Thursday, March 31, 2011

Agility Class

Tuesday night agility class was excellent. Ike was happy and fast! It is obvious he feels 100 times better. I had one very poor handling decision where I turned my back on my dog to a funky a-frame entrance. Ike did fine, but I definitely felt like a heel! My handling was not setting my dog up to succeed!

I want to mention again that I really feel the mindfulness class I took has really helped my course walking/remembering abilities. I am really unsure why but I can’t argue with the fact that I am struggling far-far less.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Here's a link to an article, Homeopathic Stories: Ledum, on the homeopathic remedy Ledum. I know many people who use it with their dogs for Lyme.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Awesome Rally Class

Bug and I had a GREAT rally class today. My expectations weren't that high because we haven't practiced all week. However, loads of people were MIA because of agility trials, flyball tournaments, and other life commitments. This means we got more time to play!

It figures that the day Jennie has time to do more troubleshooting Bug is a star. Ah well! He was REALLY, really good. We have been playing with the pivot and since I have a better idea of what I ultimately want I think I am able to give Bug more info. We actually had FOUR passable pivots and Jennie called one of our runs "awesome!"

Since Bug is making so much progress I need to start being stealthier about my food and begin weaning him off it. As I mentioned in an earlier post I REALLY need to start putting things on cue. At one point Jennie commented on my "really cute heeling" and I thought, "dammit, I need to put this on cue." I am going to become better about putting things on cue!

Bug is now zonked out. Unfortunately I need to wake him up to in order to brush him. He has started shedding! Oh joy! the good news is that means warm weather is right around the corner, right? :-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just Wow

I received the letters from my vet with the boys’ rabies titer results to submit to the town for licensing. I considered not registering Bug (the Town already knows about Ike [census info]), but I think it is too much of a risk with all of the off-leash dogs we have encountered. There is also a lot more wildlife in Wrentham than Canton. I want my dogs to be legally protected if something happened and to have my vet be willing to go to bat for me.

Since both boys have been struggling with Lyme the vet thinks it is in their best interest not to receive a rabies vaccination this year and their titer levels more than support that decision.

Bug’s rabies titer is GREATER than 15IU/ml which is more than 30 times the acceptable level of .05IU/ml!! Holy cow!! THIRTY TIMES the acceptable level. Hence the title of this blog post, just wow.

Ike rabies titer is 5.4IU/ml which is 10 times the acceptable level of 0.5IU/ml.

The duration of these vaccines is truly amazing. The results are all the more reason to support The Rabies Challenge Fund and titer our dogs (in my mind). I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a vet as progressive as mine, but she is my third vet! I definitely feel like I pay more to have a holistic minded vet, but it is worth it to me.

Great Class due to a Brilliant Chiro

Woo-hoo! Cheryl, our chiro, is brilliant.

The last three weeks Ike has been "off."

Week 1 he was off in class and I was sure his pelvis wasn’t out. (Cheryl has taught me how to check and I did during class.) He also wasn't giving me any of the typical signs his pelvis is out - avoiding jumps and contacts.

The morning of week 2 class he slipped on ice and I knew he knocked his pelvis out due to the impact (ouch!). We skipped class and saw Cheryl. She adjusted him and we noticed he was still sitting funny and possibly his sacrum was out and we would work on that next appt.

Week 3 we returned to class and Ike was obviously off again.

We saw Cheryl last Saturday. His pelvis and sacrum appeared to be in. This had us scratching our heads. Typically when she adjusts the pelvis it is from the top - if that makes sense? (The pelvis bones when you are looking down at what you’d term your dog’s hips.) She gave Ike a very thorough examination and voila! She noticed that the seat of his pelvis was off! She adjusted him there. It is the first time that has ever happened with Ike and Cheryl commented that she just had another client with the same issue. Signs to look for in the future - slow and some difficulty with the weaves.

Tuesday night Ikey P was on FIRE!! He felt great, I handled decently, and the courses were fun and smooth! What an AMAZING difference it makes it your dog feels good.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good chiropractor and don’t assume your dog is just having an off day or few weeks. There is often a physical reason why. Often times the symptoms are very subtle, so be on the look-out!

We also had some visitors in class. The course ended with a set of 12 weaves to the tunnel and back to the weaves. Kathleen, who Ike loves, and the two visitors were sitting about 15 feet in front of the weaves. This means Ike was weaving directly into them before turning to the right to grab the tunnel. This was a lot of pressure for Ike. He skipped the third to last weave and I did not correct him. I knew he was stressing about the pressure. I had him go on to the tunnel and then back to the weaves. He was great. After we finished the course the visitors were still sitting, and since it was the end of class, I let Ike go over and say “hi.” I asked if they minded feeding some cheese (Ike is a food whore). They were happy to!

