs fascinating. I am pretty sure this is because he is not clear what the rules of the game are yet and "touch" is one of his default behaviors. Touch is the first operant thing he learned - so he always reverts to it.

I am really enjoying the class and am bummed there are only two more. I will have to see how I can continue with the boy. The tough thing is I already have three weekends occupied in January and two in February so I definitely cannot take another session then. Hopefully I will figure it out. Ike seems to be enjoying himself and isn't too worried. Hooray!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Extreme Ike

As I mentioned in a previous post – Ike was ill on Friday. He seemed better Saturday and Sunday. Then had me out every three hours all night long Sunday-Monday.

Tuesday I took him to the vet to have some blood work done. Ike has been having (EXTREME) bouts of diarrhea every two months or so. In February – the first major bout – his GGT levels were off in his liver. I wanted to make sure things were still the same or better.

Due to the frequency in which these bouts are occurring I hypothesized that Ike might have some form of Irritable Bowel Disease and wanted to discuss it with my vet. Unfortunately my vet was not available. The other vet I saw at the practice closed his ears once he heard I feed raw. Let’s just leave it at the appointment and follow-up call regarding blood work were an utter disaster. Once the vet gave up lecturing on raw it was suggested that Ike has Addison’s Disease, an adrenal gland disorder. Whatever. (Note: the blood work did not indicate Addison’s either time.)

Yesterday afternoon I spoke to my regular vet about the blood work. Ike’s bilirubin levels (liver again) were elevated, but the vet didn’t think it was indicative of anything. He felt it was most likely a result of Ike being sick and that Ike’s liver appears healthy.

My vet was slightly concerned that Ike had elevated levels of lipimea in his blood (fat) after eating boiled turkey with rice for four days. We did not do a fasted blood draw, so the blood work could still be a bit off and a fasted draw might be in our future.

The concern is because Schnauzers are predisposed to idiopathic hyperlipedemia. They have defect in lipoprotein metabolism; i.e. they do not process fat well. Hyperlipedemia can also be acquired based upon other factors like diet. Given that Ike only eats lean meat, it suggests idiopathic hyperlipidemia.

I do not want Ike to continue to suffer through these extreme bouts of GI distress. Nor do I want to stop feeding him a diet that I feel is better for him. I asked my vet if he knew of any vets that were comfortable with raw and he recommended I contact the vet-nutritionist at Angell to discuss Ike’s diet.

If Ike has IBD a lower fat diet is going to be key to controlling it.

If Ike has idiopathic hyperlipidemia a lower fat diet is going to help in controlling it.

He currently only eats lean meat (as I am well aware of the Schnauzer propensity for pancreatitis and hyperlipidemia). I am not sure what else I should/could be doing….

So, we have a consultation next Wednesday with the nutritionist at Angell. I will keep you all posted. In the mean time I am going to start with being more diligent about the fat content of treats I use and freebies that he gets from dh, myself, and the in-laws.

I am pretty sure this takes string cheese off the easy treat list! It also makes me that much more interested in a food dehydrator.


Last night Bug and I attended the drop-in handling class at Masterpeace. It went really well. Kerry commented on how much more confident Bug seemed. I am sure part of that is my confidence level. I am not as freaked out!

On the table Bug was great about letting me adjust him. For the most part I remember the pointers from previous classes. Lead around my neck, Bug’s front feet placed as close to the edge of the table as feasibly possible, move feeties from above. You can tell he is an old pro at this. Once he was on the table he was “working.” I know that free stacking on the ground is what we want, so I am thinking of working with a clicker to try and get him to place his front feet closer together.

Kerry had us do a triangle and I noticed that people were handling the corner a couple of different ways. I asked Kerry if it mattered. She said it depends upon what you are trying to show the judge. Interesting.

I am getting excited about our first event. I hope it goes well!

Last night I also picked up some of the ostrich jerky everyone has been raving about ($5/4oz – minimal ingredients). It is dehydrated Oma’s ostrich and the boys give it a big paw up. Particularly Ike who is looking at an even more low-fat future. More on that later.

