Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dog Brick

Katrin gave me the Nina Ottosson game Dog Brick last night. This is the next step up from the game I have, Magic. Hooray and thank you, Katrin!
We played last night when we got home. Ike went first and he took quite some time sorting it out. I don't think he ever really figured it out per se - it was solely the terrier perseverance that got him through.

Then it was Bug's turn. You will recall that Ike rocked the Magic game and it took Bug multiple attempts to finally sort it out. Last night was a different story. Bug figured out the Dog Brick game SO much faster than Ike. He actually understood - almost immediately - that he needed to slide the bricks back and forth. He reminded me a bit of an elephant using his trunk the way he was using his nose to push the bricks.

It was fabulous to see, literally, how differently the two boys' brains work. What is easy for one is not easy for the other necessarily. They are so individual. It was also interesting to see how differently they deal with frustration. Bug backs away, lays down and if that doesn't work starts to bark. Ike wags very hard, bounces about and just keeps trying as hard as he can.

Once we have fully mastered Dog Brick we'll have to move on to a even more challenging game. I highly recommend these games if your dog likes to work. They are a lot of fun.


Bug and I had a herding lesson yesterday. Diane hadn't sorted any sheep or ducks when we arrived so she asked what we wanted to work on. We are attending a 3 day clinic at the end of January that will focus on ducks and the last time we worked ducks was the winter of 2008. So...we worked ducks.

Ugh. That sums up how I feel about the lesson. I feel exactly like the first few times we worked sheep. I couldn't seem to do anything right; I was repeatedly in the wrong place; I repeatedly, and ACCIDENTALLY, verbally corrected Bug at the WRONG times. It felt like a complete disaster. That being said I do distinctly remember Diane saying, "That was nice" and "Good dog" multiple times.

Bug was diving into the ducks a lot. Fortunately for us the ducks started correcting him by themselves (by flapping) so we did not need to (as much).

We worked the full hour + taking only one break. By the end of the lesson Bug was working a LOT better - I think because I was running out of dog!

The disconcerting news is that Bug is still being super spooky about the rake and stock stick. We started with a homemade stock stick that was made from very thin pvc. Then we moved to a traditional stock stick. Then, because Bug was still being spooky, Diane went inside and got a shorter stock stick she has. She said we might have to start working with a piece of hose instead - that is how spooky Bug was acting about it.

This spookiness started the week before our first lesson. the good news is it is not because of our lesson. The bad news is I have no idea why he is acting so spooky. He is acting spooky at home too. He is very leery of sudden movements. I need to schedule Bug's annual vet appointment. I have the week off between Christmas and New Years so I am hoping to go then. I don't know what the vet will be able to offer, but I am going to talk to her about how spooky he is acting. I know dogs can start to act spooky with TBDs. We'll see if the vet has any other thoughts.

If we can not get to the bottom of it with conventional medicine I think I will make an initial appointment for him with Dr. F., the homeopathic vet.

The great news is that Bug worked very hard, for a long time, and....he was not stiff afterward. Hallelujah!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


"Advice is what we ask for when we know the answer but wish we didn't." - Unknown

I read this quote today and it immediately, and deeply, resonated with me.

It made me think of all the times Ike has told me something that I then sought confirmation from someone else to intellectually and/or emotionally validate.

I wish I had seen this quote earlier in our relationship. I think it would have saved me some hemming and hawing; perhaps not though. It has taken me a long time to learn to listen to myself, to stop the voice in my head that analyzes everything to death and go with what my gut and my dog says is right.

I have done the same thing with Bug – about different issues. I knew he wasn’t ready to go back to work and I kept asking with great reservations. Thinking about it now, it wasn’t really when PT told me that he could go back to work that I chose to start herding lessons back up – it was when Bug told me.

I think I am starting to live this lesson.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday BUG!

Happy Holidays from the Blue Boy!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sheep Game!!

For those of you who want to practice herding and have no access to sheep. Check out this game!

Monday, December 6, 2010

All the Way from Cali...

Cardi Claus has arrived! There was a package on my stoop with a lovely calligraphy address label. The boys and I could not wait to open it.

I opened the package and what should I find, but a lovely note from Melissa, Darby & Pumpkin and all sorts of goodies for human and canine!

The boyz could NOT wait to get their little paws on the mini water bottle crunchers!

I have to say Ike has an odd relationship with toys. Usually he will do the terrier neck breaker and then trot off to bed with the toy in question, make a nest with the toy in his mouth, and go to sleep. Not with this toy. He ran off with it and proceeded to chew and chew on it! And Bug, well, I can STILL hear the bottle crunching in the other room! I think the boys agree these toys are winners.

They caught a whiff of the Natural Balance rolls, but I think I will save those for training. I don't know about your dogs, but mine think those are pretty high value.

It is supposed to be very cold this week so the new hat is just in time (especially because I have only managed to find my mittens and not my scarves and hats)! It smells lovely, a bit like lavender, and I am sure it will be very warm tomorrow morning on our walk!

I haven't read the book (The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog) and look forward to any book that includes dogs! :) Perhaps I will read it with a fire going by my christmas tree. With hot cocoa! Doesn't that sound perfect?

Melissa, Darby, and Pumpkin - thank you for a lovely package!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Good Sign

I watched the Bug like a hawk last night....and other than being EXHAUSTED he was in good shape! No signs of stiffness and he readily hopped up on the couch, etc. I know I will need to continue to be vigilant with his stretching and making sure we rest adequately and do not overwork. However, for the first time in a long time I am feeling the optimism his physical therapist and chiro feel!

I spoke to our chiro earlier this week and she agreed it would be smart to incorporate a proactive approach that a blog friend had mentioned. I proactively gave Bug arnica Tuesday through Thursday and Traumeel Friday, Saturday, today. I plan on switching and continuing the arnica for a few days this week.

As with all things it is hard to say if it is necessary or if he'd be fine given all the time and money we have spent rehabbing. I feel like erring on the side of caution. It's not as though arnica or Traumeel are expensive and there are certainly no ill-health effects.

I think it is too early to be as excited as I feel. I don't want to assume Bug is 100% and then be sorely disappointed, BUT I really am feeling optimistic! We have scheduled another lesson for the 18th and dog gods willing will be herding all winter!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


After almost exactly a year off (I think our last lesson last year was late December - injury occurred in January) Bug and I had a herding lesson.

I felt so much anxiety as I was warming Bug up. I got to D's early so I could walk, jog, and stretch him. I was anxious about how rusty I would be and whether Bug would be stiff after the lesson or not.

We worked on flanking and some small outruns. We had previously done A LOT of fetching and we worked a bit on that today. The sheep were very light and Bug needed to give them more space then he was used to in order for them not to run me over. That didn't go so hot, nor did our driving.

The biggest thing I noticed is that I fell back into my very early habit of watching my dog and not my stock. Oh, bad handler. Given it was a somewhat easy habit to break previously I hope it will be again! Bug was MUCH better about stopping and downing than he was a year ago. We have worked a lot on that and his down has gotten pretty snappy.

He was VERY sensitive to the rake. He has always been sensitive to the rake, but if you didn't know better you would think I have been beating him with it in my spare time. We switched to the stock stick fairly early.

D said a lot has changed in the way she is teaching things and I am really curious how. What I appreciate about D and continue to appreciate is how she adjusts for each dog. She is very cognizant of what they need.

