April 30, 2010

fun photos

Here are a few photos I have taken lately...

Mike said the flag my grandmother crocheted would make a nice backdrop and I agree!  She also made the afghan on the back of the couch. Thanks Grandma! They look great!  
The following was a series that had Mike and I laughing.  Dazzle was sleeping behind the curtain in our office and I made a noise (I think I dropped something, I don't recall) but he lifted his head and was just laying there looking through the curtain and I found it really funny! So I took the photo... If you look close, you can see the reflection of his eyes through the curtain.
Then Mike came in to see what was so funny and Dazzle looked at him through the curtain for awhile while we were both still laughing... "What's so funny dad?"
He finally got bored and put his head down...

I was still talking to him, telling him what a silly boy he is and he again lifted his head...
Not as funny when his face is visible.  But I can just hear him saying-
"Can I just go to sleep now?!"

April 29, 2010

More agility practice

Not much new going on lately.  I have been doing the agility run-throughs at QC and going to Kuliga to do some training on our own.  We're working on more distance stuff and I hope he will be ready for the distance challenge in the Agility runs we signed up for at the Malinois Nationals later this month.  We also practiced some Rally which he did well with.
Today I cleaned the garage and mowed the lawn (which took longer than planned due to a blown fuse on the tractor.) There was supposed to be a troop party here this weekend, but the forcast of rain pushed that back a week.
Dock Diving practice sessions start next Wednesday.  I know Dazzle will be THRILLED!  He really LOVES that sport!
Other than that, not much new going on.  Buster is still doing well and the growth on his neck doesn't seem to be getting larger.  So maybe the special diet and supplements is helping? Keeping my fingers crossed- keep those prayers for him coming!

April 17, 2010

Agility Practice runs

Dazzle and I have been going to the training center for the agility run-throughs on Friday evenings.  (Video links to each run are at the bottom of this post)  Prior to our second run yesterday, we had only done partial courses (I didn't want to push the number of sequences too high too fast).  Last night, on the second run we did the whole course and he did great!
I set his toys at the start line for the first run because I knew we would end up near there and after the tunnel, I marked with "YES!" and he ran to get his toys.  For the second run, I put the toys off to the side of the dog walk because that was closer to where we would end up.  He had a moment of distraction at that point as he was approaching the dog walk, but got back to work quickly when I kept moving and he didn't hear "yes" (verbal clicker).
Photos captured from the video
The video of the second run starts with the A-frame because the person I asked to video didn't start the camera till then (oops! :-)  He did great to that point, so I'm not worried about what's missing.  He slid off the A-frame down contact again though and I didn't want him to get rewarded by continuing, so I had him re-do it.  It doesn't seem to bother him to repeat things, so I use it for clarification.  But it lets me know what needs more work during training. 
The first run, I had trouble with a "go out" to a double bar jump.  As I was running it, I thought I was turning my shoulders toward it and using my arm ok, but video review showed I wasn't. My arm position and my movement was sending him on the path he took instead of out away to the jump.  So I fixed that on the second run by making a left after the bar jump to clearly indicate that the double was next.  We haven't really worked too much on the go outs yet, so I wasn't surprized that he needed extra help.  But it's good that I'm aware of that need.  I chose to stop and re-set the bars on the first run to try to help him get it right, but I still wasn't enough help on that run for him.
The other place I had trouble was after the 2 jump sequence that followed the red tunnel.  After the second jump, I was trying to get him to go directly into the tunnel under the A-frame (I thought that was the course) but again I didn't turn my shoulders enough and didn't change my direction of travel enough.  So he took the A-frame (and got the 2 on/ 2 off down contact :-) and then I sent him into the tunnel.  On the second run, I knew I was going to pull him to the table and that helped my body language.
On the second half of the 2nd run, I lost Dazzle twice by doing a rear cross.  Clearly something I'll have to teach him :-)  Or I'll have to adjust my route and handling to avoid the rear crosses.  I could have had him wait on the teeter till I was on the far side of the first jump that followed and could have run on the outside of the weaves or crossed behind there after he started the weaves.
I wish I had done video of our previous practice runs.  I think the video review REALLY helped! And it helps to be able to look at it, and then run the course again to see if what I think will help actually does :-) But two times around the course was the pushing limit of my knees!  I really need to get him working out away from me more so I don't have to run so much.
VIDEO: Practice run #1

VIDEO: Practice run #2

P.S. Buster is doing well and is on a new diet with lots of supplements.  Keeping my fingers crossed!  Please keep those prayers coming for him.

April 13, 2010

Buster - needs some prayers

About a week ago, I noticed a lump on Buster's neck. After a visit to the vet today, odds are pretty high that it's cancer (needle biopsy that was mostly blood, it's an attached lump, it's location, etc.). Given that he's 14 years old and very stressed by new locations (my vet isn't willing to do the complicated surgery) and the fact that it's in a difficult location between his trachea and jugular vein we will not be opting for surgery.  I may try some alternative medicine though.

