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About dogfish6

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    Junior Member

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    The Magical PNW
  • Interests
    Dogs, hiking, dog agility, hiking with dogs, dog training, writing, blogging, but mostly just dogs.

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  1. One of my border collies fractured a metatarsal bone last summer on a rear foot. I seem to recall it was #3, one in the middle, but could've been #4. She slipped on grass while retrieving a ball. It was a spiral fracture. Of course she thought nothing of continuing on to bring the ball back and then continue for the hiking portion of the afternoon, but her three-legged walk gave her away. Thought as first she'd torn her cruciate ligament. Treatment was splinting and a soft cast to stablize the bone (Internal fixation) after the vet manipulated the bone. She was not allowed any activity but the necessary for bathroom trips. Basically crate rest. This was to have lasted eight weeks. However, x-rays at eight weeks showed the bone had not healed completely - even though she was only five years old and in fantastic physical condition. Likely my fault by not keeping her as completely inactive as she should have been. Total time in the splint and soft cast was 12 weeks. At that time the bone was healed, but the fracture line could still be seen - that's not uncommon in fractures - for both dogs and humans. Since she'd lost some muscle mass anyway - not only in her hind end, but in the foot itself which was shriveled noticeably, and was not flexing the foot properly due to loss of range of motion, I rehabbed her by doing underwater treadmill under veterinary supervision. I hghly recommend this. She was able to quickly put muscle mass back on, but more importantly, regained flexibility and full range of motion, while also building back some ligament and muscle strength in the foot itself. I started out going twice a week for underwater treadmill, then cut back to once per week. By then she was also doing leash walks where I was encouraging her to pull (yikes! never thought I'd want that!). Overall, did the underwater treadmill for six weeks. The vet tech was careful to observe that she was walking, and NOT swimming. Swimming doesn't help at all. The dog needs to actually walk or trot on the treadmill (this concept holds for building rear end muscle mass as well). It was actually super interesting and educational to observe the difference between how a dog uses its body while swimming as opposed to actually using the treadmill. She still has scarring from the pressure sores she got while splinted/casted, but the foot looks completely normal and she resumed full activities (hiking, agility, bossing her the rest of her tribe around, Ball) approximately five months after the break. I did find that she would favor the foot if we went on a really rigorous run (hiking) for about three months after, but would just adjust her activity accordingly for the following few days. She now shows no signs of the injury, but is likely to develop arthritis there as she ages. Hope this helps and good luck to you. The injury is actually not that uncommon. Beth
  2. Maja - I don't just "like" this post, I love it. Beth
  3. Hmmm .... I just want a hopefully healthy Border Collie or Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog "accident" that exhibits intelligence and some interest in teaming up with me (which I can work on further) and that will meld with my existing tribe of dogs (whoever that may be at some point in the future) that I can play with, hike with, take naps with, do a few tricks with and, if things go well, do agility with. But that'd be icing on the cake. I admit that I've had a picture in my head of my "ideal" dog each and every time I've acquired a dog and only one has come close to that picture. And in the case of the last three dogs, yeah, I wanted to do agility with them, but I didn't specifically set out to get an agility dog. Because basically I need a dog I can live with. Puppies are a crapshoot and I feel somewhat lucky I ended up with a puppy that grew into a dog that despite my mistakes, grew into, at eight years of age now, a sometimes reliable and always fun agility partner. I prefer acquiring adolescents because, well, you have a much better idea of the personality, you can see the physicality of the dog and the best part of all, better and bigger bladders, better attention span, often done with the annoying chewing phase and an ideal age to want to learn and do stuff. One of my dogs began exhibiting some rather extreme and ugly reactivity about three months after I adopted him at approximately one year of age. I had not even started any agility foundation with him, but went on to do so as I love training. For 18 months, few other people saw him as I didn't bring him to trials and our adentures were always at odd times of the day to lessen his encounters with other dogs. Some people expressed how sad they were for me that I'd never be able to trial him. I honestly didn't care as the training part was super fun and taught me to become a better handler for my other dogs. I had no intention of trialing him. He was just plain fun to train with. A couple of my instructors convinced me otherwise finally. Not gonna say it was easy, as it took a lot of management, patience, understanding, environmental awareness, etc, but this dog's love of the game won out. He's an incredible dog, not just an incredible agility dog. The lesson I learned - love the dog you're with, train the dog you have. Everything else is gravy.
