Wednesday, September 30, 2009

While I was gone

Jerry took these pics while Legend and I were gone this weekend. Looks like an ambitious bunch huh?

And this is Zodiac squished into Lyric's bed. Sad.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some new pictures

I took all of these today after our training sessions. Zodiac did pretty good at directed jumps today and did some great gloves. His signals were ok except he was wanting to creep forward instead of sit, but eventually got it right. I only worked metal articles today since he seems to be struggling with them. We did it several times until I know he was purposefully working the pile and selecting the right one.

Legend worked in agility but it was more of a CU training session. We are trying the "Give me a Break" game. The principle behind this is you do a short high reward training session and then release them to go take a break, play, do whatever they want. You sit and wait for them to return, reward the return and then have another short highly rewarding training session. You just keep repeating this and eventually they learn that whatever they wanted to do in their free time is not as interesting as working for all those treats. Supposedly they dogs turn into freaks for training/working. Then we did the teeter several times with jackpots for doing it each time. She never hesitated on it, which is typical for at home but I figured doing it for big time treats may stick in her mind for the next trial.

Lyric is learning sit, down, and stay. She is VERY food motivated.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


The standard course today was a tough one and I'm really proud that we did all the obstacles in the correct order and got a good time. She did however bail off the teeter again (ugh) and missed the weave entrance. This was one of the rare times I made her go back and correct it as her attitude seemed really up. She nailed it the second time and then missed the down dogwalk contact. Overall I'm not unhappy with her run but concerned about this teeter thing. On to jumpers-she started slow, despite the first obstacle being the tunnel and gradually (I mean very gradually) picked up speed. But she was clean, picked up MXJ leg #4 and a few points. Hopefully we are making progress.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


So first of all I got there way too early. The trial was running slow, there were a zillion walk throughs and big dogs were running last. So after waiting all morning I finally got to my runs in the afternoon. Both courses I thought were fun and doable. In standard we had a nice run except...there was a jump right in the dog's line of vision as they came out of the chute, but this was an off course, they were supposed to curl to the left and take the tire. Legend took the off course (which I suspected may be an issue), then another jump (which stopped the timer) and then put 2 feet on the teeter (which was correct) and changed her mind and jumped off. The rest was great. I was bummed that we didn't get a time because I wanted to know how fast she was running. I'm also wondering what's up with the teeter. She intermittently decides to not do or bail off teeters in trials. She's never had any fear of the teeter or a bad experience, maybe she just doesn't like that they are all a little different. We will have to work the teeter more at home, maybe I can adjust the tension so it falls at different speeds.

Jumpers started out slow for the first few obstacles-which is pretty much her M.O. on any course (still trying to figure out how to fix that or why she does it to make fixing it easier). Thus she didn't have much momemtum going into the weaves (obstacle 4 in a twisty opening) and petered out towards the end and didn't do them all correctly. The rest was nice-clean, turns were a little wide and parts could have been faster, but overall a nice run. Maybe tomorrow we can pull it all together!

No off course tunnels today though!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No good deed

Since Moses has been lame he's been in the dry lot-dieting and resting. Squirt has been in there with him most of the time as he could lose some weight too but doesn't so much need the rest. So I decided to let him out tonight for a bit since I'm going out of town for the weekend and won't be able to turn him out until I get back.

So I opened the gate and he ran out followed by Moses who mustered up enough stubbornness to run through his pain before I shut the gate. I decided to let him be for an hour and just give him less hay for dinner.

Of course they refused to come in when I went to get them. I went out with a lead rope and just looped it over Squirt's neck-he's easy and I figured Moses would follow him in. He didn't. So I locked Squirt up and went back out for Moses. He refused to be caught. So I decided to open the gate and try and herd/chase him in-this usually works pretty good. Tonight, it did not. Squirt got bored and ran back out into the pasture and neither one could be run in. It's a cool night here but by then we were are all sweating and it's getting dark. I went back to the barn to get a halter, caught Squirt again led him in and tied him up. Went back out after Moses-he must have been sore and tired because he let me walk up to him and lead him slowly to the barn. Now why couldn't he have done that the first time. Dumb horse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Now known as...

I finally decided on Lyric, which was something I thought of weeks ago when we wanted to change her name to start with. But I never committed to it. However, after lots of suggestions (thanks everyone) and hours of thinking on my own, Lyric just seemed to fit her. Plus it met all my criteria of being unusual (hopefully!), cute, and a little girlie.

