Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wed. Nite Class w/Carmie

Last night Carmen and I attended Erin's Wednesday night class. It runs 6 - 7:30 and is outdoors - cue my angst about Carmies eyes. We were expecting thunderstorms and there really was no sun - everything was a bit gray. Uh-oh?

While we had a couple of odd moments I don't REALLY think they were related to her vision; I think it was primarily the new location and class combined with a little bit of poor lighting.

It was a much more "technical" course than we usually see, It is probably fairly typical for an AKC/USDAA style course. There were lots of wraps and having your dog go by obstacles in order to take other obstacles. I have discovered in the last 3 weeks that if I ask Carmen to go BY an obstacle to take another obstacle she thinks I am lying and cuts behind me to take the obstacle we are passing. Bear in mind in these instances the next obstacle I am trying to bring her to is not necessarily visible - so she thinks I am on drugs and trying to send her off-course (or at least that is what I suspect she thinks).

While I have no intention of running Carmie in AKC or USDAA it does show me a gaping hole in my training. I plan on practicing the blind cross exercise until we hopefully have it down pat.

In other news, the course last night contained 12 weave poles which Carmie performed successfully multiple times from nasty angles (granted I took her wide in an attempt to try and set her up to succeed). Yay, Carmie!! I have a solid six weave pole performance from her currently but we haven't tried 12 weave poles without cages ... ever ... I don't think. I was starting to work myself up into a tizzie about it, which just goes to show you shouldn't worry about the future until you know what you've got.

Carmen also did the chute successfully multiple times. Considering how long it took for her to become even the teeniest bit comfortable with the chute I was floored that she did it for me in a new location without cajoling.

The odd moments revolved primarily around contacts, which is unusual for Carmen. I think perhaps she is out of alignment. Erin said she appeared to be moving fine, but if she avoids contacts, typically her pelvis is out. Second obstacle in the first course was the teeter. Carmie put two paws on it and took them off - went around to the side of the teeter and put two paws on it again. Weird. Then she took it and that was it - she was fine with the teeter the rest of the night.

She went around the a-frame the first run-thru. This is where I mentally say - 'Oh, I think it is her pelvis." She did take the a-frame subsequent runs and in fact blind crossed me to take it at one point. When she cut behind me to take the a-frame the light had changed significantly and she perched. This only happens when she is having trouble seeing, I know for a fact.

I think I have finally come some sort of comfortable space with Carmen's vision loss. I am never going to know in which instances it is her eyesight versus a training issue or a combination of the two. I think I need to act like it is training or personality and brainstorm about how to get my dog back in gear. It will take me a while, but I think it is a more successful and optimistic way to think about it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Private Lesson

Yesterday evening Bug, Carmen, and I had a private lesson with Amanda. I felt like it went really well.

With Carmen we worked on me continuing to move and support her and rewarding her for speed. Carmen cut behind me again so we practiced the blind cross exercise we had discussed in the workshop and that is on the schedule to be practiced at home.

With Bug we discussed teeter rehab and contacts. Amanda said she doesn’t consider what I am doing with Bug a running contact because there is no criterion per se. She called it a moving contact and suggested that if I run into problems (like him leaping off contact equipment) I might want to consider a down after the contact. She agrees that asking him to stop on the contact or do a 2o/2o wouldn’t be the best for his structure. The down after the contact is what Katrin suggested as well. I realize it would likely give the dog more confidence because they have a specific task. At this point I am going to train a down on the fly on a mat or in a pvc box as a tool/trick. However I do not think I plan on incorporating it into my contact behavior right now. Given Bug’s structure and personality I just do not want to stop him at this point.

As to teeter rehab, Amanda suggested having the START of the teeter up on the table versus the descent. She has a theory that with dogs that are nervous about the teeter it is harder for them to go up to come down. She suggested I put Bug on the teeter, run him off it and tug.

Bug was a tugging maniac last night so that is good.

I don’t feel like Bug and I are that connected, so I think I need to spend some time and energy focusing on that and becoming a bit more captivating to Bug!

Monday, July 27, 2009


Saturday morning Bug, Carmie, and I got up at the crack of dawn to be on the road to CT at 5 a.m. for SCAT's CPE trial. Fortunately it was indoors as it ended up being super humid and hot.

