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AUGUST 2007

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29th-Some pics


Lego looks for momma to come home and feed him

Is there someone there?

I WUV you

I'm gonna be a big girl soon

27th

Sparkle ran a track at lunch. There were 4 turns. Three of them were 90 degree ones. I've noticed she does acute angle turns very well, but the right angle ones she over shoots more often than not. The track was a little over an hour old. She did much better than her last couple of tracks. She was sticking the turns better. Her biggest obstacle was crossing the gravel drive. That seemed to stump her. Once we got past that she worked on like a champ. This afternoon after I worked Novice obedience exercises with her. What I wouldn't give for that off leash heeling in the ring! She heels like a dream in practice even off leash. She had a nice straight recall too. She struggles on the sit stay. She looses focus after 30 seconds and wants to get up and wander around. We don't have this problem much at all with the down stay. So, I decided to treat and remind her of stay at 30 seconds. Then I walked off and treated at 45 seconds. We eventually made the full minute. If I don't focus on working this exercise often this may be her downfall in October at the JOTC shows.

This evening was Kamikaze's conformation class. She is coming along well and so am I. The teacher thinks we'll be ready for our first ring experience by the 6 month old mark.

26th

Yesterday I made it to the LCCOC sponsored Stuart Mah seminar for the morning session as an observer only. It was well worth sitting in the heat for 5 hours to hear some of his philosophy and exercises in turning. Josie and I should benefit from the turning techniques. I can't wait to teach Sparkle and Kazee some of those things too. There was an evening session, but we had to much to take care of at home to make that one.

This morning we made church and then loaded up Shelby, Nikita and Kazee to go to the river for some therapeutic swimming. The surgeons all say Nikita's best rehab would be swimming, and on Shelby's last vet visit they said her hips are starting to get arthritic on her. We figured Kazee would like to go since she's such a water dog. We were not wrong! Nikita was panicked at first that she was going to drown because her back legs were weak. She freaked as soon as her legs lost the bottom. I finally figured a way to get her to swim without the panic. I stood out in the middle and called her to me just at the point where she'd lose the bottom. She swam for a second and then turned around and went back to shore. After a couple of times I was able to back up and get her to swim more before turning around. I hope this helps her leg muscles strengthen up. She needs to do it several times a week though.


Kazee jumped right in and took off

It looks like a nice howl, but it's really the beginning of a shake off

That swimming was hard work

Nikita was not thrilled with the swimming, but did OK


Shelby had a nice time, but wore out quickly

After the river swim a little storm blew in and it rained a little. When I went outside afterwards it was actually cooler than it's been in awhile. So, I decided to set up some agility stiff. I pulled out 4 jumps, the tunnel, six weaves and the teeter and attached the boards to the dog walk. I set up Stuart Mah's obstacle focus vs handler focus turning exercise. I was excited to try Josie on it since our biggest problems is wide turns. She seemed unenthused to try it out. I coaxed her over and she trotted through it a couple of times. Then I saw the problem. She was holding her foot up. I guess that almost missing toenail is still a bit too sore for agility. I was disappointed, but put her back in the house. I hope it heals up in the next 3 weeks enough to do agility. Next was Lego's turn. I even got him a bit worked up so he'd run a bit faster than he usually does in practice. WOW! It worked well for him. I learned how to put him in handler focus. (at least here at home it worked). Then I took him to the dog walk to practice our non-existent contact behavior. He knew exactly what I wanted and did a nice contact. I re-enforced it several times. He got some tuna when I put him in the house. I was anticipating having some success with Sparkle now. She wouldn't run the line of jumps. Not like her at all. It was like she thought that grass was too nasty to run on. OK, so I had picked up poop out of the way just before setting up, but that wasn't good enough for her. She wasn't running there! I just practiced a go-on to the tunnel then. She still doesn't go away to an obstacle yet. We made some headway there. Then we practiced teeter and dog walk. She had great contacts there. Weaves were next and with them slightly tilted to make a path she did those too. Now Jedi got his turn. It took him a bit longer to realize when "handler focus" should start, but when he did it right he got a jackpot and lots of praise. We worked on his contacts too. He does them so well here at home. Anyone else have that phenomenon? For the finale I got Kamikaze out there to work on tunnels and contact position. She went right for the teeter. which considering her previous slight nervousness, made me happy. She went all the way across with me holding the tip to a slower fall and less banging. I put her in a two on two off and re-enforced it. She also walked all the way across the big dog walk today without an eye bat. I used two on two off there too.

Since almost everyone had gotten personal time with me I made it a point to play ball with Cedar and then Maverick. I shared a cup of ice chips with Bandit and Misty road to Papa Johns to get the pizza for dinner. What a pleasant day!