Lyric brought some toys with her when she came to stay with us. Today Zodiac and Legend destroyed one of them. Prior to this they had been pretty good about leaving them alone. I guess they figured if she was staying they could tear up her stuff.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Foster Failure Number 2

We tried not to keep her. We told everyone we weren't. I told myself we weren't. We had a lot of reasons not to. It was too soon, I don't have time, I should wait until Zodiac retires, it's so nice to just have two trained, healthy, dogs to take care of, etc., etc. Well, it didn't work. She was too cute and blended into our house too well, plus she makes me smile a lot. Eventually I wanted to have a Pom anyway and it seemed silly to rehome this one that I like so well and fits into our family just to go looking for another one a few years down the road. I'm sure we'll make it work out for the best and now I get to try my hand at small dog agility handling! A name change for her will be coming soon. We have not made our final choice yet.

And for anyone who doesn't know-here is foster failure number one. Six years, multiple titles, dozens of therapy visits, and lots of snuggles later I don't have any regrets.


OK, so I did get up and work the dogs yesterday. First I worked Legend in Obedience-we will be trying for that last CD leg here in about a month. I did make her do longer stays than usual since my intention is to work on Open when we finish with our CD. I forgot how boring practicing a 5 minute down stay really is. Anyway, she did pretty good. She had a decent agility practice as well but was starting to get hot-it was really humid yesterday.

Zodiac worked on signals-good and directed jumping. His go-outs were nice and straight-no target needed and his jumping was much improved. Not totally normal but acceptable. I think the Rimadyl must be helping. He was even doing some pretty hard tugging with Legend the other day. Then we cooled off for a bit and did a couple pretty long tracks. Overall it turned into a pretty productive day.

I also took the new header picture yesterday. I like it, but it doesn't seem as crisp as when I was looking at it in the photo editing program. Maybe it's my imagination but either way I'm just not totally pleased with it. I like the way the dogs look, just not the quality of the photo. Maybe it's the lighting. I'll leave it until I get a better one I guess. It's more reflective of the time of year anyway.

One of my Clematis is blooming. The other one died. Guess I will have to get another one next year. Why is it so hard to grow plants?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My week

I guess many of you might be wondering about Moses-he's doing better, still pretty lame but at least willing to wander around the corral some and always comes up to eat. I turned Squirt out today to run and stretch his legs. He's been cooped up with Moses all week-he needs to diet too.

Wednesday we went to agility class and Thursday got in some much needed grocery shopping. Friday my sister arrived with 4 small cousins in tow for a weekend at Branson. We had dinner with them at Lambert's-home of the throwed roll. It seemed to be a big hit and not that many rolls hit the floor. Yesterday I worked in the morning but then we joined them at Silver Dollar City for the rest of the afternoon. Naturally it rained but overall it seemed to go pretty well. Then we all ordered Pizza at their hotel. Today after they did some more stuff in Branson they came out to the house and saw all the animals and they each took turns riding Squirt.

It's kind of wet and cloudy here, and really humid so I'm trying to decide if I want to risk getting out and working the dogs (I mean, it might rain on us) or just bum around the house. I guess we could do some stuff in the house...or just veg....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I forgot

I keep getting reminded that when I posted "The Name Game" I didn't mention one of Legend's nicknames. I forgot about Snaky! She gets this nickname because of her remarkable ability to worm and wiggle her way onto our lap, the couch, chair, or wherever we are sitting or in between us in the bed. And she is amazingly strong when in snaky mode-she cannot be stopped!

I've been remarkably busy this week and the dogs are feeling neglected. Plus the only work they have done is when Legend went to class on Wednesday. Time to get back on track but first it's off to Silver Dollar City with family this afternoon after work!

Monday, September 14, 2009


I adopted this horse in vet school. He's a great companion for Squirt and mostly a nuisance to us. He takes down fences, is not broke to ride and is sometimes hard to catch, always hard to deworm, and nearly impossible to get in a trailer. This morning I found him foundered...again. For those of you not familiar with founder or laminitis it's an inflammatory disease of the feet that causes separation of the bone from the hoof and is very painful. He's had this before, I treated him and he eventually got better. But once this happens they are always predisposed to do so again and each episode can cause more damage.

Anyway, he really didn't want to move at all this morning and so I thought I better call the "real" horse vet out to take a look and get some x-rays. She gave him some pain meds and took some x-rays. The right foot is looking pretty bad but we are going to try meds and rest and keeping him off the grass (overeating contributes). So that meant I had to go home after work and work on my fence. I headed out with the hedge trimmers to clear the weeds. There was a fine mist falling but not too noticeable. Squirt helped by intermittently standing on or playing with the electric cord and Moses stayed out in the pasture and continued to eat-guess he was feeling a little better. He finally wandered up and improved the situation by knocking the sliding barn door off the track. So now it's raining harder, getting dark and I have a barn door to try and fix by myself plus finish the fence. I got everything connected and its seems to be working ok for now. Hopefully thew will stay in tonight. And I was able to get the door hung again without too much trouble. Then in for a hot shower.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

For Sara

To solve the problem of doing agility in flip flops you need to look for a pair of shoes like this

No socks. No laces. Great running ability. I use mine all the time as I also hate wearing socks in summer. All they do are make my feet hot and create more laundry. Beware of weird tan lines though. I'd post a picture of my feet as proof but probably no one wants to see that!

