Thursday, April 30, 2009


Me and Redders goofing off when I'm supposed to be changing the sheets on the bed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Doberman

I've been thinking about this for awhile now. Red is becoming a Doberman. Not that he wasn't before, but he's slowly but surely starting to actually ACT like one. Not in a bad way - not at all. A Doberman is sweet, obedient and loyal to his family and friends, yet watchful of his home and surroundings and is able to judge situations appropriately.

I have noticed him becoming more aware of noises around the house, and of cars pulling in the driveway. He will bark and or go on alert.

When he goes into the backyard, he does a quick perimeter check and then goes about his business as usual. When he is called into the house, he goes back out to the door of the deck, to give the yard one last inspection before coming into the house.

He completely ignores benign strangers, unless I specifically invite him to say hello. This is a change from the golden retriever-type greeting he used to give everyone he saw. Even for friendly and inviting strangers, he pokes them once in greeting but then has no use for them after that. He doesn't seem to want to stand for petting at all, sort of moving away to calmly wait for me to finish chatting, or continue to look around us. However, he is more tolerant for children to pet him, in which case he will stand there and receive pets and give the occasional lick up the side of the face.

While on walks, if he sees something he is unsure about, he automatically moves between me and whatever it is. He is confident and will approach whatever it is to check it out.

Of course, he is the same loveable and goofy Redders around family and friends, but its his attitude toward strangers that has changed. I've read that Dobermans should be aloof with strangers, but never thought of Red as acting that way until fairly recently. I guess he is losing that puppy-like trust of everyone and everything and is learning to watch strangers and surroundings more.

I am very much looking forward to putting him through the WAE in August this year. He was too young to take it last year, but I think that was a good thing because he has changed a lot in that amount of time. He is finally getting his brain, it seems!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Morning Training Class

Now that I have more Saturdays off, we can attend class more often =)

Red was very excited to go, as usual. We warmed up and played a bit before class started. Red is always UP UP UP when we first get there - so quick to obey and almost rips my hand off for the treats.

We did things in a little different order today.

HEELING: Not too bad. There were some points when he wandered and wasn't paying attention, but not too bad for the most part. We did a few different things this time. Moving downs during fast pace, and then going to the opposite side of the room and giving a long-distance sit command. I didn't think Red would do it because its not something we practice, but he did!! It was perfect =) Very happy with that.

SITS/DOWNS: He went down on the 3 minute sit. Dammit. I'm not sure, but I suspect it was because I was chatting to the person next to me and not looking at him. No reward after the sit. He was fine for the 5 minute down - even flopped on his side at one point. Reward after the down.

RECALL: Not as good as last time. He wants to anticipate the recall when the judge says "call your dog". He tenses up and jumps when they say it. I had them say it several times before I actually called him. And when I did call him, his front was not the straightest and I had to lure him and take a couple steps back. Praise but no reward for that. Michelle's advice for the anticipation is to do through the motions of leaving him, and then return to him more than I call him. Currently I am calling him more than returning so each time we do it, he thinks he's going to get called which is why he's itching to go. Makes sense.

STAND FOR EXAM: Moved his head around a lot but didn't move his feet. It was Michelle that did the exam though, so maybe that's why he was moving. I did a few more practice ones with him, running circles around him and giving distractions, and he held it.

FIGURE 8: Better than last time. I went right to start instead of the usual left, and it was ok. A little bumping but much better than last time. I'm not happy with his focus during the figure 8 though. His head is down pretty much the whole time. grrr

DUMBBELL: He was EXCITED for his db today! I got it out several times during the course of class. I had him retrieve it and sit in front, and also just hold it. At one point, he went a retrieved Maisy's db that had just been thrown! I didn't say anything bad to him about it, but he did end up dropping it before I could take it out of his mouth. I'm really happy with how the db work is coming and how he is liking it more and more.

JUMP: Still working with the 16" jump height we have to do for rally. He clearly knows the "over" command now. He was a little lazy at first when he was goofing off and jumping it, tapping it with his back feet, but once we got down to business, he cleared it with no problem.

