Sunday, February 28, 2010

something for Josie & our league match

FOR JOSIE:Oreo says, "Josie, us one ear up/one ear down dogs have to stick together. I'm crossing my paws with you for your friends John & Gert. My mom just wasn't very good at capturing it on film."

Oreo & I trekked out in the snow to the league match yesterday. We hung out watching the other dogs run for about 1 1/2 hours. I think it was good for Oreo. He was generally relaxed, and took treats from me the whole time. His most nervous moment was in the doorway, where dogs were coming in/out.

My teacher's husband held Oreo's leash while I filmed my teacher's run. Oreo was fine with that and even let him pet him, without shying away. My teacher's husband said that it made his day. He said to Oreo, "We're gonna get you to come around one of these days Oreo."

It's always nice when other people see signs of improvement in your dog's demeanor.

It was kind of a bummer not being able to run, but I think we accomplished a lot just by hanging out. Perhaps we accomplished even more than we would have if Oreo had 4 good legs.

If Oreo's not better by our next match (the last match of the season), I'll probably do the same thing. Exposure is good.

Here's a short video I took of Oreo taking in the sights. Boy is he alert to all the sights and sounds, but he does turn & look at me when I say "hey". The fact that Oreo wasn't jumping on my lap, or hiding under my chair, were all good signs!

Yesterday, I did start noticing some signs of improvement in Oreo's stance. I also did not see any limping at all. I was able to hot pack him twice, whereas I was only doing it once a day during the work week.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

one week down

We've survived one week of "no jumping", or at least minimal jumping. Oreo still sneaks a jump in now and then.

My vet had their power restored around 11:30AM Thursday, so I was able to bring Oreo in for his laser therapy after school. We'll go back again on Monday.

We've been doing a lot of "mat work" with his Barking Dogs blanket from our Aunt Betty in Hawaii. It is really helping to keep him from jumping. I didn't realize how much of a jumper he was until this past week.

The good news, I think by the end of this rehab, I may have both dogs desensitized to the garage door going up & down! Now, wouldn't that be nice?

I was also able to change my sheets on the bed, without having Oreo get made into the bed as well. Hiding under the covers, then jumping around and making a mess of them is one of his favorite games. This week, I put his "mat" on the floor, and he laid there while I made the bed! It was a real time saver. Although, I kind of missed my playful little buddy's game.

Here's an old video of his bed making antics:

Oreo still off loads weight to his left leg a lot. That is a bit worrisome. I hope it doesn't mean we will need additional downtime after next week. I was hoping for more improvement by this point. I'm guess I'm being impatient. This is the first time I've ever had a dog with an injury like this, so I don't really know what to expect time wise.

It is hard to turn him down when he really wants to play. I feel like I'm breaking his spirit.

There is a league match today. I had planned on attending to do a bit of socialization, but we got some more snow last night and it is still coming down. If the roads get cleared within a few hours, and the meet isn't cancelled, we'll head over for a little while. I have a feeling not many people will be there, as some have to travel long distances.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

what happened?

What happened to all those storms just skimming us to the south this year? Guess we were due for a wallop.

I had a snow day yesterday, but was still planning on heading to the vet for Oreo's laser therapy. Unfortunately, the vet lost power, so therapy had a snow day too. Bummer. At least we had power (and heat!) all day.

I did lots of massaging of Oreo's leg instead. Of course, he was more interested in trying to get me to throw his ball. Oreo has yet to learn the art of relaxation like Misty. Now Misty really appreciates a good massage.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

let him out!

We had a really weird snow today. Slick, heavy, wet. Not the nice, cold, fluffy stuff we're used to up north. It took me almost an hour to drive my 5 miles from work to home. All the hills from my school to the main road had multi car crashes on them. I kept having to go down side streets to find another way home. You just couldn't stop your car on the steep down slope. My antilock brakes were working overtime, and I still didn't know if I was ever going to stop. Scary!

We've been putting Oreo in his crate while we're at work to help him heal. We haven't crated him since he was a year old. Misty is so cute. As soon as I get home, she runs to the crate and paws the door. She wants me to let her buddy out! Then, they have a reunion, and I'm chopped liver (hmmm, maybe that's not a good metaphor when referring to dogs).

