When your dog is on leash restriction...

it just so happens that you tend to work on leashed behaviors.  Bailey is on strict leash restriction until further notice (hereafter referred to as "UFN").  She is also on "no stairs" UFN.  This could, potentially translate to "no fun" UFN, if I'm not careful!  She may be Ten and a Half years old, but she sure doesn't act like it, even when she's hurting.

Now, for the not-so-fun-part.  My dog has poor leash manners.  I tend to avoid this topic because I'm not motivated to change it, I manage her when in public and we use(d to) use an x-back harness for walks in not-crowded public places.  And I used an Easy Walk if I was feeling less lazy (the rate of reinforcement needed for the EW is actually pretty low, because I did attempt to train that a couple times in the last few years).  A Gentle Leader was put on if we were going to be in a super crowded place.  

The missing component?  Teaching my dog to walk on a loose leash reliably.  
The reason?  I'm lazy and she got far better exercise running on property at home.
The justification?  I'm lazy (What?  Isn't that what all good trainers say?)

We were REALLY GOOD at walking in town this winter for exercise.  We always went when nobody else was bound to be out, so we rarely had an issue that required her to be on a short leash at my side.  Not irresponsible, but good planning I think!

Anyway, this post isn't to complain (rather... to brag!) because I've actually been training my dog!  Her exercise(s) include 20-30 minutes of Leashed Walking (UFN) twice a day.  How handy is it that I feed twice a day.  How nice is it that she's eating kibbles that are easy to handle.  I'm actually training my dog to do something practical!  We do some sit stays occasionally, but no formal heeling (in fact, I do NOT click/treat if I'm getting eye contact--I want that body to stay as straight as possible), just some casual, loose leash walking.  

Just don't ask about the rate of reinforcement for this whole Loose Leash Walking phenomenon yet, we've only had three sessions!

Bailey has woe.


Hurting Right Quad

Bailey saw Dr. Julia Tomlinson today on the recommendation of many, many friends.  It's taken us a while to get there due to a few reasons but boy am I glad we finally went.  Dr. Julia was wonderfully competent and clearly understood dog behavior.  She took the time to let Bailey get used to the room before even entering herself.  After she entered, we chatted for a couple minutes as Bailey sniffed her and got to know her.  She read our check in sheet and took care when working with Bailey's feet... oh, and she had dehydrated liver for her.  Despite manipulating and poking and prodding Bailey for quite a while, my dog was relaxed, and in turn I was very at ease with the whole thing.

I was most impressed by her ability to find things that I clearly didn't tell her (because she didn't want to cloud her judgement).  Measuring Bailey's right shoulder abduction at 30cm, when left was at 20cm, prompted a question about possible trauma.  She made me recall that Bailey had dislocated her right shoulder as a young dog (we were playing frisbee, she lied down in front of me, I stepped on her foot as I threw and she leaped up to get it... it was NOT pretty and I'm sure quite painful, but it went back in on it's own in a matter of seconds).  I don't think I've even told the vet about it, because it seemed so insignificant.  It went back in, right?  Obviously there was lasting trauma.  She was even able to show me some changes on the x-ray.

I have a list of exercises to work on with Bailey (I lured/shaped a bow today... she doesn't have one apparently, but is learning pretty quickly) and a list of restrictions.  She's still coming to Ohio with me (she HAS to) but she won't get to participate in anything, other than being a massage dog.

My dog has a hurt right quad, and hurts in a lot of other areas due to compensating.


A Sad Happy

I didn't even think about it until tonight, but I've been taking Buzz for off leash walks quite often, with Bailey, with a relatively low rate of reinforcement... for quite a while now.  Not every time, mind you... but I don't think anything of just letting them both out the front door, and expecting them to both stick around with me.

Part of it is probably due to training, but I'm sure an even larger part is that he doesn't want to RUN anymore.

Definitely a sad happy.  He gets more/better exercise this way but it's still a bit sad.

He's been going to the car leash-less for probably a year now.  That is still something I'll have to get used to.  He used to be incredibly naughty and RUN at any chance.


It is what it is.

It's a wonderful word when it pertains to humans and a lousy one when it pertains to dogs.  I feel like I keep running into the same wall with both dogs.  I research, ask around, talk to my vet and we think we solve "the" problem and it comes back again.

Even if I can get either one of them "fixed" I have a feeling I'll be so concerned about them getting hurt again, I still won't compete.

Buzz's acupuncture on Wednesday was... bad.  He started shaking, flinching, and being so tense we were NOT doing anything good.  We discussed a couple options.
1) Aquapuncture-yes, water acupuncture... B12 injected into the acupoint
2) X-ray the really sensitive areas and see what we find (I need to ask if we could then to Adequan injections if those super ouchy areas are joints).
3) Me realizing my dog is 12.  I refuse to accept that statement.

I have a feeling both dogs will need multiple x-rays (there goes the rest of my savings after I paid for TAG teach and school) if I want to get a definitive diagnosis and start a treatment plan.

On the "to do" list outside of things I can have done at work are
1) CERF visits for both
2) Massage appointments (they've been made, I'm just waiting to hear if she found other people to make her trip worthwhile and thus available on that day for us to go see her)

Good news is that Buzz's senior blood work was all normal.  We do need to run a urinalysis at some point (oops, I forgot) and it was suggested we send out a full thyroid panel because his level has changed.

Retirement is imminent.  I just want my dogs to be happy and pain free.

Oh, and retirement does not pertain to Tracking and Hunt Tests.  Buzz will continue to track and do rally.  We'll see what Bailey can do, if she's ever sound again.  She says fetching bumpers in the stinky lake is a great activity, and one she can enjoy for years to come.

Of Hairy Dogs

Or... not so hairy dogs.

I shaved Buzz down a couple months ago.  He haaaaaaates being groomed.

I cut Bailey down to about 2" just before her birthday in January.  I started by doing a "pet cut" with a 7 blade today.  Then I gave her a bath and went a little crazy.  My spaniel is nekkid, except for ears.  I promised her I would never strip her out again and well... I certainly didn't do that.  She looks a little rough around the edges, but we're off to play in the lake and I'm looking forward to the two minute bath afterwards, rather than the 15 minute bath.  She looks a little ugly, but we are both pleased.  I just won't have the courage to take her out in public for a couple months.

There are no photos of this ordeal.  She'll be confined to The Farm and The Lake until it grows out a bit.