So not to bad today. Definitely going to work on that anticipation of recall. I can't have him doing that shit in the ring. And coming in straight...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Holter

I put the Holter monitor on Red yesterday. He just finished his 24 hour monitoring a half hour ago. Amanda (BackInBlack) was kind enough to let me borrow her Holter monitor and vest. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this. It has saved me a lot of money and worry, considering if I would've rented one, I would've had to buy the vest outright since it didn't come with the rental. She shipped it to me with everything included, even the tape and elasticon wrap. So thoughtful!

I was a little nervous about putting it on and hooking it up. I was afraid I was going to do it wrong. Plus is didn't have anyone to help me since James was at work, and I only had a small window to do it, since I wanted to do this when I would be home with him the whole time. And I know its petty, but I hated to shave him for it. We are going to the Tulip Festival in 2 weeks and I want him to look pretty, lol.

Anyway, yesterday morning Red was outside and I got everything out and set up. Put the tape and battery in the monitor and get up all my supplies. I brought him in and explained everything to him. I told him that he is going to have to wear this vest and monitor for 24 hours, and he must be very careful with it while he's wearing it. He mustn't try and get the vest off, and he has to stand very still while I am shaving him and attaching everything. He stood there cocking his head side to side as I spoke.

Then I took him into the kitchen to get started. Using the guide of where to place the electrodes, I shaved a patch on his right side and left side - the left side larger since it had to accomodate 3 electrodes, and the right side only needed 2. He stood there shock still while I shaved him. Then I prepped the area with alcohol to clean away oil and debris. After that was dry, I placed the electrodes one by one in the proper spots. Still, Red just stood there unmoving while I worked. I taped over the endges of the electrodes with Zonas tape to secure them in place. Then I attached the lead wires as indicated by the color-coded instructions, then taped over the base of the wires to keep them seated. Then I wrapped Elasticon tape (stretchy fabric tape sticky on one side) over the eletrodes, over his back, along the electrodes on the other side, under his chest and back around. I didn't make it too tight, just enough to secure everything down. Then I put the vest on him - he stood there and let me put his feet through the leg holes and then bring the vest up and in place. I pulled the lead wires through the hold in the vest. I fitted the vest so it was snug but not restrictive. I plugged in end color-coded lead wire into the matching color on the monitor. I closed the lid on the monitor and made sure the tape was turning, which it didn't seem to be at first and I started panicking, but then I noticed it was turning, but super-slowly, which is probably what its supposed to do for this type of monitoring. I put the monitor in the pack, stuck it to the top of his back, tucked in the extra length of lead wires, then put the long velcro band around his chest to secure the monitor in place. Done!

I was worried that that Red was going to try to get the vest off because when no one is looking, he always manages to get his fleece coat off. At first he seemed a bit uncomfortable, but he never tried to to get it off. I still watched him like a hawk anyway.

I wanted to do a variety of different things with him while he was wearing the monitor, to get a well-rounded evaluation. We went out for an off-leash run, and I took a route that ensured he wouldn't be near the pond and tempted to take a plunge. He seemed to want to stick by me the whole time and not go off running like usual. I threw the frisbee to get him running.

Then we came back to the house and I decided to go to the pet store to train a little and buy some chewies to keep him occupied. He was well-behaved and see did some simple obedience exercises. I bought $50 worth of bones and chewies and then we left. I decided to stop in downtown and take him for an on-leash walk where we don't normally go. We walked through town and had a couple different people comment on what a nice dog he is. Then we walked back to the car and went back home.

I gave him a chew bone and he spent the next few hours inside. When I let him out to give him dinner, I let him spend some time out there by himself, though I watched him through the window. He still never tried to get the vest off, and didn't even pay it any attention at all. He came back in and spent the rest of the afternoon in the house since it started raining. Went out to potty once more before bed, and then slept well as usual.

Woke up this morning and took him out for another off-leash run. He seemed more comfortable and ran around more than yesterday. Came back home and he spent a little time outside running around, though I still watched him closely.

Then I brought him back in, and it was time to take everything off. The tape was really sticky and I could tell it hurt to pull it off, but he was excellent and just stood there very still again. He's got some sticky tape residue leftover on his fur, but I will take care of that later.

I filled out all the paperwork and will send the tape in today. Hopefully I'll get the results soon.

