Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chiro and Beyond Basics #2

Last night Bug had his second Beyond Basics class. We got there early because Ike was out of alignment and needed to see Cheryl. Lately Ike has been having a very hard time holding his alignments - last week he saw Cheryl and he wasn't even in the house before he knocked his pelvis out again. He has been pretty reactive on his walks so I know he doesn't feel great. Cheryl adjusted Bug at the trial this weekend (and it was only a minor tune-up even after herding!), but I didn't feel like it was a good idea to bring Ike. Ike finds the trial atmosphere so stressful - even if he isn't trialing - I was afraid he would get sick.

Last night we put him on the table and the poor dog COULD NOT stand straight. He was curved in a "C" - I kid you not. Cheryl and I had discussed over the weekend that the best thing to do might be something called Step 13. It is meant to balance the ilium with the temporal bone. Basically it helps a pelvis adjustment "stick." I wish we had videotaped this session - we literally saw Ike's body unwind and straighten out. It is one of the coolest/most amazing things I have ever seen! Note: Ike was very responsive to the clicker and non-reactive on our walk this morning - he definitely feels better!

After Ike's adjustment I put him in Bug's crate - which is larger - with a piece of beef tendon and Bug and I went to class.

Bug and I are REALLY enjoying this class. The first thing we worked on is a game to help your dog pull less and start thinking. I think Joyce might have called it Red Light, Green Light. Joyce came over with a stainless steel bowl and asked us to put some of our treats in it. She let the dog see that his treats were in the bowl and then placed it in the center of the room - making sure the dog was watching. Then we had to walk up to the bowl with no pulling. If your dog pulled you stopped and waited for them to check in with you. If they didn't check in with you you could take a step back or make a small noise at them. Once you were connected again you could move forward. Any pulling resulted in the same stopping behavior. Once they reached the bowl they could reward themselves with the treats.

I think this will be a great game to work on at home with Bug. He had a hard time not pulling to the bowl. However you could see the wheels turning in his brain and every time I stopped he returned to me to ask what was going on. At one point when we were very close to the bowl he offered his default behavior - a down. This means, "I have no idea what you want but perhaps downing will get me those cookies."

Next we worked on our "Stays" and Bug got to be the demo dog. Joyce commented that one reason people have such a hard time teaching stays is because they are often working alone and will put their dog in a stay and then release them with a come. So your dog is ALWAYS being treated for coming to you - not for staying.

In the exercise last night I put Bug in a Sit-Stay (he MUCH prefers a down-stay) and then had to pick a tennis ball up off a chair and place it on the floor. If Bug stayed while I did that he got a cookie. Then I picked the ball up and returned the tennis ball to the chair. If Bug stayed during that he got another cookie. You can vary the distance of the item and the value of the item. Bug only got up once before he understood the rules of the game and sat tight. I cannot wait to play with this some more at home. I think this will come in very handy for herding!

After the demo we worked on this privately in class while Joyce and her assistant Beth walked around helping anyone that needed help.

We ended class by gathering our stuff up and heading for the door while Joyce held our dog for a restrained recall. Joyce was holding Bug right near two young female dogs that Bug was VERY interested in. Bug was not paying the best attention to me (and can I blame him?), so as I walked away I said, "bugbugbugbugbug" in a very high pitched voice. I could see his radar ears working and knew he was at least aware of me. Once I got near the door I turned and said, "Bug - Come" and he came flying!! I was really happy as the young pups where very exciting for him.

I am looking forward to practicing the games we learned this week and seeing what we work on next week.


101mutts said...

Wow! Those sounds like some really great and creative exercises.

Diana said...

I like those exercises. Im glad Ike is feeling better. Diana