30 October 2009

Busy and tired

Went to an AKC trial last weekend, our last trial before departing for Arizona for USDAA Nationals (aka World Cynosport Games, whatever). I had Drifter and Seri both at 26", and Kiba at 20". Kiba has been looking pretty sound since last Tuesday so even though I kept her quiet the rest of the week except for leash walking, I decided to go ahead and try running her. She ran fine, except she hit a bar or two in every run. Probably just a result of not practicing all week. She was certainly running FAST and except for cocking her foot a little funny on the table Saturday, which may or may not have meant anything, she looked completely fine. She was running like hell was on her heels on Sunday. Really pushing. Drifter ran pretty well, didn't knock a single bar all weekend, even at 26" in funky 18-feet-but-looks-like-14-feet spacing. However we had a couple other dorky issues that I feel like were just goofy or I got sloppy. We were clean JWW Saturday morning, then in STandard he did his typical border collie vulture sit on the table, but the judge wouldn't count. His chest and elbows were at least 6" up from the table surface, and his ass was down, so I'm not sure what position that is, but every other judge who's judged us has called that a "sit" and just counted. So I was a little bewildered and so was he. He is sticky on the table as it is, and when I tried to shift him to get him to get up and sit down again he jumped off. So that was the end of our double Q. When he got back up he sat in what looked like exactly the same position and she counted... I think that frustrated him a bit because one obstacle later he flew off the see-saw so I carried him off (yes i carry my dogs off on occasion, especially for blatant disregard of "rules"). I wasn't all that mad though. Just can't have him thinking early see-saws are OK - he will take that inch of wiggle room and run a mile with it - meaning he won't even THINK about waiting next time. Seri was pretty good, she Q'ed in both STD and JWW on Saturday, really good for her on wet grass. She's only in Exc A so it's not a double Q but I was very pleased. The courses were nice but certainly got "gimme's".

This is Drifter's idea of "waiting" on the see-saw.

Sunday I left Drifter out in a loop on JWW and didn't support him enough and he came in around a jump. On reflection I think that I've worked so hard on shoulder turns and such all year that if I don't obviously support something like that at a distance, he assumes I don't want him to take it, so that's OK. I restarted him and finished the course and he again didnt' hit any bars. Standard had a very straight sequence in it that was table - chute - jump, but there was another jump to the left of the proper one after the chute. I didn't even think about it, straight line, didn't worry about pushing to it. But I wasn't thinking about how I have to stand and lean over his table, which means when he goes through the chute I get left behind, so he came out and went over the wrong jump. Seri went between the jumps, and Kiba did it because I can lead out from her table. My fault, I guess, although I still felt like they were crossing in over my line of motion which is a no-no in my system. Then again, better to have them come in after a chute than run off and not pay attention.

Monday I did some bounce work on jumps, and when I went to cool Drifter off, he pulled up lame. On his left rear, which is NOT the side the iliopsoas injury of old occurred on. I let him rest a bit, worked the girls, and got him back up. Even worse. He was awful. He hunched his lower back, swung his back leg, just looked like a pathetic old dog. I immediately got a hold of Ria, our PT, and she said I could bring him out at night for an emergency visit. I was pretty damn sure he had not torn his ACL because I wasn't feeling any movement in his joint, and there wasn't much in the way of swelling either. Anyway I drove out to her place at 8:30 at night (my bedtime is 7pm), she worked him all over and he was a wreck. He must have tripped in a hole, landed funny off a jump, or maybe rolled a leg on a walnut or something, because he was truly a mess and he did NOT do anything obvious while I worked him. Here is what was wrong: Neck was tight, back was like a rock, pelvis was out on the left side (usually out on right if he's out at all), left knee "tweaked" but no serious damage, left shoulder a little tight. ouch! So all week I gave him aspirin 2x a day, Traumeel 2x a day, he's worn his Back on Track coat a lot, and I've iced his knee and then 2 hours later lasered it and lasered his back/neck. I went back out to see Ria on a regular appointment for all 3 dogs yesterday, and he is much improved. She called it 80-90% better than Monday. He is walking about 95% sound now. His back still looked tight yesterday but seems better today after being worked on again. His pelvis was still in. So he's off aspirin, no more ice. And today I took him for a 15-minute on-leash walking-only walk around the neighborhood. I figure the pavement is a good surface to avoid tripping or uneven footing.

I'm glad he's done no serious damage, but I'm a little frustrated that I can't do any jump work before I leave. Doing some bounce grids a few times a week really seems to build up his mental and physical fortitude for 26" jumps, and he knocks less bars. Hopefully the work we've done up to now will hold!

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