Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Playground pics

My sister, her baby boy, and my mom came over to visit today. We went out for a stroll to enjoy the warm day. It ended up being A LOT warmer than we thought and were sweating to death on our walk!

click thumbnails to enlarge pics

Here's my sister and I

We stopped at a playground and Red likes to climb up on the play equipment...

On the catwalk

King of the world

When we tried to leave, Red went back up on the equipment and didn't want to come down, crazy dog! =P

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fun Match this morning

Michelle called me earlier in the week and said there was a fun match today - so we went to that instead of our regular Saturday morning training class. Most of the people we train with went too, so it was fun.

I didn't sign up for Rally this time since we're just concentrating on Novice OB now. We went first and Red did ok even though the ring was TINY.

The off-leash heeling was not so hot, and the figure 8 still had some bumping, but other than that, I thought he did decent. The on-leash heeling was ok. He was perfect for the stand for exam. But best of all, he did a STRAIGHT front on recall!! So happy!! But the bad thing about it was that he did that jumpy/anticipation thing again... grrrr. If its not one thing with the recall, its another! Sits and downs were perfect, he automatically rolls onto a hip now for the down, which makes me super happy.

Here is the video of our run:

RA win photo

I received our win photo for our RA title today! The color seems a little off or something, but its not too bad.

click to enlarge


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Blood screening, Thyroid and Vaccine Titer Results

I took Red into my work for his annual physical and bloodwork a couple weeks ago. We stayed in the back though so we didn't freak the kitties out ;)

Dr. Callahan really liked him and said he was very handsome and a perfect weight (80 lbs). He sat so well for his blood draw - I held him while one of the other techs, Maria, drew from his front leg (cephalic vein). We had to get a lot of blood (15mL total) for all the testing I wanted to send out. I wanted full blood chemistries, CBC, heartworm, and also thyroid panel to MSU, as well as a vaccine antibody titer to MSU. He was such a good boy and stayed ever so still while he drew his blood =)

Got the results back:

Chemistries: AST (a liver enzyme) slightly high (77, ref 5-55), but it was high last year too. Since his other liver values are not elevated, the doctor is not too concerned. And maybe this is just normal for him? Everything else within normal limits.

Heartworm: Negative

MSU Thyroid: Low free T3 (2.8, ref 4.5-12.0), and everything else within normal limits. The endocrinologist interpretation states: "Circulating concentrations of thryoid hormones are generally normal and thyroid stimulating hormone is not elevated. The decrease of free T3 alone is unlikly to be of clinical significance. The negative autoantibody results further decrease the likelihood of lymphocytic thyroiditis in the thyroid glands of this dog. The results of this profile do not offer support for a differential diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Normal thyroid test results in a dog of this young age do not eliminate the possibility of hypothyroidism in the future."

Vaccine Antibody Titer:
Lepto (6 separate titers involved in lepto titering) = <50. Interpretation: "Leptospirosis titers are low and a booster vaccination should be considered if optimal disease protection is desired."
CPV (Parvo) = 160 (ref 80 or higher is protective)
CAV (Adenovirus) = 32 (ref 16 or higher is protective)
CDV (Distemper) = 32 (ref 32 or higher is protective)

So I will be boostering only the lepto and bordetella this year (there is no titer for bordetella). His rabies isn't due til 2011. I am happy I had all the blood testing done =) Now just waiting for September to roll around so I have have his echocardiogram rechecked...

Friday, May 15, 2009

RA title!!

Red earned the last leg for his Rally Advanced title today =) Yay!!

The trial was set to start at 1:00pm so I wanted to get there about 11:30am to have adequate time to sit and chill (more for my sake than the dog's). Since I've never been to this venue before, I wasn't sure how long it was going to take to get there. Michelle, being the good friend she is, came with me for moral support even though Maisy wasn't entered in this trial. She met me at my house at 10:30am, and we left shortly thereafter.