I will never trial with Ike again, but even this pressure - in a class not a trial, would have been too much for him previously. He has really come so far. He is adding more and more people to his “okay” list. His response to stressful situations has improved dramatically. I am really happy for him because he is, although quirky and fussy, an awesome little dog and I am so happy to see him feeling more confident.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


I skipped Rally today in order to make sure the boys saw the chiro. Both boys' pelvises were out of alignment; Buggie's by quite a bit. We think, with Bug, it is related to the GI distress he has been experiencing.

I also had Cheryl muscle test Bug to see if he is tolerating the variety of meats I feed him. Since I started feeding Oma's exclusively his eyes have been weeping a lot. Katrin commented when she saw him that his nose and ears were very pink (often a sign of food intolerance). It could just coincide with the seasons changing but I wanted to see what Cheryl found.

As I suspected - he is not tolerating lamb. Drat!! Given the price of lamb has gone up quite a bit maybe I should be happy? He is fine with duck, rabbit, venison, ostrich, squash and string cheese (just double checking those last two). He also tolerates bison fine. Hopefully if I stop feeding him lamb for a few months he will be able to eat it again. Cheryl also mentioned that her dog, who has many food intolerances, is able to eat Bravo! lamb even though she can't eat Oma's lamb. So, I might give that a whirl.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Too in Tune?

Lately when one of my dogs is out of alignment, I hurt where they hurt and when we go to get adjusted, we are both out of whack in the exact same location!

I see a woman every two weeks that does energy work. I saw her this week and mentioned what has been going on. She said when she was newer in her profession she would end up with all of her clients’ aches and pains. She said what she thinks is happening is I am alerted to their pain but because I do not consciously acknowledge that it is theirs (not mine), my body is taking it on as my own. She suggested next time I feel something I think might be my dog’s I literally acknowledge the pain and that it belongs to my dogs, not me, and I mentally acknowledge that I will take care of it.

Last night Bug was crated while Katrin and I had dinner. When I got home and let him out I was very sore in my lower back/hip area. I had done nothing to warrant this aching so I figure it must have been Bug’s. I acknowledged it and plan on having him see the chiro Saturday too. Wouldn’t you know it, I acknowledged it as his pain and within 5 minutes it was gone!

Adjustments Needed

Ike had agility class Tuesday. I wasn’t sure how he would be. When we saw Cheryl last Tuesday his pelvis was out due to the slip on the ice. After losing his pelvis he definitely needs additional adjustments and to top it off something was out before his pelvis.

I should have skipped class this week. He was jumping large and slow in the weaves. If there is one thing Ike is speedy about it is his weaves. So we took it easy and did no weaves and jumped 8 inches. He was engaged and wanted to play, just something was off.

He is a really honest dog when it comes to pain – he won’t jump or do contacts if his pelvis is out. So this seems like more of a nagging discomfort? I am pretty sure his sacrum is out in a sit because he is sitting funny. We are seeing Cheryl Saturday. We will see how he is at class on Tuesday. Hopefully better!!

Rally Class and Pivots

Saturday Bug had Rally class. Unfortunately the class is very full so there really isn’t a lot of time to work on trouble-shooting. The 270 Left was included again. After class Jennie showed me how she teaches it. She uses two leashes and a typically a pinch. Hmmm…One leash goes in front of you and one goes behind you. As you do your foot work you pull with the leash behind you. Yuck. Not only do I not use pinches, but I am fairly certain Bug would never talk to me again if I opted to try.

I talked to Katrin about it and she was willing to show me how she teaches pivots so we met up last night. Bug was VERY stressed initially, I think because Katrin’s house was the scene of nail trimming for some time. He bounced back surprisingly quickly given how stressed he was acting. Bug is about 25% quirky.

Katrin had me start Bug in heel position and lure him to the left – initially having him go in a complete circle. The second his rear legs started to move I was to click and treat. Pretty quickly we stopped having him go in a complete circle and started adding my footwork. A problem became apparent immediately – I keep ending up with my dog way ahead of me because that is where I am putting him! Gah! I think I am going to have to tie my wrist to my knee or something. I have a lot of work ahead of me! I think I should video tape my practices so I know what the heck I am doing wrong.

It was helpful because I truly had no idea where to start and I am not interested in putting a pinch on the Bug. Katrin also suggested I start playing the space game with Bug again because he has become SO sensitive to pressure. He was always relatively sensitive to pressure, but since the last week of November he has become highly sensitized to it. If we start playing the space game again it should hopefully help him relax when I move into his space. Guess I need to stock up on some Evanger’s canned meat.

