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Posts posted by Lawgirl

  1. I think with all dog sports, it is easy to get very caught up in them.  I can only speak about agility, which is what I do, and I am in Australia, which means I will have a different perspective.  But I will give my perspective.

    Agility has many different handling systems, theories on how to approach it etc as you can shake a stick at.  My advice is to relax, work on building a good relationship with your dog, make everything as fun as you can and enjoy the ride.  Your first dog will always be special, but will always be the one where you learn the most, and probably make the most mistakes.

    If you are a super competitive personality, you will want to go to a top trainer, practice regularly, make or buy your own equipment, immerse yourself in the culture and theory, compete as soon as you are ready, and then enter everything you can, travelling to every competition you can and advance through the levels to elite competition.

    Or my preference, especially as a first timer, is to take your time, maybe help out at some agility (or other dog sport) trials first to get a feel for what they are about, how they run, what is involved, how different people work.  Talk to people you like watching work their dogs about where they train, or what system they use etc.  Do some basic foundation work (lots of videos online) to build up core strength, build a connection, etc.  Decide which system you like and either go to a local trainer or do courses online.  Stay positive and make things fun for your dog.  Have a go, laugh at your mistakes and keep trying.

    In Australia, we have a saying "I'm not playing for sheep stations here".  The meaning being that I am not competing for some incredibly valuable trophy or prize, I am doing this for fun (or exercise, or friendship etc).  That is my attitude with agility.  My boy loves, and I mean LOVES, going over jumps.  He is never happier. It is not my idea of a good time to run like a mad thing around a field for 30 seconds.  I do it because he loves it.  When it stops being fun for him, it stops being fun for me.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to be an elite level competitor in agility or any other dog sport.  If that is what you want to be, go for it, I will be cheering and admiring from the sidelines.  But it is perfectly acceptable to just want to have fun, to keep trying and learning and improving.  Not everyone has the time, money and dedication (or aptitude) to be an elite level athlete in dog sports.  We can all have fun and try to do our best.

  2. I guess the question for me is whether removing the implant is going to relieve the immediate pain only to cause other pain.  I am sure the original surgery was a well considered choice because the alternative was a negative outcome.  Does removing the implant mean Kenzi goes back to the negative outcome? Does the removal also mean ongoing pain or loss of function?  Would that be worse or better than the current situation?  Are you balancing function versus pain?

    I don't know enough about your situation to know what the answer is, and it is a horrible dilemma to be in.  I am not generally in favour of long term pain relief, partly because of side effects and toxicity, but also because, at least in humans, it can actually make pain worse over time.  I have no idea if it is the same in dogs.  

    Sorry I can't be more help.  I have no answers; I have never been in your position and I suspect it comes down to a very personal decision in your particular circumstances with no absolute right or wrong answer, only what is right for you and Kenzi.

  3. I have a dog who is not a fan of being brushed, mainly because he has quite wiry fur on his hindquarters and bloomers.  I tried one of those mitts and had no real success;  he didn't hate it, but it did bupkiss when it came to getting undercoat out. It might be a good massage?

    I have found that I have to get him really relaxed with a good scratching and petting, then sneak out an undercoat rake which I had hidden away, and brush him quite gently, interspersed with pats and constant reassurance.  Even then I can really only do a section at a time.  The best I have found is a narrow but long toothed, double row undercoat rake designed for long coat and wiry coated breeds.  He seems to tolerate that brush the best out of all I have found so far.  I guess it pulls his fur the least.  But that is more due to his coat type than a blanket fear of being brushed like your dog.

    I do like the look of the brush you have bought.  If I was going to go for a brush for a dog that was afraid of them, that looks like a good one. 


  4. Lots of games you can play with puppies.  Trick training is perfect.  Aside from the basic sit, down, shake, you can start doing things like bow (by capturing when she does the move naturally while stretching), touch with nose, touch with paw, roll over, turn around and the ever cute gimme a kiss...

    I think there is something like "100 things to do with a box" which is full of ideas, or look at trick training videos.


  5. So what you need to do is desensitisation.  Depending on how bad she is, you start by putting the brush down somewhere and rewarding her for looking at it.  Then, when she is comfortable looking at it, you no longer reward for looking at it, but you reward her for moving towards it.  Then you reward her for getting closer.  Then for touching it.  Then you start over with you holding it still.    Then with you touching her with it.  Then, finally, you can think about starting to brush, very gently.  This is going to take time and lots of treats.

    There was a video on a sudden fear of a kitchen thread recently which shows the sort of process you go through to over come fear in a dog.  Same theory, different fear.  Small steps, lots of positive reinforcement. 

  6. Also in people, foods that you eat when your body is under stress, you can develop an intolerance for.  My partner once ordered a burger when he was sick, and when he bit into it, the bacon was raw.  He threw up everywhere.  Now he cannot tolerate any pork product, but this has developed over time.  When we first began our relationship over ten years ago, he could still eat pepperoni and salami, but now he cannot even tolerate those.  My mum cannot tolerate apricot chicken, because she ate it once when she had bad morning sickness.  These are obviously not allergies, but intolerances.

    If a BC can develop an fear reaction from one bad external experience, is it outlandish to posit an intolerance from an internal experience?

  7. If it is possible, I would be looking at going to another vet clinic to get a second opinion.  Fecal testing would be high on my list as well.  Then think about an elimination diet if the fecal testing came back with nothing, following veterinary advice. 