Depending on how Bug feels tonight we will either continue working sheep or switch to ducks. We will likely be working ducks this winter anyway. D has a new indoor arena that she has access to so we can train all winter!! I am so excited because usually our last lesson would be at the end of December and we wouldn't get back on sheep until around early April - depending on the weather, lambing, etc.

The weather was perfect - cold, but sunny. Bug was so happy - you could see it in his carriage. I was rusty, but it went better than I expected. The only downer is the sheep did knock me about a bit so hopefully they didn't knock me out of alignment. One year they knocked me out of alignment every week!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I like my dogs kept skinny. Not quite as skinny as some people, but none-the-less I like to feel ribs.

My mother constantly refers to my dogs as bony – she says we are all bony (truth in jest). Oh well, her opinion. :) The vet always calls vet techs in to see Ike and Bug – to see what dogs *should* look like (their opinion - I obviously agree!). The physical therapist think Bug looks like a corgi should – if they are meant to last.

I feel comfortable about my dogs being skinny, but it does make some people uncomfortable. A lot of people are used to dogs being pleasantly plump and that is what they visually and tactilely prefer.

Recently we had friends up for the weekend. The wife asked if Bug had previously broken his rib or done something to make it feel it feel the way it does. Huh? Those are his ribs! I guess maybe she never felt a skinny dog before? I thought it was pretty funny.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cardi Claus... leaving Wrentham!

Estimated arrival 12/03!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bug Helped Pack

Thanksgiving, Games, the Cluster

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We did! Pups were happy to be gifted with small pieces of turkey and humans were happy to indulge.

We had five dogs for Thanksgiving: Ike, Bug, Nellie (my mum's dog), Carmie, and Joey. They took their job of watch dogs very seriously!

All five dogs tried the Magic game. Ike loves it but thinks it is old hat at this point. We need to purchase the next game up or borrow Katrin's. Bug FINALLY figured it all out!! Yay, Bug!! It took about 5 - 6 times before the light switch flipped. I am very curious as to how that will transfer to a new game with different challenges. 

Joey and Carmie were very stumped by it, but Nellie surprised us all. Nellie is a very nervous dog, she was not socialized properly and it sounds like she basically came from a puppy mill. My mother rescued her via CraigsList from a well meaning, but inept (dog-savvy-wise), family. She has come a great distance and she is fairly comfortable at my in-law's house (where we had Thanksgiving). In addition at some point in Nellie's life someone obviously used food to catch her - she is incredibly leery of her food dish and where people are 5 years later.

None-the-less I asked her to try and play this game in a small room crammed with people and -

She rocked the game!! she used her nose, her paws, and her teeth to remove the bones. Other than Ike she is the fastest dog I have seen play the game. I was really happy that she had enough confidence to try the game and that she was so successful. We decided it must be the poodle in her! ; )

Saturday Katrin and I went to the Cluster to watch the Cardis and shop. Bug's littermate Star was WB for a 4 point major! She looked lovely. It's funny because she is such a peanut compared to Bug and Luther.

We also go to meet Teri in person and see baby Brees. Oh my goodness, what a nice dog he is.

We found some great deals on treats. This year in addition to the Bravo! booth there was an Oma's booth and a Victory Raw Food booth; both of which are local raw suppliers. Other than treats I did not do much shopping, but the dogs can attest I found some great items - smoked pig esophagus anyone?

All in all it was a lovely day of shopping and visiting with dog friends.

Bug has a herding lesson scheduled for the 4th. I will have to see what D's schedule looks like for the rest of December. Now I believe it is time to get the boys back in class and get back to training.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Dog Song

My friend Sandy (with Baxter Black) sent me this cute song today. Enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Now that we live in the “woods” I am finding oh-so-many more ticks on my dogs. Holy cow! It is ridiculous. BugOff Garlic might be putting a dent in them, but over the past two weeks I have found more ticks on my dogs than I have in the entire past year. Yuck!

What is odd/interesting is I am finding deer ticks on Ike (the smaller dog) and dog ticks on Bug (the larger dog).

Over the summer my vet gave me one of the “Ticked Off” tick removers. I just started using it and I am amazed by how well it works. It doesn’t work that well on smaller ticks but it works like a charm on the larger ticks.

Bug can be persnickety about having ticks removed. He thinks it is going to turn into having his nails done or something. With the Ticked Off scoop he is much more relaxed!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's Up?

Moving is a busy time. The boys have settled in. The humans have settled in – even though more than half of our possessions remain unpacked. The birds have settled in – too well. I discovered an egg yesterday. Please tell me how a house that is completely disrupted, colder, and darker equals a good time to start a clutch? The only thing I can think of is that DJ truly is bonded to Larry even though they act like they could care less about each other. During the move I had them in a cage together. That ended as soon as the egg appeared. I guess it is separate quarters forever.

Ike abhors the road we live on (Route 121). It has sidewalk, but the walks are fairly limited (take a right or a left) and the traffic is loud. He especially hates it when it is raining and the cars make more noise and he’s afraid he might get splashed (recall we got DRENCHED by a splash about a month ago during a downpour?). He has very clearly informed me that he thinks the new walks suck. They are boring.

I think his head is out of alignment since he is being so sensitive about the noise. We will all see the chiro on Tuesday. If the adjustment doesn’t help his noise sensitivity I am going to try a D.AP. calming collar. I use a D.A.P. diffuser in the bed room and it really does seem to help my dogs. I know it doesn’t help all dogs, but I notice a significant difference with my two.

On Sunday I attended an all day silent meditation class as part of the mindfulness program I am attending. It was very challenging. On the way home I stopped at Especially for Pets and bought a Nina Ottosson interactive dog toy, “Magic,” with the last of my birthday money.

I was very inspired after seeing Amanda’s post with her four dogs playing with the brick game. I asked Katrin if I could borrow her game, but was worried it might be too advanced to start my guys on since they have never played with one before.

“Magic” is a beginner interactive game. Ike figured it out in less than two minutes. Bug….well, Bug has yet to figure it out. ?? He is so incredibly frustrated by it. We will keep working on it – eventually he will get it. In the mean time I think Ike is ready to try his paw at “Dog Fighter.”

Bug and the “Magic” game reminded me very clearly of the first time I tried to do any shaping with Ike and how difficult it was for him. He stoically sat waiting for me to explain or tell him what I wanted. While Bug has done some shaping – and in fact most of his basic commands have been taught via shaping – when confused/thwarted/frustrated he downs. This is the first behavior I shaped with him and we use it a lot in herding. We have a lot of work to do there.

Bug was also a bit of a snot rocket the first time Ike and I played with the game. He was better subsequently, but it reminded me we need to work on our Crate Games.

Bug had PT on Tuesday and C said she thinks he is ready for herding! As soon as I confirm our weekend plans over the next few weeks I will be scheduling a lesson. I also need to get Ike back into agility classes but things are still a bit too crazy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

EPI Awareness Update

Thank you anyone who took the time to vote!

"Recognize EPI & Identify the Genes" came in #3 out of the top 10 to win the $5,000 Pepsi "EPI" Challenge .

This funding will also allow for further EPI genetic marker(s) testing.... hopefully giving us some indication of what genes might be responsible for EPI.

