Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The old lady dog

In the past six months, Maggie has made the move from "senior" to "old lady."  I haven't posted about her in a while, so I thought I'd share an update.

The old lady likes to snuggle with Ziggy.

Maggie is now 13.5 years old, and in pretty darn good shape.  Some things to know about the old lady dog:

She is DEAF.  
Maggie can no longer hear.  Well, she can't hear anything except for Rip's piercing "I want something" barks.  I can't imagine that's any fun - woken up from a quiet nap by a piercing bark from a petulant pup.

Deafness means that she can't hear the "come on in" yell that brings the dogs in from the yard.  If she looks my way, I can flag her in using a hand signal (I am very thankful for her Utility training - hand signals are invaluable now).  If she doesn't look my way she'll stay out in the yard for a long time.  Now that it's cold out we sometimes have to go out, tap her, and flag her in.

What is she doing out in the  yard so long?  Sniffing!

Yes, we indulge the sniffing.

She SNIFFS a lot.
Maggie's nose seems to be supercharged.  Maybe she's trying to make up for the deafness, but Maggie's sniffing has ratcheted up tremendously.  She sniffs around the yard.  Walks are now really sniff-tastic adventure strolls.  A walk around the block can take as much time as we allow.  And the worst part about the sniffing?

She has become a TRIP HAZARD.
Maggie's infernal sniffing carries over into the house.  When she's not asleep, she can normally be found sniffing around the kitchen.  Crumbs might fall.  Humans in the kitchen must watch out or the old lady may trip them.

She still PLAYS a bit, though.
In the mornings Maggie will run down the hall and do some very mild frapping with Rip.  She also gets excited when Rip and I are doing obedience work, too.  So I often indulge her in a few dumbbell retrieves (no fronts required!) - she still loves to work!

2 dogs reporting for work.

We are really pleased, though, that Maggie is happy and healthy.  She is a dear old lady.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ziggy the Cardigan Corgi IVDD month 14

I realize I haven't done a Ziggy update for a while.  This video is from the week before last, on Ziggy's second day (of 8) at the ISU vet school rehab center.  It's the first time he has been in the treadmill without a helper in there with him.  I like that he seems to be doing better with his left hind, and I'm thrilled that the right hind seems to be working just like a "real" leg!

The woman who runs the rehab center was pleased with Ziggy's progress.  She said he seems much stronger than he was on his last visit (November).  This makes us feel much better, as the progress day to day is imperceptible.

Around the house we've noticed that he is trying to stand more often, and sometimes gets in a flailing step or two before falling over.  In his sling, he is weight bearing on his hind legs, though still needs quite a lot of support from the sling for side to side stability.

Our instructions for care are:

  • Cart:  Leave him in his cart more often to let him wander around (hard in our small house, but we've been using the cart in the back yard more often).  I'm still thinking of getting him a custom cart, as I just can't seem to get this one to fit right.  I just need to take the steps to get it done.  Maybe next weekend?
  • Therapy:  Continue with letting him walk and stand on his own in his sling.  Add standing "side crunches" to help balance core muscle strength.  Get him on the ball more often.  I now have 2 FitPaws peanuts and one FitPaws egg.  Just need to use them...

Ziggy's attitude continues to be laid back and happy.  

We continue to wonder if Z will ever really walk again.  I guess only time will tell.  I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rip's Training Diary - Maybe we need to get out more?

Last week I took Rip to Rally run-throughs for practice.  We had an interesting (and fun) evening.

Our fun started as we entered the club building.  Lately, our trips to the building have been to use the agility equipment - just us in the building, no others around.  Rip must love the building, because he started barking and pulling me to the agility room as soon as we entered the door.

While I love the enthusiasm, it is a little embarrassing ("doesn't she train her dog?!?"), so I made him stop barking, sit, and look at me (rewarded with a click and a treat) before we moved forward.  It took us about 5 minutes to make it the 20' from the door to the training room.

Upon entering the training room, Rip's excitement (and random barking) continued.  I had to gently hold on to his collar to keep him from greeting every human and canine who walked by.  

Here's what Rip was like almost the entire hour: 

A happy, leaping, wagging, naughty blur!

The good part?  He was AWESOME in our run-throughs.  After our last run-through, the instructor, who is a friend from the club, asked me why I hadn't taken Rip to a trial yet.  Did he miss the first 30 minutes of class, when my dog was barking, leaping, and licking everything he could?

Yes, Rip has the skills to do really well at Rally Novice, but what I learned from Thursday is that my wild black dog needs to get out more.  

It's funny, because Ziggy and Maggie needed to get out because they were shy or nervous and needed to build confidence.  This is not the case with Rip.  He has plenty of confidence.  He needs to get out more so he's not a whirling dervish every time we go somewhere.  

So that's my near-term goal:  take Rip somewhere every week - even if all we do is work long enough for him to calm down and settle in.

I'll let you know when it finally works :)
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