Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What my vet said

I got to see my real vet (Dr. Jan) this afternoon at her house! Dr. Jan hasn't been my vet for about a year because she had neck surgery and is recovering but couldn't practice. She is not really back to work yet but she is so nice and said she would examine me at her house for free! You all probably don't remember but I like her a lot!

Any way, she watched me walk and checked my neck, my spine, my feet, my knees and my hips. From what she could feel she thinks I have some inflammation in my back - in my spine sort of just above my hips (maybe around L-3 and it's mostly on the right side of my spine). That is the only place that she thought I was kind of ouchy. She does say that my right anterior cruciate is a little weaker than my left but she doesn't think there is a problem there. That's good news! She thinks the twitchy-ness of that right leg could be the pain in the nerve radiating down my leg.

So just like Diana suggested, I am officially on two weeks of rest. No jumping and no stairs. I can still go on walks and even run just a little bit. I am going to take deramaxx for a week too for the inflammation. Then after two weeks we gradually get back to my normal stuff - adding low jumps and progressing to the spread jumps eventually. If I am still not better by then, we have to do x-rays, etc. Of course we are so hoping that rest and the anti-inflammatory will do the trick!

Gotta zoom (well, not really)!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

tRicky T-Day!

I know we usually do our tRicky T-Day on Thursdays but mom said she would be too busy to help me this Thursday so we had better do it today! We put together a little video showing you my limited progress with retrieving the dumbbell. I am going to get it and bringing it about half-way back but seem to be like those people who can't walk and chew gum at the same time! I can't hold it and walk at the same time! LOL! Forget about holding it and sitting. Mom has tried to get me to do that and I can't! Any advice?

My leg is the same we think. I am not allowed to jump or do stairs (mom has been carrying me up and down most of the time but it's pretty difficult in a tri-level house - stairs to go to bed and the computer room, stairs to the kitchen, stairs to go outside). I am still going on walks and doing some very minimal playing (no jumping). Diana suggested heat 3 times a day so we are doing that. We contacted my vet but haven't seen her for an exam yet. We're hoping for that soon - she said she would have to see me to get a better idea if it is knee, hip, back, or leg. One thing mom realized is that for a long time now when she brushes me, I twitch that right leg and pull it up closer to my body. She thought I was being a weirdo and never dreamed that I could be injured. Until I stopped jumping the other day, that is the only sign I ever gave her of anything being wrong and she didn't really see it. It hasn't been too bad to rest the past two days because it has been raining here. It will be harder when the weather gets nicer again.

Gotta zoom!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Training Challenge #8

We got home from cousin Wilson's house around lunchtime and after lunch we did my training challenge for this week. Nothing too strenuous or demanding today but something that mom does not do enough of - she and I walked my neighborhood walk with dad! I bet you can't believe this is a challenge but it is! I behave totally differently when I do stuff with mom and dad together. Dad's presence gets me really excited so it's harder for me to control myself. We hadn't even tried to walk all together for months and months. I am happy to say I did a good job today! One time I spun once (but did not bark) when a car went by and other than that, I sat and watched each car and then looked to mom for a treat just like I do when it is only me and mom. We all felt good about the challenge and are planning to try it again soon.

I am taking a break from agility for awhile and resting my right back leg. Mom got some conflicting advice over the weekend that upset her but now we have a plan (thanks to Diana who is so good at analyzing video and seeing what is happening) and we're going to rest and see if I get better. Mom is not going to panic or anything. The only thing I seem to be having any trouble doing is pushing off my hind legs to jump - I am acting completely normal where everything else is concerned - so if it is a tight muscle in my thigh then not jumping and using some heat and resting should help. Paws/fingers crossed. I guess it is lucky we have the three-week break from class and if I need to miss the trial on this Sunday, I will. We will wait and see how I am this week. Thank you for everyone's concerned comments from yesterday! We truly appreciate you all!

Gotta zoom!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

If you post the good, you also have to post the bad (HDTC Trial Saturday)

Not a good day today....

More about it some time maybe.