I just want to say that I'm soooo proud of him. It's like he understood me when I told him he had to wear this, be careful with it and not take it off, and to hold very still while I put it on and took it off. I love him so much! What a good boy!

Here are some pics: (click to enlarge)









And thanks again, Amanda, for letting us borrow your holter and vest! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trip to Ohio

Unfortunately, James's grandfather who he was very close with passed away last week. His grandparents live in Ohio just south of Dayton. There was a viewing in Ohio one day, and then another viewing and the actual funeral the next day in Kentucky (another 2.5 hrs south of where we were).

I boarded Cloud and Titus at my work, but thankfully we were able to bring Red with us. James's uncle who lives in the same area as his grandparents was kind enough to let us stay there and bring Red with us. I was most stressed about this - what was going to happen with Red while we were there and running around. But John and Jana were more than happy to accomodate and watch him for us. They have a 5 year old golden retriever named Sammy. She is very sweet and had no problem accepting Red into her home. They played very well together. Here's a video:

John set up an inflatable air mattress for us in one of the bedrooms, and Red was so happy because we allowed him to sleep on it with us. Here's a pic of him snuggling with me: (click to enlarge)


The next day, we hung outside for awhile since it was so nice and sunny. James and I got really sunburned, and now I have a retarded-looking tan line, lol. Here are some pics: (click to enlarge)
















James making them sit and down for treats.





Later that day, we all had to go to the viewing for a few hours. We had to leave before John, but we were going to have him lock Red in the bedroom while everyone was gone, so him and Sammy didn't get into any mischief. But when John got to the viewing, he said that when he left, they were both laying at the top of the stairs napping, so he just left them there. We came home later after the viewing to find them in the same spot, so they must've slept the whole time we were gone. So proud that Red didn't get into any trouble =)

The dogs played some more that evening. Here's a video of Red and Sammy tugging on the frisbee:

Joe (James's brother) playing with the dogs




The next day, we all had to get up early to drive down to Kentucky for the other viewing and funeral. John and Jana weren't going to this one, so they stayed home with the dogs while we went. I gave them Red's dinner to feed him at the appropriate time since we wouldn't be home til late since it was a 2.5 hr drive down, the viewing, funeral, dinner, then driving all the way back. We got home around 7:30pm and they said Red was very good, and him and Sammy were alone for a little while that day too when they had to go to the store. Again, very happy with my boy!

That evening, we ate dinner then went outside to hang out, drink, and have a fire. Red and Jana hanging out by the fire:


The next morning,



Then it was time to say goodbye to John, Jana, and Sammy =( We went over to James's grandparents' house before we started our trip back to Michigan. Here are some more pics:

Red and James's dad




Getting pets from James's mom


Being a therapy dog to James's aunt, who was having a really hard time all week


And then it was time to go. Look at Red all pitiful in the backseat. "Are we there yet?"


On the way home, we picked up the cats from my work. Here's Cloud who HATES the carrier


And Red and Titus in the backseat


Red was a very tired puppers after his trip to Ohio. He can't wait to go back soon and see cousing Sammy again! =)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Red's Easter

Redders had a good day today. First, he got up and spent some time out in the sunshine while I woke up and had my morning coffee. Beautiful sunny Easter today!

Then we went for an off-leash run at the high school. He was such a good boy - there was a couple walking 3 black labs around the same pond Red and I walk around. I didn't see them at first, but I heard them calling their dogs who were also off leash. As soon as Red heard and saw the people and other dogs, he turned around and came straight back to me. What a good boy! The people put their dogs back on leash, but Red and I just kept walking, and Red paid absolutely no attention to these people or their dogs, and just kept on walking. Not even attempting to approach them. I was really proud of him for this =)

After our off-leash run, we went back to the house so I could loose a layer (it was getting warm!), and then we went back out for an on-leash walk. We walked down the sidewalk and there were a lot of joggers and other dog walkers out since it was such a nice day. We walked to an elementary school about a mile away and once we were inside the fenced grounds, I let him off leash again. But he stuck pretty close because we've never been in this area before.