I entered Carmie in all 4 classes (Standard L2, Fullhouse L3, Snooker L3, and Jumpers L3) and Bug in 2 classes (Fullhouse L1 and jumpers L1). We had a great day.

Both dogs had VERY nice Fullhouse runs earning qualifying scores and 1st places. Bug's course is the arrow-dashes; Carmie's course is the solid line. This Q completed Carmie's Level 3 requirements - she is now in Level 4 Fullhouse.

Next up was Carmie's Standard run. I was a bit nervous about Carmie's weaves, but it was unnecessary. She did an excellent job! Q/1.

Snooker I blew. I went Red, #3 jump, Red, #5 tunnel, Red, #2 tunnel and started the closing. During the closing Carmie went BETWEEN the tire and the tire frame. Drat!! CPE is lenient enough that you can call your dog back to complete it correctly. Well, I did not give Carmie enough room and she back jumped the tire. "Thank you." It was a nice run.

Last run of the day was jumpers. Carmie handled the serpentine like a dream. It was a smooth, fast run. Q/1.

Bug's Jumpers run was comical. I think he was toast from being there all day. I released him at the start-line and he went around the start jump, back-jumped it and went gallivanting! I got him back and he ran the course really nicely. Go figure. Of the Level 1 dogs only 2 qualified. I think between the heat and being the last class of the day the baby dogs were all done.

Bug had a massage and went "swimming" in the kiddie pool between his runs. One of the reasons I felt confident/comfortable running him was because I knew a massage therapist would be there and I could get him a massage at some point during the day. I wanted to be absolutely sure he was well stretched and we did not re-injure his iliopsoas.

Carmie had a moment or two were she didn't seem her usual 110%. However, they were fleeting and in general I felt like she felt pretty confident. Her Standard course time was 30 second under time - so she wasn't poking which she does when she has trouble seeing. I will probably trial her there again, although I don't feel like the lighting is *that* great.

My perspective has obviously changed as Carmie experiences more difficulty seeing. The last two times I was at this facility (for a UKC show and a CPE trial) I didn't notice the lighting being so gray. It wasn't just me though; there was a photographer there and she also commented on how dim it was. I did notice that one of the lights was out - so that might have contributed to it.

We arrived home around 9:30 - exhausted but happy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jumping Workshop, Part II

Last night was Part II of the jumping workshop that Carmie and I are taking. Yesterday’s class focused on serpentines and threadles (or box work).

We started class working on the serpentines. Amanda wanted us to run the serpentine in a straight line.

She had some good pointers for me and Carmie.

Much like Webb Anderson suggested for Ike in the disastrous seminar we attended at Clean Run a few years ago (it was disastrous because Ike was STRESSED to the point that I wanted to cry), Amanda suggested I wait until Carmie is just about to exit the tunnel before I start moving out to the first jump in the serpentine. She felt this would help motivate Carmie to move faster.

Between jumps 1 and 2 she told me to “move” and I never slowed down resulting in Carmie missing jump 3 a couple of times. I felt like I was running the line pretty tight with Carmie. Amanda said she didn’t think so and to re-evaluate if my dog starts dropping bars. She asked me if Carmie drops bars. Ah, just about never - Alright then.

Amanda appears to be a big proponent of starting your dog with movement that includes you – versus sending them to an obstacle – at least in terms of starting a sequence versus a course. I am not sure if she suggests the same thing on course. By saying she suggests starting your dog with movement I mean she’ll ask you to start your dog facing away from the obstacle and the two of you turn toward the obstacle together – so you are moving together. I’m not sure if that’s clear, but I feel like it is a variation of sending them around the stanchion from last week.

The box work was tougher for us. I did a two jump lead out and bent to release Carmie. I always do this (bend); It is such a bad habit. She told me to stand up and then commented that I was very stiff. Had anyone ever told me that before? No, but that doesn’t mean I’m not.

First run through I lead out past jump two, bent way down to release. Did a FC between 2 and 3 and a sloppy front cross after 4 because I was waiting for Carmie to commit to 4. Then I forgot where I was going. Gah! I wanted to go to jump 8. Not sure why! It felt like where the course should go to me.

Amanda had me release Carmie when I got to 2 and was still moving versus the more static release I used initially. She asked me to go into the pocket between 3 and 4. At which point Carmie blind crossed behind me.

We took a second and Amanda described a couple of training games she does to prevent blind crosses.