Turns out, we made it in about 30 minutes (all the while Red stinking up the car making us roll down our windows to air it out), so we got there just as they were opening the building at 11:00am! The mats in the rings hadn't even been set up yet. We hauled in the crate and chairs and set everything up, then realizing it was freezing cold in the arena (an arena meant for ice hockey), we decided since we had extra time to kill that we'd go to the local Target and buy long-sleeved shirts to keep warm. It was supposed to be warmer sunny day today so we both were short-sleeves. So we drove a block over to Target, Red still in the backseat, and shopped around for a few minutes. I bought Red a small rope for a reward after his run, since it was the only thing they hadn't without a squeaker.

We went back to the arena, a little warmer now that we had some layers. They just finished laying down the mats and they were soaking wet. Literally puddles of water on the mats! Surely they would be drying them off before the trial began, because they weren't going to air dry on their own in this freezing building. But nope... they set up all the Rally signs in the ring to the right and just left all the water there! But they did mop and dry the ring to the left which was the Obedience ring...

Anyway, Red refused to go potty before I took him in the building, so after awhile I just gave up and brought him in. We did our normal routine of switching his collar and leash to his show stuff, and then doing some exercises and then playing with the frisbee, then I put him in his crate. He willing goes in there now, and just lays down like a good boy. Doesn't ever make a sound or stir around. I occasionally pop him treats through the door zipper to reward his good behavior.

Michelle brought us lunch (which was a good thing because I always forget to bring food for myself!) - turkey wraps, chips, and a humungous sugar cookie from the local bakery. We sat and watched the people drying off the Obedience ring mats while leaving the Rally mats a big mess. People were arriving, but it still seemed very empty to me. Conformation was taking place in the next room over, so people were walking back and forth between the two.

I went and got my course map so I could see what we'd have to do. It was short and very easy. And no cones to earn us deductions for bumping! yay! I was confident about the course, except that side step right thing. After looking it over, I got up to go find the bathroom. In the hallway, there was a stand set up selling silhouettes of dogs on various items - magnets, leash racks, flag poles, etc. I seriously contemplated buying a Doberman magnet, but I figured I'd wait til after the match to decide. I really wanted a flagpole, too, since I've been saying for awhile I want a flag in our yard.

Went back to the crate and smelled Red's awful fart stench again. I decided to take him out and try to find a spot where I could let him off-leash so hopefully he would go poop or something. We went around the arena and found some grass far enough away from the road that I was comfortable letting him off-leash. He stayed in the area around me like a good boy. He peed a couple times, but still no poop. After awhile, we went back into the building. As we walked in, a woman said, "Is that the beautiful Dobie I saw running around outside?" I said yes, and she said, "wow you are lucky!" She meant that I was lucky to have a dog that I could trust to be off-leash and not run away.

We went back in and did a few more exercises, played, and then went back into the crate. They were starting the Excellent walk-through now and people were lining up. The Excellent A & B classes went very quickly - partly due to the fast paced course, but also due to the very low number of entries in all the classes. The Rally dogs had their work cut out for them since they were doing Utility in the next ring and handlers were SHOUTING very loud commands. But all the dogs did very well.

Before I knew it, it was time for the Advanced walk through. I had it all planned out... I'd do the walk through a couple times quickly, then come back and get Red out and warmed up since we would be the second team to go into the ring and I needed adequate time to get Red focused. We went in for the judge's briefing at 1:50pm and the judge told us to do our walk through and he would start at 2pm. I quickly walked the course twice, checked my watch and it was 1:55pm. I suddenly had to use the bathroom and I figured I'd have plenty of time to nip in there and go really quick.

When I came out, I saw the team before us already half down with the course!!! I ran over to the crate, yanked Red out, grabbed a handful of hotdog bits while Michelle was fumbling with the camera bag and trying to get it out so she could video us. We ran over to the gate, and I didn't have time to even do any focus exercises with him before I was being called into the ring. How in the HELL do I arrive 3 hours before I go into the ring and STILL end up being rushed into the ring and frazzled??? GAHHH!

