A Distinct Lack of Excitement

For Rio, anyway.

Rio was spayed on the 28th March. Her stitches are due out on the 9th April. She will probably go back to agility training on 4th June. This is mainly because I am very over-cautious and K says it takes 60days for true muscle repair. Keeping her quiet is very hard; she left the vet surgery bouncing off the walls and hasn’t really slowed down since. I’ll feel marginally happier when her stitches are out, but there is still a lot of internal healing to be done, and I would much rather wait a few months and make sure she is absolutely 100% before she starts rampaging around at agility.

To keep her entertained over the next few weeks I’m going to try and intensify our trick training. It’s an area I’ve been slacking on, and I always need to work on my timing. I also had a lot of fun teaching basic proprioception to an Agility Skills class this week, and it reminded me that I can’t do too much of this kind of thing with my own dogs! Ri still gets really excited about training but I’m trying to pick out tricks which require more thought than physical exertion.

I want to have the following begun or improved in the few weeks:

  • Stand … I fail at teaching a stand
  • Bow
  • Flat (nose to the floor in a down position)
  • Backing up more confidently/to a greater distance
  • Four paws in a box (we’ve sort of done this, but not down to small boxes)
  • Elephant trick (we’ve sort of done this too, but not to full extent)
  • Stacking on the FitPaws Pods
  • Retrieve objects to hand (not toys!)

Shut Up and Drive

Dylan is sound as a bell now, although I didn’t push our luck by taking him training. He is still being lead walked and if he continues to remain sound, he’ll return to normal life on Friday. Now I’m feeling more confident that he’s not crippled, I’m rolling my eyes a bit since of course he went lame this past weekend. We haven’t competed since December and won’t compete again until March, and I didn’t intend to take four months off.

Rio is getting her back to her fiesty self, although we’re not quite there yet. Still missing a bit of her edge. She was sassing me at agility this week, with the barking and the body slamming, which was a relief and an improvement. We worked on some more difficult jumping sequences Grade 3-5 type this week and she rocked it, including the layering. Fun stuff! Need to remember that Rio does not require cheerleading, I really need to just shut up and run. I’ve also been sneaking her up to Standard height and it’s looking pretty good, she’s jumping confidently and extending/collecting really nicely. It is nice to have a dog who doesn’t freak out when they knock a pole too; Rio is an efficient jumper, she doesn’t add unnecessary height and as she’s still learning how to adjust her stride, she does sometimes clip the poles (especially now the height is creeping up). Unlike Dylan, Rio just carries on without a second glance. I love that.

I really need to do some contact training with her at some point however, Rio still hasn’t been introduced to the Aframe or the seesaw, and we’ve only wandered over a dogwalk once. I’m not feeling much contact motivation right now. We’re just having so much fun playing with jumps and tunnels, and she still feels like such a puppy. Maybe she’ll be good to go for some Jumping classes at the end of summer. Maybe.

Change

We’re beginning to settle into routines that don’t involve Mol. The big changes seem quite natural, it’s the little things that remind us of her; Rio laying in the doorway where Mollie usually laid, not having to shove her off the sofa when you sit down, not hearing her bark first when you come home.

Dylan isn’t coping terribly well with Mol not being here. He has been very pushy around the house and on walks, and he’s also been snarky with Rio a few times. He could just be reacting to the stress of a new routine. Or he could be trying to fit himself into the household with Mollie. Mol and Dyl were very close, he relied on her a lot for cues.

We didn’t get to train agility this week due to the weather, although Rio and I have been doing some extra weave homework at the park. I think perhaps doing some agility will help Dylan, and we have Ribble coming up so really do need the practise.

January

MollieMollie hasn’t been very well, which has been why I’ve already broken my annual resolution of blogging more often. She started acting a little bit off just before Christmas, and by the day after Boxing Day we were worried enough to take her to the vets. She feels very ribby and skinny, but when we weighed her, she’s actually gained over 2kg. She was very dull, and has a weird cough that sounds a little like Kennel Cough but isn’t, as well as an upset digestive system. She also refused to eat, which isn’t entirely out of sorts for Mollie, but she’s never done it for this long.