Set up a single jump. Put your dog in a sit. Walk alongside the jump. Release your dog to your hand. She said it is tougher for more experienced dogs because they see the obstacle and want to take it versus running to the dropped shoulder/hand. You can start at the half-way point of the jump if your dog is having a tough time. Eventually you want to be able to run around the jump with your dog targeting your hand versus taking the obstacle.

She also suggested a front cross on the flat exercise. Toss a treat for your pup. As they run for the treat turn the other way and call them to you. Do a front cross and treat them from the correct hand. Toss another treat forward and turn run away. I can’t describe this as accurately but I am looking forward to playing both games with Carmie and Bug.

We went back to the sequence and Carmie handled it much better. Carmie still wanted to blind cross me between 3 and 4 but I changed my movement enough to prevent it. I thought her pinwheel was decent and the second and third time I did the complete sequence the final front cross after 9 was MUCH smoother.

I feel like I have walked away with a lot of information for two one hour classes (and I can’t believe how quick the hour went). I can’t wait to try and implement some of the exercises. These classes have also caused me to re-evaluate my handling in relationship to Carmie. I think perhaps I haven’t been trying to suit my handling to Carmie but make Carmie suit what I want to be doing. It is interesting – there is a difference between focusing on skills and handling AND skills. I have been focusing so much on the skills I would like to acquire that I might not have been cognizant of how my handling also affects those skills with the particular dog I am working with? I’m not sure. Food for thought, definitely.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chiro and Handling

Yesterday Bug and I saw our chiropractor. Bug had a little tune-up; all his adjustments held and he was barely tight! Yes! Me on the other hand …. the sheep knocked my pelvis out of alignment when they ran into me on Sunday. Monday I had severe lower back aching and I just KNEW I was no longer in alignment. I feel much better now. It gives me so much more respect for what our dogs feel like when they are out of alignment or have just been adjusted to go through it myself.

After visiting the chiropractor we headed to handling class where Kerry fussed with Bug a bit more than usual to get him used to her. She stacked him on the table and worked on getting ears from him.

I am getting more handling clues from her as she thinks out loud about how she will manage Bug’s turn-out than I did when I was attending as just a drop-in student.

She suggested, not placing his front feet TOO close together as she feels that draws attention to the turn-out.

Turning his right leg in slightly from the shoulder when hand stacking him. This I can’t do, but I watched her do it.

I gaited him very briskly and he did not break into a giddy-up, so that’s good.

I also worked on hand stacking him while on the ground and he was MUCH better about having his feet handled when I went under him versus reaching over.

This morning the show schedule arrived for the second day of the shows I am having Kerry handle Bug. There are no conflicts for Kerry on either of the days she is handling him. I thought there was a conflict on the second day and I very nearly had an anxiety attack thinking about handling him myself. I guess I really don’t like it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Recently I have been thinking about supplements a lot. Between Bug having a raging active Lyme infection, mild HD in one hip, and outing my joint supplement of choice the subject has been on my mind. Yesterday DoLittler posted a piece on how Dr. Nancy Kay (Speaking for Spot - Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life) selects supplements. Check out the post; I am hoping some interesting and informative comments are made.

Bug gets a lot of supplements (see below) compared to Ike who is seeing a homeopathic vet.

*The Jameson/Jim Beam featured are not given on a daily basis.

Currently Bug receives the following on a daily basis with his raw meat, cruciferous veggie, and ocassional squash:

Bug Off Garlic (am/pm)

Synovi G3 Low Allergen Granules - Bug is allergic to beef and chicken (am/pm)

Apple Cider Vinegar

Vetri-Science Canine Plus (am/pm)

Vetri-Science Antiox 50 (am)

3V CAPS HP Snip Tips (2 am)

Milk Thistle Plus (pm [now called Canine Puriphy])

Doxy (am/pm)

Once Bug has finished his Doxy he will be taken off the Milk Thistle Plus and put on the ABC Lyme Support. I will also be adding back in the Vetri-Science Cell Advance (I had stopped giving this because it is a pill that needs to be swallowed and he is doing enough swallowing with the doxy!).

With Bug, due to his structure, my performance dreams, and the one hip, I go heavy on the antioxidants. You will note that I also use a lot of products from the same companies (Vetri-Science & DVM).