I walked over to the playground where they was a big play structure with stairs, slides and other things. I climbed the stairs on it and beckoned for Red to follow. At first he was hesitant, then he followed me up. The stairs and platforms were made of steel mesh, which he has never walked on before. He was walking very hesitantly on it, looking through the mesh as we were about 5 feet off the ground now, but I just kept going like it was no big deal. There was a suspended catwalk and he didn't want to cross it at first, so I went first and he followed. Then we went back down some stairs and back to ground. I wish I would've had my camera!

We walked around the baseball diamond and headed back toward the play equipment. Their was a big swingset, and I haven't been on a swing in who knows how long, so I sat down on one and started swinging. Red looked at me, more confused than ever, wondering what in the hell was going on! He was scared at first, and then came barrelling toward me and stood right in the place where the swing would hit when I swung back by. He ducked and barely made it out of the way, and then he did it again! After that, he stayed quite clear of me and the swung, but watched very intently, not taking his eyes off me. Then I jumped off mid-swing and he was normal again. I took him back on the metal play structure and he was less hesitant about the catwalk this time.

We walked back home and then Red got his Easter bath. We were planning on going to James' parents for dinner and bringing Red with us, so I had to get the rotten pond smell off him, plus he was just dirty. He loves his baths and did his normal bathtime zoomies afterwards. He was so nice and shiny clean after his bath =)

I think Red knew where we were going before we even told him. He LOVES going to "Grandma and Grandpa's" house. He was whining and pacing, which he usually doesn't do when we're getting ready to leave. I put him in the car and secured him in his harness as usual and we left. When we got there, as soon as I opened the back door, he jumped out and practically hung himself on the harness. This is unheard of because he ALWAYS waits until I undo him and give him the ok to jump out. I've always made him wait until I say its ok before jumping out. But apparently he was so excited to be there, he forgot all his previous manners. I made him get back in, undid the harness, then made him wait a few seconds before I gave him the ok to jump out. Crazy dog.

He ran into their house like a bull in a china shop, as usual. He has to make the rounds and see who all is there, then he calms down. But the initial arrival is always very chaotic. We arrived just as they were serving dinner, so I gave Red his Tug A Jug, which I had filled with his dinner, and he worked on that while we ate. After he finished his Tug A Jug, he took it upon himself to go find my purse and root around in it until he found the Easter chewy I had brought for him! Sneaky dog! I came prancing out with it like he had had it all along. It was a braided bully stick - something that is carpet-friendly and would keep him occupied. He chewed on that for a good long time while we all finished our meal and chatted.

Then we moved into the living room to relax and chat and watch golf (ugh) on TV. James's dad especially loves Red and always gets down on the floor with him to play. For some ungodly reason, I brought this over-sized squeaky, super-annoying tennis ball and let him play with it. Here's a video of James's dad and Red:

Shortly after this, I took the ball away because it was giving everyone a headache. And then Red and his Grandpa wrestled a bit. After that, Red started getting sleepy and I made him lay down. If I don't tell him to lay down, he will just wander around aimlessly because he's afraid to miss something. He wasn't getting into trouble or anything, but he'd just pace around and not settle anywhere. So I made him lay down and then he was out like a light. After awhile, James's mom commented that she forgot Red was even there.

Every time he goes over there, he is better and better. James's mom even loves him and comments on what a good, well-behaved boy he is. She said she'd like to have him with her if she was ever home alone =)

We left and Redders is now passed out in the living room. He had a good, tiring Easter. A tired dog is a good dog =)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Morning Training Class

I finally have a Saturday off work so Red and I can attend the Saturday morning training group =)

I brought chopped up colby cheese cubes for treats, though it doesn't really matter what I have because Red will take my hand off for it.

Today was good. There were a lot of people there today, including Jen and Libby. It was there first time attending the group. Michelle was there with Maisy even though Michelle will be leaving for Vegas today for a week..*jealous*

HEELING: We started off with the heeling. I did it on-leash this time. Red's focus was good though he still tended to wander too far out ahead sometimes. Otherwise, I thought he did well.

