Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quick update on Mika's lameness

So Mika's had several chiropractic appointments now. She's still very slightly lame, off-and-on, but there's been a gradual steady improvement. Her chiropractor told us that his job is mostly done (except for occasional adjustments, but not every two weeks anymore). What needs to done now is muscle work, according to him. So I've reinstigated daily massage for Mika, focusing on her shoulder muscles. I've also been doing FitPaws egg ball work with her almost every day, and have been taking her on regular walks. (Mika is one of those dogs who doesn't really enjoy walks, but I've been making them enjoyable for her by playing find-the-treats-on-the-ground games with her.)

So she's doing pretty well :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer dozing

Shadow loves the summer because she can spend her days outside. She's somewhere between 18 and 19 years old now (my family found her as a stray long ago!) and she's still going strong.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Just playin' around

M offered this trick in the backyard while I was taking photos of her. It's one of her favourite tricks :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

It's a good life!

Wall-e running in his new Julius K-9 IDC harness! (With the extra Y-belt attachment that I ordered.)


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mika’s first chiro adjustment

On Wednesday Mika had her first chiropractic adjustment (as recommended by our regular vet when I brought her in for very slight lameness).

I literally just copied/pasted these rough notes I made on a word document on my computer, so they're just random/unedited jot notes:

-          Muscle spasms on left side (shoulder area and rear leg area)
-          Out of 32 possible adjustments, did 18, had 8 concerned about
-          Right pelvis higher than left
-          Above caused pelvis (?) to rotate/tilt toward the left (left is tilted more forward)
-          This caused the front to tilt/rotate toward the right (left is tilted more forward) to compensate
-          This caused everything in between to be affected
-          Compensating with left side for the right side (where lameness was initially noticed)
-          Main area of concern is middle/back (more middle)
-          This is where she appeared most uncomfortable (especially back-middle – more back)
-          Recommended aspirin
-          Give Traumeel right after we get home, then before we go to bed, then in the middle of the night

Her body's been doing a lot of compensating, and rearranging as a result of compensating. The chiropractor adjusted 18 different areas, and he said eight of these areas are of concern. We'll be back in two weeks and see how it goes from there; she'll probably need 4-6 regular appointments over the coming weeks. The vet is great, though. Lol, I took to him right away when we walked into the exam room and he'd just finished loading an assortment of treats onto the exam table :) Next step for me is to research Robaxacet (the muscle relaxant he wants me to give her before our next appointment, because Mika had a couple areas of muscle spasms).

Oh, he also doesn't think Mika has any problems in her joints that I should be concerned about, unlike our regular vet who suspected possible minor arthritis. I didn't mention about Mika's joints cracking when she changes positions though (this is why our regular vet suspected arthritis). I myself am not sure that cracking is a sign of arthritis, as I've read articles that say it's something normal that can happen with aging but doesn't necessary mean that the individual is experiencing discomfort. I'll discuss this with our chiro vet next time though.

Yesterday Mika experienced a short period where she showed no lameness at all in her front legs. Woot! She went back to a very slight limp later, though (like she had before the adjustment).

And yesterday I brought Wall-e in to get his B12 injection (like I mentioned in a previous post, our regular vet thinks he has low B12). He'll be getting this 4 times a year.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Happy b-day Wall-e!

It's Wall-e's 5th birthday today. Wow! It still feels like he's the baby dog.

Here he is enjoying a walk at the pond; I edited the leash out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wall-e's routine bloodwork results -- B12 injections in his future

So Wall-e had routine bloodwork done a few weeks ago. It showed that he has a very low ALP, of 7! Because of this, our vet thinks that he has low B12, so he'll be getting B12 injections 4 times yearly, starting this week if we can get an appointment. As well as health reasons, it'll be interesting to see if this affects his behaviour, since B12 is supposed to increase energy.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Products we've been using/going to use

Excuse my lame title, I'm not feeling very creative today :)

So Mika and Wall-e have been getting a new joint supplement since April 30. It's called Lakota Canine Joint Care Formula. Wall-e has been on other joint supplements in the past for his old knee injury (Glyco-Flex I and Dr. Maggie's), but I have never put Mika on a joint supplement regularly. (I slipped her the occasional supplement as a treat when there were no other rewards around, but that's it.) I can't say if this supplement has been helping or not (and it's just a preventative for Wall-e anyway), but time will tell. It's meant for arthritis, but mainly because of it's anti-inflammatory properties, which works for Mika's sore shoulder anyway; and there's a good chance Wall-e could develop arthritis as he ages because of his old knee injury, so this supplement could prevent that.