I am looking into other options for a class and talked to Katrin about setting something up with her. I do not have a competition obedience background and I need a bit more direction than I am getting in my current class (given how full it is). I think I will finish this session up and move in a different direction.

We finished by going out to Takara (yummy Japanese restaurant) for a lovely dinner and to catch up. Bug took the opportunity to take a nap and was full of piss and vinegar when we got home!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Guess who is representing the Cardis over at Best Bully Sticks' Thursday Spotlight on a Breed blog post? No, not Ike! :) The Bug!

FYI, if your dog likes the Himalayan Dog Chews, which both mine do, BBS has recently had them on sale at a great price.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

No Class for the P-Man

After last week’s class I was trying to set up a chiro appointment for the boy. Cheryl and I were having trouble coordinating.

Yesterday morning Ike slipped on black ice and his rear legs went completely out from under him, like a cartoon, and he landed on his right hip. Boy, Schnauzers are stoic. The boy acted as though nothing were wrong.

So, last night Ike and I did not attend agility class. I had reservations about attending class before the slip. After the slip I contacted Cheryl and arranged to meet her at a training club she goes to every other Tuesday to work on dogs. Ike’s pelvis was out, his head was out, and his sacrum is out in a sit. He has to go for a couple of follow up appointments – it was too much to do the sacrum in addition to the pelvis in one appointment.

The funniest part was that once Ike was adjusted he totally wanted to work. I almost went to the drop-in Rally/Obedience class at the facility. I probably would have, but when we were walking through the classroom, to the downstairs where Cheryl would see us, Ike was very tense. There were a lot of dogs and people in the class, and the energy was definitely disquieting to him. It is so obvious why he doesn’t like trialing; he’s a worrier!

I am planning on pushing Ike’s comfort zone a bit this year and attending the Act-Up run-thrus (there are four or five a year). While there will be new people and dogs hanging around it will be in an environment he feels very safe in. Also because it is a run-thru people should not be that stressed. He is very empathetic and peoples’ stress really bothers him a lot. I think that is why trialing is such a toxic environment for him – often times both the people and dogs are stressed to the gills!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rally Class

Bug and I had Rally class today. I have some definite things to work on: 270 Left, About Left Turn, and Down Walk Around your Dog.

I need to teach Bug a "back" cue. Given how eager he is to work I don't think this will be too hard, but we will see. I have never taught "back" in this context before. It is for the 270 Left in particular, but I see it used in other instances as the signs become more advanced. If anyone has any suggestions I am all ears. Either way I will get my clicker out and play around.

Today Bug had an opportunity to say "hi" to the Chinese Crested in our class, Li-ling. She has a lovely temperament. I asked her owner if it was typical for the breed. She said no, but my goodness what a nice dog. He also had the opportunity to say "hello" to a young Border-Jack who he thought was quite cute.

I am happy Bug's focus is better than decent given how large the class is and how many young female dogs are in class. I think Bug wishes it were a play group. Truly, though, his focus is nice and he is engaged in working with me.

Now if I can just get one of the downstairs rooms cleaned up and have a place to practice I think we will start improving in leaps and bounds! 

5 Years Young

Happy Birthday, dear Buggie and all of the "Dream" litter!!

From a wee pup in a party hat....

... to this ham!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Physical Therapy

Bug had physical therapy last night. Currently Bug is on a once every three weeks schedule - just to make sure everything is copacetic. This is particularly important for my long-backed boy during the winter (especially this winter) when every thing is ice. Bug has much more consideration for his body than a lot of dogs I know, but he isn’t human. He still makes some crazy choices when something smells super good.

Going to Sterling for physical therapy is possibly one of Bug’s favorite things to do. He loves all the women that work there, he loves the attention and he loves that he feels so good afterward.

Physical therapy starts with a hot pack on his lower back and hips and a massage by Cathy to see where we stand. Sterling has these very nice raised wood beds with doggie mattresses in the exam rooms. Bug trots into the room and immediately lies down on the bed. Hot pack goes on and he dozes while a tech checks him out and pets him before Cathy comes in.

Last night he was guarded about his left hip. He thinks he is so clever and that we don’t know he’s being guarded. Example: Stephanie, the tech, asks him to switch sides so she can check out his left hip. Bug willingly does that. As she is lightly massaging his left hip we see some lip licks and slight vesticulation in the leg. Suddenly Bug is up and switching sides, lying on his left side (so his right side is face up), smiling and hamming it up. As I said to Stephanie, he forgets I have treats. Back onto the right side we go. This happened a few times so we knew Cathy needs to pay a bit more attention to the left hip when she comes in.