I put the musher's secret wax on the dogs' paws on Saturday, and put it to the ultimate test with this sticky snow.

Let me tell you, that stuff works! Not one ice ball to be found on their feet. Amazing. Makes them feel better, and I no longer end up stepping in puddles on my carpet.

I think it is supposed to snow through the maybe I'll have a snow day tomorrow...I think I'd rather have spring.

tricky t-day ~ handstand practice

Clearly, we have not been doing many tricks this week, especially practicing handstands. However, I had videoed a whole trick session a few weeks ago, so I was able to edit together this video of Oreo's handstand progress. I've had to do a lot of luring with this trick, and he still raises one foot at a time for the most part. Maybe once his leg is feeling better we'll start back at the beginning and try to shape for both legs getting on a low box at the same time. I think that may be the only way we may ever get a true handstand.

Next week, I think Misty is going to have to come through for you with something! We'll see what she can come up with.

Oreo had his second laser treatment yesterday, which he really seems to love. Wish I could bring the machine home with me.

Oreo's still limping a bit, especially in the evening after getting up from laying down. Otherwise, he's very frustrated that we are not playing as usual, and tries to get me &/or Misty to play constantly.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I live with jumping beans

It is only day two...... aghhhhhhh!

It is impossible to keep Oreo from jumping. Impossible. So, I've decided to just try and limit the jumping as much as I can.

I put him on a leash in the house, like Kathy and Dawn had suggested, we walked past the bed, and Oreo was right up on top within a millisecond.

I get the clicker out......boing,boing, boing...

I say the word "outside".....boing,boing, boing.....

I'm trying to do calm tricks with Oreo to work his brain. Put him in a down. Cross his paws. Bang......boing....Oreo decides it is time to play leap frog with Misty, because that trick is much more fun.

Do you see what I'm up against?

Now, onto my other jumping bean, Misty. Josie has been asking what would make Misty jump out of her ex-pen at agility.

Well Josie, Misty has always been my shy, sweet, never gets into any trouble girl, with a nickname of "tank". When Misty wants something, she will push her way through until she gets it.

Hence, Misty wanted some treats from me. I wasn't by the pen to comply. She took matters into her own paws.

"Well mom, you shouldn't have taught us how to jump for joy, play leap frog, do agility, etc."

Friday, February 19, 2010

back from the vet

Oreo is back from the vet. The good news is he did not tear /rupture his ACL. Whew. That was my biggest fear going in there, and it was also what my vet was expecting to find when she examined Oreo.

Instead, she found swelling around his knee, a lot of tension/stiffness in his quads, and general tenderness in his entire hind leg/hip area. She thinks when Oreo hurt his paw, he probably twisted, or landed funny.

Prognosis....good. jumping for two weeks. Which means no ball playing, agility, getting on the couch/bed, jumping up for his cookie, etc. Wish me luck.

Also, he is going to have laser light therapy. Oreo had his first treatment today. Let me tell you, it must have felt good. Oreo fell sound asleep with 3 complete strangers hovering over him.

The laser therapy is supposed to stimulate the healing process, reduce swelling & inflammation and increase the serotonin level in the brain. Cool, huh?

My vet said that if Oreo was "just a house dog", one treatment would be sufficient, but since he is an "athlete", we will do 6 altogether. She said we could use some NSAID's, but she is afraid he would feel too good too fast, and risk reinjuring himself. She'd rather let him heal naturally. I agreed.

She also gave me some techniques to massage and stretch his legs.

I feel like my dog just spent the day at the spa. He even had a bath yesterday!

We will be missing a league match next week, but that's ok. I may bring him just to hang out and socialize a bit.

fun friday

If you read DAD's blog, you've probably already seen this video. My mom sent it to me in an email yesterday to make sure I didn't miss it. You really must watch, it will make you smile. You'll see that a dog can even be an orangutan's best friend.

Last night, after a day of playing in the snow, Oreo started limping on his rear leg again. His paw is completely healed. Now, I'm concerned. Maybe it wasn't just his paw that he hurt. I'm going to try and get him a vet appointment today, and figure out what is going on.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

misty is in trouble

I took both dogs to agility class last night.

