I finally had a chance to test out the remote door opener I had purchased through a kickstarter a while back (Wayzn – it’s way more expensive now!). In general the dogs are almost always with me, but there are times when I need to leave them at home for longer than a few hours. I had thought about a dog door, but, once again, I mostly never need it and with the indoor cats I can’t have a dog door available most of the time. So this seemed pretty clever, and combined with some security cameras (with microphones!), it was time to test it out when I took Navarre down to his appointment with Patricia in Eugene. And it was a big test, as this was also the first time I had left Asher loose at home for a longer period of time. (I put the cats in their room while I was gone.)
Everything turned out fine! It seemed kind of like some sort of weird doggie torture as Haku and Asher tried to figure out what the hell was going on though. Doors were opening and closing on their own, Heather’s voice was coming from the sky, being left alone when they normally never are … but they survived. I can’t say they went outside when I TOLD them to go outside through the camera, but everything seemed to work out. No accidents in the house, nothing destroyed, no panicked puppies. It’s a little weird, and maybe a dog door would have been simpler, but this was easy to install, easy to use and folds neatly away when I don’t need it (which is most of the time!). It’s nice to have an option to let the dogs in and out when I can’t be there.
As for Navarre, he shocked the hell out of me by being a perfect patient for Patrice. He had been doing much better for Maddy, but he doesn’t know Patrice and she worked on him for like an hour and a half. TOTAL ANGEL. I’m a bit suspicious because why he would go from being SO BAD to being so totally relaxed and cooperative lately, I have no idea. Feeling better maybe? Has learned that it helps so he should stop being a pill about it? A mystery.
As for her findings, she’s VERY big on diet – and did not like his diet and felt that was the cause of a lot of issues. She’s very anti-gluten of even the smallest amount, and doesn’t think dogs should be eating any grains, and never processed food. So I have promised her to change his diet. I’ve done raw before, the dogs do well on it, though I can’t say they do badly on the food we are feeding now – well, maybe I can’t say that now, but diet does make a huge difference in health, I know that for myself. I had bought that huge human body sized chest freezer to feed more raw for the dogs anyway, and the place in Aloha does pet food blends and turkey necks. I can make it happen, it’s just more work than having bags of kibble magically delivered and then poured into a bowl. Cost-wise, well, that’s another story. Thankfully Navarre does not need the amount of food he used to. Patricia was just like, “Feed him whatever you’re eating, you eat healthy, right?.” Which is a good wake up call that I should be eating better. A-hem – Quarantine eating is such a thing.
So I thawed out a big box of turkey necks in the bathtub, always fun. But Navarre was RAVENOUS for them. Asher, as usual, thinks I’m trying to kill him with raw – I kind of thought he’d get over that, but, no. And Haku eats anything. I’ll see about going to the butcher shop this week to get the ground blends, though the other dogs will be sticking to be supplemented with raw – at least for now. I have four 40lb bags of dog food in the garage, someone is going to eat it.
As for the rest of him, she thinks the mowhawk is inflammation from diet. Then the collision he had with Asher caused the rest of it. Spine sheared, going different directions, dented ribs, organs all squished. She thinks that caused the urinary issues. Now, she looked at the xrays and immediately said that little vertebrae at the base of his spine was not the issue and is not causing any problems. So that would be nice! Much adjusting, especially of his mid-back which is the only time he seemed at all uncomfortable.
I am hopeful that this helps, it will be interesting to see if Maddy feels a difference, she did think that his mowhawk looked different, and possibly less upright towards his rear. We do have a follow up appointment with Patrice in a month, and I’m bringing Asher for good measure – he didn’t get the brunt of the collision like Navarre, but it’s not going to hurt to have him looked at as well. Big goober. Of course, she’s not going to like his diet …
Navarre took it easy all week, which he was not really a fan of. He actually seemed to throw a tantrum when I left him outside while we went hiking. I left him with a big turkey neck but when I came back he had actually ripped apart one of the arborvitae in the yard and spread it around. He’s never done anything like that before. Poor guy!
