Monday, January 30, 2012

Agility Trial Homework

I don't know about you, but I always come home with agility homework.  
This weekend we were presented with fun courses,
by Lisa Potts and Terry Smorch. 

 Seeker's struggle last weekend was with bars.
'Seeker - One Jump', rides again!!
3 bars in 3 days is totally unheard of for Seek. 

Bars were an issue 24 months ago, 
but after some 'core' work he was much better.  
I changed my training on dropped bars, going from 
asking him to 'down' while I re-set the bar, to rewarding him
for keeping them up.  The combination seemed to work wonders. 
His bar dropping disappeared! 

Unfortunately, this weekend, it was back with a vengeance!

So, I know this is the homework I'll be focusing on
for the next couple weeks.  

It also leaves me scratching my head and wondering....why?
I'm not handling him any differently than I do any other time.  
I'm responsible for showing Seeker the jump, 
then it's his responsibly to clear it.
I do not have to spectate and 'hand hold' while
he's jumping, if I do that, I'm not able to provide him with
the information he needs, later in the course.


Could it be that I ran him at 22" in USDAA a 
few weeks ago?  Seriously, could one trial cause this?

Could he really be that out of shape?
Probably not.....
Could it be the turf/footing?  
I don't know??
The interesting link is that all 3 jumps were
at the same end of the ring, where the turf is laying flat. 
Could he be slipping on the take off?
Would tacky paw help?
Bars dropped.....
Friday = Jump #5
Saturday = #11
Sunday = #15

I have a couple USDAA trials coming up soon, 
and we'll be running on dirt.  
Then I'm back to this site again the end of next month. 
I'll see how it goes. 

I hate to not go to a trial where I can come home at night.
Plus I get to see all my friend run....but, it's not worth it if
we're going to drop bars due to surface.  
I'd drive the same amount of miles heading to other trials, 
that I know have much better surfaces. 

I guess, time.....will tell. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What to do with GREAT Pictures....

that are just slightly out of focus......

Simply pop them into PSE, and pick an art option!

It's Fun Too!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vestibular Syndrome - WTH!!

(Kruz - Taken 1/10/2012)

Wednesday, December 28th wasn't any different than any other work day, but it turned out to be a day I'll never forget.  Maybe not the date exactly, but the event, ABSOLUTELY!!

I always arrive home from work first, and let the dogs out.  The 3 of them do their 'business', and then rip around the yard for a bit.  I let them back in, and they were of course happy to have someone home.  This generally results in some celebratory toy collecting, and running back and forth from the living room to the kitchen.  Occasionally, Kruz will get bumped into hard enough to cause him to slip on the kitchen flooring, and I thought that might be what happened.  Seeker, the usual suspect in such events, was with me in the living room however, and Kruz was on a rug.  He was also NOT getting up! 

So, I rushed to the kitchen and his head was moving side to side at a rather fast speed.  Even more scary were his eyes, they were also rapidly moving side to side.  Rapidly, is probably an understatement, it was frightening. Of course, I'm thinking stroke!

I sat down on the floor with him and held his front end in my lap, covering his head and eyes with my arm.  Within 20 minutes or so, the behavior subsided a great deal.  While wobbly, he was able to get around, ate his supper and relaxed on the bed.  That evening he had two more episodes, each about 4 hours after the other, the last involved some vomiting.  

We were able to get him into the vet's office first thing Thursday morning, and learned about Vestibular Syndrome.  Thankfully, not a stroke.  As Dr. W told Bill, it's like being on a Roller Coaster that you just can't get off of and you develop motion sickness.  Since I happen to love Roller Coasters, I prefer to use the Silly Silo as an example.  I found out about 8 years ago, I can no longer tolerate that.  Either way, the feeling is miserable!  For many dogs, it's not something that just disappears, so imagine feeling like that for several days. 