The breakdown for the $5,000 is as follows:

$4,000 goes directly to Dr. Leigh Anne Clark for EPI Genetic Testing Research (goal is to identify the genetic markers for this condition)

$1,000 goes to the EPI AWARENESS project to produce and distribute via volunteers (to vets offices across the country) EPI materials to better inform the veterinarian community about EPI.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

too tired to blog much

We closed on Wednesday. The closing took less than an hour and was significantly less expensive than we were quoted. Yay! We moved on Thursday. My house is a shambles. Boxes, boxes everywhere.

The house was owned by an 80 yo woman so while it was immaculate there are lots of little things that need more-or-less immediate attention followed by larger cosmetic changes when we have extra money (i.e. not for a while). The house was custom built in 1973 and other than painting her bedroom everything is original! :)

Today I had to replace one of the exterior knobs and locks because the door knob fell off and was beyond repair!

The boys are settling in. Bug is a VERY affectionate dog and he was quite stand-offish for a few days. Yesterday he started acting like himself. Ike is not overtly affectionate and he has been very needy and affectionate! Go figure.

I will have to take a picture of the road I live on in addition to the house. It is beautiful. I am excited and happy about our new adventure. I will say living in the country means LOTS of ticks!

Oh, and I am exhausted.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

vewy vewy quiet

Things are not quiet at my house actually – there is more noise and cursing than usual at my house. We are in the process of moving. The septic was completed and approved by the Board of Health yesterday. The closing will be scheduled for Friday or Monday. Yahoo! The move will follow immediately.

Packing and planning has been fairly all-consuming. Ike has continued to recover from the latest bout of Lyme. It has been a fun experience in watching homeopathy cause symptoms to rewind. We had some GI upset followed by some pimple like bumps (curative eruptions as Dr. F likes to call them) that wept, scabbed over, and healed. Once we move I will re-enroll him in agility classes. He is ready to go back to work given he has jumped the 32” baby gate three times in the past week and a half.

We have been doing more off-leash hiking which gives me an opportunity to work on recalls and build Bug up. I have discovered that his recall is pretty good unless there is a liver flat coated retriever involved. If there is a FCR involved Bug’s brain disappears and all that matters is chasing the flat-coat.

I found that Bug can do a half-hour hike chasing critters and running like a maniac but not an hour hike chasing critters and running like a maniac after a FCR. He was sore after the hour hike which made me very sad and caused me to question everything. I will say even though he LITERALLY got stuck in the mud (how funny is that although I think it contributed significantly to the soreness) he did NOT lose his pelvis…which….is pretty damn amazing for a short, long-backed dog.

I spoke with Bug’s physical therapist and she suggested a once a month visit – especially during the winter months. She said she finds between ice and snow long-backed dogs often hurt or strain themselves during the winter.

Once the move is complete I am looking forward to starting Bug back herding. We will see how he does physically with that and then we’ll think about agility classes!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

EPI Research

EPI, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, is the inability of the pancreas to manufacture and secrete the necessary enzymes required by the body to digest food. Dogs literally starve even though they are eating. Although it is a treat-able condition it is often misdiagnosed initially.

My friend Ann's service dog Partner (LR) was diagnosed with EPI. Someone I know via agility has a young EPI Border Collie. Both dogs are leading full and happy lives – since their diagnosis.

Please vote (daily) to help fund research to identify the genes that cause EPI:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Puppy Video

I suggest turning down the volume. I tried to use a FlipShare song and don't particularly care for it! :)


Yesterday Katrin and I travelled to NY to visit with Holly, Leonard, and the Visions corgis and PUPPIES!! The litter was 8 weeks old on Thursday and will be going to the forever homes soon.

Etta investigating the squirrel

 Etta investigating the FitPaws

 Brees on the FitPaws

 Chief on the FitPaws

Ann and Etta 

Ann (I think) and the squirrel 

Ben and Ann 



 Chief and Ben after a long day

 Brees, Ann, Etta - crashed

Me and Ben - I wanted to dognap him.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rascally Ike

Last night I was getting ready for bed and couldn't find Ike in any of his typical haunts.

We searched the entire house including the attic and the mud room (even though Ike doesn't have opposable thumbs and couldn't get in either of those locations alone). We offered cookies. No Ike.

Hmmmmm...finally John suggested checking under our bed which has a clearance of maybe 6". Ike has NEVER-EVER gone there - why would he? He would have to commando crawl under it.

Well, there he was! One of his new favorite places to sleep is under the daybed, but due to packing for the move access is blocked. He must have thought under our bed would be similar; I think he likes being behind the dust ruffle. :) I think he crawled under there to have some alone time and got stuck; he was captured in a corner between a sweater box, the ex-pen bed barricade and the wall!

Thank doG he was okay. Perhaps it was birthday prank. I had a real moment of panic because I couldn't find him anywhere and he turned down the offer of cookies! Very un-Ike-like!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Yesterday Ike turned 8. I forgot it was his birthday until today. Not to worry - he will get the birthday boy treatment tonight. :) It is hard to believe 8 years have passed since he came home with us. As the first dog that is purely my own - he has taught me so much.

Here are some young Ike photos, including my favorite and only puppy picture.

January 2003

 January 2004

 May 2005


Agility "for Fun" at the Shelter - 2006

Monday, September 27, 2010

Recalls and x-pens

Yesterday I practiced restrained recalls with the boys in my in-laws' back yard. They have a very large back yard, BUT it is on a main street. Scary! There are lots of distractions and it has the potential to be dangerous. I am looking forward to being able to practice (safely) in the woods behind my new house. 

Ike was a joy to watch run the length of the yard. He is not an economical mover. He leaps and prances, but the joy is plain to see. He loves to work - no matter what we are doing.

Bug is a little torpedo....when he is coming to me. It quickly became very apparent we need to build value in John. Bug was not 100% convinced he needed to "come" to John. Bug did some sight seeing and squirrel chasing when it was John's turn. We will definitely be working on this some more.

And voilĂ  ....the x-penned bed. Ike has already hopped it going up, not down. Bug hasn't yet - he has been very respectful of the x-pens. I hope that trend continues!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Remedy Kit

With Ike being ill the past month I have had need for some more unusual (to me) remedies. Ars. Album is a stand-by for me - I bring it, Arnica, and Traumeel with me whenever I trial. Belladonna? Thuja? Not so much.

Dr. F recommended I get an Emergency Remedy Kit to have the staples on hand. It arrived earlier this week. It is so cute! It is smaller than the length of my hand and I have small hands!

If anyone is interested you can purchase one at

Friday, September 24, 2010

x-pens! a new trend in home decor

My bed is now surrounded by x-pens. The corgi loves to use his stairs to get up on the bed, but not so much to get off the bed. He refuses to understand that hopping off the bed is the really dangerous part.

Compression of the spine and all...

We have purchased a new bed that is lower, but we are waiting to set it up until we are in the new home.

Last night we had a discussion. I told him his options: X-pens around the bed forcing him to use the stairs and only the stairs; or all-crate-all-the-time when in the bedroom.

Corgi and husband both cannot bear the thought of lost corgi-in-bed privileges so we are trying the x-pens.

The Schnauz HATES it. Of course, he hates change so that makes sense.

Even though the Boo agrees x-pens are a better option than a crate he finds them very annoying. He feels they severely inhibit quick exits from the bed for exciting events, like when John decides to have a late night snack.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Not All Owners Are Created Equal

Poor Lily. I have mentioned her before. She is the wheaten terrier with an invisible fence on the busiest street in my town. Since the installation of the invisible fence about four years ago she has become increasingly dog reactive. She charges the fence line teeth flashing and snapping and then gets zapped by her collar (and yips - so I do know for a fact she is getting zapped). She reacts to dogs in cars driving by and across the street.