  4. A few years back, when my 16-year-old husky mix let me know our contract was ending, I asked a vet to come to the house for the final visit. I did that specifically as Sylvie never liked going to the vet's and I figured there'd be less stress for her, particularly as that day she became pretty much immobile. The other reason I asked the vet to come was so that my other dogs would know what happened. My two males never really cared for Sylvie and viewed her as the dog that ruined all the fun (she was very much the fun police). Nevertheless, she'd been there for the entire life of one of my males and had helped raise him as a puppy. My other female though was at one time very closed bonded to Sylvie. There'd been a few scuffles over the more recent years - brought on in part by my bringing home the puppy, and the relationship had seen a few fractures, but the younger female still closely watched Sylvie and was always in whatever room she was in. I did not have the dogs present when the euthanasia was done, but brought them all into the room immediately after. It was deeply sad (more so for me), but also fascinating. All three dogs gave Sylvie's body a sniff. The two boys gave a quick sniff, then turned away. Jasmine sniffed a bit longer, looked at me, sniffed Sylvie's body a bit more and then sat down a little way off and looked at me. Of course she was concerned about my reaction, but I got the sense that she also understood that her friend of many years was gone and that she was at peace with it. I'll add that I made that decision too in part becuase I'd lost a dog years before at a fairly young age to cancer and he was deeply attached to one of my mother's dogs and vice versa. We joked how they had a bromance thing going as they were so fond of one another. The first time I drove into my mom's driveway without Kip still tears at me. Cooper came running out of the house looking for his friend. I started bawling, and he stood looking at me, and then jumped into my car, something he'd never done uninvited before, and started frantically circling inside and looking, then jumped out, barked at me, jumped back in. It was very sad. Then he walked back in and quietly stared at me for most of the time I was there that day. It took several months for Cooper to stop looking for Kip every time I came over.
  5. I started in NADAC because that was the venue of choice at the first place I trained at with my first agility dog. Eventually, I tried other agility flavors, and most of my agility friends have dabbled in multiple flavors as well. Ultimately, for most people, including myself, it comes down to what venue suits you best, and, something I think needs to be emphasized more often, what venue suits your dog best. However, I have never tried, nor do I ever intend to try, ACK. Too bad, there's an ACK trial pretty much every weekend. I'm extremly lucky though. I live in an area ripe with all of the agility flavors - NADAC, CPE, USDAA, ASCA, some UKI and the aforementioned ACK. Go a few hours north and play AAC too. So much agility here, that this area is seeing a huge amount of cannibalization. I'm not complaining, but there are many clubs and trials that are suffering from the plethora of offerings. Presently I mainly compete in NADAC and CPE, dabble in UKI and play a bit in ASCA and USDAA, although my youngest dog has great potential in the latter, so might end up doing a bit more of that. I discovered CPE after playing in NADAC for a while and my first agilty dog loved it. The far more generous course times suited her and she enjoyed playing snooker and some of the other sorta crazy games. For her, the weirder and more convoluted the course the better. CPE also utilizes all of the various equipment, so it was nice to use some of the obstacle skills we'd trained (teeter!). I still enjoy CPE for the strategy games and the trial atmosphere here is just helluva fun. One of my fast, long strided border collies though can get easily frustrated at the typically shorter courses - sometimes consisting of 10 obstacles or less. It is, IMO, the most forgiving of all of the agility venues in terms of course times and Q rate. My first agility dog earned three C-ATCHs in the venue, and by no means was she the fastest. But we had a lot of fun and CPE is the venue that I feel emphasizes the feel good aspect of the sport. Here in the PNW, I see people really supporting each other at CPE trials. I still enjoy playing in NADAC. Yes, there are things I don't like, many already mentioned and don't even get me started on the barrel as an obstacle. What I do like immensely is how fun it can be to run with a fast dog and how flowing the courses can be. For me personally, there is no thrill like the thrill of running a course super fast and clean. Two of my dogs regularly run tunnelers courses in under 18 seconds. For me and my dogs, this is also the venue where it's usually either a perfect run or a crash and burn hot mess. No in between with fast dogs. I like the challenges it offers in terms of discrimations on course and I enjoy the distance challenges - however, I also train for both. I think it can be a frustrating venue if you don't train for it. I also very much like the aspect of being allowed to train in the ring. NADAC course times are fast once you get to the elite level. The venue doesn't call refusals, but it's rare to make time with any kind of bobble on a course other than standard. And there is simply nothing else comparable to NADAC's chances courses, which is often not only a distance challenge, but also an obstacle discrimation challenge. I generally enjoy the atmosphere, but I also learned long ago to separate myself from the constant critics and the debbie downers. I usually hang out with people that are positive - about their own runs as well as of others. I will say though that this is the only venue where I do play some friendly competition games with friends. Not too many of us jump 20 inch dogs here in NADAC and those of us that do like to rib each other for who's dog got first place, second place or who got E'd (ha ha) I like USDAA courses too and train quite a bit on USDAA style courses. I'm just not super crazy about the atmosphere here at many USDAA trials, but that's my opinion. Bottom line, no matter what the venue is, whether it's a trial or a fun run, I'm out there having fun with my dog usually, no matter how the course is numbered.
  6. IMO - that video shows a nice speedy dog and very good handler. Having run a very accurate, but rather slow dog, and faster dogs where we either crash and burn or come at as the top dog in the class, I'd much rather run the latter. I learned the hard way to encourage the speed and worry about the accuracy later. In my experience, being too concerned about being "right" on course shut the dog down.