When Ike was ill and we saw the nutritionist, she recommended the 3V CAPS HP Snip Tips because they have the most DHA/EPA in a bioavailable formula. The same company (DVM Pharmaceuticals) that makes the 3V CAPS makes Synovi G3; they also make a lot of other products commonly recommended by vets. In general I do my best to research what I am giving. I feel pretty confident about Vetri-Science and DVM because of the information available. I may still be unpleasantly surprised at some point, but I feel the odds are stacked more favorably for my dog.

Do you give your dog supplements? Why do you or do you not give your dog supplements? How do you choose your supplements?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sport of Choice

Blue at The Rainbow Dogess recently posted a question/comment from an Aussie forum she frequents.

What got you into your sport of choice...why that one, why not another type of dog sport? What else have you tried, but don't care for? What haven't you tried but would like to?

Katrin at By My Side and Amanda at ManyMuddyPaws both responded and I thought I would too. It was an interesting question. For me it is particularly interesting because currently Bug has me questioning what my sport is!

My original sport of choice is agility. I started doing Agility-for-Fun at my local shelter to build Ike’s (my reactive MS) confidence. After a few years of fussing around at the shelter I knew I wanted to take it further and found Katrin at Maplewood Dog. Fast forward a few years, I have started working with Carmen because DH doesn’t want to get another dog and I know Ike isn’t too keen on trialing. Then Ike explicitly tells me he hates trialing.

Agility was definitely still my sport of choice because what did I do? I continued with Carmen, brought home Bug to do more agility and set to work trying to figure out a sport Ike likes.

In the quest to find a sport Ike likes I tried competitive obedience. He liked the gist of it but was going to have a VERY difficult time with Stand for Exam. I don’t think it is a great sport for me – I like to talk to my dog. But we will see in the future with Bug.

I tried Earthdog with Ike – he is not very interested in the rats. He’s willing to work the tunnels for praise. I tried Earthdog with Carmie, too – hoping it could be a fall back when her sight gets too bad for agility. Unfortunately neither were that interested. I think I will try again. I recently read about a Schnauzer on the Performance Schnauzer list who tried 20 times before getting his first JE leg. It is probably a lot like herding with Bug – all of a sudden the instinct can and will kick on.

Most recently we tried Rally Obedience. Ike LOVES Rally Obedience. However, I discovered that he just plain old hates trialing – regardless of the sport or venue. I hope to get him back in a Rally-O class soon – he loves to train, he just hates trialing!

With Bug I have started herding. I have to say I find it sneaking further and further up my list of sports. This is primarily because Bug adores it and apparently I can’t resist a challenge. I am actually contemplating putting agility on the back burner for a few months and focusing on herding while the weather is nice. It boggles my mind that I would consider that! I haven’t made a decision, but I have been thinking about it a lot since our lesson Sunday. Bug loves it.

I would love to try tracking with any of my dogs – Bug especially seems to have a stellar nose.

Oh, and I tried conformation with Bug. It stresses me out as much as Ike gets stressed out by trialing….a lot! Yuck!

What got you into your sport of choice...why that one, why not another type of dog sport? What else have you tried, but don't care for? What haven't you tried but would like to?

Herding Recap

Sunday Bug and I had a herding lesson. Our lesson started with a wee little farm chore; move the sheep we would work with from one pen to another.

Diane asked how I would go about doing it in the cleanest fashion. The gate was opened into the pen that contained the sheep; there was an intermediate area and then the control pen. Now, given that I have unintentionally run sheep into the fence with poor planning before I thought about this carefully. First I opened the gate to the control pen – into the pen.

Then I told Diane I would enter the pen and hug the gate so that I would push the sheep away from us and the gate, and through the entrance.

It was a snap.

Then we worked on flanking some more. Bug currently doesn’t have a down in the sheep pen. He just doesn’t. So we are working on Stand for our stop. We would walk up on the sheep – altering our path slightly if necessary to keep them in the corner we wanted. I would turn into Bug and “push” him out because he likes to go in a flat line as quickly as possible to the sheep and around. The goal is then to stop Bug in the corner.

I did a better job of keeping my eyes on the stock. I am starting to get a better idea of how much movement is needed or how little movement is needed to get the sheep where I’d like them.

We worked on this for quite some time. At first I was way too late – repeatedly. Then I was too early. In addition I push TOO much with the rake; I forget to release the pressure I am exerting (poorly) on my dog.