    I have also heard anecdotally about chicken being a big issue for protein allergies. I am in Australia, so I would probably go with kangaroo as the protein to reintroduce to him.  I understand it is a lot harder to get in America. There are obviously other options, including fish, lamb, duck, beef, venison etc.  In Australia, we even have an option of crocodile! 

    With food allergies, it comes down to either making food yourself, or becoming very skilled and diligent at reading ingredient labels, and reading them every time, because ingredients can change without notice. 

    The only other thing I will say, is that I have a dog with a sensitive stomach, and I find that giving him a tablespoon or two of natural yoghurt does help when he has runny poop.  This WILL NOT WORK FOR EVERY DOG.  A fairly large proportion of dogs are lactose intolerant, and if your dog is in this category yoghurt will not help.  If your dog can tolerate lactose, some natural yoghurt (and I mean unflavoured, unsweetened, natural yoghurt - the one I buy is just bio-dynamic milk and the yoghurt culture, with no extra milk solids, thickeners etc - it is better quality than what I eat) may help.


  8. One thing which several of my BCs do, and which I find in equal parts annoying and endearing, is if they think I am paying too much attention to my phone , and not enough to petting them, they will put their paw on my phone and push it down, not hard enough to knock it out of my hand, but enough to say, "Stop looking at that thing, I am here, love me!"

  9. The embedded video worked for me first try this time.  That is a nice course.  I am not sure which one my Oscar would go for.  He does not normally have "tunnel suck" but "a-frame suck" or "scramble suck" (not sure what you call it).  I think it is because I taught him his contacts on it, and he got LOTS of treats when I was training them so he loves that obstacle and chooses it preferentially every time.  The dog walk is less of an attraction for him.

    I think my second competition with Oscar one judge placed two tunnels with entries next to each other in novice, both curving in the same direction, and that was very difficult.  I think nearly everyone DQ'd.

  10. D'Elle, I have not been in your position exactly,  but I do not know if I would be able to bear not having at least one BC. 

    All I can say is to keep your heart and eyes open.  That was how our third BC came to us - as a give away puppy on an on-line classifieds website.

    Another dog we re-homed was on the website for weeks because his advertisement was misspelled "boarder collie".  We searched for collie instead of border collie by mistake one day and he came up.

    It may sound very woo-woo, but I do believe that dogs and people are destined to meet each other.  Your dog will come to you.

  11. Congratulations! Kiran is really developing.

    I find it interesting that you have a tunnel under an obstacle in novice.  Here in Australia, they usually say that that is too difficult for a novice dog, and they don't do it until excellent level courses.  I don't think I have had a competition course with a tunnel under an obstacle.

  12. Once I started reading, I could not stop.

    I am so terribly sorry for your loss, but also happy that you had 11 wonderful years with such a very special dog.  The two of you were clearly meant to be.  I hope in time the great memories of your time together help the pain.

  13. I am very fortunate to live in a country where rabies is essentially unknown, so no rabies vaccination (yay Australia for once! - we make up for it with snakes and spiders).  We do have parvo in my area, so vaccinations are necessary for that.

    I am also fortunate to live in a country where Lyme disease does not exist (although some people beg to differ, it is not officially recognised).  We do however, have paralysis ticks, which can be and are frequently and rapidly fatal. https://www.ava.com.au/sites/default/files/Envenomation_Tick Paralysis_MCannon.pdf  

    One of my brother's dogs died from a paralysis tick.

    Again, I am fortunate not to live in an area where these ticks are endemic, but I would do anything, literally anything, necessary to protect my dog from a bite from one of these ticks. 

  14. For my dog training treats, I used to use cheap block cheese, chopped into itty bitty pieces and either deli chicken loaf (pressed chicken loaf - not sure what you call it) or fritz/devon - kinda like baloney, also chopped into itty bitty pieces and stored in a zip lock bag.  That way they did not know exactly which yummy treat was going to come out next.  It got to the point where just rustling the zip lock bag got my dogs attention.  I have a friend whose dog goes nuts for black pudding.

    For the absolute best treat ever though, where sustained attention was required, I used homemade anzac biscuits.  Full of sugar and not really good for them, but my god were they crack cocaine for dogs.  Google for a million recipes but basically they are oatmeal, golden syrup, coconut biscuits which originated in WWI because they could be shipped to the front and not go mouldy.  I made mine chewy, and held them so just a little could be accessed at a time, and my dogs went nuts for them.  The dogs could be the other end of the house, all fast asleep, open the biscuit container, turn around to four drooling dogs.

  15. I have four BCs, and the youngest one has been diagnosed with bilateral HD.  He came to us when he was around 11 months old.  Both the ball and cup of the joint is badly deformed on both sides.  He gets sardines with every meal, and was placed on a regimen of injections (cartrophen) to supplement synovial fluid around his joints which made an immediate and amazing improvement.  We aim to control his weight but otherwise allow him to be a dog with his fellow dogs.  He still runs around with the other dogs (which is only 4 or 5 times a week) but at his own pace, and he stops when he wants to.

    Bilateral hip replacement is the only other option, but we are not convinced it is the best option for him.  We are managing his condition conservatively (as if he had arthritis) and he has a good quality of life.  As he gets older, we can and will be more aggressive with supplements such as golden paste/fish oil etc and increased frequency of injections but he is doing well as is for now.

    I hope things go well for you with your dog.

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