Gotta zoom!


Friday, September 24, 2010

HDTC Trial Friday

We had a good day today at the trial! Aunt Laura came to hang out with us and to video our runs! I love grandma but I also love having my aunt with us!

My standard run was good - I did the chute - and I beat the standard course time but I refused a double jump so we didn't Q. Mom thought I ran really well though.

My JWW run went great - I ran pretty fast throughout and mom made a nice save to keep me out of the wrong end of a tunnel and I got a Q! So if it weren't for that dumb double in STD, I would've had my first ever QQ. At least I know I can do it time-wise!

After the trial we went to Cousin Wilson's and we're here now spending the night so we can go to the trial tomorrow!

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

tRicky T-Day! (sort of)

I don't have a fancy new trick for you all today but we are working on getting me to hop into position for my finish on the left side for obedience (or just for fun). I learned a high nose touch and then mom incorporated that nose touch and my "swing" hand motion and viola - I can kind of do it! (Swing is our word for get into that left-side finish position). I know my final position is not that great for hard-core obedience but I am getting it! Sorry the video is so dark - it was sunny in the room - don't know what happened.

We leave tomorrow for the trial that is near my Cousin Wilson's house. We compete tomorrow and Saturday and then come home on Sunday. It should be fun! It has been super HOT here - today was supposed to set a new record high - and tomorrow will be hot too but then it should cool off and be nice for the rest of the weekend. Hope this trial location has good a/c!

Gotta zoom!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday's class

Today was our last class for this session and the next session doesn't start until October 19th! The last week is always running a course and Jenn had a difficult one for us! It started out with that lead out pivot or forward motion front cross that we worked on last week. Then there were challenges everywhere like DW with lateral motion to a serpentine recall (we didn't do that because mom knew I would blow my contact if she didn't babysit it) and aframe with lateral motion to the back side of a jump (mom used a double front). It seemed as though every jump was taken from the side you would least expect! It was fun but mom forgot one tunnel and then directed me in the wrong direction over a jump but I did everything she asked me to do!

Not many new thoughts from this week but just a couple things we want to remind ourselves of:

Backy-uppy -the handler should never stand past the plane of the jump or she may cause the dog to back jump.

Lead out pivot - STAND STILL

Forward motion front cross - use outside arm

So during the few weeks we have off, mom is going to reread Linda Mecklenburg's articles from Clean Run (we have June 2008 as the first one but that is already part 3 in the series) and we are going to work on some foundation handling. I never learned the recall to heel on the flat foundation exercises so we'll start with that. We are also going to review the last few sessions of Jenn's class and practice and review some of the more difficult skills. And we are going to try to increase my ground speed again. Previously we worked on racing to a target and on some speed circles and jump chutes. If anyone has some ideas for us, please let us know. I have gotten faster on course but I really need to RUN if I am going to have a chance of making time in the ExcB classes!

Gotta zoom!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

BTCA Trial - Sunday

I ran JWW first again today. Mom stretched me before my run and she could tell that my right hind leg was tight because I wouldn't let her move it as much as my other hind leg. But I was moving ok and standing on my back legs and doing tricks so she wasn't too worried. I did a really good job in jumpers and ran clean but I was over time by 4 seconds so no Q.

As soon as we finished JWW, mom had to walk the standard course. She was really happy to see that like yesterday, the chute was towards the end when I am building up momentum because I can see the finish line and smell the chicken! Everything went well until mom forgot to front cross after #17 to block the weaves from my sight - I saw them and went to do them again - but mom was able to redirect me before the judge had a chance to start his dance! I went right into the chute - the fastest chute I have ever done in a trial I think! And then we were done! Guess what? I qualified and I got my AX!!!!!!!!! (This weekend was the first time I have Qed in STD since April!)

Here is today's video courtesy of my personal videographer grandma!

Now I am a total ExcB dog which is awesome but also means that I have to get faster or I will never Q again!