The great thing is that Bug is SO into the sheep now he isn’t put off by my poor mechanics. It’s a major issue though; my mechanics SUCK.

It was pretty hot on Sunday – working like Bug was – so we did a break about a half hour in. Bug took a dip in the pool (which was very cute – he kept pawing at the water to get his undercarriage wet) and then we went back to work.

We weren’t sure how much dog we would have left and the plan was to work on the “doggie two step.” I think I have written about this before – it is an exercise in balance. You are on one side of the sheep – your dog on the other. Your dog should NOT go behind you. Once your dog completes and arc you take two steps through the sheep, pivot, and send him around to the other side of the sheep. Repeat. We had a tough time with this.

Finally we let Bug bring me the sheep and ended on a high note.

Diane commented that she thinks Bug is going to be a great duck dog. I will have to ask her why next time. He has so much more drive to be with the sheep now. In the past, the rake would very nearly make him quit. Now he might back off, but he doesn’t quit or cower.

One of the hardest things for me is understanding that I can be firm with my dog and knowing that doesn’t mean I am being harsh or negative. To me the line is not that clear which makes me more permissive than I should be when we are working sheep. This is something I will have to work hard on defining.

I also asked Diane if she had any reading suggestions. I know so much of it is physical mechanics, but I think it might be helpful for me to read about what I am trying to do. She gave me a couple of recommendations. The only one I can remember off the top of my head is Working Aussie Source (I wrote the other down). And she warned me not to read anything about Border collies as they are trained differently.

This lesson prompted a lot for questions for me about where I want to go with Bug. He really seems to enjoy herding. He seems to enjoy it A LOT more than agility (although he enjoys agility too). I find herding EXTREMELY challenging - in a positive way. Given my schedule and the fact that our group classes have switched to Sundays – we are not going to be able to attend an agility class for more than a month. It makes me wonder if perhaps I should focus on herding with Bug while the weather is nice. We will be shut down in the winter again, I am guessing. It’s a big question.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guess Who Needs a Bath?

Believe it or not, those are both polar bears. One of them is brand new, the other is the boys' favorite of all their toys.

Sometimes you don't realize how dirty a favorite toy is until you see what a new one looks like.

Teeter Rehab

Tomorrow is supposed to rain again, so we tried to squeak in some teeter rehab today. I forget sometimes how silly Bug can be. He hasn't seen my teeter, so it is scary as all get-out. We went EXTREMELY slow. I played tug between rides and we ended early. I let Ike and Carmie play too. They thought the teeter landing on a table with a blanket was a silly new game.

With Carmie I did try to work some distance and making her hold a wait on the teeter.

Wow, Wow, Wow

Yesterday Carmie and I took the first of two one-hour workshops focusing on jumping with Amanda Shyne. Wow. I am really impressed. I learned A LOT in a one hour class.

The first sequence we worked on was four jumps set up staggered right to left ending with a tunnel. The goal was to run a line and have your dog do it's job. The third jump Carmen kept missing and I did the terrible bending over thinking I am dropping my shoulder. Yuck. Amanda called me on it and talked about how in that instance what she wants to see is me making eye contact with my dog, turning in slightly so my chest is open and facing my dog, and my shoulder dropping slightly. The explanation of my chest being open made so much sense to me. Once I was able to fix my mechanics Carmie nailed it.

I was concerned because the lighting isn't the best, but Carmen didn't appear to be too affected by it which is a relief.

Amanda had us start our dogs by sending them out around a jump stanchion and then to the sequence. I was having trouble getting Carmie to do it initially - I think because she was nervous and the start of the sequence was right where everyone was sitting. Amanda recommended instead of *just* trying to lure Carmie while I am static that I start facing the other way so we are moving in a whirl together toward the stanchion. It was much more effective because Carmen really feeds off my movement.

The second sequence we worked on involved a 270 and I discovered that Carmie REALLY doesn't know what a 270 is. I may know what one is technically, but Carmie doesn't know how to execute one. She was VERY flat between the two jumps - almost coming between them. The sequence started with a tunnel, jump, front cross, into the 270. I sent Carmie to the tunnel and Amanda yelled at me that I am fit and young I should be running with my dog. She urged me to get Carmie riled up and then run with her to the tunnel. Carmie came flying out of it with much more speed.