The treatment was some motion sickness medication for a couple days and a quite dark place.  Kruz was not very mobile, and we had to carry him outside and back in as he couldn't climb the stairs.  You start second guessing the causes, diet, exercise, etc....but in truth the cause/trigger isn't really known. 

Of course I had an agility trial that weekend, so we discussed Bill staying home with Kruz.  The weather was going to be nice, so we knew he could stay in the van in a larger crate that was covered.  We opted to do that, and I'm glad we did.  I found a couple people that had been through it with their older dogs.  Both 13-14 years old.  Kruz will be 14 in March.  Both thought it was a stroke, and their dogs recovered after several weeks.  That gave us a lot of home. 

After 2 weeks he'll tug gently with Nettle, 
and pick up some toys.

 (It was gently!  HONEST)

Almost 4 weeks later, Kruz is doing better.  He's walking better, although still can't master the stairs.  We support him with a harness to be sure he doesn't fall.  His head still tilts, and I think he's having some low back issues.  He has a chiro appointment in a couple days that I hope will help.
I also got some great exercise ideas from Dr Laura on Saturday to strengthen his rear end, so we've started doing those.  He's very happy to be doing some 'trick' training of sorts, right along with Seeker and Nettle.

Unfortunately, for right now he's not able to sleep on the bed.  I feel really bad about that.  My fear is that he will get up during the night and fall off.  Not that he's ever done that in the past, gotten up in the middle of the night that is, but it's just not worth the risk.  Hopefully in another few weeks or months, we'll get it figured out. 
If not, that's okay too, we'll just be sure to have a lot of cuddle time in the evening. 

This weekend on Saturday and Sunday at the Quad Cities, we'll let him watch a little agility.  It will be limited however, as we don't want him to have a 'relapse', although those sound rare I guess. 

This was a good reminder for us, don't take health and life for granted.  Of course, everyone does!  G  You can't live worrying about every little thing, but be sure to remember to enjoy the moment as well.  

Hug your dogs!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dr Laurie is....well....TOPS!!

Seeker and I attended a seminar on Saturday offered by the Canine Activity Center of Muscatine (CACM), it's located in Muscatine, Iowa.  It is a beautiful facility.  Bill Fridrych invited Dr. Laurie McCauley, and her assistant, Kim.  The topic - How to prevent/minimize injuries through exercise and conditioning.

The Agenda:

*  Importance of warm up and cool down - Prevent injuries
*  Stretching (when and how often)
*  Simple  strengthening exercises
*  Gait analysis/looking for problems
*  Common injuries
*  Hands on Massage

To say this was 8 hours of an amazing amount of information, is an understatement.  There was so much information provided on the above list, that I'm thankful for the power point handouts provided.  This allowed people to focus on the 'hands on' presentation, vs. frantically writing notes.  

It was good to hear that some of the things I've already been doing for conditioning are good.  It was also good for me to hear that I've been slacking off on my 'BALL' work, and need to get back to it.  That's such an easy thing to do, and it does really help keeping his bars up.  

There was a nice blend of 'lecture/instruction' time and then working with your own dog while Dr. Laurie and Kim came around to assist you with the exercise.

At first I think Seeker was a bit disappointed when we walked in'Where's the EQUIPMENT!', and "Why is it OUTSIDE THE RING!".....but he soon found he could actually relaxed and enjoyed being stretched and massaged.

Seeker was extremely lucky to be the 'demo' dog for many of the massage presentations.  As we left for the evening, I'm pretty sure he was looking for her vehicle in the parking lot.  He would have happily went home with her!  

For more information - Check out TOPS at:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday Meg!!

We Celebrated Meg's 80th Birthday at 
the Spam-O-Lious Party last Friday.

The Cake Reads - 

Meg is older than Spam
But Much better!!! 

Happy Birthday Meg!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snoopy Just CAN'T be WRONG!!

