Gorgeous day, I can officially call it Spring in Ohio! It's been a long time coming.
Poor Corky is so sore - abscesses on BOTH front feet. Both front shoes are pulled and she is wearing Soft Ride boots for protection. She must be coming into heat, because baby Cadence has the squirtiest diarrhea (TMI LOL!).
While I was there bonding with her in the stall, I got to help put them outside. They are staying in one of the small dirt turnouts right now in order to protect Corky's feet. She has trouble keeping up with the baby, and the large pasture would be too much for her to handle.
Redirect! That might end up being my theme for 2018. Don't give up - Redirect instead! I am a goal-oriented person. Yeah, that's putting it mildly. A more accurate description would be that I am obsessive about setting goals and working towards them. Sometimes, though, ya gotta face reality and re-purpose your drive into a new or different venture. Easier said than done? Well, just watch me!
2 steps forward, 2,467 steps back. that's how my dog training life goes. I felt pretty good about Pretzel's hunt training, until tonight. He was really not pointing, just hovering and pouncing on the dead birds. I think he has become wise to the fact that they are indeed dead, and he can easily grab them. I wonder if I need to stop training, am I just instilling bad habits in him? He was doing so well the past few days. I think I will take tomorrow off and not train the birds, just work on obedience.
But on the plus side, I started Noodle back to training agility at full height, and she was awesome in my agility yard! I love how she flies through the weaves one-footed...so cool! We are slowly but surely getting our handling skills back.
I took a couple days off of bird training with Pretzel, and tried again this morning. UGH. I really had to get after him about trying to just flash point and grab the bird. We did end on a good note, but it sure was frustrating.
So, I loaded up the car (no, we don't have our van back yet...ugh...they have been working on finishing it for a year and a half now!) and Pretzel and I hit the road to Pennsylvania - Harrisville to be exact. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but the scenery was gorgeous. I do love hills, just not so much in the winter.
We checked in to our hotel, and Pretzel spent the evening nooking on his pheasant toy, hopefully getting psyched up for his test tomorrow. We have 4 tests (2 each day), and we only need 2 for his Junior Hunter title. I am hopeful, but I am trying to steel myself to the fact that I may have just driven 4 hours for naught. Oh well, wouldn't be the first time, that's for sure!
What an absolutely gorgeous setting for a hunt test. The photo doesn't do it justice! The morning started off kind of chilly. Pretzel seemed focused and ready as we waited at the start line for our turn. Judges were on horseback (I love that!). Horses obviously do not faze Pretzel, he was raised with them. And...we are off!
This first test went really well. Pretzel had a couple points which he held just long enough to be scored, got the bird, and brought it back to me. The third point, he held for me to get all the way up to him and flush it! Our training seemed to have paid off! He was a bird-finding machine.
I swear I almost celebrated righ there on the field after that last beautiful point. For once, I left the bird field feeling pretty confident. As well I should be...check out those scores - all 9's! After our mess-ups at the test 2 weeks ago, and all the training I have done the past couple weeks, this was a wonderful reward for me!
Our second test was later in the afternoon, and it actually got hot outside (I LOVE the heat!).
It was harder on Pretzel, but he did great for me - even held a point for forever while i kicked and kicked around the brush trying to find the bird to flush it...until he finally got tired of waiting and reached over and picked it up for me. He needs a better handler, but he is stuck with me! The best news is...another set of high scores and our official Junior Hunter Title!!! I am so excited and happy-= a goal (one that I never even had until about 6 months ago) has been realized. Here is the dog that someone told me had ZERO bird instinct, and he was a machine out there in the bird field. I never thought I would get so into this sport, but you know me....I never do things halfway (much to the annoyance of most people around me). Sure wish I had done this 5 years ago when Pretzel was younger (and more easily trained). Oh well...hindsight...
Today was a no pressure day, because Pretzel already earned his title yesterday. Our runs were all about fun, and keeping him "trained". Pretzel was definitely more confident now that he had hunted these hills twice yesterday, so he was ranging farther away from me, which made it harder to keep track of when he was pointing. This is something I need to work on - being able to read him better, even from a distance. Both tests were qualifying runs, giving us a clean sweep of 4 runs and 4 qualifying scores! It was such a blast - even though the last judge I had today was a bit rough and kept scolding me for every little thing.
So, next on the hunting agenda...getting Noodle ready for her junior hunt test in the fall. I'd like to try Pretzel in Senior, but it will take several more years of training and I am not sure how he will do, since he is already 6. But you know me...we are sure gonna try!