Red and I entered the ring on leash and I put him in a sit in heel position. But every time I bent over to remove his leash, he'd stand up and move out of position. I put him back into a sit, try to remove his leash, and he'd do it again. This is NOT GOOD. He did it one more time after that, but I was able to get him to stay in position and removed his leash. The judge asked, "Are you ready?" and I thought in my head, "NO!", but I smiled and said yes, and he gave the forward command.

1. Slow Pace - I tried to take longer slower steps rather than just slowing my pace because Red tends to think I am stopping and attempts to go into a sit, but he did well this time.

2. Normal Pace - ok.

3. Right Turn - ok.

4. 270° Left - I bumping him going left, then he made the turn, and then went out in front of me for some reason, and when I tried to signal him back to heel, he just sort of walked around in front of me. I didn't know what else to do to get him back into heel position without accidentally screwing something up, so I turned around and redid the 270° left station and then heeled to the next sign. He did it fine the second time. So 3 points off for that, at least.

5. Halt, Stand, Walk Around Dog - He wasn't paying attention when I gave the first stand command, but did it on the second one, thank god. He held the stay and was fine after that.

6. Left Turn - ok.

7. 270° Right - ok.

8. Halt, Side Step Right, Halt - This was the station I was worried about. We don't really practice this one, and when we did, he wouldn't step to the right and would just wander out in front out of position. But miraculously, he performed it well! So relieved!

9. Send Over Jump - I was worried he'd tick the jump like he sometimes does in practice, but nope, he did it great and came back to heel very well.

10. Right Turn - ok.

11. Halt, Pivot 90° Right, Halt - ok.

12. Fast Forward From Sit - He was not paying attention after he sat so when I gave the comannd "let's go!", he started out a little ways behind me. But once he realized we were running, he went past me through the Normal Pace (#13) sign, past the Finish sign and almost out of the ring! But I got him called back to release and reattach his leash.

I remembered to praise him after releasing him this time, since in past trials I can never remember if I did or not! Praised him all the way back to the crate and then jackpotted like usual (i.e. letting him stick his nose in the treat pouch and finish off whatever is in there). Then I got out his rope reward toy and he loved it.

Michelle thought was did well, except whatever brain fart he had on the first 270° turn sequence that we redid. I gave it another minute, and then went to check our score... 96! Woot! We qualified and got our title!! So we got the 3 points off for the station redo, and then another point off somewhere - not sure where. Maybe an out of position on the very last station when he ran ahead of me? I forgot to check the scorecard to check.

Michelle, Red and I walked over to the conformation area to check and see where the photographer was. I wanted to get our title photo taken since there was a photographer here. He was set up in a ring in the middle of the conformation rings. Michelle found him and asked if we can do a Rally photo and he said yes of course. But we needed to go back and go the ribbon ceremony before we could do it. So we went back to the obedience area and waited for Advanced B to finish.

There were only 3 teams in Advanced A, and Red and I ended up getting 2nd place - the 1st place team got 100. So even if I didn't redo that sign if I didn't need to, we still would've got 2nd since we had another point off somewhere. But I didn't mind, at least we qualified!! =)

Here's the video:

Then Michelle handed me a little box which contained an RA pin, RA patch, and some Wellness dog treats! AND she bought me the Doberman paw print magnet I'd been eyeing earlier in the day! I was so excited!! Michelle is such a sweetheart - I just love her! =)

After that, we went back over to the photographer to get the photo taken. Stupid me forgot the ribbons, and Michelle had to run all the way back to get them. The photog had me put Red up on this raised platform thing, which Red was NOT too cool with. But once I stepped up there myself, he came up and I finally got him to sit. I gave him a firm stay command, and then removed his leash and dropped it out of sight behind the platform. The photog had me turn him slightly and adjust his feet a little, and then quickly snapped the pics and we were done! He didn't take any of my info except my judging number and said the 8x10 print would arrive in about 2 weeks. I also want a digital image and he said I could order that later after I received my print. But Michelle had taken a quick photo of Red and I ringside so you can get an idea of what it will look like:

click to enlarge

On the way back through to the obedience area, I stopped and bought a flagpole with a Doberman silhouette on the top. I love it!! Then we packed everything up, and headed back home. Red slept all the way home, as usual.