I will no longer walk downtown in the afternoon because I know she will be out in the yard and dive bomb us. The poor dog is out, alone, almost all the time. I can count the times I have seen her with humans and it doesn’t take more than two hands.

Earlier this week John came home and said, “I think they gave Lily a lobotomy.” My response was, “What on earth are you talking about?” “She didn’t dive bomb us.” The full implications of this didn’t sink in.

Last night John and I took the boys for a late night walk downtown. Lily was out in her yard. I got to see firsthand what John was talking about. Instead of dive bombing us, she moved away from the sidewalk and slunk down in a submissive posture. My heart BROKE.

Since the owners have done ZERO training with this dog the entire time they have owned her – ZERO – I am left making the assumption she was attacked by another dog due to her fence fighting. It left me emotionally quaking and muttering about *&%$! @ssholes who should not be allowed to own any sort of animal.

I was praying she would be inside when we returned, but of course she was still out. NO animal should be turned into the fearful submissive mess I saw last night. I know it happens all the time, but to watch it happen and have zero recourse because TECHNICALLY they are not abusing her, well there are no words for it. It sucks. It breaks your heart. It makes you, or at least me, want to break things.

I know some dogs can be very successful on invisible fences. There is another dog on an invisible fence on one of our walks and the dog is chill as can be. He just sits and watches when he is out, which is not very often. His owners do not use the invisible fence as an excuse not to walk and socialize their dog. I see him out and about with his owners often.

There is no good ending for this post. A good ending would involve dog-napping Lily and placing her with a family that cared an iota about her mental health. Having watched what has happened to Lily I cannot say I think invisible fences are a good thing. In fact I believe a significant amount of thought should be put into the merits of installing an invisible fence and I do not believe most people do that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Good News

The vet visit on Monday was a success. Ike’s blood work came back normal. His GGT (a liver value) is slightly elevated at 8 vs. falling in the range of 1 – 7, but that is it. I will talk to Dr. F about it today. Dr. M wasn’t concerned given he has recently been on antibiotics and that could impact it.

I spoke to the vet about the unpleasantness requesting blood work and she said in the future to just ask one of the vets to call me back.

By the time his Monday vet visit rolled around Bug was no longer limping!! Dr. M went over him very thoroughly and said that perhaps he had a knot in his triceps brachii muscle. She could not detect any sensitivity, his range of motion was excellent, etc. I told Dr. M that when Cheryl adjusted him I did see the muscles in his triceps visibly release – so perhaps that is what it was. Who knows. Dr. M did give me 5 Deramaxx to have on hand in case something happens over the weekend in the future.

I almost forgot some additional good news…..Bug now weighs 31.7 pounds!! As soon as the move is complete and we are settled it is safe to start playing again!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Maybe Bug is trying to give me a nervous breakdown? : )

The limp does not look as bad today. Yesterday we saw the chiro. Cheryl could only discern that his tricep and behind his shoulder blade were tight - other than that he was totally in alignment. She thought he might have a slight sprain. She did a tune up and you could see the muscle in his shoulder release.

I spoke to the vet and she recommended ice and NSAIDS. Since I do not have NSAIDS for pups on hand we are doing Traumeel (which I am more comfy with anyway). Vet appointment tomorrow for both the boys!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Laugh or Cry

Ike appears to be on the mend. This morning Bug is limping.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Terrible Week

This week has been the week from hell. The only thing that could have made it worse was a death or serious injury. I am not sure if I am kidding.

Monday I was in a car accident driving to work. It was my fault – I was not present for an instant and rear-ended someone in stop-and-go traffic. Yes, I am an idiot and should perhaps no longer drive!

Then we discovered the septic plan for the house we are supposed to close on, on 9/24, has YET to be approved (install was supposed to begin 9/10). The lawyer suggested we need a reality check and thinks our closing is more likely going to be 10/24. We have told our landlord we are moving 10/16-17 – we have scheduled the movers. Our mortgage rate is only locked in until 10/8. We don’t know where the lawyer is getting her info – our realtor directly contradicts it. We started the process of a rate extension if necessary. People keep (helpfully) telling me home buying ranks up there as one of the most stressful things in life – it’s up there with weddings. Thanks, I’ve figured that out!

Tuesday I came home to vomit in the bedroom. Hmmm…I wonder… who did that? It was a small amount of yellow bile and green beans. Took the boys for a walk – about a quarter of the way through the walk Ike stops and starts straining followed by projectile liquid diarrhea. Immediately followed by vomiting up some white foam and the three mini zukes I had given him. Drat! Continue on the walk, more straining and diarrhea.

About three quarters of the way through the walk Ike starts acting very odd. He is on someone’s overgrown yard. He has his nose deep in the grass, walking back and forth, back and forth. Then he gently lies down. What? Pick him up and carry him home. Page Dr. F.

Dr. F prescribes Arsenicum album (Arsen. alb.). Dr. F feels this is a good sign. Homeopathic remedies work much like peeling an onion. After the initial remedy you often see older symptom that then requires a different remedy. Dr. F feels this is the resolution of the Lyme and what Ike has been going through for the past few weeks.

Tuesday night Ike has us up in the middle of the night for a walk. He stays with the in-laws during the day and I leave instructions on how to dose him with the homeopathic remedy.

Wednesday night we are up twice to take him out. I give Dr. F some additional details about Ike’s energy and symptoms in the a.m. and he has me pick up Thuja occidentalis (Thuja Occ.).

Finally Ike’s stomach seems to be settling down. We still have audible gas and “d” but we made it through the night without needing an emergency trip out. No vomiting since Tuesday.

Tuesday and Wednesday felt like far longer than 48 hours. The entire time I was worried sick I was making the wrong decision for my dog. I know if I go to the vet all that will happen is they might do an x-ray to rule out an obstruction and they’ll prescribe flagyl and give him fluids. Yet my anxiety is through the roof. I know homeopathy works, but it the midst of worrying about my dog I doubt so hard core. I guess homeopathy isn’t for the faint of heart. You need a rock-solid practitioner you T-R-U-S-T and even then I find it nerve-wracking.

Yesterday I called the vet’s office to see if I can move Ike’s blood panel from a vet visit early next week to a tech visit this week so the results will be there when the vet returns from vacation. I am told a “patient cannot request blood work.” Huh? I have requested all sorts of stuff at my previous vet’s office. I was so angry I cried after the phone call. I plan on talking to the vet’s other half today who handles a lot of HR like aspects – this is the second incident I have had with this receptionist. I like the vet practice – it is more integrative and progressive. You are $$paying$$ for it and since that is the case I don’t feel like yesterday’s conversation was a good sign. With my old vet everything was a battle, but at least he trusted my judgment and would do blood work when I requested it. Granted this isn’t the vet not trusting me – it is the receptionist/tech (not sure if she is a tech or not).

Today is Friday. I am so relieved. The week is over – finally. This weekend I have a board meeting for my agility club and will be packing. Hopefully dogs will be healthy and I can give Bug some much needed attention. He knows Ike has been under the weather and has been such a good boy. I do think I should buy some lottery tickets – I feel like I am due some good luck!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mindful Romp and Ikey P Update

Yesterday morning Bug and I joined Katrin and James at our second Mindful Romp. We were the only students! Talk about lucky - we had a private yoga lesson with our pooches and the weather was gorgeous!