Today it was all about the dirt. I had 5 cubic yards of topsoil dumped in my driveway so I could use it in my garden. Note to self: Next time pay extra and have them dump it directly into the garden. It took all day, and a very sore back and arms, but I got it moved by shoveling it into a wheelbarrow and the mower card and dumping it and raking it into the garden.
I worked agility tonight with one of my friends. Pretzel works so much better at home and when he is with his golden retriever love. Lots of speed, good motivation and drive...why oh why can't he be that drivey in class? I think he just dislikes class. Too bad, because I am learning a ton so we need to keep going. Everything I learn with him is making me a better handler and trainer for Noodle.
I bent over this morning to move some agility equipment and felt a "pop"...never a good feeling. Something went out in my lower back and I am in serious pain. My greatest fear - back problems. It is the kiss of death for anyone involved in horses.
Speaking of horses, I spent some time with Cadence and Corky this afternoon. Corky, believe it or not, is actually worse - she cannot put any weight on her left front foot. The right front foot seems a lot better. The abscess in her left front foot is deep - the entire depth of her foot and her whole sole is mushy with goop oozing out (sorry, no pictures LOL!). It's going to take time. A LOT of time. Cadence is in my pocket, I had trouble getting photos because she wouldn't leave me alone, she kept following me all over the stall. I must admit that I love that! MUCH easier to train a horse that wants to be with you. I can't help myself, I keep dreaming and setting these big goals in my brain. Patience, grasshopper...wait and see what happens.
I received this picture of Marshall from his owner. They are going to their first "real" show this weekend. He is 6 months old now, and can start earning points towards his championship. Needless to say I am excited! His sister in Colorado will also be debuting in her first show this weekend. Such exciting time for Pretzel's first litter. I can't wait to see how they do.
Another beautiful day to watch Cadence and Corky outside. Corky didn't move much - she is still in a lot of pain from her abscesses. Poor Cadence has a cold - a snotty nose and a cough. the vet heard a little bit of fluid in her lungs, so they are treating her with antibiotics. On a good note - the heart murmur that the vet heard the morning after she was born is all gone, just like predicted.
For your viewing pleasure, here are some Cadence photos from today...
Today I had a private agility lesson with Noodle. This is our first lesson back since her injury. I have to admit I have a small thrill of pride because she REALLY did well. The only real issue I have is her lack of focus when someone else comes into the building, or another dog is nearby. I am working on getting her to keep her focus totally on me while we are working. She is definitely getting better...but it will take some time.
Today we started working on the "in" command for tunnel discrimination - teaching her to bypass the closest end of the tunnel on command and go into the farther end. I have to remember that from now on, when I say "tunnel", it refers to the end nearest to her, but "in" means to bypass it and go in the other end. It's a bit confusing...once I have a good grasp of it I will draw out a diagram to explain it.
Today we did a family visit - Mark and I visited Corky and Cadence together. Corky's feet are getting better. Cadence didn't appear to have a cough or runny nose anymore, but she had some pretty foul diarrhea. Always something! She isn't letting it affect her much - she is still pretty active and nursing well. That's a relief.
Tonight was my weekly training night with Noodle at the agility building that I rent. I had a conversation with Noodle's breeder about her distractable nature and how she is obsessed with other dogs, and we came up with a plan. She came up to visit us while training, and brought one of her completely non-reactive dogs with her to walk around on leash. At first Noodle ran straight to him and would not come back. I had to walk over to her and take her away by the collar. But amazingly, after that she was much better. A couple times she broke away from what we were doing and tried to go visit the other dog, but i called her and she stopped about halfway and turned around and came back! Progress! Eventually I was able to leave her in a start line stay even with the dog walking circles around her and she held...she even nailed the 12 weaves perfectly with him standing about 3 feet away from the weaves. What a great night of training, and I am so thankful for her breeder who was willing to come out late at night to help us. Our first trial back is in 2 weeks...Oh boy!
This girl is ridiculously sweet. She is so people-oriented...reminds me so much of Corky when she was this age. I always said I would be happy even if I got a carbon copy of Corky. well, she isn't exactly a carbon copy but it is close. Looks like she has received some outstanding features from her daddy also (including her gorgeous head), so can't complain!
Cadence's diarrhea looks like it has cleared up, though she still has a bit of a runny nose. She coughed a little bit when she was turned out in the indoor, but that also seems improved. Corky's poor feet are another matter. She is still so incredibly lame from the abscesses. Not only that, but she is losing a ton of weight. The vet is coming out later today to do a blood test to see if anything is going on. I suspect it is a combination of having given birth (and having a vigorous baby nursing on her 24/7) and also the incredible pain in her feet. poor girl. I hate seeing her hurting.