23rd

We had one of our air conditioners upgraded today. We got a slightly bigger unit that should run more efficiently for the front half of the house (the half we live in mostly). It took most of the day, but at least the back unit still ran and our one room air conditioner kept it from getting miserable in the living room. I am hoping for a cooler sleeping temperature now as the old unit was lucky to keep it 75 degrees in our room even at night.

I took Misty in to have her liver blood work checked now that she's been on Phenobarb for a couple of months. The tests were great. All her liver blood stuff was well within normal range and mostly low normal. :) Since I was going, I took Josie in to have that nail looked at. It started bleeding again today when she banged it even though it's been a week since she broke it. They had to sedate her and cut it off well into the quick (OUCH!) because the soft cuticle material was starting to grow out the crack in the nail instead of straight ahead. She'll be on a little pain meds for a couple of days, but should be fine then. A bit more than I needed to pay for a broken nail, but much less than I'd loose if she couldn't run agility in a few weeks. And probably much less than waiting to find the nail solidly grown crooked into the other toes.

Every morning recently I hear lots of ruckus in the corner of the yard. It seems a squirrel has taken up traveling through it everyday. It's right in the corner where the retirement village and the big yard can all yap at it together. Here's 5 (yes 5, look close for Josie's black head behind Kazee) of them investigating. Usually Bandit's loudly involved too.

I looked out today to see that Kazee has now figured out she's big enough to jump on the doggie deck. I missed the photo opportunity though, as she jumped off as I opened the door. I did however catch Sparkle and Josie being good buddies.

Classes are all starting up for me the first and second week of September. I'm hoping to get Sparkle in Novice Obedience and Kazee in beginners. Then Sparkle will start back in her agility classes since we took the hot summer off. That'll give me a chance to drag Kazee along to introduce her to the obstacles I don't have here.

I also got my dream catcher made from Nikita hair in the mail today. It's very nice and hanging in the doorway entrance to the dog room now.

20th

Well, wonder of all wonders, the LSU hospital director contacted me about my experience with Nikita's knee surgery. It seems one of my vets emailed him how unhappy I was. He wanted to hear the story from me so he could make improvements in the future. I hope my complaints help the next person to show up for orthopedic surgery! By the way, we're at 17 days past surgery and still no doctor from LSU has called to check on her or schedule a re-check.

Kamikaze and I went to conformation class tonight. She did well, but was fussy about showing her teeth. Can't blame her! She's losing them on every side right now. I'm sure it's tender. I got the hang of slowing her down into a stack after a gating trip around the ring better this week.

19th

Got back from the AKC agility trial about 6 pm. Lego got my hopes up in a big way on Friday when he came ran his first run. He was speedy and listening and if his handler would've called the first turn earlier he would've Q's in Jumpers for his title. He even hit the weave poles the first try. I was thinking this was good news for the rest of the trial, but no such luck. Friday afternoon he was a speedy idiot doing laps around the standard ring. He even did it long enough to get whistled off. Saturday and Sunday were better than that. He never got whistled off, but we never connected again like in that first run. He got the zooms every time right at the beginning and then settled to run the course mostly with me. He did, however do weaves in EVER run. That was a definite plus. But, he also missed every dogwalk, A frame contact all weekend. Sounds like the next intense training will be contacts. As for my friends.... Cheryl and Bernie were only there Sunday, but Bernie had two very nice runs. Galadriel and Erin Q'd both Sat. and Sun. in Excellent jumpers for her AXJ title!

I did get a nice pic of the hounds chilling in the motor home after the show one day. What a hard life!

Josie seems to be healing. She is still favoring that torn nail foot though. I'm still expecting that she'll be fine for an agility show in a month. Nikita doesn't seem any better. Rich gave her some time to wander the yard at will, and it appears she wasn't quite up for that yet. She's almost non-weight bearing on the surgery leg. I gave her some anti-inflammatory and pain meds. Hopefully she just over did it some and will be better tomorrow.

13th

Josie managed somehow to rip one of her toe nails almost off way back past the quick. She bled like a stuck pig! I got a hold of her and tried to wipe away some blood to figure out which nail was damaged, but this prompted her to scream bloody murder. I had to pin her to the ground and grit my teeth against her screams to get enough blood soaked up to find the nail. I got some gel Kwick-Stop squirted on the appropriate toe nail and that stopped the bleeding. She's still holding that leg up completely when she walks. I guess it hurts like heck to have pressure on that toe. She's got a month to heal up good before her next agility show. In a couple of days I'll try and see if she'll let me trim it off with the clippers.

Kamikaze and I went to our first conformation class tonight. I felt pretty good about our performance considering her age (4 months) and both of our inexperience. She stood well to be felt all over, but still needs a little work on staying composed when they want to see her teeth. She gated beautifully for me around the ring and down and back and stopped in a stand each time. I need work on slowing the gate down a bit before stopping. She needs practice stopping with her front feet even.