I really, really like the instructor - and not just because she is a dog lover. She is an excellent "teacher." I commented that I really appreciate the constructive criticism she gives on our postures and the information about why it is important to do the postures correctly. She replied that she is a "teacher" and that there is a difference between "leading a class" and "teaching a class." I could not agree more.

I have attended a few different yoga classes throughout my life, begining in high school. I had one really good teacher, similar to Roz (teacher of Mindful Romp), and then a bunch of people who just led large classes. You see it in canine training classes, too; some trainers are excellent teachers and others just lead the class.

We will be moving on the date of the next Mindful Romp so we won't be able to attend, but I will definitely attend any future classes she holds. In fact, once the move is complete I think I will try to join one of her classes for "just humans."

Bug came home from yoga and proceeded to take a deep nap. It's funny how tiring he finds it even though he does very little during the class! I know it is still a stimulating environment for him and his "mum' is repeating odd postures!

On the Ike front, once I switched him to the homeopathic remedy I saw a huge improvement in his overall behavior within 24 hours. He has continued to have more energy and his appetite has returned with a vengeance!

We will touch base with Dr. F on Wednesday and refine how we will continue going forward. I am so relieved. I wish I hadn't waited so long to switch to the homeopathic remedy, but it was a hard decision. I will be very curious to see what his C6 levels are in 6 months. I have no doubt they will have dropped even further.

Now the question I bring him to class on Tuesday? He has a lot more energy and is acting much more like his normal self. However, he is still licking his left foreleg and right rear foot slightly. The left foreleg is the leg he was non-weight bearing on and the right rear leg is the leg Dr. M thought he was stiff in. The licking indicates he might still be feeling some pain (esp. since he is only licking the two legs he showed pain in during the acute onset) which causes me to lean toward skipping class again. I will see what he (Ike) thinks tomorrow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mindful Romp 2 Tomorrow

Tomorrow Bug and I will attend the Mindful Romp with Katrin and James. I am really looking forward to it. Here's a picture from the first Mindful Romp. I hope the weather is just as nice!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Ike played with Bug today when I got home. This is the first time he's run around like a maniac since he came up lame (2 weeks ago). Hooray!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Not a great quality photo - it is from John's phone - but a darling photo! If I do say so myself. :)

good news, perhaps?

I spoke with DR. F yesterday (CVH). I now understand his resistance to the acupuncture better. Although he personally feels you shouldn’t do the two modalities at once it is not that they cannot work together. He is afraid it would muddy the water; we would be unsure of whether improvements should be attributed to the acupuncture or the remedy. Yes, that makes perfect sense.

We decided to take Ike off the doxy; he has been on it a total of 12 days. He has been miserable-miserable-miserable. Antibiotics can impact how well a remedy works. At this point I just don’t feel like traditional meds are the way to go. The poor dog’s C6 levels have DROPPED, for goodness sake.

Dr. F feels Ike’s decision not to eat on occasion and refusal of treats and Nu-Pet chews (which he previously saw as a treat) is indicative of an appetite issue and an important thing to track.

When I last did any “training” with Ike (8/31 – I only brought him out to humor him because I was working Bug) – he quit after 5 minutes and wanted to go inside. That was unusual. Dr. F asked me to work with him yesterday before re-dosing him with the belladonna to get an idea of his current energy level.

Ike would not finish his meal last night, nor did he want the Nu-Pet Chews (again, I cannot stress how unusual this is for Ike). He was, however, more than happy to work as long as I wanted to work.

I did not give him his evening doxy and dosed him with the belladonna after working. This morning I dosed him again with the belladonna before our walk, per Dr. F. Interestingly he gobbled up the Nu-Pet chews and cleaned his plate. Could be the lack of doxy, could be the remedy. I know I was on strong antibiotics a few months ago for a staph infection – the stomach issues lingered after finishing the antibiotics. Of course, I am not a canine so it might be different.

For now we are going to see how Ike does with the remedy. Once we see where he is and whether he is making improvement we will either tweak the remedy choice or start the LD Support. I also scheduled a vet visit to do a SuperChem.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Something I Liked

Since the CU class was not the best fit for me and Bug I feel like I wasn't that positive in writing about the experience. So, here is something I did like about the class.

At the start of each class S, the trainer, reminded us to think about how our dog had spent their day, how much exercise or lack of exercise they had, and to be mindful of how these things would impact their behavior and attention at class.

This is a very simple thing, but I think it is important and often overlooked.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lyme Disease Webinar

I just listened and watched a Lyme Disease webinar called "Lyme Disease: Natural Effective Results, Integrative Method" featuring Lee Herzig, DVM (runs a holistic clinic in Belfast, ME) and hosted by Geoff D'Arcy Lic. Ac. DOM. I found it interesting and it is definitely worth listening/watching if you or your dog has tested positive.

A few interesting facts:

Evidence of Lyme Disease has been found preserved in fox dna from 1884 (in Europe). It has also been found in mice preserved (in the U.S.) from 1894. One reason Lyme might be more prevalent now is because the deer population is not being culled to the same extent it was previously.

50% - 90% of asymptomatic dogs will test positive for Lyme.

Dr. Herzig has heard of, or noted (?), relapses around the full moon. My initial thought was "weird!/really?" Then I checked the calendar - there was a full moon on 8/24. Ike woke up unable to walk on 8/25.

Dr. Herzig does not carry the Lyme vaccine at his clinic, nor does he recommend it. He has treated 2 patients that travelled to his clinic after receiving the Lyme vaccine and subsequently died. He has treated multiple patients for neurological symptoms after receiving the Lyme vaccine.

D'Arcy believes in using andrographis paniculata, a natural anti-viral. At a low dose A.P. helps to modulate the immune response; at a high dose it can kill off the parasite. There is a belief that Lyme might spike 3 or 4 days a month. Having your dog on a dose of A.P. will ensure Lyme is unable to get a foothold. (This is one of the ingredients of LD Support.)

Very interesting stuff!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Oh Ike

Friday when I got home to walk Ike he seemed like he was extra pokey and was moving gingerly. I called Dr. F and left a message - then we went to Ike's first acupuncture appointment.

Surprisingly it went really well. Dr. M feels Ike has slow spleen qi and his yang pulse is faster than his yin. She said this is not uncommon with people and dogs who are on antibiotics. While Ike never could fully relax he stood very patiently while Dr. M worked on him. She showed me how to do a type of massage similar to myofascia massage that works on the digestive points. You start by gathering a roll of skin right over the base of the tail. You slowly roll the skin forward up to the withers. Then you use a long stroke to release it. Do this three times. She said given Ike has had so much digestive upset I should do this 2 or 3 times a day. When I did it yesterday he immediately burped afterward! Success!

Unfortunately Dr. F informed me that acupuncture and homeopathy do not work well together. I thought I had told him I made this appointment for Ike, but obviously I only thought it and did not actually tell him. He told me to hold off cancelling Ike's 2nd appointment until we see how he does, but in general the two modalities do not work together. This is apparently because both modalities are working at the energetic level.

Ike seemed perkier on Friday evening, but by Saturday morning he was again curled up in a ball feeling like crap. The doxy is wreaking havoc on his poor belly. Dr. F had me re-dose with the belladonna.