FIGURE 8: We started and went to the left, like we usually do. We got around the 1st post, Red bumping me the whole way. Michelle stopped us, and we all brainstormed about what I could do to keep Red from bumping - since this is how we keep losing the majority of our points in Rally. We decided to try to have us go right initially, instead of left, and to slow down and say "easy". Red and I started again, I went to the right and it immediately seemed better since he started on the outside. Once we came around to go to the next post, I slowed down a bit and said "easy", and it worked! No bumping! I was also told to make my circle a bit wider and more of a circle rather than a U around the post, and this helped too. I was really happy with this improvement and will continue to work on it this way.

STAND FOR EXAM: Set him up, told him to stay, and he immediately moved his feet before I even left. "Nope", I said, and then set him up again. The second time he was fine the whole way through.

SITS/DOWNS: (3 minute/5 minute) Excellent! The sit was a little uncomfortable because I think he wasn't in a tall sit when I left him and his feet were out in front of him a little (my fault). So usually when I tell him to "stay", it means DON'T MOVE YOUR FEET. He held it, looking quite uncomfortable the whole time, and then about 3/4 of the way through, he looked at me guiltily and then picked up one of his paws and moved it closer to his body in a more comfortable position. All the while with this look on his face like a bolt of lightning was going to hit him for moving his feet. It was so cute, LOL. The down was perfect. Automatically rolled onto a hip and held the position like a champ. He even put his head down on his front paws at one point, completely comfortable. Jackpot after this!

RECALL: YAY! It was awesome! I set him up, went down the entire length of the mat, and called, "Red, FRONT!" and he came in fast and straight, and sat in PERFECT front position! Release and jumping around and rewarding for that! I think I took one step back and sort bent over to have my hands near my knees to lure him there, and once he was there, I straightened up and he was perfect! So happy! The second time was good too. A huge improvement from what it used to be. I've been really hammering that "front" position into his head when we work, so hopefully when I call "Red, front!" he comes into the correct position, and I think its working! The only issue I see with his recall is, when the judge says "Call your dog!" Red sort of jerks in place in anticipation of the recall. He doesn't move his feet or anything, just twitches his whole body like he's ready to spring forward. So have to try to work on this a bit.

DUMBBELL: After the recall, a couple people got their dumbbells out for retrieve on flat, so I got Red's out too. I haven't got it out in awhile... He was excited to see it. I put him in a sit (in no particular position), tossed the db out a couple feet, then released and he went straight and picked it up. I praised and then ran the other way for him to follow me, then turned around and stopped and he stopped in front position, and I quickly removed it from his mouth. Praise and reward!! Did this again and then put the db away. He seems to only tolerate a couple reps of db exercises before he refuses to do it anymore, so I always stop before this point. At the end of the class, I got the db back out again and just had him sit and hold it for a few seconds, then I removed it from his mouth, and jackpotted him.

JUMPING: Got out the 16" jump (his jump height for Rally) and took him over it a few times. One time I don't think I gave him the command soon enough because he was watching me and didn't jump and ran into it. So after that, I started into a jog well before it and gave the "over" command and he was fine. He was lazy a few times and nicked it with his back feet, in which case he wasn't rewarded and we did it again so he completely cleared it, THEN he was rewarded.

And that was it. I felt like we accomplished a lot today. With the bumping on turns, I know how to help correct that now. The sits and downs were great. And the recall was MUCH improved. I think I will continue using the "front" command for this rather than "come".

Monday, April 6, 2009

Heart testing update

After the echo last Thursday, I was ok. I didn't want to worry about something that I couldn't control or help. I was doing fine. On Saturday, Cindy (owner/veterinarian) told me that Dr. Brown had told her about Red's echo when she saw him on Thursday. She was there when he was doing the cat echos and he talked to her about it. I was glad he did because I wanted to talk to Cindy about it anyway and get her opinion. She said that Dr. Brown could tell that I loved Red so much and would be upset by the results and he wanted Cindy to know about it. I just had the feeling that maybe he thought it was worse than what I originally believed. Cindy said that wasn't the case, but it still made me recognize the gravity of it all.

It was a rough day for me after that. I ended up getting teary at the end of the day, and couldn't wait to leave so I wouldn't burst out into tears in front of everyone. I cried a bit on the way home, and called my sister for support. I got off the phone and cried some more. I just felt so hopeless.