  7. I have one of those too! 3/4 Border Collie, 1/4 Australian Cattle Dog. Pretty much the Best Dog Ever. Although he and his siblings were very much an accident, the entire litter turned out to be fantastic dogs. I did not know anything about ACDs maturing more quickly, but Youke was very much an old soul from a young age. He's the only dog I raised as a puppy - normally I prefer to take in the troubled and naughty teenagers - but he turned out so well that I've pretty much convinced myself I'll never raise another puppy again, for fear it won't turn out as well. In terms of maturity, my youngest, a now four-year old Border Collie bitch, only seemed to become sort of grown up after she met the three-year mark. Ditto with my almost six-year old male. As for this mix, google Jumpy and watch some of his tricks. My "Alphabet Dog" (BC/ACD) Youke with the rest of the tribe. The picture is from this summer.
  8. I rarely post to the forum and you didn't say how old your daughter is, but Holly is a fantastic dog. I've met her in person and am really impressed by her appropriate friendliness with both people and other dogs. She's being fostered by an excellent person too that can give you an idea of her potential career as a performance dog. She young and she's a blank slate. Plus she's very adorable. Raising a dog from a puppy is great and all that, but it's a lot of work and no guarantee of the ultimate adult personality. Of my present four dogs, three have been acquired through rescue as adolescents or young adults (a year or older) and all were blank slates from a training perspective. The cool thing about acquiring a dog at that age is that you have a personality to work with and you can start in on performance training pretty much right away if you so desire. My youngest, who I acquired through PNW rescue at the age of 18 months, is a joy to train and work with. Because I'm in no hurry to compete with her (already compete with my others), started agility foundation training about six months after I got her. Holly's foster mom acquired her very excellent dog also from rescue as a young adult (That'll Do Border Collie Rescue) and I think many people in these parts will agree that they are a formidable team in agility.
  9. Another vote for the Easy Walk harness or any other front hook harness. Or try a Freedom harness (a bit more complex). Given the back story and progress made to date, I also wouldn't be too adamant about "heel" position. One of my dogs pulls like a freight train on her regular collar (me- bad trainer, not consistent), but on her harness always walks slightly ahead or behind on a very relaxed loose leash.
  10. Very long time lurker and before I go back to lurking I must reply to this: Quote: "The first one is what I call the one-in-a-million agility Border Collie that comes just once in a rare blue moon. This is the agility line that absolutely must be preserved. [/b] Brilliant thinking of the dog, how it cuts the corners and retrieves on the space. Extremely few agility Border Collies have that quick, that blazing, that tight...." I don't know what part of the country you're in, but from the numerous posts, appears you're familiar only with ACK-style agility and a limited pool of border collies and/or dogs in general. Maybe you don't see a lot of border collies? Or see primarily sporter or barbie collies? Maybe I'm just lucky, but I live in a part of the country where I regularly see brilliant handling and brilliant dogs. Many of those brilliant dogs are border collies, many are border collie mixes and quite a few are other breeds, and, yes, plain old mutts. I'll add I've never been to an ACK agility trial. Again, maybe I'm just plain lucky, but I regularly see the tight turns, blazing speed and all the other poetic things of which you speak. A good many of the border collies I see competing the numerous weekends a year I attend trials are "rescue" dogs likely from ranches out here and well-bred dogs from working lines. I also see sporter collies and barbie collies. Gotten very good at seeing the differences - although I'll add it's often a certain type of handler that will choose one over another. Agility involves some athletic talent, true. But handling and training are what make all the difference. You can have the most athletic border collie in the world, but how you handle and how you train, like with any sport, are key. Quote: "....The border collie in a sense is skimming right up to those hurdles, every dive and lean......just like a working border drives down when it has to chase down sheep that are going at full blast....." These constant comparisons between agility and stockwork are driving me batty. The sporting activity I love to do with my dogs is agility. I've taken one of my dogs to sheep because I wanted to see and feel for myself as he comes from working lines. Forgive me, I'm about to shout. THERE IS NO COMPARISON. My dog is a different creature on sheep and his innate talent gave me chills when he turned on halfway through that first lesson. Followed with some more lessons and my little dog apparently has the basics to be a potentially fierce little stockdog. Unfortunately, time and funds are limited, so we're sticking with what I like to do (plus that leads to having to get major acreage, sheep, cattle, horses, etc. and I haven't hit the lottery yet. Plus then wouldn't I have to find the cowboy to go along with all this? ) As said time and time and time and time and time again ... the border collie from working lines is the whole package. Breeding border collies for agility leads to a different dog altogether. Methinks one should broaden their world. As suggested, read "Border Wars." Go attend a stockdog trial. Talk to some people that work their dogs and step away for a bit from this hyper competitive ACK agility world within which you seem indoctrinated. Here's an idea too - attend a different agility venue. Try a different flavor. Let's see, there's USDAA, NADAC, CPE, UKI and just for fun - check out Teacup. My two cents, take it for what it's worth. Gotta do something poetic with my dogs now.
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