He got a nice chew bone to enjoy in the backyard:


nom nom nom

In the meantime, I put our new Doberman flag pole out in a front flower bed:


It was a fun day (except for being rushed into the ring!!), and I'm so happy we finally have our RA title. This is the last Rally trial we will be doing for awhile now. We will be making our Obedience debut in September and hopefully earn our CD. Once we get the CD, I'll go back and do the Rally Excellent title, only then I'll be in the B class with the big dogs! =D

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Saturday Morning Training

I REALLY didn't want to get out of bed this morning. Oh how I would've loved to sleep in, but I can't pass up an opportunity to train...

No one showed up except me and Red, Michelle and Maisy, and a girl I've never met with a Papillion. It was kind of good, though because we worked on things we needed to work on instead of following the usual schedule of exercises. A few things here, a few things there.

Started off by talking about fronts on recalls. He is still swinging his butt out to the left (his right). We tried little short back-ups to try to line him up, and also placed boards down to make him sit in between the boards. It was better but still not as straight as it should be. At home, I can try lining up cones for this purpose. We thought if all else fails, we'd only lose a point or two for a slightly crooked front on recall... But in the meantime, NEVER give a food reward for anything less than perfect (use praise only).

Did some heeling. I put the leash around my back to help correct the forging and it seemed to help. I rewarded for good position and eye contact.

Since Red had trouble with the off-set figure 8 using stuffy toys yesterday at the match, Michelle brought out some bowls and cones, and we put toys in the bowls for the distraction. The first run-through was ok - still some bumping going on. But the second run through was perfect! No bumping and excellent attention! Very happy with that.

We did recalls next. I returned to him at once on every recall to solidify not doing the false start when he hears "call your dog". I've been having James practice with me at home saying this and he's been getting better. We set up for a short recall, and found myself move to him as he was coming in crooked - not good. Next one, still a short recall, he came in and I think I backed up a little but he was still not straight. Praise but no food reward. The third time, Michelle wanted me to go the whole distance to see what he would do. I returned to him twice because he kept flinching when she said "call your dog". On the third time back, I actually called him ("Red, front!"), and he came in perfectly straight and sat in a very straight front!!! Extra praise and food rewards for that! I was so happy - that was the best recall he's done in months and months - or maybe ever. I hope it wasn't a fluke!

Then onto the figure 8. Some bumping on the first try, but the second try was better. I sort of twisted my shoulders on the inside turns to help give him notice that I was turning, and it seemed to work. I know that is an extra signal to the dog, but maybe if I can get him to notice a very slight one, it will help.

We did sits/downs next. We only did the 1 minute sit and 3 minute down, because it was only Red and Coco the Papillion doing it, both Novice dogs. Left him in the sit, and he went down pretty much right away. WTF??? He hasn't done that in ages. Went back and corrected him and left him again. Michelle had us return and start over again. No food reward. The second time we left, the papillion went down pretty quickly and the girl returned to her and told her to SIT and at that command, Red started to go into a down. UGH!! He didn't go all the way down, but sort of halfway. He stayed that way til I returned. Again, no food reward. The long down was completely fine and uneventful.

I got out the dumbbell next. Red is at the point now that he is excited to see it because it means LOTS of treats and good things. I had him retrieve it a couple times on flat and then ran the other way so he came back to me, then turned and sort of inched in front of him telling him to sit, and he sloooowly sit while still holding the db. Then I'd take it from him and JACKPOT!! Did that again and he did great again. Another jackpot. Michelle got out Maisy's db and threw it, and Red proceeded to run over to it, take it, and then prance back to me and slowly sat for me to take it. Praised and rewarded. Michelle was so happy with this because it means he WANTS to retrieve it, and we don't want to ever correct him for taking the db (even if its Maisy's!). So I'd take it from him and give it back to Michelle, and she'd throw it again for Maisy and Red would go and take it again. He did this probably 3 or 4 times until I finally had to distract him with something else so Maisy could have a turn!