I got home and told James that I needed a hug, and explained why and his response was, "Well if you'd stop fucking poking and proding these animals, you'd stop finding things wrong with them. You were all flipped out about Titus before, and he turned out to be fine. Stop being a baby." Nice - real nice. That's a nice, sensitive thing to say. I flared up that I would rather KNOW something is wrong so I can treat it versus just wait til they drop dead out of the blue. I was so angry after that - all I wanted was for him to listen and comfort me, not call me a crazy person for health testing my pets and tell me to stop being a baby. Later that night, I made him read Dr. Brown's cardiology report about Red so maybe he would understand why I was upset. He didn't really listen to me when I first explained the findings last week. He read it and didn't say a word. I took that to mean either he didn't understand a word of it, or he understand now why I was so worried.

First thing after 8:00am this morning, I called Lab Corp to inquire about renting a Holter monitor. The lady I talked to said I have to sign and fax back a user agreement form, then they will send the monitor with instructions to me, and it needs to be returned within 7 days. They pull the data from the machine, review it and summarize it and give me a report. This all costs $145.50. I can have their cardiologist interpret the report for an additional fee, but I will have Dr. Brown look at it for me.

They do not supply a vest. She suggested taping it on. I am visualizing in my mind's eye, Red scratching at it or otherwise being uncomfortable and annoyed with it, and either not getting a good diagnostic reading, or him getting it off somehow. I called Dr. Brown's office to see if they had a holter vest I could borrow. They didn't. They recommended taping it on and affixing it to a regular harness. Still not sure how that would work... Finally, I remembered that a friend on DT may have a vest I can borrow. Being the saint that she is, she said she would not only let me borrow it, but she'd wash it and mail it out to me tomorrow! I am so happy and grateful for her generosity. I am so flipped out about all of this heart business to begin with and I just want the best possible readings I can get with this Holter, and having this vest will put my mind at ease and make it easier on me.

The Lab Corp lady said they will fax me the form tomorrow to sign and fax back, and then hopefully get the Holter to me by Friday 4/10/09. Which would be great so I could do it over the weekend, which I have off work so I could watch him with it on - and also do things like train, run, walk, and rest. Get every possible scenario for something to occur. I really hope they get it to me quickly.... I just want to KNOW. At least I feel like I'm doing something while waiting for the 6 months to past before I can have him echoed again...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rally Advanced 2nd leg

Today was our attempt for a 2nd leg for our Rally Advanced title. The trial was in Birch Run at the expo center - about a 45 minute drive. It's a nasty day - cold, rainy and windy.

The Excellent walkthrough was set to start at 11:00am, and that what time I wanted to get there, to allow myself time to relax and chill out. Red and I left the house at 10:10am, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for some coffee ;), and then we were on the road. We got there a little before 11:00am. We didn't have to park too far away, and thankfully Michelle had already taken Red's crate and my chair and set it up last night, so I didn't have to haul it in. (Thanks soooo much, Michelle!!)

The Rally ring was upstairs, so climbed the stairs to the 2nd level. It didn't seem that crowded. The Excellent class was doing their walkthrough. I saw Dawn in one of the corners near our crates and went over to deposit my stuff. Another friend, Jennifer with her GSD named Libby, was there to compete in her very first Rally Novice A trial. So Michelle was there with Maisy competing for her RAE (not sure which leg), Dawn with Atticus and Delilah and Atty's 2nd RA leg and Delilah's 2nd RN leg, Jennifer with Libby for her 1st RN leg, and Red and I for our 2nd RA leg. We set up our crates in the same area, so that was nice.

Red was a ball of energy when we first arrived. I was trying to upload my stuff and finish erecting the crate and Red was all over the place. Dawn held onto him for me while I got things in order. He was jumping around acting like a retard so much, even after warning him, so he received a nice sharp collar pop/shake from me and he was MUCH better behaved after that.

When we first get there, I always walk him around so he can sniff the place, then start with a few exercises, then play tug to release some of that initial excited energy. We were exuberantly playing tug with the frisbee and Libby started getting really worked up, pacing, whining and barking. I was going to take Red somewhere else to play, but they ended up taking her out to the car for awhile. Red and I played for awhile longer, then he started calming down, and I put him in the crate.