To work on the 270 another classmate suggested setting up the 270 but much closer together. Slowly increase the distance and play with the angles. Use a dowel, stanchoin, target plate - something to help send your dog around the curve.

This class made me think a lot about what my goals are. I think perhaps I have been thinking mostly about MY goals and neglecting to make sure that the way I train Carmie to achieve my goals is the best way for her. I need to think about this some more.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Video, of not the best quality


I discovered a new website today via Tick-L. It is called the Companion Animal Parasite Council. It has the reported numbers for how many dogs are infected with a TBD or heartworm in a state.

Handling Class - with a New Handler

Yesterday I took Bug to Kerry's handling class and Cat handled him. I have officially given up on handling and am trying to find other people to handle my dog for me. I wanted to try handling. I wanted to like handling and have it as a skill in my "tool box." However, the truth is I find handling (even class) really stressful and I think I am very likely holding my dog back!

I have hired Kerry to show Bug at the beginning of August and am playing future dates by ear.

Last night, I did the first run-thru with Bug and finally discovered how to get "ears" from my boy. Tossing and catching a treat ensured Bug did not move and gave me beautiful ears. It figures, just as I am giving up trying to make handling work for me I figure out how to make the boy give me ears! ;-) Granted I would probably not be coordinated enough to do this in the ring with a judge standing there!

I took some video last night of Cat and Bug (good thing Bug's name isn't Mouse). I thought he looked pretty good for her - better then he does for me (I think)! He does HATE to have his rear legs touched while he is on the ground. He doesn't mind on the table, but on the ground - watch out or you have a sitting corgi.

Cat said he was great for her as long as he could see me. The second I was out of sight - where the table would be and you stack your dog - he went all Eeyore on her. Very good to know for shows.

Hopefully some of the video will be decent and I can post it later tonight. The facility where the handling class is has very poor lighting (in my Carmen-influenced opinion) - so I am not sure how it came out. (A friend of mine recently said she thought they really ought to set up tables with candles on them there!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tues. Nite Class with Bug

Last night I brought Bug to class. Carmie was sick Thursday – Saturday with a mysterious GI illness. No need to stress her out more when she will be attending the Amanda Shyne workshop later this week. In addition Bug has been feeling so much better; I wanted to see how he did in class.

In general, he did great! We have some major things to work on. Well….one really MAJOR thing that needs a lot of attention….the teeter. Ever since Bug’s fly-off at a private with Erin he has given me MAJOR Eeyore ears on the teeter. He thinks it is NOT FUN AT ALL. Before the fly-off, Bug thought the teeter was the best thing ever. I want to get back to “the best thing ever” state of mind.

The weather has not cooperated with me improving his teeter. All of the rain means I have not been able to set my teeter up in the back yard to play on it and make it the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Now that we might have sun for more than two days in a row I need to set my teeter up and start playing teeter games. I might also have Bug watch Ike and Carmen have a STELLAR time on the teeter and then go do boring tunnels with Bug (in the same vein as what Dawn is doing with Magic). I am also thinking of attaching a piece of pvc to my plank (that is painted and sanded) to work on finding the pivot point (Katrin suggested this). This is something I could do inside regardless of the weather.

We also need to work on our directionals, particularly “out.” Yesterday there was a tunnel/dogwalk discrimination issue and while I was really good about stopping my forward movement and waiting for my dog to think – he had to think A LOT (the tunnel was the out). At one point he started up the dw only to slip while trying to turn to hop off it. Need I say I almost had a heart attack? I asked Katrin and Nancy multiple times if they thought he was moving okay. They did. I need to relax, seriously.

However, he made the correct choice (the tunnel) multiple times after all his thinking.

Given he hasn’t been in class in at least 3 weeks I was really pleased with his performance. He drove through the weaves with quite a bit more speed than last class and looked VERY happy.

I did feel like he was a bit more pokey speed-wise over all. I’m not sure why. Perhaps we need to start doing some wind sprints!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bug Update

Bug is jumping up on furniture with much greater ease. Previously he would do a small hop and then the actual jump - as though he was building momentum for the act. Now he does one fluid jump. Apparently this was a symptom of the stiffness/joint pain he was experiencing that we did not recognize.

Belated Tuesday Class Post

Things have been busy when there is minimal time for posting!