Maybe it's not all about agility

If you read my blog you have probably noted that every time Legend does something "weird" at a trial I spend hours agonizing over what I'm doing wrong, what I already did wrong, what I need to do different, etc. And granted there is always room for more training and improvement but on the way back from the trial I realized Legend does weird stuff at home. Most notably she occasionally refuses/acts afraid of going in the back yard. When we get home she just stands in the bedroom and looks across the house at the open door. If you go get her she runs to a corner or throws herself to the floor. Then when she wants back in she will sometimes throw herself at the door in some sort of mini panic attack. A few times (when she's not sleeping in her crate) she has run to the other side of the house and slept under the computer desk and she does not care to be in the same room where I am folding laundry.

I don't usually dwell on these behaviors because I don't have significant time, money, or pride invested in her being a relatively normal house pet!

So could it partly be ring stress and anxiety? Probably. Could she also be just a little bizarre? Maybe.


I think my dog is bipolar. We went to the Triune Kennel Club trial this weekend with mixed results. Her first run-standard, was a little out of control at the beginning and the end but nice in the middle with awesome weave poles. Then off to jumpers which was smooth and controlled but not as fast as she can be. But she got a Q and 6 MACH points (it was also MXJ leg#2). Today we started off in standard once again. It was a mess. She started slow, stopped in front of a jump and refused the teeter like she was afraid of it. Then went off course, slowly gained speed and enthusiasm but really the whole experience was a bit painful. I was not looking forward to jumpers but tried it anyway and what do you know, she did great. She looked hard at some of the off course traps but came when called and ended up with another Q and 6 more points.

So basically I'm happy about the good runs but super frustrated since I don't know what dog I'm going to have from day to day or even from one run to the next. If she just consistently acted like she didn't like agility that would be one thing, but when she has episodes like this (and only at trials) it's just hard to tell. I get more nervous about how she's going to act than any other part of the trial. If she was always having fun but making mistakes that would be ok. That we could work on. But sometimes I'm just not sure what to do with her.

But I guess since I don't have another agility dog we will just keep plugging along and see how it turns out. Hopefully she will eventually realize trials don't have to be stressful. Because her stress is stressing me out! It's just supposed to be fun. So now I get to spend two weeks wondering how she will be at the next trial.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This is essentially the same post I wrote for the Dogs on Thursday blog (I'm helping them out by writing a veterinary article once a month) but I thought I would share it here too-it has some good website links in it anyway.

Heartworms are a serious parasite that all dog owners need to be aware of. Heartworms, in contrast to many intestinal parasites, are spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The larval stages are injected into your pet and mature over the next 4-6 months into adult worms that live in the heart and larger blood vessels leading to the heart. Heartworms can go undetected for long periods of time before your dog starts showing clinical signs-the most common of which are cough, weight loss, and exercise intolerance. Heartworms, left untreated, can be fatal. However, they are easily prevented with one of several monthly preventatives which we will discuss in more detail later. But first lets go over a few more important facts about heartworms.

Heartworms are not contagious from dog to dog, however an infected dog can serve as a reservoir to infect more mosquitoes which can infect more dogs.

Heartworms can’t be detected in a stool/fecal sample like other worms. A simple blood test is needed to check for heartworms. This test is ideally performed annually to make sure that your preventative is working as it should. Although all of the drugs used as preventatives are very, very effective there can be rare cases of failure. This test is also important in case your dog has spit out or vomited up a pill without you knowing or if you have forgotten to give a pill or were late giving it. It’s also important to test new dogs (6 months of age or older) before starting them on a preventative because some of the medications can cause bad reactions in a dog that is already infected.

Heartworms have been diagnosed in all 50 states but are much more common in some areas such as the midwest and southeast-where there is warm humid weather that favors mosquitoes. Although some states may feel it’s safe to not use heartworm prevention or to go off prevention in the winter months I feel the safest thing to do is to use prevention all year round. Many preventatives are very cost effective, protect against other common parasites and give you peace of mind-especially if you travel with your pet to parts of the country you are not familiar with.

