Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi IVDD: Month 6

 I realize that I haven't posted an update on Ziggy for a while, so here goes.

Ziggy's favorite bed is close to all the action.
Z is out of his crate pretty much all the time we're home now--
it makes all of us happier.

No "big" progress over the past month or so.  We feel like there continues to be progress, but it's really slow.

  • He continues to try and stand.  He often is able to push himself up on his right hind, but his left hind offers no support, so it all ends in a flop.
  • He is pushing off more with his right leg when he's in his sling and when he's just scooting around the house.
Ziggy continues to be very lazy with his physical therapy.  Food works to a point, but when the dog decides he's done and wants to sit, there's not much that can be done.

Right now, while we're out of town on vacation, Ziggy is at ISU for rehab.  As you may remember, last time he was there, the rehab therapist didn't see much progress.  This led us to wonder if anything abnormal was going on, so we took him in for an MRI.  

This time the notes from ISU are better.  The rehab therapist notices progress in his right-hind-leg's mobility and improvements in his muscle tone.  This is very encouraging for us, as I've got to admit that I haven't noticed much progress.

ISU is also putting him in his cart every day.  They've adjusted how he sits in the cart by using a rolled up hand towel by his hip.  This allows him to have both legs placed evenly on the ground.  I'm interested to see their solution in action as we have not been able to get him sitting in the cart very well.  

Apparently, Z LOVES perambulating around the vet school in his cart.  They say he's using his right hind quite a lot to propel himself along, and sometimes he uses his left hind.  We're going to have to get him in his cart more often, as it seems to be good for both his spirit and his muscle tone.

Of course, any bed near the action attracts other Cardis, too.
Here is a rare moment of peace with the pack.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rip's Training Diary #2: We love J & J dog supplies!!

Training a new dog new things is an excuse for me to visit one of my favorite online stores, J&J Dog.  They sell many, many fun things for  "performance" people.  The best thing (for me) about J&J is that they're located in a city about 45 minutes from my house, and they pack and ship quickly so my UPS ground orders sometimes arrive the next day!

My order this time consisted of 2 ring gates with stantions,  2 REAL fleece octopus tug toys, and one stuffing-less beaver toy whose belly can be loaded with treats.

So what have I done with all of this?  We've played much tug as a reward for working, and Rip has become a stantion-pawing fool.

The past week we've been working on:
  • Touching the stantion with our paw.  Rip is an over-achiever here, and sometimes when I say "hit it" he'll paw the stantion with both paws, nearly knocking it over.  I've had to start clicking for less rather than more, which is a bit odd for me after years of encouraging more effort in Ziggy.
  • Retrieving the dumbbell.  I'm using the clicker here, too, making him hold it for longer each time.  I've even started to throw the dumbbell (I have to hold his collar, as the dumbbell is FUN and Rip still has little self-control) - then I call him back to me and have him climb on my lap to deliver it.
  • We've also been working on holding the leather and metal articles.  I'm using the clicker here again.  We're just beginning so I'm rewarding for the pick-up and a very short hold.
  • Heeling games - he's getting better/quicker at circling by my side and goes between my legs when walking with only a very slight hand cue now.
  • Down, and backing up while in down.  I'm trying a new training technique here, as the way I had been working on it was not really producing great results.  Now I'm using a target stick instead of my hand to get him to back up, and throwing the treat behind him when he's correct, to encourage him to move away from me.  Even though his backing while down isn't great yet, his already fast down has become even faster!
  • We've also been playing a bit at finishes, but not as much work here.  He offered an around finish the other day when he wanted my attention, though, which I found encouraging.
Next week I'll continue to work on our current list of obedience games, and hope to add in a bit of agility training a couple of days.   I'll let you know how it goes!
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