Ike does not seem to want to eat certain things. I don't know if this is because he is nauseous or because his jaw/teeth hurt. I checked his teeth and gums and did not see anything that jumped out at me. He ate his duck necks no problem but didn't want his Nu-Pet chews until I broke them into smaller pieces.

We went to visit my mother yesterday and Ike seemed like he felt better than he had. He didn't ask to go home once, so we will see.

I am going to call the vet's office on Tuesday and schedule a CBC and have her look st his mouth and I am talking to the CVH about taking Ike off the doxy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

CU, Week #6

Last night was our last CU class. We missed class last week due to Ike’s health issues.

This week we started class by doing some passive attention followed by practicing our Emergency Protocol. I practiced smooshing Bug up against a wall as my homework. I decided to go with this because in a confined space situation that has been what I have actually done in the past. I think I will train an alternate behavior for street walking. I am not sure what though. Having Bug go behind me would still allow him to see what is happening and could make him feel more secure. At the same time, asking him to do something like a very tight front could tone everything down because there wouldn’t be any eye contact between dogs.

S had set up obedience gating down the center of the room. We brought our dog toward the gating and then did their emergency behavior. Then we asked for it as we returned to where we were seated. The final time we practiced S had us start to walk out and then she said “Oops! You see breed X (insert breed that will trigger your dog). Quick! back to your space and do the emergency protocol.”

While the other dogs were practicing their Emergency Protocol S had us practice Look at That! S suggested I lengthen the amount of time Bug gets to “Look” before clicking and treating because he definitely understands the game and is on the lower end of his threshold.

Next we worked Gimme A Break. We counted out 10 treats and asked our dog for a behavior multiple times over a period of 5 seconds using all 10 treats to reward. At first I was flustered because no way could I get Bug to do multiple sits in 5 seconds. Then I realized I could use hand touches or whatever behavior I wanted. D’oh! After the 5 seconds were up we gave a dismissal cue, sat down and our dog took a break for up to a minute while we sat. At the end of break time – restart play/training. We kept it short and used a HIGH rate of reinforcement. If your dog reorients to you before break time is over (which Bug did consistently) you were to reward by starting training/play and high reinforcement again.

Then we did some Mat Racing. This week the mats were much further away from us and there was a dog and handler team on each side of the obedience gating. The first time you walked quickly with your dog to the mat and asked for a default behavior. The second time you ran to the mat and asked for a default behavior. I was so impressed with how snappy Bug’s down has gotten. I hope it translates to sheep!

We finished with the Campfire game. We stood in a circle, facing OUT not in, with our dogs in heel position. One at a time a handler and dog walked around the circle rewarding for attention. How close or far you were from the other dogs and handlers was dependent upon your comfort level. We did this a few times and then we reversed so that dogs and handlers were facing inward and a dog/handler team was walked around BEHIND the dogs. The only dog Bug seemed overtly interested in was the Golden. There is something about the sporting breed’s movement that gets him a bit more amped. This Golden is VERY happy, too.

That was it. I did speak to the instructor after class briefly and she was glad I had e-mailed, etc. Or at least she said she was. She didn’t treat me any differently in class which was a relief and is a testament to her professionalism. I picked up lots of little tricks and things to think about in this class, but I overall I don’t think it was the right class for me and Bug. Would it be the right class for me with a dog in a different place – sure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I have a call/e-mail into the CVH. Ike vomited again on Tuesday night. He just doesn't seem to be tolerating the doxy well. I want to know exactly what we'd be doing if we went the pure homeopathic route, because that is what I am leaning toward.

Today I found a very interesting article about Samento. Samento is a form of Cats Claw (frequently recommended to treat viral infections). I have heard Samento mentioned on the Tick-L list before - one individual is a big proponent of its use in treating Lyme. The article is definitely worth reading if you or your dog have been Lyme+.

In Vitro Effectiveness of Samento and Banderol Herbal Extracts on the Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi

"In this study, two herbal extracts, Samento and Banderol, as well as doxycycline (one of the primary antibiotics for Lyme disease treatment) were tested for their in vitro effectiveness on several of the different morphological forms of B. burgdorferi (spirochetes, round bodies, and biofilmlike colonies) using fluorescent, darkfield microscopic, and BacLight viability staining methods. Our results demonstrated that both herbal agents, but not doxycycline, had very significant effects on all forms of B. burgdorferi, especially when used in combination, suggesting that herbal agents could provide an effective therapeutic approach for Lyme disease patients......

.......For example, some of the recent reports on animal experiments demonstrated that although pharma­ceutical antibiotics are effective in ameliorating disease, the infection may persist even after seemingly effective therapy, which suggested that Borrelia may remain viable even after antibiotic administration.14-15 If those pharmaceutical antibiotics only eliminate one form of this bacterium, the other forms could be the source of the persistent disease."


14. Bockenstedt LK, Mao J, Hodzic E, et al. Detection of attenuated, noninfectious spirochetes in Borrelia burgdorferi-infected mice after antibiotic treatment. J Infect Dis. 2002; 186:1430–1437.

15. Barthold SW, Hodzic E, Imai DM, Feng S, Yang X, Luft BJ. Ineffectiveness of tigecycline against persistent Borrelia burgdorferi. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Feb;54(2):643–651.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Yesterday I spoke with the CVH (Dr. F) and got Ikey’s test results from Dr. M.

I spoke with the Dr. F on my lunch hour, before I got the C6 and RMSF results. Dr. F was really curious why I am treating with doxy when not only is Ike not tolerating the doxy as well as he has in the past, but the Lyme has reoccurred with more acute symptoms. Um….because I am scared not to? That’s the truth. As much of a miracle as homeopathy was/is for Ike’s GI, when your dog wakes up unable to walk it is hard (at least for me) to call the CVH first and not the traditional vet.

However, after speaking with Dr. F I am really torn about the right direction to take. Homeopathy did what allopathic medicine could not do for Ike. Ike, like his human, has a very sensitive system. I am not convinced the doxy is working, really working. I know it is beating the symptoms into submission.

Dr. F prescribed Belladonna (30c) and immune support – not boosting – supplements. We agreed that once Ike finishes the doxy we will treat the Lyme. Dr. F recommended LD-Support from D’Arcy Naturals. (This is the supplement Bug is currently on.)

I spoke to Dr. M in the late afternoon. Ike tested negative for RMSF. His C6 came back at 80. I am just plain puzzled. In December it was 254. In early July it was 108 (57% drop – not 73% as I stated in an earlier blog post). Now it is 80. It is continuing to drop and yet Ike is experiencing his most acute symptoms to date. Dr. M said that it could be he is just experiencing a flare-up or he could be reinfected and if we had done the C6 3 or 4 weeks from now his titer would be significantly higher.


After talking to Dr. F I was really questioning the decision to treat with doxy. Now that I know Ike’s titer is actually LOWER I truly feel as though we are just treating the symptoms not the disease. That is not the direction I want to take. I have some serious thinking to do.

Ike has chiro tonight and acupuncture on Friday.

I will say that after dosing with the Belladona last night Ike was the perkiest (not a word you commonly associate with Ike!) he has been since this started. We saw one of his favorite Standard Schnauzers, Kody, this am and Ike was positively gleeful. Then he busted in on John while he was in the bathroom. These are happy, healthy Ike behaviors.