If your dog is infected with heartworms it can be treated. It is expensive, painful, and there will be some dogs that don’t survive treatment-especially in the later stages of the disease. Treatment generally consists of some tests (blood, urine, radiographs) to determine how advanced the disease is. Then your pet will receive two injections to kill the adult worms-these injections can make your pet quite sore. There is then a 30-day period of crate rest while the worms die and are destroyed by the dog’s immune system. Then the dog is given a second treatment-sometimes by injection or orally to kill the baby worms and rested another 4 weeks before testing for heartworms. If the test is negative the dog can begin prevention and go on with normal doggie activities.

More information about heartworms and heartworm disease can be found at The American Heartworm Society.

Now, about prevention-the easy way to manage heartworm disease. Heartworm preventatives come in both chewable tablets and topical spot-on products. All are given or applied monthly. I’ll be going over the most common products today. Which product you choose is based on your preference and what other parasites are a concern to your dog.

Heartgard Plus from Merial is beefy chewable that also protects against roundworms and hookworms (3 varieties).

Interceptor from Novartis is also a monthly chewable that protects against roundworms, the most common species of hookworms, and whipworms. Interceptor and Heartgard are often similar in cost with the difference in the two products being Heartgard covers more species of hookworms and Interceptor protects against only one hookworm but eliminates whipworms.

Sentinel is also from Novartis and is the same as Interceptor except it also contains an insect growth regulator or IGR. This compound sterilizes flea eggs to help prevent flea infestations. Adding the IGR nearly doubles the cost of the product, however it does not kill live adult fleas. For this reason I recommend using Interceptor and a separate flea product if needed.

Revolution from Pfizer is topical product and also protects against fleas, ticks, ear mites, and sarcoptic mange mites. It is not labeled for control of roundworms and hookworms because it did not eliminate a high enough percentage of them to meet FDA standards but it does control them well enough in cases where there is not a high level of exposure and risk of reinfection.

Advantage Multi from Bayer is another topical product. I have not used this one personally but it sounds like a promising product that would be worth trying. It protects against fleas, roundworms, two kinds of hookworms, and whipworms.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tracking photos

We have been enjoying mostly a relaxing weekend. Saturday I worked in the morning, napped in the afternoon and we went to the Springfield Cardinal game in the evening. The Cards lost but it was a good game with lots of hits and a few home runs. Plus we had perfect weather. Sunday we did a little shopping and did stuff around the house and then Zodiac and I met up with Cindy, Sweetie, and Oscar for some tracking. Zodiac is doing well and Cindy took these photos for me. I know they are not exactly action packed but let's face it-Tracking is not a spectator sport!

Today we enjoyed the holiday with my parents and grandparents and had a great visit. And tomorrow I get to enjoy another day off!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The rest of the week

I believe I left off with the dentist. No cavities-good news. But since I have not been able to chew crunchy food on the right side of my mouth for a while I knew it was time to quit putting it off and schedule my wisdom teeth to be pulled. So I got my x-rays printed off at my regular dentist to take to my oral surgery consult which is scheduled for 2 weeks from now. So much fun.

Meanwhile Zodiac seems more chipper in training this week-maybe it's the cooler weather. I did a few jumps yesterday-he didn't try to avoid them and he only knocked one bar but there is definitely something not right with his form. But if seems able to handle it ok we will continue with the training and the Rimadyl. After all he only has to do 2 jumps. And tracking continues to go well.
Legend has been working really well this week. Hopefully some of the things I've been working on will pay off as we have several trials entered over the next few months. And we continue to work through some Control Unleashed stuff. I have not finished the book yet but there are already a lot of things I want to work on!
Since it's yucky and rainy tonight we decided to do tracking another day and instead Jerry and I went out to eat and on a shopping spree to Kohl's. And remarkably we were home by 9:30. It's off to work for me tomorrow morning but then 3 days off. After an interesting and stressful week things are starting to look up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back in Black

I started Zodiac on Rimadyl this morning. We'll know soon enough if it makes a difference. He also got to come to work with me today and have a bath for pet therapy tonight. I poked around on him some and it seems like he has soreness in his back. I know that one time he jumped into the truck and slammed his back on the bottom of the door on his way in-I wonder if that accelerated some spinal arthritis. I can't remember how much trouble he was having jumping before that as opposed to after. I know he was having some trouble before. And when I took x-rays of his back I know I didn't take them as for forward as I was noticing his sensitivity today. Anyway all he knows is he was unimpressed with his bath and grooming (I spent a lot of extra time combing some undercoat out) but he looks and feels fantastic. I'll get some more pictures off my camera eventually but now I've got to ready for the dentist. Yay :(