(Click on it to make it bigger)

Thanks Marsha!! (':

Monday, January 16, 2012


 Nettle had her first experience with snow on Thursday. 
To say she 'LIKED IT' is an understatement!

Unfortunately, it clings to her like burrs, 
so she needs to hit the tub when we come in.

Yesterday we took the dogs for a run in the fields, 
and she had an unbelievable amount of snow attached to her.
It was a mess!!

She had a lot of fun anyway. 
I don't think she understood why Seeker was
running just as fast as ever, when she wasn't.
Of course, she was probably carrying an extra
10 lbs of weight by the time we got home. 

Although we only got a few inches of snow, 
we had high winds which conveniently blew it 
into our normal walking area.  
Our walk consisted of just a dusting of snow, 
to drifts upwards of 6'.  It was fun watching Nettle
try to run up those drifts, only to find out she was stuck.

They were nice and tired by the time we got home.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spam-O-Lious Party!

Yes, we had a Spam-O-Lious Party!

I debated on putting this on the agility blog, but since the party did actually result from a conversation at an agility trial, I thought it fit the necessary requirements.  It's amazing the things you talk about while you're waiting for your class to begin.  There are times you have several hours of down time, and with our group, NOTHING is off limits.  

At the DMOTC Trial in October, the discussion somehow turned to SPAM.  No, not the e-mail variety...but the 'food' variety.  (If you can call SPAM food that is)  I believe Marsha's parents, Linda and Harry, started it.  Then Liz jumped in and pretty soon we were talking about having a SPAM party.  

I can honestly say I'd never eaten SPAM before last night, nor do I ever plan on eating it again.  The joke last night was that we were eating a product we would NEVER consider feeding to our dogs.  

But I digress!

It's amazing how many SPAM Recipes are available, and the group did not disappoint.  
I tried to get pictures of most of the items.....some Non-SPAM foods as well, before the vultures (that would be us humans) swooped in for the 'kill'. 

Missing is Rilda's SPAM dip, which didn't sound like it had much SPAM in it, 
but was still able to have that classic pink SPAM color.! 

Also, Meg's beans and SPAM!!
Very YUMMY!!

(SPAM Pizza!  Totally eatable!) 

(SPAM Quiche - not bad! Ham next time!)

(Impostor Cheese-chiladas in foil)
Sauce was a GOOD thing for SPAM!

 (SPAM bacon wraps)
Tasted like BACON!
(AKA - SPAM on a stick!)

 Liz's favorite - Fried SPAM!!

SPAM Puffs
The recipe claimed they won her
first place in a SPAM cook off.
Very Scary!!


The 'non SPAM' table

The Fruit Kabobs were AWESOME!

A loaded PLATE!!
It all looks good enough to eat!

If you're every in a SPAM bake off, 
I've listed the recipe above.......
Here are the ingredients needed.

SPAM shreds very easily!!

Add cheese and baking mix. 

 Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350.
They look ALMOST the same going in the oven,
as coming out.  I found that a little disturbing!


More SPAM-O-Lious Fun coming on 1/19/2012!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

On Line Courses - Are They Right for You?

As technology evolves, so does the way in which we can 
take classes, seminars, or even private lessons. 

On line courses are becoming more common place, 
yes, even in the area of dog training. 
Who would have thought?

As with everything else, it started slowly, 
but now it seems like almost everyone is offering them.

Are They Right for You? 

There are of course, pros to taking classes on line. 
*  Save travel time.
*  Save money on gas.
*  A wide variety of instructor choices. 
*  A wide variety of subjects.
*  Some are 'study' at your own time.

On the flip side, there are cons to on line classes. 

* Getting lost in the crowd. 
*  Getting the personal feedback as you need.
*  Not understanding the concepts of the exercise.
*  Poor technological equipment (on either side of the computer)
*  The need to video tape your training sessions. 
*  Social aspect, visiting with your friends.
*  The ability to communicate in written form, expressing
not only your needs, but understanding what is being written.