We saw the chiropractor this weekend and she worked on his sacrum, he certainly is getting good at being worked on these days! We’ve now visited a variety of professionals, so hopefully that all helps. He’ll continue to get massage, chiropractic and osteopathic adjustments and we’ll try the diet change as well. He’s still on the anti-inflammatory daily, and I added a Boswellia and Curcumin supplement for both Navarre and Haku. If there is no improvement my next step would be sports rehab and see what their opinion is. I am optimistic that he will recover fully and we’ll never see the peeing issue again, sometimes weird things just happen – especially in 2020. And of course all the folks feel it’s better for him to stay intact, so he’s got reprieve on that one for a bit anyway …
As for Haku and Asher, they also saw the chiropractor … and they were both a mess. Sigh. But hopefully feeling better now. Asher was particularly sensitive in his mid-back and Haku was just all out everywhere. He came home and started being totally obnoxious with herding cats – snapping in their faces. So apparently HE’S feeling better, he rarely ever does that. We’ll see if they both are more active hiking, as Asher has been remarkably normal lately, now I wonder if he was just sore.
Asher continues his agility journey, it always amazes me how quickly the actual equipment can be trained. He now has half a teeter. In a true measure of ‘what they learn first they learn best’ he was SURE what I wanted was the only thing we really did with the teeter (and not that much of it) when he was younger – which is just bang and go. So stopping that frantic behavior … he had to actually have a few time outs because he just kept springboarding and then leaping back on and acting like a total nut. He’s always had a bit of an overarousal issue with the teeter even with OTHER dogs – that is a place where he has broken his table stay MANY times when he can’t handler the excitement.
So, yeah, it’s been an adventure this week. We worked on it a few times throughout the week and the performance has morphed as we went along. Once again, another one of my dogs that REALLY wants to do a 2o/2o instead of the 4-on on the teeter. Is it me? So we compromised, he can do a 2o/2o as long as he lies down with the majority of his body on the board. Because he needs that kind of control behavior right now. We’ll see what it morphs into as we go along, and I’m sure this will bite me in the butt when we add the stop option to his running dogwalk …. we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Also worked on the full height aframe, he’s pretty comfortable with that, still very thoughtful. He can have a really lovely aframe, but he’s still experimenting with striding and is sometimes throwing down a front foot, which is not a performance that he’s going to be able to maintain, so trying to really reward the deep rear foot hits with nice separation. So far I’m happy with it though, knock on wood. Doing some speed into and out of it and it’s holding up so far. Haven’t trained turns or anything yet.
Worked on our Justine homework and I think he’s started to get the lightbulb moment about trained tunnel threadles. Also doing my best to reward from hand, which he’s happy to do. He hit my knuckle so hard that skin just exploded, I have a huge wound now that I hope will heal cleanly. But my dog is coming into me! You can already see he’s going to be drifty though, even with this exercise the natural drift comes out.
He’s a good baby dog and we have lots to do, but it’s fun to get things started. Next week we’ll work on finishing up his teeter, do some Justine drills and we need to go back to working on his jumping. He always seems to act like he has no clue how to jump anything and jumps like a total weirdo outside of the arena, which is concerning.
We had a chance to go out to Rhoda’s for another group training opportunity. He’s been introduced to a lot more of the equipment now, so the goal was to see if he could transfer the performance to the different equipment. I was worried about putting him up and over the new aframe so tried to have him just do the down ramp, and than confused him – but once I asked for the whole thing it looked good. His weave poles were surprisingly good, we hadn’t looked at those at all since we trained them and did that one session with 12 weaves. These were accordion style, so not totally in line and I think that helped with his footwork. But his head was down and he was really trying. Not so much with collecting for the entries … but not unexpectedly. The dogwalk (full height) was pretty poor, he wasn’t giving me at all the behavior he does at the arena. We got a few nice hits mostly just looking at the downramp, but nothing at all consistent. Not a huge surprise, as, once again, he’s only had one session on a full height aframe even at the arena.
