Friday, August 24, 2012

Elizabethtown Fair Demo

Cosi and I participated in the agility demo at the E-town Fair last night. Here's our intro (a short sequence of obstacles) and our "race" against Beth and Zip:

I enjoy these demos. It's a great place to work distractions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dog Version of Michael Phelps

Well, maybe not that good, but Cosi is turning out to be an excellent swimmer.

Last night we went swimming, and I'm starting to take me out of the picture. I put a life vest on him, which has a hook for clipping on a leash. I put on his 6 foot leash and asked him to wait on the ramp. I went to the side of the pool and told him, "Go for a swim." He went down the ramp, hesitating, unsure. Then he finally made that last step off the ramp and swam only a small distance then made a tight turn back to the ramp. We waited a few minutes and tried again. He had more confidence the second time, perhaps thinking, "Hey. I can do this! I don't need Mom next to me." He swam farther out into the pool than ever before. By the third lap, he was his old, confident self. I want to keep swimming him in the winter, and I didn't want to get in the water with him then. We'll keep working to shape this new behavior. Maybe in four years he could be an Olympic Champion!? Hmmmm...maybe not. =:O)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Love This Pic

The caption to this picture is "Road Trip!" Made me laugh; had to share.

PT Evaluation

We were fortunate enough to have the services of a wonderful physical therapist available at our training center. Many people bring their dogs because of injury or chronic ailments such as a slipping knee or stubbed toe. I took Cosi for an evaluation. I just wanted someone who knows structure and anatomy to get their hands on him and tell me how he is doing. I have found that Shelties are very stoic and don't show pain readily.

Great news! Cosi is in great shape. I watched Cosi's face during the 30-minute massage. When the therapist would find a sore spot, Cosi's eyes got real big, and all I saw was white. Then when the therapist got out his cold laser and lasered Cosi's lower back, his eyes slid shut and he relaxed. The bubble over his head was, "Ahhh. Yea, that's the spot." The therapist recommended that I add stretching to our exercise routine. Now in the evening when everyone settles in after our walks, I slide off the couch and do stretches with Cosi. He's half asleep and lets me maniuplate him easily.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sizzle - 2007 to 2012

Gail and Sizzle in 2007 when he was 8 weeks old.

My friend, Gail, lost her border collie, Sizzle, this weekend. I don't have all the details, but she had to make a very difficult decision to have Sizzle put down when it was evident he had a brain tumor. It was a tragedy to hear of a wonderful young dog's life cut short. However, Gail did right by him, making sure he never suffered.

Hug your dog, everyone. Find joy in all they do with us and for us. Gail, you are in my thoughts this weekend.

When our friend, Rosie, ran with her IG, Wiley, this weekend at a trial, she had Sizzle's arm band number with her. She saw it when she went to get her arm band. She wanted to have his number with her on the runs today. What a great salute to a terrific dog.

Monday, August 6, 2012

One small step for Cosi... giant leap for Shelties everywhere!

This past weekend I took Cosi "swimming." I've been working on getting him to take that one last step into nothing where he leaves the safety of the ramp beneath his feet and goes swimming. He goes down the ramp until the water is up to his elbows, then just goes limp and hangs in the water. That's his version of swimming. I call it ABS (all but swimming). To get him out in the pool, I've had to put my arm around his ribs and encourage him to step off the ramp. Well, on Sunday he finally made that one last step on his own! I was thrilled. He made a very tight turn, and he swam back to the ramp. He has very good technique; his feet are below the surface, making steady and strong strokes.

The next time out, he swam a bit farther from the ramp. That was enough for that session. My goal this summer is to get him swimming without me in the water. I've been swimming him every week. I feel like a proud parent of a child who made it from the Guppy Group to the Dolphin Group in swimming lessons.

We are on hiatus from agility trials during August. We are still going to classes, running in the field, and going on nightly walks. We'll ramp back up for a hectic fall trial schedule come the end of the month. I'm enjoying the down time. I have a lot of body awareness exercises to work on with him (from Susan Garrett's Puppy Peaks and Contact Success classes). There are plenty of things to do in the cool confines of the house.

This month Jenny turns Big Girl 12. Her mobility is not what it should be, stiff legged and not jumping up on couches like she used to. But she is still bright as a new penny, eager to be first (her trademark move) at whatever we are doing, and begs to go on the walks at night.

Mike had a bout with an intestinal virus for two weeks. With no home remedies for diarrah working, I took him to the vet's. Two days of meds and he was back on track. He's living large on his porch, chasing the birds away from the fence and barking at my neighbor's diesel truck when he starts it--that's the "family business" Mike inherited from Brisco. Brisco used to chase the birds and bark at the truck. It's nice to see Mike keep the traditions going.