I also need to get a harness for Wall-e; he's been coughing more often. Sometimes during training (not too often -- maybe once every couple of weeks -- but more than he used to), and after lunging at cars on walks. I'm currently walking him on a collar. I posted on a Facebook group asking for recommendations on harnesses for Wall-e, and these are the ones I'm now considering:

CTC Shoulder Harness  (couldn't find it on the web site, but found a picture of the harness on the Facebook page)

I need a harness that won't break, won't restrict his movement, and will encourage him to continue pulling for conditioning :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Training May 14, and thoughts on aging

On Tuesday we went to the field for the second time of the season. I set up part of a sequence from the "Backyard Dogs" article in the May 2013 issue of Clean Run, for Wall-e. I also lined up two sets of 6 weaves, about 15 feet away from each other, because Wall-e popped out of 12 weaves at our trial last weekend, and I'd hoped this exercise would help. (His entries were fantastic at the trial though, really happy with those!) 

We did more work on the weaves then I'd planned (just 3 reps, but I'm trying to keep sessions short with Wall-e because he's been less drivey lately), so I opted not to do the sequence and instead end the session. 

Then I took Mika out. I've been resting her because I noticed a couple weeks ago that she was bearing weight unevenly; she was very slightly lame in her front right leg. It's probably a sore shoulder; I gently felt around her shoulder and she started blinking when I felt the part of her shoulder near her elbow

But after training Wall-e this day, I took her out of the car and let her explore the field. It was her first time on the field this season, and the look on her face was awesome. She was just so, so happy to be out there. I loved watching her cheerfully galloping around the field (a slow gallop, not a frantic race that would re-injure her shoulder), around the 16" jumps that Wall-e had been using, then turn, smiling, towards me, with the sun shining behind her and lighting her fur. That was all it took to fully convince me that no matter what Mika's age, I'm never going to stop doing agility with her as long as she wants to do it too, and as long as it isn't hurting her. I want her to feel young for as long as she possibly can, and agility does that for her like nothing else. 

The only thing that I'm unsure about is trialing. I've entered her in a lot more trials this year in the hopes of making her feel important. I just want to keep this dog with me as long as possible while still being happy and healthy. If I thought that trialing was bad for her, I wouldn't enter her in any more ever again. I just want to do what's best for her, and I'm still not exactly sure what that is.

On one hand, trialing is stressful and involves a lot of waiting around between runs (and before and after). But then I think of how, although Mika is dog-reactive, her reactivity lessens at trials. She knows she's there for agility and that's what she's focused on. And trials get her out of her familiar environments, which is a good thing? Maybe? I don't know, there's just so much to think about and I'm hoping the answers will come to me. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The agility field's opened for the season!

Wall-e enjoying a post-training gallop around the field.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Enjoying yogurt "pup"sicles

Every summer we freeze yogurt into "pup"sicles. This year I mixed together yogurt and water and then froze it. Mika starts off licking it, then moves on into chewing it. Wall-e starts chewing right away.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And summer begins!

I finished my exams last week, so now I'm off for the summer. I can't begin to describe how much I'm looking forward to hanging out with my dogs as much as I want again!

On Friday evening we went to a mini trial; both dogs did two Masters Jumpers runs (each). Wall-e got his first Masters Jumpers Q! I was really happy with the run and my mindset before during it; I was "in the zone." But as for the run itself, it was very speedy and flowy. Too bad it's not on video (the memory card malfunctioned), but oh well. It was my first time using a blind cross at a trial; at the exit of a tunnel. (I used a blind cross in the next course too.) The only thing we could have improved on in the run was a very late front cross I did on the second jump of a 180; I changed my handling of that part in my next run with Mika (on the same course).

Now that I'm regularly running Wall-e in two different Masters classes (Steeplechase and Jumpers), I'm really starting to appreciate the benefit of running two dogs on the same course. Wall-e is usually the first dog I run, since he's in Regular and Mika is now in Veteran, so he's kind of my "tester dog"; if something goes wrong with my handling while running him, I can change it in my run with Mika. Of course, I try to make the best handling decisions while running Wall-e too, but it does help to be able to make my mistakes with a dog who I don't have to worry about speed with (unlike Mika, who slows down if she gets confused).