Gotta zoom!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

BTCA Trial - Saturday

JWW was first up for me at the trial today! Mom walked the course more than usual to try to really have a plan and stick to it. We had a weird start because the leash runner disappeared and mom and I walked the leash over to the team that went before us. Then we got into position and off we went. Things were going well until #12 - the triple. I kind of tripped or stutter stepped before it but jumped it. Then as we approached #18 - a double - I don't know - I felt something stiff in my back leg and I refused to do the big jump and then missed #19 too and then just took the off-course for the finish.

When we left the course, people were asking if I was ok or was I hurt or something. You know mom - she was a little panicked. She had seen me trip before #12 but thought she had done something at the end to not indicate the jumps properly. We had Jenn's mom Susan look at me and she thought my right thigh muscle was tight. She showed mom how to do some stretches on me and said that in her opinion, I had a sore muscle but not a serious injury and could go on to do the next run. She said I would tell mom if I was hurt. And as a matter of fact, she said two of her Shelties had the exact same thing!

So mom decided to let me try the standard run. Silly mom forgot that the second obstacle was the DW but recovered in time to direct me to it. She thought she saw me willing myself over jumps (not just taking them easily) but I kept going and had no trouble with running up the aframe. It's impossible to see in the video but I did the chute - I very cautiously entered the barrel but came out pretty fast.

At the end of our run, one of our friends said the judge did not call a refusal! Seriously? Wow! We checked my time and guess what? I qualified!!! Thank goodness for the little bit of extra time you get in Exc. A! We passed the judge in the hallway later and mom thanked him for not calling a refusal on the chute and he said that I never stopped moving! WooHoo! He was a nice man!

Here is the video (thanks to my grandma again)!

Since we've been home, mom has done some stretching with me and I have run up and down the stairs a million times following mom everywhere. So maybe it was just a flukey thing? We'll see. Hopefully I will wake up tomorrow morning all fresh and raring to go!

Gotta zoom!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Training Challenge #7

I am posting about my training challenge for this week early so that the weekend can be all about my trial! Mom decided I needed a fun challenge this time since I am busy with a trial the next couple of days. And she wanted to increase the odds that I would do the chute tomorrow so we spent part of the afternoon driving to different places and just doing it! (Sara and Oreo did this same thing awhile back - sorry for copying!)

First of all, a gratuitous photo of me - hard to believe there is ever water here but some times there is:

First stop:

Back in the car to go to the next stop:

Second stop (looks a lot like the first but it isn't):

Third stop (ditto what I said about the second):

Fourth stop - Pet People store! I am a bit of a celebrity at Pet People and they were nice enough to let us bring in the chute!

Fifth and last stop:

I am happy to report that I had no trouble whatsoever doing the chute - I did it everywhere! So, ok, agility trial, here I come!!

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

tRicky T-Day!

In keeping with the backwards weave theme from last week, we decided to put it all together into the backwards figure 8 trick - another one we have worked on from time to time and mom has wanted me to do forever - finally it all made sense to me!

Our YouTube friend Sian has a great video on how to teach this trick - check it out here!

Now for my version:

Gotta zoom!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday's class

Yesterday's class was about blind crosses. With this cross the handler actually turns her back on the dog but immediately makes eye contact again. We started out with an exercise using a blind cross at the end of the DW, then we did it with the teeter and the aframe and last we tried it with the weaves. The handler needs to make sure her blind cross move is completed before the dog finishes the obstacle. BCs can be very effective when used with nonturning obstacles but if timed correctly, they can be used with turning obstacles when the goal is to move in a straight line. The handler should perform the BCs on the landing side of a jump as the dog commits to that jump. BCs should not be used to turn the dog.

Other thoughts:

If you are having trouble figuring out where to stand for a lead out, think about where you would put in a front cross and then freeze in the front cross position and you have your lead out. A lead out push is a frozen front cross. Also recall to heel positions are intended to be performed at jumps and not on the flat.