I was talking to some classmates, thinking my dogs were waiting patiently in their pen, when all of a sudden Misty is standing beside me. She had jumped out of her pen. Again. I let her smell the other dogs, gave her some treats, mingle.

I said, "OK, you want to be out? Then, let's go do some agility."

I took her out on the course while they were changing bars, and she went thru a tunnel, went around a jump, then jumped on the table and did her marching trick. I tried to get her to do it again, but she really just wanted treats for looking pretty.

I put her back in the pen. It was Oreo's turn. We finished our run, I was focused on praising and treating him, when one of our new classmates said, "Umm, I have your dog here."


Yep. Misty had jumped out of the pen. Again. This was after I had put a bunch of metal chairs all around it. How she got out, I have no clue.

I told her, "You're in trouble." I had to put her in the car for the rest of the night. I gave her a bunch of treats, and at the end of class, found her peacefully napping in the car.

Oreo did well. We practiced a gamblers/jackpot course. Oreo had absolutely no problem getting the gamble. I am always amazed at his ability to work at a distance. In fact, he always seems to speed up.

I got many opportunities to click/treat for distractions, and I remembered to take them.

On our last run, my teacher set up a nice, flowy, short numbered course.

Oreo stopped on top of the A-frame for a look around, I clicked and treated when he refocused. My teacher said, "Nice job." Oreo stopped to look at her. So, I clicked and treated after he refocused. Then, we were heading back toward the crowd. I decided to give him a treat before he reached his threshold "scary level". He saw the people, I treated, then we started running toward the people. He went over the jumps, passed by the people at regular speed with absolutely no problem. I gave him lots of verbal encouragement as we passed by.

We ended on the teeter facing the crowd. I got my treat out before he had a chance to look toward the people, and rewarded him after the tip. He focused on me the entire time.

Before that last run, Oreo & I had been hanging out by the doorway. I had been click/treating for tons of stuff....looking at people, looking at dogs, people coming in the door, etc. He looked, dare I say, relaxed. He was able to do some simple tricks, and I had been standing right next to my teacher's husband.

Overall, a good night for Oreo. And Misty, well, who knew she'd be the one leaping over tall walls.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

tricky t-day ~ hoops take 2

About a week and a half ago, Oreo finally had his "A-HA" moment with the basketball hoop.

"Oh, you want me to put the ball, not my head, in the hoop? Well, why didn't you click so?"

There's no stopping him now. Except for his paw injury.

The best part of this video was shot at night last week, so the lighting is horrible. I was hoping to reshoot in the daylight yesterday, but didn't want Oreo jumping and rearing up on his back paw, so this will have to do for now.

Oreo really loves this game. I'm thrilled he is keeping an object in his mouth on cue. Of course, it's his ball, but still....

I uploaded it 2 ways, just in case you can't watch vimeo videos for some reason.

Should I put the backboard on the hoop?

Monday, February 15, 2010

moody monday?

We're in a good mood this Monday! It's President's Week.....a week off from school!

Although, poor Oreo is a bit out of commission with a cracked/split paw pad. Hopefully it heals up quick. Trying to keep him from running, jumping, leaping is quite impossible.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

new mindset

After a comment left by Diana last Saturday, a passing comment from a league member, and re-reading Control Unleashed, I've been doing a lot of thinking. If I can train Oreo to put a ball in a basket ball hoop, cross both his paws, and shut a door, then I can train him to ignore people in the ring....right? Oreo literally cries and whines, staring at the clicker sitting on the coffee table, because he wants to do tricks so bad. Why? The rate of reinforcement is ridiculous. He gets treats probably every 20 seconds when we're doing a trick session. If I don't give him a treat for one trick, he'll start giving me his entire repetoire until he gets rewarded. This dog loves food.

As a result, I went to class today with a new mindset. Reward more often, especially for Oreo dealing with distractions/stressors. I also want to start incorporating more trial stressors, into our class sessions. Today, I asked my teacher to "play judge".

My teacher set up a difficult sequence today. Lots of serpentines. The course was very difficult to remember.