Mika was great on Friday too. I recently noticed that she's been slowing down over the past year or two; yes, she has been getting older, but she's still only 8.5 years old and I'd like to keep her feeling young as long as possible (in all aspects of her life). She did have fun on Friday though, barking at the ends of both runs. Her speed was normal (not the normal it used to be, but the normal it's been for the past year or two.) Maybe increasing her fitness will help her speed...not sure. I still absolutely love running with her, even if she isn't as fast as she used to be, but I also want her to live the life of a young dog for as long as she can.

This weekend I've been giving Mika a much-needed haircut. Yup, it takes all weekend because I give her lots of breaks! She looks pretty funny at the moment; groomed everywhere except her head. Cute though! I'll be clipping her ears next.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our St. Patrick's Day (no alcohol involved!)

This green box is pretty much one of the only green things we own, so I grabbed Wall-e for some photos, but ended up focusing more on him and pretty much forgetting about the box :P He was trying to do 2on2off on the thin edge of the box. As I kept telling him, "You're so strange! :)" Well, he started off doing 2on2off, then started raising his left rear foot in the air; kind of a 1on,2off,1in-the-air kinda thing :)
I couldn't pick just one picture; it's hard to decide between all his faces :P
(Totally not the best background for photos either, but oh well, we had fun :) He really likes the home-dehydrated beef that we've been using.)

Mister Handsome! 
I took both dogs for separate walks that afternoon; the sky was beautiful, and although it was a bit chilly, both dogs enjoyed it. I've walked Wall-e every day all winter, but I've only recently started taking Mika for walks again because she really doesn't enjoy it when it's cold. But she loved it on this day :) We have a game we play where she runs over to one of the little snow peaks and stands on it until I release her.
(Her beard is still a bit stained from her surgery last year; it got really stained because of her Elizabethan collar. I've been cutting it so it can grow out white. She's still as cute as ever, of course!)

What's up with that ear! It was WINDY! (No pun intended, ahaha...what's "up"...anyway, moving on... :P )


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Just an update

Haven't blogged in a while, but things have been going pretty great. We've had two trials so far this year (one on February 2 and one on March 2), both at an awesome indoor venue that we'd never been to before. I was SO pleased with Mika and Wall-e's performances at both trials!

Mika was so relaxed at these trials (well, compared to her usual self); she didn't show any signs of reactivity except for a growl at the February trial. It was great to see.  And in the ring she had a really nice balance of control and drive! And Wall-e amazed me with how he was running; he was running like a Masters dog, with tons of skills in his toolbox. It's definitely all coming together for him!

One thing I have to work on with Mika is start-line stays. She stays wonderfully, but it's beginning to stress her a bit. She used to stress at the start-line years ago, back in 2008, which is when I ceased to start-line stays and began starting with her; then I re-introduced start-line stays in 2009 when her speed increased and I needed that head start on some courses. She didn't have a problem with stress when I re-introduced the stays then. I still use a mixture of both stays and no-stays at the start now.

At our last trial, I led out two jumps in our first run (Steeplechase). In our second run (Masters Jumpers), she entered the ring a tad bit more stressed then her last run because she had to wait for a bit longer for her run, and there were other dogs milling around (including a lab, one of her greatest triggers). Anyway, at the beginning of our second run, I told her to sit, resting my hand gently on her back as she did so, to give her a bit of comfort (because she still had a bit of stress). But when I told her to "Wait" and I started to lead out, she got up and shook her entire body (a sign of stress, and one of her methods that she used to try to relax herself). I said, "You're okay! You don't want to stay? All right," and I started with her instead. The rest of our run went uneventfully (we Q'd), but it was a bit slower than her usual, which was likely because of our stressy start. So yeah, we're going to have to work on start-line stays, but I do need them on some of our runs. Just increasing the value of stays, and leading out, will do the trick, I think. We've been working on them at meals, which are high-value reinforcements for Mika (and Wall-e!). We'll also work on them whenever we rent the agility arena next (we've been renting places once a week for the past couple of months), and at future fun matches throughout the year.

Anyway, that's all for now! Hope everyone is doing well! :)

P.S. One more note...SPRING IS COMING!! It's starting to get warmer! :D

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Montana waking up

My mom got this shot. I wonder if this is what I look like when I wake up.

Friday, January 4, 2013

"Oh the weather outside is frightful..."

Wall-e during the "2012 Apocalypse" on Dec. 21/12. We had some pretty crazy weather that day ;)