I'm sure there are MANY more pros/cons.

I have taken on-line courses, a seminar, and 
some private lessons on line. 

Most I've thoroughly enjoyed.
How about you?  Pros/Cons??

Sunday, January 8, 2012

9 Month Old Nettle

Yesterday we finally got around to taking
our 'X-mas' picture. 

Okay, so it's January and I'm 
a little behind! G

You might not realize how difficult
it is to take a picture of a 'white' dog, 
and a black dog, together. 
Trust me, it's a challenge!

Luckily PhotoShop E allowed 
me to lighten up Nettle a bit. 

I'm going to guess that she's done
growing now?  
I haven't measured her in quite awhile, 
but guessing she's about 19.5". 
She can keep growing, as long
as she stays under 21" for USDAA. 
At this point, I'd say we're safe. 

We're continuing to work on recalls, 
they are better, but might be something
we struggle with for awhile. 

We've work a few obstacles (agility), 
but not a lot. She knows what to 
do with the 'running dogwalk', which
is still carpet.  I'll have to get her
on a plank soon I suppose. 

Continuing our trick training. 
Our newest challenge is for her to 
jump on the bottom of my shoes, 
while I'm laying on my back with 
feet in the air.  Not sure this is 
wise??  But we're having fun playing
with the idea anyway. 

She's the opposite of Seeker when 
it comes to moving obstacles. 
She could care less. 

Our retrieves are coming along. 
Just started working our float line. 
Alas, I won't be able to trial her in
water this year, as I've water judging
assignments the weekends of MN/IL
water trials.  Poor planning on my
part I guess, next year will be fine. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's all about the TOKENS!!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE TOKENS given at trails. 
Ribbons are nice, but let’s face it, 
what do you do with them after awhile.
Last weekend Seeker got a Super Q in Snooker.  
That alone is great…but then we got this cool BOOK MARKER!!! 
It was totally awesome! now I have to get a book, 
I've been reading on my nook for almost a year now. 
I'm on the library 'book' waiting list
 for 11/22/63....(1963), it might be
11/22/2063 before I get it!
My strategy for Saturday’s snooker was to complete 4 reds 
you have a choice of 3 or 4 reds) reds are worth one point.  
So, the plan was, red to 5 combo, red to 7 (aframe), red to 6 combo, 
red to 6 combo, then the closing (2-7).  
(If I can find the course I'll post it...UGH!!) 
We made it through successfully under time for a total of 55 pts, 
second place and a SQ! 


Monday, January 2, 2012

No Resolutions - DAM Team - Qualifier-12/30/2011

After a few last minute changes, 
which resulted in moving Seeker to 22"
for the weekend our team ended up being:

No Resolutions

16" Kai - Border Staff & Laura Slusher
22" Bomber - Australian Cattle Dog & Angie Fink
22" Seeker - Border Collie & Tammy Etscheidt 
(Qualified in 6th place)

DAM TEAM = Dog Agility Masters = 
three-dog teams that compete in five classes of competition - 
Standard Agility, Snooker Agility, Jumpers, Gamblers Choice
and Three-dog Team Relay.

Just to make it interesting, the rules are 
a bit different than the 'regular' gamblers 
and snookers rules.  Jumpers also 
includes weave poles on DAM Team day. 

A qualifying score shall be awarded to competitors 
who compete in all five classes and whose team scores are 850 points or more, 
or within 25% of the average of the total points earned by the
top three teams after the fifth and final class, whichever is greater.
(I obviously just wait for the results to be posted!)

Here are the Friday's Courses!
(Double Click on them to make them larger)

(Gamblers - with 2 closing options)

(Seeker and I completed 2 - 7's and a 5 to the 
closing, he was perfect!!)


(Seeker won the class)

Team Relay
(Bomber, Kai, and Seeker as anchor)
What a great time!
Looking forward to another
Team Event in February!!