I went and checked in and got my course map. As usual, I was scheduled 2nd in the ring and the person in front of me hadn't checked in yet. Gah! I HATE going first - I don't have any time to warm up Red after the walkthrough. Got the course map and looked it over. It's a small, tight course with 17 stations. No 180° left pivots so that's good because Red still isn't as proficient as I would like at them, but the dreaded "halt, side step right, halt" was there. Also a "halt, stand, walk around dog" which we haven't really practiced either. No biggie, we'll just do these exercises when I get him back out.

The judge was zooming right along. Before I knew it Excellent A was over, so I got Red back out to practice these iffy exercises. The stand walk around was fine, but the side step right one kept giving us issues. He wouldn't move with me, and then sat really crooked. I got a couple better ones out of him, so maybe we can salvage it after all...

Excellent B finished and the course was changed for Advanced. We did our walk through - I think I did it 3 or 4 times. It was a tight, somewhat confusing course so I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to miss any signs. I did ask the judge about the stand walk around because I wanted to make sure we are allowed to touch the dog - which we are, though Excellent level cannot. By the end of the walkthrough, I was confident with it. Mercifully, the team in front of me showed up so we would be going 2nd as originally planned.

Went back and got Red out of the crate, grabbed a handful of hotdog bits, and proceeded to the ring in our "on deck" position. Red was nice and focused - right on. I fed the last treat as the other team was exiting the ring.

We didn't quite heel into the ring, and Red started sniffing around a little, but I was able to get him into position with minimal effort, and then removed his leash and handed it to the steward.

The judge, who was a friendly fellow, wished us luck. After his forward command we were off...

1. Halt, Stand, Walk Around Dog: No problem.

2. Fast Pace: No problem.

3. Normal Pace: No problem.

4. Right Turn: No problem.

5. Halt, Right Side Step, Halt: This was the exercise I was most concerned about since we really haven't practiced it at home. He started to sit, then popped back up, and I told him to sit again. Fleetingly, I wondered if that would be counted against me and if I should retry. I decided to keep going. I got him to come to my right and sit relatively straight again. ah, crisis averted!

6. 270° Left Turn: No problem.

7. Send Over Jump: For a second there, I thought he was going to stop and go around the jump, but thankfully he made the jump. Came right back to heel well.

8. 360° Right Turn: No problem.

9. 180° Pivot Right: He didn't come the way around and was little behind me when he sat again. oh well, I just proceeded to the next sign. There was a long heel between this sign and the next one (which included going by the jump again) and he did great.

10. Halt, Walk Around Dog: Again, he sat somewhat behind me and crooked, but I walked around him anyway and kept going.

11. Right Turn: No problem.

12. 90° Pivot Right: No problem.

13. Serpentine Weave Once: These damn cones exercises are our downfall. He bumps me on every turn. I had a feeling we'd be getting deducted for this exercise...

14. 360° Left Turn: No problem.

15. About U Turn: No problem.

16. Left Turn: Bumped me a little, but otherwise ok.

17. Finish. I made sure to praise him well afterwards because I always seem to forget that part...

Michelle was videoing and thought the run looked good, but I thought we IPed #5 because of his double sit. I took him back to the crate and jackpotted him. I was praising and giving him treats and didn't realize Dawn and Atticus were the team after us. So I missed most of their run. After Dawn's run, Michelle checked the score and said we'd gotten a 94. She said she thought we had a 95. I didn't care as long as we qualified! And in the 90's too!

We waited for the rest of the Advanced A people to go because they did the ribbon ceremonies after each class. Went back into the ring when we were called and we ended up with 1st place! Very happy indeed! =) And Dawn and Atty got 2nd place!

After a little more playing, I put Red back in his crate so I could unwind a little. During the Novice walkthrough, I asked the judge about my scoresheet to see what I got marked off for. Turns out I got 1 point off for each cone bump (4 points totoal), and 2 points off for an out of position on #5 (the side step). We definitely deserved the points off on the cones, but watching the video back, I still can't see the out of position on the side step. oh well...

