Video, Seminar, Stress, Guilt – (i.e. Good Times!!!!)

Here is the video from Phin’s trial last weekend. Got all his runs and I am really proud of how he looks overall. Some blatantly crappy handling on my part, but he is pretty forgiving and doesn’t seem too bothered by it, thankfully (though, more commentary on that later). I have decided to keep him in Open STD for a while, even if we Q out of it, until he gets a few clean runs, not just Qs. We have yet to qualify with a perfect run, so that will be my goal and indicator that he’s ready to move up to Excellent. Right now, so not ready!

We survived another seminar, another tough one. We were one of the minority in a seminar filled with mostly-experienced dogs all heading to USDAA Nationals. I was more-or-less the least experienced handler there and had the youngest and least experienced dog. (I seem to somehow keep sneaking into these seminars where I am WAY in over my head….) We got our asses handed to us, at least Phin physically and me mentally. Much of it was fun (blinds, backsides and Ketchkers {sp?}, oh my!), but a lot of it was grueling and I feel like I really wasn’t up to speed in where I should be handling-wise. Again, Rachel was incredibly complimentary of Phin, but she also said at one point if I don’t fix things I am going to ruin my dog. Great. Not that I don’t believe her, but not exactly what I was hoping to hear. I wasn’t the only one she was tough on, but it was still pretty ego-bruising. I couldn’t sleep the other night, hashing and re-hashing what I had done wrong over and over… However, time heals all wounds and I did get some good key points out of it. Main highlights include; eye contact eye contact eye contact, and focusing on teaching him and rewarding him for reading my motion properly and not allowing him to just “guess”. Obvious, yes, but sometimes you need to hear the obvious.

After this Thursday’s class, we all will be taking a mini-vacation from agility. My instructors will all be out of town for Nationals and other events, so Phin particularly will have a nice extended week of Not Agility. I may do some Motivation and Engagement class games with him (I have yet to write about that fantastic class we are taking as of yet), run him through some wide open channel weaves (retraining for better speed), and/or play some body awareness games but that’s all I will be allowing myself to do. No equipment. Period. We both need a mental break and he needs some physical rest.

On a completely different note, Diego has been having issues. He’s been having some “elimination trauma” over the past few months that went from occasional to fairly frequent, and I was blaming it on the raw. Took him off of it—went to cooked chicken and rice—and it still continued. I have been trying to get into a highly recommended local holistic vet, but that’s like getting in to Fort Knox apparently. Last night he was having some serious issues and I thought he was having an anal/rectal prolapse. Fortunately it receded back in but it freaked me out enough that I caved and called my old vet down here in SD. A human was there to actually answer the phone last night at 9pm (shocker #1), and got us in first thing this AM (shocker #2).

We went in and I braced myself to argue with them about his diet, not being up to date on vaccines, etc. Instead, the vet tech complimented me on his weight, and the vet was just lovely. She was fair and thorough and berated me about nothing. When I mentioned I wanted copies of everything to take to the holistic vet I was trying to see, she asked who and said that the one I chose was who she would have recommended (shocker #3). She did an exam and Xrays and found a growth in his rectum. She wants us to go in soon for surgery, so we have a consult tomorrow AM at fancy pants surgery/specialty practice tomorrow. My faith in traditional veterinary medicine is temporarily restored in part, we’ll see how we fare through the rest of the week. Mentally, physically, financially… Ouch.

Poor D. I am glad though to know what it is and feel a little less guilty—I was sure that I was killing him with the raw food. While that may not have made things anything easier, now at least I doubt it created the issue in the first place. Phew.

Wish us luck this week.

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