11th

Shelby, Sparkle and I met up with Rosey and Cheryl for an early morning obedience practice. Shelby was much improved on her heeling. I did just like in a show. She started out all skulking like, but improved as we heeled. She did all her signals the first time. THEN we had a big party. She did articles well, but when we skipped gloves she got confused. and wouldn't do go-outs because she was looking for gloves. I had to roll a Bil-Jac up the tennis court to get her brain set for go-outs. Then she did fine. Sparkle and I worked on the figure 8 heeling since it was apparent at the show that I'd never done that with her. Then we worked on the recall. Sparkle kept refusing to stay seated long enough for me to walk away and call her. Very frustrating. Then when we did a group stay she kept getting up from a sit and flirting with Red (who stayed anyway). Most annoying is she can do a 5 minute down stay just fine, so she knows stay. Just for some reason sit stay is stressful. Must be something I've done. Red and Bernie worked on Open exercises. We gave Cheryl some tips on training a drop and the broad jump. She took mine home for a few weeks to accomplish this task. 

When I got home Rich and I headed to Camping World. We needed to replace the shower faucet in the motor home, and I'm leaving Thursday for Hattiesburg AKC agility. We spent about an hour snooping around and bought a few other things too. Then we met up with the air conditioner man to talk about getting a new unit on the front half of the house. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks that'll go in. Next was a stop at the movies. We went to see BOURNE ULTIMATUM. For the third movie in a series it was pretty darn good.

 

9th 

Shelby had her yearly check up today. They say her eyes are getting old age cloudy, but not cataracts (at least not yet). They also asked was I was doing for her arthritis. So, her bad hips have started to bother her more now it seems. They suggested I add Omega  3 and 6 fatty acid supplements to her current supplements. There seems to be good research that these help arthritis as much as Glucosamine/Chondrotin. Kamikaze was also there for her last round of puppy shots and her rabies. She's 22.5 pounds now. She'll overtake Jedi and Josie in the next couple of weeks. Now that she's fully vetted we're starting conformation classes on Monday nights at 8 pm. Obedience will start next month.

On the Nikita saga... It's now been almost a full week since surgery. There has been NO effort by the vet school staff or surgeons to call and check on her or schedule a follow up appointment. As you recall, they told Rich not to call unless there was a problem. So, while at the vet today I made an appointment there to have her staples out on Monday and have her looked at. She did the cutest thing today when I took her out to potty at lunch. She must be missing some sunshine, because all she did was walk into the grass and crash on her side in the sun. I couldn't get her to get up to come in, so I went and got the camera. I ended up having to go 'help' her up to come in because she was enjoying the grass and sun.

6th 

I worked with Kamikaze some on conformation "prancing" and "posing". She wasn't really into working this time, but she's about got the hang of it. She just has trouble standing still too long.  Then I switched leashes and collars for a bit of heeling.  She still wasn't into this whole idea. Even the liver treats weren't keeping her attention too much. She's getting the basic idea of heeling, but gets distracted quite easily and forges and sits all crooked. I decided to try a better treat to encourage her desire to learn. I went in and got one of those Cesar soft dog food plates. I pulled back a corner and gave her a whiff. I had a whole new enthusiastic dog. We worked on off lead heeling, downs, fronts and started an introduction to stay. What a fast and willing learner I had!

I did get in a quick weave pole lesson with Sparkle this evening. She very close to grasping this trick.

5th - HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPARKLE

There was no Pre-Novice today so Sparkle stayed home and I took Kamikaze to visit the show site and sounds. Shelby showed bright and early again. This judge did a strange heeling pattern. A forward, right turn, stand and do signals and then do the heeling pattern afterwards. This seemed to actually help Shelby. She started heeling badly again. She didn't do the down until a verbal reminder and she was playing the "I'm not looking at you game". She did the sit on the first try, but it took a couple for come. Then we started heeling again and she was actually with me the rest of the time. Articles where between the jumps so the 180 turn wasn't an issue. She went to the nice judge on the first go-out and flirted with him. She had to have a second command to remember what she was doing. She searched the pile quickly and brought in the right one. The second send was perfect AND she searched for a good while before choosing the right one. We got glove 1, but Shelby over rotated on the turn so she was almost facing number 2. I knew I was doomed. Sure enough even though I was no where near facing number 2 she still went for it. She was skulking on the heeling for the stand for exam, but she stood and got petted. This time she even returned to heel when I called her. Go-out number one was just past the jumps with "sit" meaning come back to me. The second one was a bit farther, but it took two commands for a sit. Then straight back to me again. We hung out the rest of the show and clapped for our friends/club members. Kamikaze got to play with a one year old Akita and had a great time.

