Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A New Partnership

After a very tense week due to the problems we're having at the moment and worries about Rup's sporting future, we went to Ashfordby for the BAA Mid summer Madness Show.
Rup had had his first session of Galen massage and I feel he is looser. However he had also had the first 2 steroid injections which the vet feels accounts for his looseness. I'm not sure which is benefiting Rup - all I can say is he is quite hyped up with the steroids and I do slightly regret doing the injections at this time of year. He has one more tomorrow and the last the day we leave for the UKA Nationals next week.
The weekend kicked off with the Disney fancy dress and Jordan and Rup came 2nd as Will Tuner and Capt Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Magic was due to join in but was sacked due to trying to chew up Rup's cutlass and pistol. Then we got forked lighting just as we were about to do 2 handlers, one dog and the rings closed for 40 mins.
I decided to work extra hard at getting Jordan running with Magic. J played frisbee with Magic and suddenly Magic decided he was OK running with Jordan and didn't need to keep running back to see Mummy providing she stands on the start line. Magic is much better runnnig with Jordan as he has quite a long fast stride and Jordan runs faster than I do and strides alongside him better. BAA is all heights and I was pleased that they clocked up 4 clear rounds just outside the placings with times of 18 secs. I do think Magic and Jordan will be up in the first 3 next year as Magic is still not working away, lacks confidence, weave entry needs polishing and he isn't yet at full speed. Jordan and Magic are still developing thier communicating and it's interesting as J is using directional claps to run Magic. As you can see from the photos he is economical on his turns. It should be easy for them to loose seconds. They also came 6th in the advanced juniors.
Rup was defiantely slower than normal due to the impact of the steroids on his behaviour. But was clear most of the time and got in the placings.
Well, I'm dogless again but hopfully the next cocker will be my dog. I will run Magic when he starts Agility classes at shows. We've taken him off agility due to needing to polish the run contact. Personally I'm happy to follow Toni Dawkins' advice and keep him out of agility classes until grade 4 when he is confident about his speed and working remotely and the contacts are embedded. I may however run him NFC at UKA in agility classes to trian the contact. However this decision means he will be beginners at UKA for quite a while which is a shame as he already has enough points to go through to novice on the jumping. He is novice in the steeplechase.
I spent a lot of the weekend in thought over what we should do re retiring Rupert in the next 2-3 years/ reducing his agility. I had toyed with looking for a medium collie but I have to remember that Jordan's father was over 6 foot and that Jordan is now 9 and in the next 2 years will start growing and we need a dog that he can grow into long term both physically and as a handler, even if I handle it for the first year or so. He is honestly going to need a large dog to develop further. I also feel he needs a large fast dog as the advanced juniors is always won and placed by the kids running grade 5/6 collies. I'm in love with working beardies/collie beardie crosses and I'm looking at some collie/beardie/lurcher pups this week. But J wants a collie. I've also started to look at collies that would be right for J - fast, trainable, high drive but without the collie traits that would not suit a household of cockers and children. I found several this weekend and 2 were from Canen Roy lines! I plan to watch dogs very carefully over the next few months to identify lines.
I'm now not sure what our summer will be. We are going to the UKA Nationals next week. I'm very unsure as to whether to go to the YKC Chippenham show as I'm not sure if Rup is able/should to jump the full KC height and Magic is not 100 per cent with A frame contacts and I'd only let J run him in that if the dog walk entry was straight. Rup and J were also in the YKC at the KC International and the International Young Handler. Oh dear!!! We'll just have to see how the UKA nationals go and try Rup over the large height in the practice ring.
No agility this weekend but we are trying out for a new flyball team that we can run Magic in from September.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Rupert Has Hip Dyspasia

Oh!!!! It all started back in January when gung ho Rupert tried to fly a dog walk and came off. A few weeks later he started dropping poles and I noticed he was 3 seconds slower. He was also holding up his right leg. I took him to the vet, who was not our usual vet and she simply gave me a lecture of how wrong I was to BARF but she OK take him to a chiro if you want him to do better at agility. Our chiro is great and expereinced with agility dogs. She confirmed he had a compressed verterbrae and he responded well to her treatment. He stopped dropping poles and his times are almost back to where they were. However he still has a great deal of stiffness in his lower back.