I took Carmie to Tuesday's class given Bug's Lyme titer and stiffness. I think I will take Bug this coming week, but at that point he hadn't started the doxy yet and was still acting off in his front.

The equipment was set-up the same as last week but a different course.

This course dictated front crosses! I tried to walk it with rear crosses because that is what I personally want to become better at, but it didn't work. So front crosses it was.

The first run thru I was ON TOP of Carmen. I do not know why. I totally baby sat her. Katrin chewed me out (nicely) and suggested I give her more space and she would move faster. I did in the two subsequent runs and she MOVED much better for me. I was a bit choppy with my front crosses.

Her weaves were snappy, once again. Yay Carmie! I am beginning to believe she really gets it versus feeling like it is a wonderful fluke every time she nails them. I think because it took her SO long to learn to weave I keep thinking her weaves are a hoax she is playing on me!

I can not recall the second course we ran. I just know my first run thru I was RUSHING to my front crosses versus being consistent and it looked ugly, felt ugly, and created a choppy performance. My second run thru I ran much more consistently and it paid off in our performance.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

ABC Lyme Support and Lyme Update

Bug saw Cheryl yesterday. He saw her on Friday and then Saturday he was having a tough time jumping into the car and bed. Odd. I couldn't figure out what could have happened - other than his general stiffness (if that's what was going on - I didn't get the titer # until Monday).

Then I remembered that he was tearing around with my mum's dog Nellie on Friday afternoon.

When Cheryl checked him yesterday his sacrum was out.

Doxy Update

When I got home yesterday I had a maniac waiting for me. Bug was frapping (Frequent Random Acts of Play) all around!! I cannot believe 3 doses, a day and a half of doxy, would make such a dramatic improvement. On our walk Bug moved like lighting. He had his entire muzzle in a chipmunk hole before I knew what he was doing/going after. I hope it continues.

Cheryl told me to pick up some ABC Lyme Support. She has used it multiple times with great success. One of her dogs who had a sky-high titer was put on ABC Lyme Support after finishing her doxy and her titer actually showed ZERO Lyme antibodies when they tested her in the future.

I came home from our appointment and immediately went online to try and purchase some. I had a difficult time locating it. It is made by a company called Advanced Biological Concepts (ABC). My Fine Equine was the only place I could find it. needless to say, I purchased the 2# jar immediately.

Cheryl also suggested not bothering with the probiotics until after the doxy is complete. She said I would be wasting my money because the doxy - even if I wait two hours after the doxy has been given as has been suggested by online sources - would just kill the probiotics. She said to do a double-dose once the doxy is complete and then follow it up with regular doses.

I also ordered some Synovi G3 Low Allergen Granules. It does not contain chrondoitin, BUT it has no beef or chicken in it and all the other good stuff I am looking for. We'll see how Bug does on it. If I can avoid giving him chicken or beef, I am happier.

I am feeling tentatively optimistic!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Well, drat!

I have been thinking about switching Bug's joint supplement lately, a lot (in part because he has seemed so stiff). Today I received this info via a yahoo group I belong to:

ConsumerLab just did a review of joint supplements for pets. K9 Liquid Health (the supplement I currently use) was included in the review - AND IT DID NOT PASS. ConsumerLab found it included only 5.4% of the claimed chrondoitin sulfate. Oh decisions.....

The Boo-Bear Update

Bug has more nicknames than Paris Hilton has shoes. My current favorite is, the Boo-Bear.

Things have been quiet on the blog front because life has been busy and I have been stressing a bit about Bug.

About a week and a half ago Bug started acting stiff in his front.

Stiff in his front! This after a weekend of doing NOTHING!

I became fairly stressed about it and then I remembered the boy is Lyme positive.

Last year Bug tested positive on his Snap test and I ran a C6. He had a high antibody titer of 325 (IDEXX suggests treating if the titer is >30). After much soul searching I opted to treat him homeopathically/holistically because he was asymptomatic. I conferred with my vet and he agreed since Bug was asymptomatic there was no reason not to try that route.

I worked with my then chiropractor/homeopath and she prescribed Bioactive Homeopathic Lym D (a nosode), Solid Gold Life Exxtension (Colostrum), and Standard Process’ Immune Support. Shortly afterward Bug sprouted two very lovely CPVs (warts) and we added Cats Claw to the mix.