We did also have some Totally Bizarr-o Ike behavior this morning. I remembered to add milk thistle to Ike’s breakfast today. It is the same supplement I have used in the past. Ike wouldn’t touch his food! Never in his life has Ike refused to eat – I am flabbergasted. As I waited him out he did start nibbling on certain pieces and dropping others on the floor!

Does anyone have a milk thistle recommendation that is not powder? Not that I want to be stuffing something else down his throat but I do feel it is an important supplement for liver support when a dog is on doxy. If Ike won’t eat his food with this powder on it, I need to find an alternative. I know you can buy it in liquid form – I just don’t know if that would also be foul tasting/smelling, in Ike’s opinion. Let me know if you have any alternative recommendations. I have sent an e-mail to the CVH and the chiro. I’ll be sure to share their responses.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tummy Thoughts

I was speaking to a coworker this morning about Ike’s tummy. I said I thought it was strange that he was feeling ill when he’s been treated with doxy twice before with no ill effects. She commented that her son had recurrent ear infections and toward the end when he was treated with the antibiotic it would make him sick. He developed a sensitivity to the antibiotic. I wonder if that is what has happened with Ike.

Fortunately no more stomach upset. I am giving the Pepcid AC and feeding hamburger and rice. Test results should be in today and I have a noon phone call with the CVH!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hamburger and Rice

Ike update - he is no longer lame. Hooray!! However, he very obviously still does not feel good. He is hanging out on the futon in our living room curled up in a tight little ball almost all the time.

Friday night he puked up his meal about a half-hour after his dinner. Fortunately my vet's office is open until 7pm on Friday. I called to find out if I should re-dose him with doxy (even though I knew his tummy must be feeling sensitive if he puked). Thankfully they said no. They did suggest I give him 5 mg of Famotidine (active ingredient in Pepcid AC) a half-hour before he eats and then give him the doxy a half-hour after he eats.

I tried this Saturday morning with success - or so I thought. When the vet's office called to check in on him I told them he seemed fine (in terms of the puking). We had a 1:30 chiro appointment and after Ike was adjusted he puked up his undigested breakfast. :-( Cheryl, our chiro, joked that's what happens when you adjust digestive points. We did those points again and were on our way.

Ike was obviously brighter eyed after his chiropractic appointment, but he is just not feeling great. I have decided we will skip agility class on Tuesday. He might feel better by then but I think he needs to feel GOOD for a few days before going to class.

I have an appointment with the CVH on Monday and I have scheduled two acupuncture appointments for Ike with Buggie's acupuncturist, Dr. M. I am hesitant to let this bout of Lyme (if that is all it is - we'll know Monday if he tested positive for RMSF too) go with just doxy. The way Ike presented with such acute lameness makes me very uneasy, combined with the fact that he still doesn't feel good days after starting doxy.

Once he has finishes the doxy I plan on treating the Lyme homeopathically - assuming we can do that. Dr. F gave me an earful about how the doxy is just causing the Lyme to hide deeper - I do personally agree with this, but given the acute lameness and pain he was in I could not in good conscience treat him only homeopathically. I know acupuncture is VERY helpful with both immune related issues and inflammation, since Ike is dealing with both hopefully acupuncture will give his system the boost it needs.

While this isn't life threatening I would appreciate you keeping Ikey P in your thoughts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vet and Chiro for Ike

Last night Ike had his vet appointment and an emergency chiropractor appointment. The techs drew blood for the 4DX Snap test and some extra for a C6 and the RMSF text. Ike tested negative for ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis. He tested positive for Lyme which I expected given his titer was over 100 in July (down from 256 [they suggest treating if it is > 30]). I really pushed them to test for RMSF as well since I knew he would automatically test positive for Lyme.

The vet felt that he was stiff in his right rear hind leg (in additional to the left foreleg) and gave him two days of Deramaxx to help him get over the hump until the doxy is thoroughly in his system.

After the vet we went to visit the chiropractor. Amazingly he had not lost his pelvis. Due to the fact that he was not putting weight on his left foreleg his back and front were a bit out. Once Cheryl adjusted him he moved so much better and became much more bright eyed.

He still has a slight, but noticeable, limp in the front leg, but I hope with the Doxy and Deramaxx that will be gone by the end of today.

We will see the chiropractor again on Saturday and should have our test results by Monday. I am curious what the results will be. Our vet said that she personally feels there are additional TBDs that the scientific community just has not quantified yet.

Thank you for keeping Ike in your thoughts. I appreciate it!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Big Improvement!!

This morning Ike requested to come up in the bed with a bark, i.e. he displayed typical "Ike" behavior (Ike doesn't like to jump up on the bed if Bug is already up there). When I got up he was wagging with only a slight limp and very eager for his walk. One might say he looked perky! Especially if you were comparing it to yesterday's behavior.

He took his 3rd dose of doxy with breakfast and I will call the vet as soon as they open to get in today and have bloodwork done. Although he could very easily just be reinfected with Lyme or having a Lyme flare-up I really want to test for the other TBDs to be safe. I know doxy is still the normal course of action for most if not all TBDs, but I want to know what we are treating for sure.

It is amazing how much more we know about Lyme. I remember when Ike was a 1 year old we had to fight with our very old-school vet to get him to test him for Lyme. In 8 years the awareness of TBDs in dogs has increased dramatically.

I will update after the vet visit, but I feel a lot better just seeing Ike be able to walk more normally. Thank you for all the positive energy and advice. I appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ike Update

the sickie

There has not been a big improvement in Ike from this morning. Ike did not move until I came home, when he greeted me on three legs. He is licking the left paw but I cannot find any abrasion or sign of injury. I think he is licking it purely because it hurts. He is less roach backed.

When I got home we took the boys for a "walk." We carried Ike outside and set him down. He hobbled two steps and stared at us plaintively. John carried him to some of his favorite marking spots and Ike went to the bathroom. The first time he tried to lift his leg he just about fell over. I told him he might have to squat like a girl (or a certain corgi I know).  Ike held his urine from 8:30 p.m. last night until 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. That's insane. I don't think I could hold it that long.

I am praying that there is a big improvement tomorrow morning. Question to anyone who has dealt with extreme lameness as a result of TBD before.... When your vet says there will be a dramatic improvement in 24 hours do they mean the lameness will be gone or should I just expect Ike to be less lame (assuming we are dealing with a TBD)? I know with Bug I definitely saw increased energy and spunky-ness within 12 hours of his first dose of doxy, but I have never had a dog present with such extreme lameness before and I have no idea what to compare it to.


Ike and I had agility class last night. Due to the much needed rain we are getting (day 4 today) it was inside. The course was fairly simple although it did contain an opportunity to practice our nemesis, the rear cross. After almost squishing Ike a few times we got it, although it was choppy.

Ike was slow last night. We were not sure if it was because the rear cross was making him stress or because he had lost his pelvis again when he saw Cheryl Sunday.

This morning when I woke up Ike would not get out of his crate. I thought he was being lazy or could hear the rain and didn't want to go for a walk. I got down on my knees and urged him to get up. He struggled to get up and nearly fell  out of his crate. Once he was out of the crate he was very roach backed and could not put weight on his left front leg. He struggled to move forward. I scooped him up and put him into bed.

My vet office is closed today - the on-call vet turns on the cell phone at 8am. I am going to call another vet's office at 7:30 am and see if I can get an emergency appointment with a vet I have heard good things about just in case my on-call vet can't see us.