I'm just hoping he can be with us for as long as possible without pain or difficulty. So far, he shows absolutely no signs of having any problem. Eating, swallowing fine, no coughing, etc. Hopefully that continues for a long time. But I still can't stop crying at the drop of a hat. I knew it was most likely going to be the diagnosis, but having it confirmed makes it more real. I keep telling myself he's not gone yet and tears can wait, but it doesn't always work.  Meanwhile, he's getting spoiled more than usual.

We have had Buster since he was 8 months old and fate brought him into our lives.  He had severe fear issues that we have been helping him overcome all his life. He has taught me more about dog behavior than any other dog and is the reason I found Dog Scouts, which has become a major part of my life.

He overcame his fear enough to pass the Dog Scout test! And even earned some badges.

He LOVES any water activity, especially Kayaking because he gets me all to himself AND he gets to swim! What could be better?

"Just a few more minutes mom?" 

Young Buster- a BLUE heeler!

Playing gently with Bear

Where is the kitty? Could she be the lump under the covers?

Excellent Seminar!

Dazzle and I attended a 2-day seminar over the weekend presented by Julie Flannery.  I really learned a LOT! I am working on developing a training plan to improve Dazzle's precision and have defined what "precision" looks like for the basic behaviors.  I also plan to write-up tests to go through to see just what his understanding of my cues are so I can better shape his behavior.  The seminar helped me see how much I still have left to do and how to accomplish my goals for him. 

April 08, 2010

Mutt Muffs

Dazzle has new equipment to help him deal with storms.  They are called "Mutt Muffs" and it's hearing protection for dogs.  They have the same decibel rating as pilot's hearing protection and were originally designed for dogs that fly with pilots in loud private prop planes.  Since Dazzle doesn't like the sound of thunder, but doesn't seem to be affected by other storm factors (barometric pressure, the sight of lightning, etc.) I thought I'd give these a try. I had already tried benydryl, Rescue Remedy and melatonin with no effects on him. 
I resisted the temptation to use them during the last two storms because he wasn't yet readily accepting them.  I have been working on conditioning him slowly to accept them and be comfortable with them near his head, then touching his head, then touching his ears, etc.  He will now willingly put his head under them when I hold them up and has even played and eatten with them on.  As you can see by the photo, he is able to enjoy a bully stick while wearing them and it's currently thundering outside!  During previous storms, he has been trying to get into our skin, pacing, stress panting, shaking, refusing to eat or play, etc.  I think these were a very good investment!
He's not completerly over the stress of storms (can still hear the really loud booms and stresses over those), but it's much better!

Only 5 dogs left!!

The courts released the dogs for adoption and in just 3 days, we were able to get the dogs adopted or sent to rescues and shelters!  Only 5 dogs remain and volunteers that are packing up and cleaning up the site on the 8th will be there to try to get those adopted too.  If they don't get adopted from the site, they will go to the Adams County shelter to be adopted from there. 
This was an incredible experience that I won't soon forget (both good and bad).  I am SO happy that these dogs have a new chance at the life with loving familes that they SO deserve!
UPDATE: ALL the dogs went to rescue or were adopted by individuals!  You can read the updates from their new owners and see their photos from their new homes at the http://www.tristatecart.com/ website. New updates are posted as they come in.

April 04, 2010

45 dogs available- and Easter fun

The courts released for adoption the 60+ dogs we rescued in Adams County. This is good news, because it means they don't have to be held till the case is heard.  I'll be going back out there tomorrow to help at the temporary shelter with the 45 remaining dogs that haven't gone into rescue yet.  Hopefully we can quickly get them moved into REAL rescues and adoptive homes so they can get the loving homes they deserve and we can get our disaster volunteers back to their regular lives.
In other news, the Dog Scout troop had an Easter Egg hunt for the dogs and they had lots of fun!  I took 3 of my 5 to go hunt eggs.  The two oldest dogs stayed home to nap, but Mike tossed some treats in the yard for them to find. :-) The eggs in the photo were just props.  That's not how many they found!  Actually they each only found 5-10 eggs that had a few treats per egg.

Finding the eggs:

April 02, 2010

Emotional First

This isn't related to Dazzle, but it is related to dogs.  On Tuesday, I responded for my first time to the activation of the Tri-State CART, a disaster response team for animals.  I just got back home last night.  It's going to take me some time to recover physically and emotionally from what I experienced the past few days. I was helping with a hoarding case you can read about in the articles linked below. It was MUCH worse than what the news report made it out to be. The photos that look like dogs in pens with mud...That's not mud, it's shit- all of it, several feet deep.

I'll get to my emails after I take some time, I'm just really sore and stiff today and my hands hurt so I don't want to type much.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to help with the care of these dogs or future rescue efforts, you can mail it to TriState County Animal Response Team- P.O. Box 158, Harrison OH 45030. At this point, the animals are not available. But several rescues are lining up to take them when they can, to be held pending the court case.

Here’s the article “Authorities seize dogs from Adams county home” http://www.wlwt.com/news/22989339/detail.html

Here’s next article “Animal control overwhelmed after dog seizure” http://www.wlwt.com/news/23004846/detail.html

There are links to graphic photos within the stories above, as well as links to the video of the news reports.

I can't talk about the details of this, since it's an ongoing investigation so please don't ask. But the news reports will give you a glimpse of what myself and the other volunteers are dealing with.