My vet said not to bother running a second C6 until at least 6 – 8 months have passed. I didn’t get around to it in the timeliest manner, but Bug was due for his annual and I figured we would test then as he was still asymptomatic in my mind. Once the boy started acting stiff I immediately scheduled an appointment.

We saw our vet last Wednesday and it was a frustrating appointment. My vet felt that if he had to choose, he felt Bug’s right elbow was the source of the pain. i.e. nothing was leaping out to him but Bug expressed a bit of discomfort (lip-licking) when he flexed that leg. To follow up that statement he said he felt like it was part and parcel of Bug being a corgi; they are structured funny, essentially. He went on to say elbow dysplasia is common in the breed and I could expect that Bug would probably develop arthritis in his elbows, especially his right given it has more turn-out, and I should limit his high-impact behaviors (amongst which he included stairs and jumping off of furniture). He did NOT think it was Lyme.

We drew blood for the C6 and I started worrying I have a dog that is structurally incapable of doing what I’d like to do.

Bug saw Cheryl (our chiropractor) on Friday and she felt his pectoral muscle and the muscle surrounding his scapula were tight. She did NOT think it was his elbow. She worked on him and he was moving MUCH better after she was done. I started stretching and massaging him daily. I feel like he is much less stiff, although he still looks off to me.

I also had Cheryl test Bug to see if he is allergic to chicken. I have been noticing some staining on his muzzle and I have been relying heavily on chicken lately. Yup, Bug has developed a sensitivity to chicken. Katrin commented that it is not surprising – most dogs who have had a parvo or distemper vaccine are allergic to chicken because chicken is frequently utilized to create the vaccine (I have to look into this further – I recently heard this from someone else too and had never realized it). Anyway, that knocks chicken and turkey of the list of proteins for Bug. It sounds like I might be placing an order with Hare Today soon!

My vet called Monday with the results of Bug’s C6. His antibody titer is now 404. So, either treating him homeopathically/holistically last year did not work or the boy became re-infected.

At this point, because I truly hope the stiffness he is experiencing is Lyme related I am treating with doxycycline (10 mg/kg/daily and my vet rounds up). We are treating for 4 weeks. I have heard from multiple people online (via Tick-L) and online articles to treat for 6 – 8 weeks. However, aside from personal recommendations I cannot find any research to support the statement/suggestion. I discussed it with my vet and he said all of the research is done at a 3 week daily dose of 5 – 10 mg/kg/daily. 4 weeks in the research is actually the upper end, once again.

It was also strongly suggested (online) that I run a CBC since Lyme can cause Lyme nephritis in dogs. My vet asked if Bug was drinking or urinating more frequently. I said no. He said if not, then at this point he doesn’t see any reason to run a CBC.

Yesterday Bug started his dose of doxy. I am hopefully we seen a change soon. My vet said we should see a change within 4 days if he has been symptomatic. We already know he is fighting a very active Lyme infection, it is just whether or not the stiffness is a symptom of it or not.

In addition to the doxy, I will be giving Bug probiotics 2 hours after his meal and milk thistle (to help his liver process the doxy).

Cross your paws we see an improvement!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tues Nite Class with Carmie

Better late than never!

Lately I have been enjoying Katrin's classes more than ever. We have been focusing A LOT on distance and that is a skill I dearly wish to have more of! Above is most of Tuesday night's course - it ended with a wing jump after the weaves which I didn't include in my drawing.

I initially walked the course with one rear cross (at the first 180) and one front cross. Then I decided if I ever want to get better at rear crosses/switch I should run it with two RXs. Right after I made that decision Katrin commented that since it was class we should choose to challenge ourselves! We must have been on the same wave length.

Carmen and my rear crosses ARE improving. They are still not as natural as they are with Bug, but there were a few instances where we really gelled. I was also able to send her to the jumps after the 180 and maintain at least Novice Chances distance with ease. Carmie also NAILED her weaves every single time. I felt like it was a challenging and fun class and I was really pleased with Carmie's performance.

It was really cool to watch Nancy and Remy (AS) run. Katrin gave Nancy a box by the first jump of the first 180 that she needed to stay in and send Remy from. They worked really hard and nailed it a couple of times. I don't think that Carmie and I will get to that point before her eyes go, but I definitely hope to get there with Bug. It was really fun to watch! Their distance skills have increased dramatically in the past year.