I assume TBD (because I do not know what else to think). Ike tested positive for Lyme in December with a titer around 254. However when we did the 6-month retest his titer had dropped by 73% (a drop of 50% is considered successful treatment). I am unsure it is Lyme since he did not present in this fashion previously. I have e-mailed Tick-L (a great TBD list I belong to) to ask what tests I should run (in addition to the C6) - assuming the vet also leans toward TBD.

I do not drink coffee and have had a half-cup of tea this morning - I currently feel like I drank a whole pot of coffee.

UPDATE: I spoke to my vet. She feels pretty confident where Ike was Lyme+ that this is likely either Lyme again or another TBD. She said I could go to the ER vet if I wanted but she would recommend she call in a prescription of doxy and we get him started on that. She said I should give him some baby aspirin today for the muscle aches and someone should stay with him in case there is any change. She recommended I bring him in tomorrow for a full check-up and to run a full tick panel (ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, RMSF).

John is going to stay home with him today and let me know if there are any changes. I am going to run out and pick up the prescription and I will plan on staying home tomorrow to take him to the vet.

Thank you for the positive energy. Poor Ike.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Control Unleashed, Week #4 - Revised

Thursday night Bug and I had our 4th CU class. I think I have a case of high expectations not matching up with reality. I have some issues with the way class was handled on Thursday.

After working on passive attention we started the class by playing the Off-Switch game with our toy. This went on for too long. Bug continued to tug and play with me but by the time is was over I was out of breath and Bug had no further interest in his tug. Not good. Also very bad handler – I should have just stopped and worked on LAT that or something else.

After speaking to the instructor about this via e-mail I think we continue to miscommunicate. She stated that the Off-Switch game should continue for 10-15 seconds before release of the toy and asking for a default. I was saying there was too much time allowed to play this game in general and I wish I had stopped and played something else so as not to wear out my dog.

There hasn’t been any discussion about how to encourage your dog to play/tug or the appropriate location to hold a tug. I was taught to drag it on the floor like a scurrying creature. This really does work well as it gets the prey drive going. I remember being told NOT to shove the tug in your dog’s mouth, which novice tuggers tend to do. This would be useful info to share in the class since not all the dogs are toy driven. There has also has not been any discussion about quitting while your dog is still engaged and removing the tug or toy you are trying to get your dog hyped up about.

After speaking with the instructor about this via e-mail she said she typically does not discuss how to play tug with your dog. She tells people to play with their dogs in whatever way feels comfortable. If someone asks for specifics she will discuss it.

We then played the Off-Switch Game with obstacles. I was VERY uncomfortable with this. There was a pinwheel of three jumps set up, a tire, a table, and a chute with the chute fabric removed. I was particularly upset about the chute tunnel. The expectation was you would do these obstacles on leash. My main issue with that is accidental corrections and dragging a leash through a hard tunnel will make noise that will follow (chase) the dog. Now, for a soft dog or a dog that has had zero exposure to these obstacles this would NOT be a good experience.

I told the instructor I would not do the obstacles on leash – I was not comfortable with that.

First we went out and did an obstacle – then asked for a default behavior. Then we did two obstacles and asked for a default behavior. I chose to do tunnel + jumps. I unleashed Bug and sent him into the tunnel. We hadn’t really made eye contact – he was pretty obstacle focused. Sue asked me to start again and wait until he checked in with me. When Bug and I were trialing I realized we really needed to do that. You should do it with all dogs, but Bug needs it more so than Carmie or Ike. We started again after getting some nice eye contact.

The instructor said this entire class is supposed to be on-leash, in part because of the fact that many of the dogs have not had exposure to agility equipment and because they might be reactive. I guess after I left the MSPCA my trainers have all been very progressive. I don’t think putting dogs over any sort of equipment on leash is a good idea and it is not something I have been asked to do in an agility class. This is my personal opinion and I won’t take part in this part of the class next week on leash.

Of course Bug chose round 2 to chase a fly he had been watching while we were waiting for our turn. We totally lost our connection. He raced to our mat to chase said fly and the handler next to us, with the Great Dane, said “Oh, shit” in the most panicked voice possible. You would have thought Bug was making a bee-line for her dog. Now granted she didn’t necessarily know he wasn’t. However, that kind of reaction from a handler absolutely gives a dog reason to believe they might be right about being worried/reactive, etc. There was no discussion about this. I feel like the instructor could have discussed this in a manner that wasn’t hurtful to the handler and could have been really helpful to the class as a whole. They might have talked about it after class, but I still think it could have been a useful conversation for the class as a whole.

The instructor agrees it would be a useful conversation to have via e-mail or after class.

She had me send Bug to his mat and ask for a default behavior. We did not retry the obstacle or discuss what I should do if that were to happen again. In the Tracy Sklenar seminar I attended earlier this year working on focus issues she had us go and take our dog’s collar and walk them back away from the distraction to where we started and start again. Rinse and repeat if needed. I think that is a better plan of attack.

The instructor said she would have had me start over and lower my criteria.

We did a lot of variations of the Off-Switch game before moving on to Mat Racing. We went to the center of the room and released our dogs (on-leash so we were running with them) to their mats, once there we asked for a default behavior. After doing that successfully we moved our mats to the center of the room so that we were facing other dogs and released our dogs to their mats asking for a default behavior once they got there.

We ended class working on Leave It and were asked to think of a behavior we can ask our dog to do in an emergency situation. “For example, you are in agility class and another dog gets the zoomies. He is heading right for your dog with no intention of stopping. What will you do? Get him behind you so that you can protect him? Send him to his crate with you quickly closing the door and standing in front? Plastering him up against the side of the wall so that you can shield him?” I think I will ask Bug to let me plaster him against the wall. I am not 100% sure yet though.

I was fairly depressed after class. I was really upset by Bug running off to chase the fly and the GD owner’s response. Bug has developed an obsession with flies. He actually caught one the other day at his acupuncture appointment. I am concerned that he might do it while working sheep. Hopefully sheep will be more exciting than stinking flies!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

He's Back

Ike had agility class on Tuesday night and oh what a difference being in alignment makes. Lots of speed from my little black dog. The first time he hit the table he slid right off it!

The course was not bad. I struggled with what to do between 7 and 8. I intended to do a rear cross between 8/9, but after talking to Kathleen opted to do a FX before 8.

The weave poles to teeter was awkward, but I cheated and used that opportunity to reward Ike for repeatedly awesome weaves. I was ahead of him jogging and he was diligently weaving. He’s getting much better at taking weaves at speed and continuing them with more independence.

I then started from the table to the teeter. We did have teeter issues all night. The first time Ike didn’t realize it was the teeter or was just moving too fast. He was just about at the end before it had even started moving. Very scary for both of us. I immediately put him back on it and he did it very cautiously. DRAT. There must be a middle ground.

He also slipped on the teeter twice. Slipped! Twice! I find that really odd. I am not sure why it happened (it occurred at about the tip point) but it did freak him out. I know there is some resistance to a rubber teeter from people who’s dogs slide and ride the teeter down, but personally I would prefer it.

Overall it was a good class – the scary teeter was balanced by having an engaged dog and awesome weaves. Obviously we will have to work on the teeter and table at home so Ike stops flying off them! And in the case of the table, stops popping up from his down!