Doggie Nail File

Just like Tracy at K9-Crazy suggested a few months ago....take a look.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Six Things I Like by Bug Powers

Dawn at Days at Daybreake tagged me! Woo-hoo. Mum doesn't usually let me use the 'puter. Even though I am an excellent typist.

Six Things I Like:

1. Squeakies!! Particularly my yellow-ducky squeaker.

2. Ostrich Tendons - they get so stretchy like taffy - fun.

3. Belly Rubs!!

4. Pillows to rest my head on.

5. When dad gives me something off his plate (bad dad!).

6. Sharing the futon with my bro and mum.

hmmm....I forgot to mention.....SHEEP!!

I will tag Pixel and Miley, cause they're so cute (my type of ladies). And Kota and Strata cause they're just starting agility like me.

See ya later....licks and wags, Bug

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Toe Success

The last two times I have clipped Bug's toe nails and have had my husband John hold him. I learned an excellent technique with my attempts with Katrin. I have John sit in a kitchen chair. He picks Bug up and holds Bug, with Bug's back against his (John's) front. Then I clip.

The first week I just did his rear nails since his front nails wear quicker. He gave John a corgi head butt, but other than that it wasn't terrible or as stressful as it had been when we were trying to work on it at Katrin's house. I wonder now if the different location added to his stress.

Last week I did all four feet and I actually completed 2 nails before Bug even realized/decided that maybe he didn't really want this to be happening. John said he felt like Bug was 90% better than the previous week. Pretty darn good improvement!

This week, Bug was AWESOME!! John said that was the final 10%. We have a technique that works. I am going to be SUPER-SUPER-SUPER careful to try not to quick him. I think quicking him would be a major set-back. But now that we have a routine, maybe not.

Wow, two major accomplishments in one day. Go Bug!

He Passed!

Visions Cornerstone Dream On (CGC)

(L to R: Bug, Julie, Ari, Obi, Katrin, Julianna)
As you can see we had a good time trying to get a photo!

Bug & Daisy Playdate

Most of these pictures came out blurry but I will share anyway. Bug and Daisy had a FABULOUS time!!

Rally-O #1

Yesterday Ike and I had our first Rally-O class. We almost didn't go as Ike was pretty sick on Friday. He seems to get sour stomach every few months. I need to talk to Anne about building up his gut. Unfortunately this means that both dogs have very obviously lost their pelvis (Ike from being sick, Buggie from rough-housing maybe?). We don't see Anne until 1/7/09. Hmmm....I might see if Cheryl has any availability. I HATE waiting, especially with Bug - I feel like it is *really* important for him to be in alignment.

Back to Rally-O. It is a large class and a puppy play group is going on at the same time in a different section of the building. Very distracting. Very loud. Poor Ike. I didn't bring his crate in so ran back out to grab it for walking the course. We all walked the course together with Jenny the instructor. As we walked she gave us pointers on how to handle the different stations. The stations must ALWAYS be on your right.

The first station was a serpentine through cones - kind of like weave poles that you do WITH your dog! Then a 270 turn. Etc.

The first run through I was not prepared for Ike not to be 100 % focused on me. Oi! What kind of dork am I? I take him to a training facility he has only been to a few times that is SUPER stimulating (noise and three Goldens! [who are all nice though]) and expect him to be perfect and happy?

So, in our first run through he lagged quite a bit and kept trying to investigate the signs and cones at the stations. Every single one! ;-P

We had the most difficulty with the 270 turns (both left and right) and the call to front. We haven't done a call to front in more than a year. He does a lovely set-up which we worked on relatively recently with Katrin's Heeling class, but no fronts.

As the rest of the class did their runs, Ike kept trying to go investigate a poodle named Boodles and was in general feeling pretty relaxed. No hiding in his crate or worrying. Okay, this was good. Maybe I don't need to be a stressed as I was immediately following that first run through. It would be great desensitization for Ike. If he can learn to work comfortably and happily in this environment he could probably do Rally anywhere.