At Paws in the Park his Dash n Splash jumps weren't his massive 19 to 20 foot jumps. We are due to see the chiro agian in July but I contacted Sara, who is offering Galen massge to injured agility dogs to do case studies. I feel this will really help Rup with the muscle stiffness. However I needed a vet's consent form so back I went to the vet. Kate, one of the Dash n Splash trainers also feels Rup isn't right and she wondered if it was spondolitis. It was my usual vet and a new permanent vet so they took me a lot more seriously and decided to X ray Rup. The good news is that his spine and discs are OK. They are concerned about the muscle stiffness. BUT he has bilateral hip dysplasia. It is mild at the moment and probably would not have been picked up if all this hadn't happened. The vet feels he must do agility and continue with his active lifestyle. I said I'd retire him from flyball but she says not to. Thankfully I have historically fed him evening primrose oil, glucosamine and chonoroitin, grizzly salmon oil/cod liver since he started agility, so he should have good synovial fluid. The vet has also given his a course of 4 injections that have to be repeated annually.

Jordan is gutted. Rupert is only 4 and we now cannot predict how long his agility career will be. What we do know is that he will only do it as long as he enjoys it and is comfortable doing it. His partnership with Magic is still in the early stages and Magic is a bit of a mummy's boy. And to be honest Magic's heart is in flyball and Dash n Splash/Dock Dogs . I think all we can do is monitor Rupert. When we find a new flyball team he can do starters where he is a nice consistant banker dog. He's not knocking poles and is still doing his cannonball agility runs so he must be enjoying them. And as long as he gets to jump into water it doesn't matter if he does 16 or 20 foot. I hope retirement and the painful arthristis stage is a long way off for Rupert.

We are now seriously looking for new dog(s) to replace Rupert in the longer term.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Cockers Unleashed

It was Dogs Unleashed at Newark this weekend. After one of the worst weeks of my life (thanks for your support) - we left on Thursday to help set up the Clever Dogs. It was a complete nightmare. The area allocated was too small for the Clever Dogs, 50 weave challenge and splash pool plus our camping. Given this was marked out by roads there was no flexibility. The ground was virtually concrete. To further add to our problems while we were trying to crack the logistics and set up on Friday, there was a steam roller driving assessment round the showground with rollers going up and down all day doing our heads in.

Our stress levels were high on Saturday when the show started! Not good if you are running cockers. To top it were were camped by the flyball and Magic completely devastated my mattresses trying to get out of the van to join in. His father, Drake, was racing with the Demons Dogs and I had wanted to watch. Due to running Clever Dogs I only caught a glimpse. But I heard Drake won the gun dog scrurry. Shame we didn't get to do it due to Clever Dogs.

Back to agility...Magic jumped well on the Saturday and got 2 clear rounds, just outside the placings. Rup had lost the script and was all out to be E'd but broke his
es to take a 10th in the primary jumping.

Sunday was a bridge too far. We were parked under the all night spot lights and after another sleepless night, we'd all lost the script. Rup continued to collect Es and only broke his record to get a 3rd in the advanced juniors but that was only due to Jordan's firm handling as he was totally headless!!! Magic then put his paw done and decided cockers just want to have fun so ....he... got addicted to terrier racing and managed to catch and eat the rabbit thing twice. At £1 for one go this meant he couldn't go again. £5 of Jordan's pocket money later and teh concern that tehy were out of rabbit skin, they agreed to pull it faster and he qualified for the final with 4.13. He then refused to do agility and became very distractable. During the advanced juniors he just raced round the ring doing a few jumps and running out of the ring to tell mummy it was fun time. He then jumped the barrier fencing and raced off across the showground and into the splash pool leaving the judge standing in the ring with Jordan. Thankfully Rup had completed his round, BUT he was tied up by the ring. He too bolted, with the ring stake, after Magic and the 2 cockers were found in the splash pool. They were marched back soaking to the juniors to apologise to Jordan and the judge. Well Magic got a lovely well done rosette for entertaining everybody with his antics and Rup got an undeserved trophy for being third.

Unfortunately Magic had once again lost his brain during that escapade. He spent circular jumping eating weeds and jumped the barrier fencing to gatecrash a picnic. As I was working on the Clever dogs most of the day, Sue K took him and J for the finals of the terrier racing. His antics had tired him out and he only managed 4.36 and was 4th. Not bad racing against sight hounds. Sad as there were no terriers in the finals.

We're taking a break from agility this week as Rup is having Galen massage for his back. I saw an ad on Agility Net for an injured agility dog in our area to be a case study. I hope that this will benefit Rup and help us to get a pre jumping massage routine going. He's still not 100 per cent right and it's quite worrying. He's not knocking poles and his timings are now back to what they were but he is stiff. The chiro has signed him off. I think I may get his back X-rayed in case it's spondolitis.

PS If anybody finds Magic's brain on the Newark showground please return it as he still seems to be without it as he spent his agility class with Jordan this am digging up a rat hole.