Sparkle is now a whole year old. Where does the time go? We had steak for dinner and I saved her several pieces and Rich sang Happy Birthday to her while I gave her the birthday yummies.

4th

I took off early with Shelby and Sparkle for the obedience show and Rich headed out to the LSU vet school to retrieve Nikita. Shelby showed at 9 AM in Utility A. It was not a pretty sight. She once again refused to heel in the utility ring for the first step. I had to stop walking and turn around and call her a couple of times. She did heel for about a quarter of the pattern. But, she did the down and sit signals on the first try, and it only took two come signals to get her in. The articles were laid out at the front of the ring so we were sending parallel to the jumps. On the first one, as I turned, she saw the high jump at the 90 degree point of our 180 degree turn and took off for it. Over the jump and then between the two jumps and then confused. I had to give another command to find it. She did find the right article and bring it to me. Second turn started out like the first but I stopped her before the jump and reminded her to find it. She ran over to the pile and didn't try at all. She brought back one and just as the judge said "take it" she ran back to the pile because she knew she was wrong. The judge already had the right one picked up though. I had to call her in. We had glove number 2, which we passed. She didn't even heel well for the stand for exam, but she stayed and got petted of course. Then when I tried to recall her to heel she ran to the nice lady judge for sympathy. Her first go-out she went straight to the glove steward who hadn't left the ring like she was supposed to. Second try we got most of the way out, but "SIT" means turn and walk back. She gave us anther try since the first one we influenced by a novice steward that didn't know when to leave. We actually got a nice go-out this time with a sit and everything, but "JUMP" means run back to mom and jump on her chest. 

Sparkle didn't show until 1 pm in Pre-Novice. She had some nice heeling and even watching me most of it. She lagged some on about turns. Then the figure eight. OOPS! We've never practiced that one. She didn't OK inside turns, but on the outside she got drug a bit each time as she didn't know to speed her pace. Stand for Exam was decent. She stayed and got patted and then as the judge walked off she took a small slide step and froze again. The recall was OK, but I hate trying to roll the leash up out of the way. I was shocked she did her finish. She nailed the stays even staying close to a ring gate with other dogs working in the next ring. She got a respectable 186 and second place. I was pleased. The best news of the day was that Rosey and Red got their CD finished today!

When I got home I found that the surgeon had insisted on sending home pain meds even though I told them no because I had plenty. I asked Rich when we were supposed to take her in to have her staples out and get a re-check. He stares at me and says, "UHH they said don't bring her back unless there's a problem". OK, now I'm truly disgusted with these people! A knee surgery that they don't even care to re-check and staples they are leaving with me. If it were stitches I could do it myself, but I'm sure my vet will remove them for me. To my amazement, she seems to be limping no worse than she was before surgery. There's also only to be a 4 to 6 week recovery period since they didn't do anything to affect the knee joint stability.

3rd

Nikita has come out of surgery. Her limp was due to a torn meniscus. They had to open her knee joint up again to remove the damaged pieces. So, we'll be back to square one of recovery time, but at least since there was a tangible reason we're hoping for a non-limping dog by December. Maybe she'll get to enjoy some of this winter outside!

2nd

LSU called today to say they can do surgery on Nikita's knee tomorrow. Well, thanks for the lead time guys! Anyways, here's hoping they can fix her knee with the scope and not have to open her knee joint up again. I'll drop her off at 7:30 AM.

Kamikaze has started loosing puppy teeth. She's lost the front four. She's also started getting that nice rusty red color darkening up and growing in. She now out weighs Sparkle too!

Sparkle and Shelby are attending an obedience show in Mandeville this weekend. So, what did I practice today with Sparkle? Tracking! She did much better than the last two attempts even with it raining on the track between laying it and running it. With all this rain, Shelby has also been woefully neglected in the Utility exercise practice. I hate to try now or tomorrow because I don't want to stress her into not wanting to try this weekend. I typically don't practice the 3-4 days before a show anyway. I think we'll just wing it. Sparkle's only doing Pre-Novice. How bad can that go? She's so ready for Pre-Novice. I may have even been able to enter her in Novice, but I didn't want to push it. I do have every intention of doing Novice with her in October at the JOTC trial in Jackson, MS.

1st

Well, here we are. STILL waiting for LSU vet school to call and tell me when they can do Nikita's surgery. I talked to the surgical intern on Tuesday who assured me he'd call today and let me know if there was a spot for Thursday, but more likely Friday. Thanks for the notice, I have no life to plan around. But, here it is Wednesday night and there has been no promised call. I even left a message for the actual surgeon about 2 pm. She never called either. LSU, how I love thee, may I count the ways.