Dawn and Jennifer were competing in Novice A and I wanted to see and video their runs. Jen and Libby qualified, but Dawn and Delilah didn't after a questionable call on the moving right side step. Unfortunately for some reason, my camera wasn't recording their run so we couldn't even look back to see if it was legitimate or not. I was really upset about that. I've never screwed up on videoing before and I felt horrible.

We left after the ribbons were handed out. It was a lot harder to leave since I had to carry my 2 bags plus the chair and crate, not to mention the 80 lb Doberman at the end of the leash. But we made it out to the car and I allowed Red to eat the rest of the treats in the pouch as usual. After strapping him into his car harness, we were off back home.

I was really happy with our trial today. Definitely need to work on our cones. The cones have lost us major points in the last 2 legs due to bumping. Not cool. Other than that, I was really happy with how Red did. Such a good boy =)

Here is the video of our run:

And all of us together. From left to right: Me and Red, Michelle and Maisy, Dawn and Delilah, Jennifer and Libby

click to enlarge

One more leg to go for Advanced!! =D

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Red's 1st Echocardiogram

Took Red for his first screening echocardiogram today. Now that he is 2 years old, I want to screen him every year. I work with Dr. William Brown, a board certified cardiologist, every Thursday at my work, but I took him to his office today for the echo (too hard to do it at the cat clinic, lol).

In the waiting room. "oh what are we doing here?? This is fun!!"

10 minutes later... "I changed my mind. This is NOT fun."

Red did really well for his echo. Dr. Brown picked him up and put him on the table, and the techs held him. I reassured him, and he did try to get up once, but I reassured him again, then he was fine. The poor boy had the more terrified look on his face at first though, but he seemed to calm down after a couple minutes. Afterwards he was fine, and we did some obedience stuff for the techs who asked to see some tricks =)


No VPCs or skipped beats on the ECG. Everything ok on the echo, EXCEPT his left ventricular diastolic dilation value... normal for dobes is anywhere between 4.3cm and 4.8cm. Red's was 5.0. The Dr did a few readings and still got this higher number. This increased value can be a sign of DCM. The number isn't horrible, but its still higher than he would like to see. Red's contractility was ok at 25%, though usually it's 30-40%. The Dr wasn't as concerned about this though because there can be normal variability as he was about the diastolic dilation. He said it could just be normal for Red, but he would like to check him in 6 months again, rather than a year. I'm also going to have him Holtered for sure.

I'm a little freaked out, but I'm not going to really stress until he have the next echo done in 6 months. Because I had Dr Brown echo my cat, Titus, who had a thickened ventricular septum which can be a sign of HCM, but we have re-echoed him several times, and it was determined that that is just normal for him. So maybe this is just normal for Red. I hope...

Afterwards, my sister met Red and I at an outdoor mall in the area. The was in the mid 60's today, so it was a beautiful day for walking. I bought Red a McDonald's cheeseburger for being a good boy at the vet.

"Can I haz cheezburger now?"

Later, I called Lori, Red's breeder, to let her know about his echo and to double check and see if any close relatives that she knew of had cardio. She said most of the problems on Trotyl's (Red's sire) side have been liver problems, and on Abby's (Red's dam) side, there hasn't been any cardio that she knows of, though there has been some cancer. Abby's dam died of pancreatic cancer, and her sire died of an intestinal obstruction. I've looked on dobequest to see what else the dogs in Red's pedigree have died from, but most of them don't have it listed. I wonder if there's any other way to look it up somewhere/somehow?

Anyway, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to think positive thoughts and not think anything negative. I'm a big believer in energy and self-fulfilling prophecy. We will recheck the echo in 6 months, and have the Holter done in the meantime. Red is going to live to a ripe old age =)

Red - Photoshopped

I finally got my photoshop back after hubby built me a new computer. I swear, I am LOST without that program! I didn't realize how much I used it until I didn't have it anymore. I'm a very basic photoshopper, but I still like playing around with it.

Here are some pics I took yesterday that didn't quite turn out because of the sun's direct lighting, so I did some other things to create a lomo effect. And some others that were fine that I just messed around with for the fun of it ;)

click thumbnails to enlarge





(I even removed his ecollar in this one. Its my favorite, I'm using it as a desktop wallpaper)