Well, the fact that a person was in the ring, threw Oreo off immediately. At least I think it did. After the first jump, instead of sepentining, he went off course into the green tunnel. I'm beginning to see a pattern where when he gets nervous, he dives into tunnels. Weird, because when I tell him to go in a tunnel, he certainly doesn't dive in!

I was unable to greet him on the exit, since I wasn't planning on being anywhere near the tunnel.

I gave him a "good tunnel", and tried to get him back on track. He glanced toward the crowd, saw the "judge", and then focused on the indicated right in front of the judge. Around the serpentine loop again. Same

Once we began heading away from the people/judge he picked up speed, then we about face over the A-Frame. He stopped at the top to look out the window. Was he looking for the baby sheep?

Once he focused and started his Jumped past Finally, we got away from the judge to weave, tunnel, jump, tunnel, tire, and even though we were heading toward the people he was really going fast. I dared to have him teeter without putting myself between him & the crowd. He looked at the crowd. Looked back at

Wow. That was a lot of work, and it was only our first run. I'm used to being done with our class runs in 30 seconds.

We did about the same our second go round, with Oreo still taking the off course tunnel at the beginning. However, he didn't stop on top of the A-Frame, and I did end the sequence with me on the opposite side of the teeter. He took the opportunity to look the other way toward the "judge"....he looked back toward the bottom of the

For my final run, my teacher stayed out of the ring, and let us run for the handling aspect. Oreo was able to avoid the off course tunnel, but skipped some jumps. It may have been more my handling than him. I was still having trouble remembering where to go. Overall though, he did much better on his last run.

Afterward, Oreo took treats from my teacher. This is the first time he has ever taken food from her. I guess that was the biggest accomplishment of the day.

Next time, I think our first run will just be for fun. Then, we will add the "judge". I may have her roll our food tube toward us, and reward Oreo from that. He loves the food tube.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm listening.

Friday, February 12, 2010

fotoshoot friday

The days are finally getting noticeably longer. I find I'm able to squeeze in a walk, ball throwing, and even a short photo shoot after work.

Here are my favorites from this afternoon, Misty was my better model today.

We'll be off to agility class tomorrow. No league for the next two weekends.

I've been re-reading Control Unleashed. I've decided my "rate of reinforcement" is pathetic, especially around stressors. I've missed so many opportunities to reward my dog, or rather neglected to reward him.

Therefore, I've been charging my i-clicker with Oreo, because my electronic clicker goes kapluey when temps are below 50.

I'm bringing my i-clicker, lots of treats, and a new philosophy with me. We'll see how it goes.

Oh yea, and we'll be entering our first Teacup trial in April! It will be held in our agility building. How cool is that? Oreo will be one of the biggest dogs there! I really think it will be a fun venue.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

frozen fun

Yesterday, I dug a few agility obstacles out of the shed, utilized the frozen to the ground teeter/table, and ran a few very short & easy sequences with Oreo.

Boy, does Oreo have drive when we do agility at home. For months, we haven't practiced agility at home, other than drop n' gos. I forgot how much he LOVES it.

This video was shot after our afternoon walk. Just goes to show a walk isn't enough to wear this dog out!

At the end of the video, I did notice his drive slow down after I brought him back to the tunnel to correct the poles. I never would have done that at school, league or trial. I won't do it at home again either. He's such a soft dog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

tricky t-day ~ get ON the box

This month's Clean Run had an article about doing a trick with boxes. It had multiple steps to incrementally teach your dog to get on smaller and smaller boxes. Seemed like a long process. I knew Oreo could do it much faster through free shaping.

Well, he was on the third smallest box within three minutes.

I should have filled the boxes with something. They were so wobbly, shaky and unstable. My poor dog. I ended up stabilizing the smallest one between my knees for him.

This is an easy trick for anyone to try. Even Misty wanted to try. I think I needed bigger boxes for her.

Here is Jeff's trick of the week (or past few weeks). He took cabinets that looked like this:

And made them look like this:
Cool, huh? He still has to add trim on the top, and do A LOT more cabinets, but I thought I'd show off his latest project in the works. That's not just fancy paint work either. Jeff's making new fronts, sides, doors, and drawers for all the cabinets. Double click to enlarge and see my lovely recessed panels.