We got out the jump next, still practicing the 16" for rally. Red jumped it fine and we practiced him coming right back to heel instead of running past me. After a couple jumps, he started getting lazy and hitting it. No food reward for that, and he kept going, lined up and took the jump again until he cleared it without knicking it, then he got rewarded and released. Michelle had an extra PVC pipe jump there that she GAVE to me! Along with the bar that has paper on it to drape down to resemble the panel jump instead of the bar jump. I was so happy! Now we can practice at home without using buckets and a broom! She said she might have a broad jump for me to have, too. That would be awesome because I haven't practiced the broad jump hardly at all.

I told Michelle that it seems like all this was meant to be - me taking that one advanced obedience class that she happened to be instructing. Because if I would've never met her, I would never have done any competing at all or gotten this far. When people ask me who I train with, Michelle tells them I am self-taught, but I think Michelle should take some credit, because she has helped me sooo much she doesn't even realize! I'm so lucky to have found a friend like her! Thanks, Michelle - love ya girl! =)

Friday, May 8, 2009


Everyone hates dandelions, but I LOVE them. I think they are so pretty!

We have lots of dandelions in our yard (much to James' dismay), and I couldn't help myself this afternoon...

click to enlarge




Fun Match today

Red and I went to a different Fun Match than usual this time. This one not only does Obedience but Rally too. Plus it seemed more organized and went faster so that was good.

We did the Novice Obedience run first. Nothing too bad about any of it. Some bumping and forging on the heeling, and got some advice about my footwork on the about turns and slow pace. Less bumping on the figure 8 than we have had in the past, so that was good. Stand for exam was good. The recall... still a work in progress. I backed up and sort up lined myself up with him to get him to come in straight, but still didn't quite get it. I rewarded even though I shouldn't have on hindsight. I need to stop rewarding for crooked fronts... *sigh* Long sits/downs were rock solid and awesome though!!

The rally ring was TINY and cramped. They crammed like 30 stations in a miniscule ring so they were all right on top of the other. By the time I finished one sign, I was pretty much on top of the next one. I got lost once, and Red was not very focused because I didn't know what the hell I was doing. There were a couple signs in there that I hadn't practiced before - the offset figure 8 was one of them. Red did ok through it with the stuffy toys as distractions, but on the way back by for another sign, he plucked one out of the bowl. Correction for that... But we made it through. It was pretty ugly, LOL

Critiques: Notes to self:

1. Work on about turn footwork
2. Make slow pace steps bigger so he doesn't try to sit in between
3. Put leash behind my back to correct forging
4. Allow 2-3 steps after the judge says "halt" to actually stop, don't just do it abruptly.

1. Don't follow the line of the mat or the judge can tell easier if the dog isn't straight.
2. Don't step to line yourself up with the dog, lure the dog to line up with you.

Peed on the floor? WTF??

Today I took Red for an off-leash walk, and we got back home around 11:30am. He stayed outside for another 15 minutes or so, then I brought him in and took a shower and got ready for work. I left for work at 1pm. I didn't let him back out before I left, because I was in a hurry and preoccupied with getting Titus in the carrier to take him to work with me for blood and urine testing for him peeing outside the litterbox. I didn't think anything of leaving without letting Red out again because James out be home at 5pm, and he has held it for much longer than that before.

James called me at 5:30pm after he got home from work, and Red had peed in the living room. Big swirls of urine on the carpet and some on the kitchen linoleum. He has not peed in the house since he was like 12 weeks old. Oh great, now something is wrong with Red too, I'm thinking to myself. But James says he is acting normal and everything else is fine.