The right hip is the hip Bug has had a lot of issues with, but we now know the left hip is worse radiographically so we aren’t totally surprised he is being guarded about it. Cathy comes in and massages and stretches Bug. There is no tightness in his iliopsoas on either side (hooray!). Right hip extends and stretches easy-peasy. Left hip take a bit more work but Cathy is able to get him into extension and work out the kinks.

I mentioned to Cathy that Jan Wesen commented when I mentioned Bug’s iliopsoas injury. Jan commented that it was the injury du joir, and wondered what it was called before – didn’t it happen before? Cathy said that when she first started as a vet tech, before she got into physical therapy, if a dog came in limping or sore they did x-rays. If nothing showed on the x-rays there was nothing wrong and they prescribed NSAIDs. She said they never-ever diagnosed soft tissue injuries; it was as if that wasn’t a possibility. With more knowledge more accurate diagnoses have become available.

We also talked a bit about the performance community’s denial about injuries and the chronic nature of some injuries (like the iliopsoas injury). It is really frustrating for Cathy and her staff that people aren’t willing to take the time off required to really heal. I think part of it is a lot of agility people are really Type A personalities and are driven to compete and return as soon as is possible.

After hot pack, massage, and stretching Bug goes into the under water treadmill where he does 20 minutes of walking. The techs have commented that Bug is one of their best dogs in the UWTM. He loves it. Once it starts he will walk until it stops, however long that is, with no cajoling or treats necessary. The techs have hypothesized that because he is a herding dog he has more of a work ethic than other dogs. I think he just likes it.

After 20 minutes in the UWTM we do 14 laps in the swimming pool. Bug has become a very strong and fast swimmer, but he hates it with a passion. Last night he was doing what we call “angry swimming.” He was trying to cheat and cut his laps and would not look at Stephanie or me. He was pissed he had to swim!

One of Bug’s favorite things about physical therapy does occur after swimming – getting toweled off! He LOVES being toweled off. Depending on how Bug’s hips/iliopsoas felt before UWTM and swimming, we ice after toweling off. Last night we iced Bug’s left hip when we were done.

That is a typical PT appointment for Bug. Given all the undivided attention from multiple women you can see why he enjoys it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Agility Class

Last night Ike and I had agility class. The course was motivational and I really enjoyed running it, except…..Ikey was off. He was jumping and doing the a-frame but was slow and not taking the weaves at full speed which is atypical. I stopped part way through the first run (right after his weaves which were not nice) and asked Kathleen what she thought. She thought he seemed to have a hitch in his left rear.

I checked his pelvis which appears to be in and I stretched him. Then we ran a half-course. He was much speedier than the first run but still slower than he’s been. He displayed some sound sensitivity to the teeter, so I am certain at the very least his head is out of alignment.

We continued to run half courses and finished class early so as not to overtax him. I contacted the chiro this morning and hopefully we’ll be able to see her soon. Hopefully just a tune-up is needed.


I am slacking in the blogging department. Life has been busy and I swear the winter is just sapping me of any energy after hours.

Last Tuesday Ike and I had agility class. For some reason it was a rough class for me. I wasn’t focused and really had a tough time with the course. I expected to be on fire because that was the day I found out the homeopathic treatment of Ike’s Lyme was successful. I wasn’t though. I was unfocused and running with zero confidence. As a result Ike was like, “What are you doing?!” It makes me feel so badly when I impact his confidence like that.

Kathleen gave me a copy of the course map, but there were a lot of changes and I think I would make a mess of it if I tried to clean it up and post it. There were a few nice moments, but overall my handling was a bit “blech.” Thank goodness Ikey has come so far that he doesn’t “shut-down” when I handle that poorly.

On Saturday Bug had his 2nd Rally-O class. There were a bunch of new students and it was VERY distracting for the Bug-a-boo. He did great though and I am really pleased with how things are going. I would love to put him in a competitive obedience class, but I don’t think I can swing it at the moment (both in terms of time and $$).

Bug really seems to understand when he is working and is very responsive to verbal commands. I need to work harder at putting things on cue because he likes it. For example when we are doing the spiral if I ask him to wait he slows his step and makes eye contact. Lovely!

The only bummer about Rally class is that it is on Saturday in the middle of the day. Right now herding is only happening about once or twice a month and the days have typically been a Friday and Saturday. Fridays I work and Saturday I have Rally. : ( So that is a bit of a bummer. As it gets warmer Rally class will be moved to a week day.