A backy-uppy is generally only appropriate if you need to block the choice of taking a jump - like if you have two jumps side by side and you want to pull the dog through the gap (threadle) then you use a backy-uppy. If you only had the one jump and you need the dog to wrap back towards you, you would use a forward send. However, for dogs that are slower like me, the backy-uppy would work better than a send and the handler would just have to run more. Get it? I know video would make it clear but I don't know if we'll get around to it.

That's about it for this week's class. We are near the end of this session. Next week we run a course and then we have three weeks off because of USDAA Nationals etc. It's ok though because I have a trial this weekend, next weekend and then one day the following weekend. Some how trials around here are all happening at the same time. Hope we don't get burnt out!

Gotta zoom!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Training Challenge #6

This week's training challenge focused on one of my dirty little secrets - I flip out when I get out of the car and walk through the garage. I go biserk over the lawn mower tires. The dirty secret part is that I have done this since I was 10 weeks old and while mom has made some half-hearted attempts to get me over this mania, she has mostly just put a band aid on the problem and pulls the car into the garage and carries me out. She hasn't wanted to face the issue - it is stressful for her and for me! But since our separation last week, mom has been more resolved about fixing some of my maniacal behaviors and decided to use the garage as the challenge for this week.

In this video, we had just come home from a walk in the park where I was a really good and calm boy - walked nicely on leash and laid patiently on the blanket while mom had her coffee. Mom thinks part of the reason I lose it is that I have pent up energy from being good and I am overly excited about being home (like kids who behave at school all day and come home and take it out on their moms). So mom gets me out of the car and you'll see what happens next. Mom at first rewards me for looking away from the lawn mower tires, then she tries to get me to do a nose touch (I have a lot of trouble doing it and eventually manage one) and then finally I leave the mower alone and walk by.

I can go through the garage in a controlled manner - this video was taken the day before the one above - I had been in the backyard and mom brought me around front and through the garage. I didn't lose it but I do glance at the mower. So I do better when I am not overly excited from an outing.

This is definitely a work in progress and we'll post about it again some time.

This summer mom and I have worked really hard on my car chasing - especially on our daily walks in the neighborhood. I have very few outbursts now and mom is starting variable reinforcements - I still sit and watch the car go by and then look up at mom, but I never know when I will get a treat. Mom still rewards me more often than not, don't worry. And we are slowly starting to generalize this behavior. Yesterday we went walking in the neighborhood on the other side of the elementary school (we call it the parallel universe - houses and yards and sidewalks much like in our neighborhood). I was more excited and tried to pull on my leash some but I was good about the cars. We're going to walk over there more often this Fall.

We're very much enjoying the cooler weather and feel like we have to cram as much training in as we can before it gets to cold to be out there!

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

tRicky T-Day!

Completely inspired by Oreo this week and after two years of on and off trying (mostly off, LOL!), here is our version of backwards weave - this is the best we have done so far and we still have a long way to go!

Gotta zoom!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday's class

In this week's class we practiced some course openings. First off we had to do a lead out push and then a forward motion front cross on the same sequence - the FMFC worked better for us. On the next sequence we had to try a FMFC and then a lead out pivot. We're going to try to make a video of this one to illustrate what we mean. It seemed that the two moves were very similar but with the lead out pivot there was no handler motion involved and with the FMFC there was handler motion. In this lead out pivot, the handler had her dog on the left and lead out past the plane of the jump (the dog was to take the back side of the second jump) - she called her dog to her left leg and then pivoted into a front cross and motioned the dog over the second jump.

We also talked a little about blind crosses which Jenn says are ok as long as the handler uses them at non-turning obstacles. So if your dog is in the weaves and you can get ahead, it is ok to BC - but the dog needs to still be weaving when you do it (the dog needs to still be performing any of the non-turning obstacles while you perform any cross). Otherwise you will slow your dog down as he exits as he will not know where to go next.

At the end of class, we practiced weave entries - one jump and then weaves - jumps started out easy and got harder. I got all my entries - no problem!!

Not the greatest video but hopefully it will give you an idea of what I am talking about. First mom tries a FMFC, then she tries the LOPivot but moves too soon and I jump the wrong direction. Then we do two better LOPs and one more FMFC.