I tried to think back and figure out how this could have happened. I only thing I can come up with is that Red probably drank a lot of pond water on our walk, and I didn't see him pee on our walk at all, and my guess is that he probably didn't pee before I let him in the house. And all the pond water went through him and he couldn't hold it anymore. I'm sure it really pained him to pee in the house. When James came home and found the urine, he said Red looked really sad and guilty. He didn't punish him, but kept him outside til I got home at 10pm so I could clean the rest of the urine up out of the carpet. It wasn't as bad as he made it out to be though.

But the issue is that here I am bringing my piss-bag cat back home to a house that has been freshly peed in by the dog. Titus has been peeing on and in Red's crate, and I have caught him peeing on the dog's bed too. So the last thing I need is to have him smelling the dog's urine and then thinking he needs to urinate mark over it again. UGH! But the cat thing is a WHOLE nother story and I'm not going to go there.

I'm thinking if I can catch a urine sample from Red, that I will bring it in to check it out. Just in case. But I seriously think it was just because I was a dumbass and didn't let him out before I left. Just like I knew Titus' peeing issues weren't medical and they are behavioral - and all the testing I did today proves just that.

I think both of us need some Prozac...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Red's Weekend and the Tulip Festival

We spent the weekend at my mom and stepdad's house across the state. We had beautiful weather and a great time. Red came with us, and had lots of fun as too!

On Friday night, my parents had a bunch of their friends over and Red was a hit! Before they arrived, my mom told me I should keep Red away from everyone in case they were afraid of him... I sort of ignored her, and this is what happened...

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Vicious, isn't he? It looks like everyone was really afraid... LOL

Anyway, on Saturday we went to the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan. My parents only live about 30 minutes away from there, and it was a beautiful day so we decided to check it out again this year.

We went to Windmill Island Gardens which has the De Zwaan Windmill - the only authentic working Dutch windmill in the USA. It is about 240 years old and was shipped here from the Netherlands.

Me, James and Red


Red and the windmill


You can go on a tour of the windmill and see how they make flour inside it, since it is still a working mill. The line was very long, so we waited.



Once we got further up in line, one of the workers told us that dogs were only allowed inside the mill if they were carried. So James jokingly walked up to the door like this..


Since my mom and stepdad have already been inside the mill, they watched Red while James and I took the tour. Here's a zoomed in pic I took of them while up in the mill.


And a pic of James and I on the mill (you can see us there somewhere...)


After we finished with that, there were little tents set up with people selling handmade items, so we meandered through to check everything out. Red got SO much attention! There were constantly people commenting on him, wanting to pet him, and even take pictures of him!



And of course, some pics of Red and some tulips =)



Friday, May 1, 2009

Holter Results

I received the first report via email last night. The portion with just the info and no interpretation. Then received the cardiologist's interpretation via email this morning.

RED was monitored for a total of 23:59 hours. The total time analyzed was 22:31 hours. Start time was 11:50AM1. There were a total of 94597 beats.

The Mean Heart Rate was 70.
The Maximum Heart Rate was 216 at 5:26:13PM1.
The Minimum Heart Rate was 32 at 8:42:36AM2.

Ventricular Ectopy
Total: 1
Single: 1
Pairs: 0
Total Runs: 0
(Ventricular escape beat: 1)

Supraventricular Ectopy
Total: 0
Single: 0
Pairs: 0
Total Runs: 0

Pauses: Total: 0 ( Greater than 5.0 sec.)

VPB SUMMARY: 1 single, 0 pairs, 0 runs.

And the interpretation by the cardiologist:

Interpretation: Normal Holter recording. The cut off for large breed dogs is 50 VPCs/24 hours. I would NOT consider this dog affected with cardiomyopathy at this time based on the Holter alone.

Conclusion: Normal Holter. Repeat Holter in one year if continued screening for cardiomyopathy desired.

So basically this means the results don't support DCM at this time, but as we all know with Holters, you can rule it in, but you can't rule it out. Red will have his echo repeated in September, 6 months since the first echo.

Special thanks again to Amanda for letting us borrow your equipment - I can't thank you enough!!!