I just LOVE eastern Tennessee. I decided to drag the dogs and Mark to a show out here because I love the scenery. of course, coming this way means we get to take an evening after the show to do a little hiking.
Pretzel did pretty good at this show, earning 2 select dogs, 2 owner-Handled best of breeds, and an Owner-Handled Sporting Group Four. He was his usual steady-eddie self...hey, I'll take that!
Noodle came along for the ride, and I spent both days at the show walking her around and working on her focus. She is doing really well. I hesitate saying that, as her first agility trial back in 3 months (since her injury) is next weekend!
Noodle had a private lesson today with the instructor who teaches the class that Pretzel is in. I was really happy with how Noodle behaved - the instructor was pleasantly surprised (and for me, that rarely happens LOL!). I got to demonstrate noodle's lack of focus around other dogs when someone else brought their dog in near the ring. We ended up borrowing that dog to use as a distraction, and by the end of the lesson Noodle was doing complete sequences and exercises with the dog standing right next to the obstacles and she was great!. Her first reaction when the dog came in to the ring was to run over and try to interact and play with him. She loves to play, loves to wrestle, loves to chase...all of which are annoying to most people (other than Pretzel!).
I discovered that a lot of my bad handling that I was getting away with when running Pretzel is coming out while running Noodle. She is much more focused and follows my cues much closer, which means I have to actually give my cues better! We are working well as a team, which is really making it fun.
I took Noodle to my usual late-night Monday agility practice, along with my friend and her Golden Retriever. Noodle retained her usual enthusiasm, and we worked a lot on focus while my friend ran her dog. Yes, it is a work in progress, but I do see improvement.
In the evening, I went to visit Corky and Cadence. I put the leather foal halter on Cadence for the first time. I was worried, as this can sometimes be a battle with a baby who has never worn a halter, but amazingly she just stood there and let me slip the halter on her! I also tried on her new purple weanling halter that my friend sent (gotta love baby foal gifts!). She will eventually grow in to this one in a few months. I put the halter on and off of her several times, and she did not care. I even picked up all 4 feet with no problems. She is going to be so much FUN to train!
Corky's feet are still a mess. No word on her blood results. Always something to worry about...that's horses!
Just an f.y.i. - I am I the process of changing this website over to a secure (https) site. So...if you have this site bookmarked and one day it doesn't work, just add an "s" to the http in the address. Ho[pefully I don't blow up the whole site while doing the changeover. Sometimes I feel I am feeling my way through the web code like a visually impaired person with a bad dog. I guess we shall see...
Meanwhile, I leave you with my new favorite saying (on the left). So many ugly people in this world trying to bring you down. It's hard to take the high road all the time, but in the end it is the right road to follow. Unfortunately, this road has little to no traffic lately!
Today I shared a private lesson with an agility friend who has a young dog that has very similar focus issues like Noodle. At the beginning of the lesson, both dogs often broke focus to go visit the other, but by the end they were working independently of each other very successfully. Noodle did great, until a third dog came in to the mix. Then we had to start the focus work all over again. I guess I am being way too easy on her. When she leaves my side to go interfere with another dog, I have to get after her and really let her know that this is wrong.
Well, I have worked and trained as hard as I can, but in 2 days it gets real. It is Noodle's first trial since she was injured in March. To say I am nervous is an understatement. I hope that all of my work and training pays off, but with dogs you just never know until it is too late.
Today is Cadence's one month birthday! The first month of a foal's life is always dicey...so happy that she is healthy and strong. Corky moved a little better on her feet today. They were out in the indoor arena when i arrived today, and Corky was walking around with just a small limp. BIG improvement!
I put the halter on Cadence, and attached a lead rope. I rubbed the rope all over her body, letting it swing and touch her legs, back, and belly. She was wonderful, never even flicked an ear at the rope going all over her. I tried a little leading today, that didn't go as well. She doesn't yet understand what I want, so this will be a slow, quiet process. Dang, I absolutely love training babies. I had forgotten how much FUN it is being the one to introduce every new life experience to the baby.
Today was an epic moment in Noodle's agility career - her first trial back since her injury in March. We've trained, trained, and trained some more. I've used every resource I could find. It will be what it will be.
Well, what it "will be" was a flipping CLEAN RUN in Novice Standard! Literally - not a paw out of place! Holy cow!!!!! It felt so amazing to run this dog today. So incredible. Her focus was outstanding, she never even noticed any other dogs! I am beyond happy...up in the stratosphere of happiness!