BTW, here is a link to some shots of me in action at my last trial - click on the link and you'll see one picture and then under that there is a link to see the rest of the album. Mom loves the picture on the front and also the first one of me finishing the weaves.

Gotta zoom!


Monday, September 6, 2010

Training Challenge #5

Our training challenge for the past week was 5 DAYS OF TOTAL SEPARATION!!! Talk about outside of our comfort zone! Since mom got me, we had not spent a night apart - I came to live with mom and dad on April 7, 2007 and mom left me on September 1, 2010. Can you believe it? Mom and I are huge homebodies and we love being there and being in our own routine and everything. But dad's parents live in San Diego and mom hadn't seen them in four years so this year she flew out there with dad. She was a nervous wreck - worried about me, worried about the plane trip, worried about leaving our house - I mean the list goes on and on.

I went and lived with grandma and grandpa for five days. I love them but when I first got there, I wondered where mom was and when she would come in the door. I laid around a lot the first day. But after that, I settled into a new routine with grandma and grandpa and I had a good time. I got lots of treats, I did recalls in the backyard from grandma to grandpa and back, I watched cars go by at the end of their driveway and some dogs too. Apparently I was a very, very well-behaved house guest! I want to thank them so much for taking such good care of me!

Mom had a good time on her trip. She got to see lots of stuff and go lots of places. They went to the desert, the mountains and the beach all in one day! She went to the zoo and also went walking in the chaparral. And my dad's parents have three dogs - mom played a lot with the two Border Collies (Kyle and Kellan - we blogged about Kyle and my grandma Catherine before and they are going back to the NOI for a 4th time this December. Kyle is 7 years old I think and just got his OGM Obedience Grand Master title and he is a UDX17 dog!) - and while she was there, they got a new BC puppy (unexpected timing) - so she even got to play with him! She says she missed me a lot, but I have my doubts! :)

Here are some photos from my stay at grandma's and from mom and dad's trip:

La Jolla:
Sea lions at La Jolla (dad thinks they should be called sea dogs because they bark all the time):

Mom and dad at Point Loma:

A view from Cabrillo (the marine layer was over the ocean each time they went to the beach no matter what time of day it was):

While they were taking in the beach, I was hanging out:

One day they got up very early (4:00AM) and drove to the Anza Borrego Desert - the park is actually closed most of the time from June to October because it is just too hot there. That's why they had to go so early. Even at 7:00AM, it was already super hot. Mom had never been to a desert before - look at this jackrabbit:

In the spring, the entire area is covered in wildflowers and the park is crawling with people. No one was there the other day and everything is dry. Cactuses are about the only plant around:

The mountains look like this:

Dad was enamored with trying for panoramic shots - here is one that looks like a postcard:

Mom got to watch part of my grandma Catherine's lesson that she was giving and here is mom helping to proof sit/stays - she pulled on the collar of the dog and said, "Let's go!" and unfortunately the dog broke his stay!

Dad took some amazing underwater photos in a tide pool - they should be in National Geographic magazine! This is a sea slug:

And a sea anemone:

Meanwhile I was in grandma's kitchen hoping for something tasty to come my way:

This was the beach at Torrey Pines at 4:00 in the afternoon - see all the marine layer? When mom and dad left grandma Catherine's it was 102 degrees. When they got to the beach 45 minutes later it was 67!

Mom sure doesn't look too sad or like she misses me here playing with Dax the new puppy!

He flew by himself all the way from Sioux Falls, SD!

Me again - waiting to go outside:

So we survived our biggest training challenge ever! Mom got back late last night and we spent all day together doing a few little tricks and going for a nice walk at my park and getting back into our routine again. Tomorrow we have class! I haven't done any agility since last week's class. We tried to keep up with reading everyone's blogs but we're sorry if we missed some. We'll get back to normal soon though. Hope everyone had a good long weekend!

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

tRicky T-Day!

I love you, mom!!

Gotta zoom!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Look at what decided to make itself at home in our pond this summer!

Gotta zoom!