It’s been a worrying few weeks, including multiple vet trips and blood tests, and worrying comments like “tumour”. Her bloods weren’t helpful; her kidneys aren’t operating at maximum efficiency, but she’s 13, so that’s not entirely surprising. Other than that, everything is in the range it should be, so no clues from that direction. The next option is xrays, probably.

She’s a puzzle, as always, but this week has seen a huge improvement. Her eyes are bright and she’s been tugging with Rio, and she’s cleaned her plate three times in the past two days. We don’t know why she’s improving, but right now we’ll take what we can get.

Target Training, Amongst Other Things

Sunrise

Rio’s target reminder sessions are not going well. I am writing this post to remind myself not to move on until I am 100% happy with what I’m seeing, and I’m not. Also, we can’t have six months off and then expect a perfect behaviour straight out of the box. I need to get the clicker out and do some more work, and start shaping for what I want.

She has a solid two-foot hit on the flat but she isn’t engaging her rear on the turn. I also need to work on her hitting the target when I’m holding it up.

Play

However, her agility training is going awesome. We did our first rear crosses this week! I am really excited about this, I always think rear crosses are a little bit awkward to teach but she said it was no problem. Her waits were also amazing, we did a little bit of testing this week and she had to wait whilst her friend Kobi was inviting her to play. Rio was very clear about ignoring him; Agility is Serious Business. She did a beautiful wait.

She makes me happy, this puppy. I realise I say this a lot, but she does. She gets impatient with me, barking or offering wing wraps or tunnel pickups if she thinks I’m being too slow. She is just joyous about running, and jumping, and bouncing, and is the Angry Growly Tugger. No matter how tired I am, or how little motivation for training I might have, once we’ve arrived and started work I can’t help but have a good time working with her.

Run

Dylan fell off the dogwalk twice at training this week, so he’s on rest for a few days in case he’s hiding an injury. The first fall was a slip, he went on at a much harsher angle than I was expecting and just slid off the side. He did a few more dogwalks with no problems at all, no hesitation, which was relieving. Second fall was more dramatic, and I’m not even sure how he managed it! He must have mis-stepped on the up plank and then never really recovered, he came off just before the apex to the down plank. He got another go, and then we called it a night.

He is standing and moving as usual and I can’t find anything that seems to be causing him discomfort, so we’ll see.

Ri and Dyl are both in for their boosters and annual checkup this week, and I’ll get them weighed too. Unfortunately I can’t be there to take them, but I’m sure they’ll survive without me.

Bispham

Onwards

Our plan was to try and get to a beach sometime this bank holiday. It’s always a bit of a hassle; so few dog friendly beaches at this time of year, especially within 2 hours of us. We live pretty much in the centre of the country, it’s about the same distance to the East or West coasts. Not so bad on the way there, but I don’t like the old ladies to be sat in the car for 2 hours whilst damp and potentially baking or freezing, considering the British weather.

Mollie

It rained, obviously, so no worries about the baking. We picked Bispham, which is really just a continuation of Blackpool beach, just because we knew there would be plenty of parking and lots of beachy goodness. It is a nice beach, but there were a lot of muddy spots, not good. The girls are getting a bit too old now for beach trips too, they were both very stiff and tired today. Dylan wasn’t, he loves the beach and swimming in the sea and so on, he had a blast and is ready to go again.

Kim

Rio had to stay home; her paw is almost entirely healed, but not enough to withstand a few miles of beach walking, especially at the kind of 100mph pace that Ri goes at. The manuka honey dressings have worked surprisingly well. I’m always sceptical about remedies like this, but it did seem to make a noticable difference. Enough that I’m keeping hold of the honey left over, in case we need it again!

Run!

So, still no beach for Rio. It might be Hare’n’Hounds next May before she gets a trip, at this rate!

Trips to Scotland

My lovely quiet weekend wasn’t so lovely and quiet, since I agreed to travel up to Scotland with Katie for her new puppy.