Jumpers wan't as great, but it was still a 100% victory. Unfortunately she knocked the first bar, and then took an off course jump on the way to visiting the bar setter sitting in the corner of the ring. BUT, she came back to me, and the resat of the run was clean and fast! I cannot complain, not one ounce. She worked hard, and was enthusiastic not only about the agility course, but about working with ME. That is huge.
She has tomorrow off, and then we head south to Cincinnati to do a Time 2 Beat and a FAST run. Time 2 Beat will be difficult since it is much harder than a novice course. However, we have been training waaaay above our level all winter, so I feel somewhat prepared. I guess we shall see if my confidence is unfounded!
Today we got up waaay before dawn to head to Cincinnati for a couple agility runs. Noodle only had Novice FAST and Time 2 Beat on the agenda today.
Novice FAST was first. the send bonus was really easy - A-Frame to tunnel. I think I set Noodle a bit too close to the first jump for her start line stay, because she knocked the bar. I can see with her running style, she will need to be set waaaay back from the first jump so she can get an extra stride in. Since it is FAST, the knocked bar didn't count against us. She easily did the send bonus, and we got plenty of points in the rest of the run to earn us our first Q in FAST, and a 1st place!
Time 2 Beat didn't go as smoothly. She got distracted at the start line by the leash runner walking up behind her to get her leash, so she left the start line to visit her. I ended up having to do a running start, which actually worked out for us. She slipped and knocked a bar, and then knocked a second bar for some odd reason. Then, she got distracted by the judge standing by the teeter and came off the right after she got on. I was able to put her back on, and she nailed her 2 on 2 off, and we finished up (a little after the buzzer), but no Q for us today! The people distractions were harder for her than the dogs, for some reason.
Later that evening, I went to visit Cadence and Corky. Corky was really sore again...ugh. Cadence was wonderful - put the halter on and of her several times, draped the rope all over her body, and picked up all 4 feet - with no issues. I love her!
I got a message from the breeding farm owner - they have done all they can for Corky but she is still getting worse (in her feet), so it is time to find out if there is an underlying issue. I called a mobile vet to come out for x-rays. When I pulled Corky out of her stall, we notice that she was horribly lame on her left hind leg. Upon further investigation, we found a major swelling on the inside of her tibia (upper leg). The vet took a ton of x-rays of both that hind leg, and also both front feet.
Well, there is bad news, and worse news. Her front feet are full of infection, and the right front (the foot with the original abscess) has some of the infection in the bone, causing a bunch of bone chips and fragments along the edge of her foot. The other foot looks infected, but no bone chips yet. This will require a specialist to perform surgery - they will have to open up her foot to get everything out, and she will have a hospital plate on her foot while it heals...and could take a LONG time. This means a LONG stall rest.
As for the hind leg, the vet thought she could see a line of a fracture, but wasn't sure. She sent the x-rays in to the office, and two other vets looked at it, with differing opinions. One thought it looked like a fracture, the other thought it might not. So, they sent the x-rays on to a specialist to look at and determine what it really is. Either way...LOTS of stall rest. Surgery is inevitable on her front foot. Hopefully going to schedule it next week when the foot specialist is in Columbus (at Woodland Run in Grove city).
I am devastated. I will have to haul Corky and her baby to have surgery next week, this is going to be a disaster. then on to months of stall rest...another disaster. The baby cannot live in a stall all summer, as it is she isn't getting enough exercise. I am so worried. I don't know what to do. And to top it all off, I leave for Oregon a week from Sunday to host the Top 20 Competition at the Weimaraner Club of America national specialty. I absolutely HAVE to be there. I am so worried.
So now I wait...no call back from any of the vets involved today. I guess I will have to call first thing in the morning and see what is going on.
In the above X-ray, you can see a comparison of her two front feet. The left foot has a somewhat smooth edge to the bone. The right foot shows a jagged edge, and you can see faint signs of the bone chips (you can see it clearer on the actual x-ray). The infection from the abscess traveled upward, and compromised the bone and made it fragile.
Corky's swelling was even bigger today. When I reached my hand over and got anywhere close to her leg, she held it up and out from her body like she didn't want me to touch it.
Word from the third vet that looked at the x-ray is that it "could" be a fracture, or maybe not...possibly a hairline fracture? I can't seem to get a definite answer. Their solution is to rest her and re-x-ray in 2 weeks to look for bone remodeling (which would be a sign that it is indeed a fracture). So, we wait. No surgery on her foot until we know for sure. I despise waiting, especially for something as devastating as this. But what else can I do?