Second run-through I prepared myself with a hand full of chicken and tried to keep Ike SUPER engaged. MUCH better. I am such a clueless mum sometimes!!

After we talked to a nice woman who has a low-key luxury model GR named Joey. Ike was very good with both the human and her dog. This class might be perfect for counter conditioning his negative association with Goldens too!! It was super to see Marlene work her GR boy Kody. He is gorgeous!

This week I am going to try to practice a down-halt (down on left side at halt), call to fronts, and 270s. I think it is most realistic that I will find the time to practice the first two. We'll see.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Exciting Weekend

The boys and I have an exciting but low-key weekend coming up. Tomorrow Ike starts his first session of Rally-Obedience at Canine Mastery. I hope he likes it! The bonus is my friend Marlene and her GR Kody are in the class - so we will get to see them on a weekly basis for a bit!

Then Bug has a playdate with Daisy the Australian Labradoodle from CGC class. They ADORE each other. I cannot wait to see them tear around together.

Sunday is Bug's CGC exam. And hopefully we will squeak a short hike in there somewhere!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday Night - Thank Dog-Gods

Carmie, Ike and I had the best classes we have had in more than a month. After my Frantic post last week I realized that I have been behaving frantically for a while. So on my way home from work yesterday I decided I would breath deeply, slow down, and try to focus on being more consistent.

Well, what do you know – it worked! Both dogs had super classes and I feel like I didn’t muck it up too badly.

Katrin has suggested I try to allow Carmen to drive ahead of me more to increase her distance. Funny, it makes SO much sense and yet I never thought …. that just because she isn’t going warp speed doesn’t mean I can’t allow her to get ahead of me. Huh. This might constitute another training break through for me. I don’t think Katrin ever phrased it quite like that before or if she did I must have had imaginary fingers in my ears (la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you). I am excited. It worked quite well – that and the consistency. I felt like Carmie was really “on” last night. She nailed her weaves too.

We have been practicing weaves with 12 weave poles and I am considering breaking it down to just six. I am doing 12 because with Ike we had a pop-out issue at pole 10. Maybe it was just the learning curve but I blamed it on learning to weave with a set of six weaves. Now after watching Carmie nail the set of six last night (with two cages on one side), I am thinking maybe I should break it down to six – there would be less to fade. Then I could have two sets of six one after another and slowly move them to a set of twelve. Just a thought.

My *goal* is to have solid weaves by May. I REALLY want this – which I means I SO need to get cracking. Currently it is dark when I walk the dogs in the a.m. and dark when I get home!!! I don’t think I can train Carmie in my mud room like I did with Ike – the lighting isn’t good enough with her eyes. So, I need to buy a halogen work space light (which I have heard give off killer light for not that much $$) or borrow one.

Ike is such a joy to run now that I have sworn off trialing with him. He finds playing agility with me SO reinforcing and he actually has a decent foundation of baby-distance on him. It is fun to see him work. Working him allows me to work more on my consistency, which is good.

With Ike, on the second part of the course, I kept trying to stick a f/c in when he was moving too fast. It is because of my deathly fear of rear crossing (just kidding). But I am not comfortable with r/c because most of the time my dogs are not moving ahead of me. Katrin reminded me of what we had just worked on with Carmie and I worked at sending Ike ahead of me and crossing behind him. It was a little clunky, but by the third time I was getting more of an actual switch and not spinning.

I really do feel like the realization that I do not have to move as fast or faster than my dog is a breakthrough. It will definitely help with my consistency. Now we will see how long this takes to sink in. Last year in January or February I had my consistency breakthrough and I have been working at it ever since – some weeks good – some weeks TERRIBLE!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I am reading Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals by Karen Dawn. Mostly out of curiosity ( I will review when done). I am vegetarian, but am not a hard core PETA-like-animal-rights-activist sort. Anyway, this comic was included and I love it!!