Rave 7 Weeks

Baby Rave (Capehope Rave On) is very very cute and tiny and naughty! I am puppy sitting him one morning this week, so I can get a healthy dose of Do Not Want a Puppy again. I’m also puppy sitting a relative’s Shih Tzu for 2 weeks in July; Alfie is 6 months old at the moment, a very cheeky and confident little man, so I’m feeling lots of puppy love.

My puppy is 10 months old this week, and I’ve got all my fingers crossed that she doesn’t come into season when Alfie is here, since I definitely do not want Shih Tzu x Aussie puppies. I’m also hoping she holds off so we can go to the Champs; I don’t trust some of the flyball community when it comes to keeping entire dogs under control, so she’ll have to stay home, which means I’ll also have to stay home! Thankfully I can ship Dylan off with my mother but I do really want to be there. In a perfect world, I’d really like her to wait another two months and come in on her birthday in August, since we have a quiet September so I won’t need to miss much, and then I can get her spayed over the winter. Rio likes a schedule so hopefully she’ll stick to this one!

Sneaky Beans

Turns out Rio is an evil genius, who knew?

Rio

She was flawlessly perfect at agility training this week. Crazy enthusiastic but uber focused and keen, choosing tuggy over distractions (even in the form of that mistress of temptation, Fly!) and working like a super puppy.

We started with some recalls through tunnels, which is always a nice way to begin, and then did some work down a line of four jumps. I thought she’d struggle with the line since it’s a step up from what we’ve done before, and she has shown a slight tendency to veer in towards me. Typical baby dog stuff! Apparently it’s not a problem though, she was running on to her tuggy beautifully and seemed to really understand her job.

We finished with some send on to tunnels and then back down the line of jumps. I was gently introducing the idea of a rear cross as she went into the tunnel but she had no problems with that, tunnels are fun.

I still think I might give her some time off for a while, as we do still need to work on her focus, and I need to make a plan for the next few months. I can do foundation and I can do agility training, but the transition from foundation to actual agility is the part I find difficult.

Dylan got to skip this training session as well, although he’s much improved after his trip to the vet. I think he’ll probably be fine to go to flyball training on Thursday evening, especially since it’s only boxwork for him anyway.

Extra Agility, a Rio Special

Rio got some special Ri-only agility today. We had hired the arena for some extra training with the competition dogs this morning, but Dylan is still ill. He had lost some weight this month anyway (Dylan always does this at the start of the summer season when we go back to competing every weekend) but he’s dropped a lot over the weekend, and so as soon as we get his stomach settled we need to start fattening his skinny self back up to a more reasonable weight. Rio also got weighed and she’s a bit less than I’d like her to be at this stage (16.65kg), so she gets fattening too. They’ll both be thrilled!

Anyways, Rio was really super at agility, I was so happy with her! We had three jumps set up with a tunnel at either end, and she was sending down three jumps from the tunnel, and doing wing wraps to tunnels beautifully. She was tugging and fetching her toy to tug with, and generally being focused and fantastic.

Having said all that, I’m toying with the idea of giving her a month or so off from agility class. She is doing so well, but she’s still mentally very much a puppy and she does find it hard to focus for extended periods of time. We need to work on that, but away from agility.

Ri also learns very quickly, so she’s really up to speed on everything I wanted to have trained by now. The only thing I can think of is to start sequencing, and I think she’d be successful at it, but I don’t think it’s something she needs to learn right now. Everything else is not age appropriate yet.

My rough plan is to give her a break from agility class and start clicker training her 2o2o at home, slowly. I’m not 100% committed to this plan yet, but she also has flyball training going on so I think this is maybe the best decision.

Rest

No shows for me this weekend. Dylan did need adjusting, and two days of rest before five classes isn’t enough. I’m disappointed we can’t go, but we have five weekends in a row of flyball and agility coming up so missing one day will be better in the long run.

He’s on full rest right now, and I might take him to flyball tomorrow for some flat recalls (just like Rio!), and then build up from there.

Unrelated photo is unrelated. Mollie’s boxturn is unpredictable and not at all pretty, but sometimes it’s not too bad.

Mollie Boxturn