Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dogs and Spring Blizzards

Two weekends ago I helped some agility club members work through a NADAC-style course during our regular weekly practices.

There is a trial coming up next month and they wanted to practice some of the different challenges that NADAC has compared to the AKC-style courses they've been running of late. There was just a few of us, but everyone did really well and had a great time. With all the tunnels and contact discrimination's, it was a fun, fast course and we ran it both directions. No one was ready to attempt layering the dog-walk (in either direction), but hopefully I'll be able try it with Holly one day.

Since I'm still not working Holly in agility (more on that below) I took Danee to club practice. I live very rural, have only 1 neighbor and we rarely see people/dogs while we're out walking or hiking, so I'm taking every opportunity I can for her to have positive social experiences. She's doing great, and I'm wishing now I had remembered to ask someone to film her playing at the arena. She went over the A-frame a few times with glee (it was her first time on one), RAN the dog-walk twice, ran through a few dark, curvy tunnels, and in general had a fun with it all. I have no criteria for any of the obstacles yet except for speed and fun. She hasn't shown even the slightest apprehension when it comes to the obstacles but I haven't shown her a teeter or chute yet...and probably won't til mid-summer.

Also new to Danee is toys. When she showed up, she thought it was cool that toys squeaked, but had no idea what to do with them. It's been super cute to watch Danee learn that squeaky toys are fun.

Last weekend I traveled to a friends house in Idaho to help her and another club member with some agility training. And true to "Spring in Montana" form, I drove through a mini blizzard on the way there. In just a few minutes the snow piled up on the road and you couldn't see the lines. But 15 miles later, the sun was out and the roads were dry. Funny weather we have here.

Fun with spring blizzards

At Mia's house we worked on how to teach obstacle discrimination (particularly when a tunnel is next to a contact), what you think your body language is saying and what it's really saying, on "go on", and teaching one of her dogs to DRIVE to the obstacles. Maryjo working on figuring out how to show her dog what she wants and how to effectively reward her. They did great and I even got Danee out to work in a completely new atmosphere. And of course, I ran into a new issue...which actually was a great one. Danee has been nervous about greeting new people, so I'm constantly handing out cookies and asking people to feed her a cookie without leaning over her, touching or petting her. Clearly it's working because she spent her first few minutes off leash going from Mia to Maryjo demanding a handout :) But I got her working for a few minutes after she realized that cookies were not going to be dispensed. Afterwards, we had a wonderful lunch together, went for a gorgeous walk (Mia has THE most beautiful mountain and creek views) and then I took Danee shopping at some farm stores (more socialization) before heading home...where I ran into more rain and mini blizzards.

Holly is fast approaching the 5 month mark post-surgery and today she had her monthly chiro and acu visit. Actually we were close to 6 weeks since her last acu appointment do to some scheduling problems, and it showed. But in all, our vet was really pleased with how her back felt and knee looked. We talked a lot about how I felt Holly's recovery progress was going, and I shared some of my concerns...her crappy sit, the uneven knees when she lies down, etc. But my vet was no where near as concerned as me about it all. After all, Holly is not lame, she walks, trots and runs very evenly, her stride looks perfect, her muscles feel mostly even. Not to mention she's still the stretchiest and most bendable dog she's seen that has 6 vertebrae trying to fuse together. She sees a lot of dogs post-knee surgery and nearly all of those that have had only one knee done are asymmetrical. She thinks Holly falls into this category. Her advice...keep her back as healthy as possible, and stop being such a ninny and let her be a dog again. She reminded me that I could do PT with Holly til I'm blue in the face, and she could STILL blow the other knee. In her opinion, if it's going to go, it's going to go. Yes, there is a lot I can do to strengthen the heck out of her...and I am doing it...but in the end it's her body that will decide if the other knee gives out, not me. So I guess at some point I'll have to let my anxiety go. Buuuut...I'm not ready to "let it go" just yet...maybe in May, after we hit the 6 month mark?

Even though I'm an anxiety drive mess over knee worries, she is still having plenty of fun. She loves to retrieve so we made up a new yard game to play...I toss out all the yard toys and she retrieves them one by one and puts them back in the toy bin. I have some video, but YouTube is taking FOREVER to upload videos tonight so I'll have load it later.

Meanwhile, we're enjoying spring...which means snow one minute and rain or sunshine the next.
Waiting for the sun to come out and melt the darned snow


Muttsandaklutz said...

YAY on official permission to let her be a dog again! I hear you on wanting to wait just a wee bit longer though. Sounds like she's having plenty of fun with things as they are right now awyway!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Such great news with Holly!!!

Kim said...

Holly (and I) needed some good news :) I hope I can "let go" soon! Videos forthcoming :)