The big news is that he was so confident and happy with her teeter going down from a table that I went ahead and took the table out and he did his first full height teeters. He likes the teeter a lot for whatever reason! Full height looked good, so we’ll probably be able to work up to the full height at the arena quickly, I imagine. Didn’t look at jumping, which is definitely on the list. And he did well working with distractions, and I let him play with the other dogs afterwards and he was behaving himself. All the puppies he couldn’t play with when he was young because he was dick – he’s fine with them now, thankfully.
A great opportunity for him to have an outing by himself, to focus in distraction, to do agility in a new place with new equipment and interact appropriately with some dogs. The baby boy is definitely growing up.
As for herding, Navarre didn’t get to see Dave as he was resting, so Asher filled in with a longer lesson. We did stop early as he was getting a bit mentally tired, but it’s remarkable how much Asher has matured in being able to work for longer periods of time – and in the heat too! This was also right after our Friday morning hike too, so I wasn’t sure how he would be – but no problems, he’s getting an air of maturity around him now.
The good news, his new inside flanks seem to transfer to new environments and he was really nailing the verbals most of the time, but they definitely need some cleaning up. Our homework is to make sure he doesn’t choose when to stop a flank, and that he should think inside flanks mean to balance them to me unless I tell him otherwise. And they definitely lose their shape the farther away from he gets, so we need to work on that as well.
These were new sheep that wanted to run, so a good test for him to figure out what he needed to do to settle them and to stop the running when he needed to. It’s a skill he needs practice with, he often loses confidence when they run and drops contact, so we will keep working on teaching him to slow without turning on drives.
Ron was also down this week, so we got to show off our new skills we’ve been working on. Which, of course, Ron can never remember who Asher is or what he can do, so he didn’t notice – which I find amusing. Still, super pleased with Asher he’s really coming along and gaining confidence and skills. SO much easier than Navarre, and he is trying so hard to be right.
We worked on his turn at the post, which we have never really looked at officially – and getting him to slow down and not rush and bump the sheep. Then we were going to look at penning, but the sheep we brought out I had never worked before and they were total assholes and would turn and challenge the dog. So we took the opportunity to help Asher learn that he can turn sheep and to stand up to them. This is something Haku and Navarre are terrible with, because all my dogs are big softies and don’t like conflict. Asher is the same, so I really want him to know he has the power to turn the sheep and it’s okay to use it. It took quite a bit to convince him of this though, even with both Ron and I right there with him I had to really insist that he stand up and hold his ground. But once he finally did it and turned them he started getting the idea. So we just worked on walking up, holding his ground, turning sheep and then calling him off. He was having a great time by the end, it was a huge confidence booster for him. It certainly never occurs to him to bite or grip though, which I would like him to know is okay – but I don’t know if it would ever even occur to him to do that.
Our homework is working on him controlling sheep that are trying to run by moving out to the side to slow them, then tucking back in. And keep working on driving with more confidence at distance and getting nice flanks no matter the distance as well. We also have some homework for how he can overflank on his lift as well.
And look, some rare Asher herding video! Which is always like watching paint drying, but I’m very proud of my boy:
Then Navarre … well, I can say it’s not a good idea to work Asher first, which I don’t normally do. It’s really hard to go from a dog that is listening and trying really hard to … Navarre. The take away from Navarre, I have to be super consistent, insist on everything and back it up ALWAYS. You just can’t have grey area with him. And the whole taking 4-5 steps before doing what I ask is SO ANNOYING. He continues to feel sulky and belligerent instead of a teammate like Asher. But he does better when I do get right on top of him and make it happen, which seems contrary. So, yeah, I have to be in the right mindset when working Navarre that it’s not about actually doing anything so much as making it crystal clear what Navarre is supposed to be doing without accepting less. We will keep trying.