That's why you may hear some air nailing going on in the background of my videos.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Misty's Bark List

Princess Eva asked us to come up with our ten favorite things. I think we've already done that before, but I couldn't find the post. I remember Oreo's top two....#1. My Ball, #2. My other ball......

So, I decided to come up with a new list.

Misty's 10 Favorite Things to Bark At:
  1. People leaving the house (this includes standing on the back of the couch and scratching at the picture window).

  2. People coming to the house, especially people in big brown trucks.

  3. Garage door opening(this includes scratching the tv stand).

  4. Neighbors in their yard ( I am planning on burying Misty's ashes at the corner of the yard, her favorite lookout/barking post).

  5. Barking when our mean neighbor lady tells her dog to "stop barking".

  6. Barking when I turn on the dishwasher.

  7. Barking when daddy says, "Do you want cheerios?"

  8. Barking at 7:30PM, when daddy says "Is it snacktime?"

  9. Barking at squirrels.

  10. Barking when I stand on a chair....we're working on desensitizing this one right now, that is why it is at the bottom.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

league match

Our runs were less than stellar today, but nothing to be embarrassed about either. I didn't treat on either run. In hindsight, I wish I had treated during his first run. Not sure why I didn't. I think sometimes I worry if I stop our movement, that may make his stress level worse.

Oreo went around the first jump. I didn't bring him back around, we just kept going and he took the next jump. He did some sideways glances at the judge and at the crowd. However, there were also times when he didn't look.

I handled the two jumps after the first tunnel in a weird way to make it less stressful for him. He was jumping toward the crowd on the first jump, then toward the timer and scribe on the second. So, I went around the jumps with him, rather than serpentine it like I would in class.

He got the obstacle discrimination! That was awesome! Then, took the wrong end of the tunnel. Off course! I'll take it. He even snuck behind me.

Overall, he was somewhat pokey, but then again, so was I. I don't know why I can't seem to run in this place.

Our games run was blackjack. You had 60 seconds to accumulate 21 points, different obstacles were worth different points. I had mapped out a smooth course for us days ago.

Today, while I was walking it, I changed my mind, based on where the ring crew was sitting. I walked it a few different ways. Still undecided when the walk thru was over. I watched the 8 inch dogs go, and still had no clue what I was doing. I kept counting on my fingers...does this make 21?????

I went to get Oreo. He walked into the building seeming much more at ease than the first run. When I brought him to the gate, he was pulling on his leash, trying to get in the ring.

OK. Back to Plan A. I decided I was going to run like my dog doesn't notice ring crew, or a loud judge. Maybe if I act like he's not scared, he won't be.

We ended up with 20 points, because after the weave pole, I couldn't remember if my original plan including the jump before the tunnel or not. If we went over 21 points we would score a zero, if we went under, we'd get a 20. I went with the 20.

Again, Oreo was somewhat pokey. Although, he has certainly had worse runs in this building.

He was full of energy in the morning, and I decided to give him a good round of ball and chase with Misty before we left the house. Usually, I try and conserve his energy before a match. Not sure if I made the right move or not. Did it relieve some nervous tension, or make him tired? I'll have to keep experimenting.

After the match, when we pulled into the driveway, there were about 20 robins sitting on the lawn, singing their hearts out! Mom & Dad you can come home from Florida anytime now. Spring has officially arrived! Of course you'll have to drive through all that snow south of here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

tricky t-day~ forward/scoot

Oreo & I have been working on this potential dance move for a few weeks. For the "forward" part, I began by sending him to an extended target stick. I'm trying to fade the stick and just use my index finger. He's still not going quite as far ahead as he will with the target stick. So, we keep going back and forth between the two.

I just started teaching Misty the trick using the same method, although I have to move much slower with Misty. If I send her too far ahead, she flips around, rather than walking backward.

Notice how Oreo sits politely sometimes while I'm working with Misty. This is yet another "trick" we've been working on, as I grew tired of him nipping at Misty's tail or ankle while he was circling. He's made huge progress in that department.