Wordless Wednesday: Magnus The. . . Killer?

"Whew! That is one tough girl!"

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Hodge Podge of a Post

There has been a lot of fun around here lately. So much fun I’m giving you the cliff notes version.

Sit stays for CDX (Twist is the Sheltie)

On Friday Magnus and I spent the day at an obedience trial. Of course he wasn’t entered, but it was excellent socialization for him and a great chance to learn self control and patience in his crate around lots of other dogs.

It was an especially exciting day since we got to see our friend Twist earn his CDX. Twist is one of my favorite 4legged friends, he has so much character.

Maizey was not left out of the fun since she spent the day with Chloe and Charley.

Last week Magnus got to have his first take your dog to work day where he learned all about riding in the big truck.

One thing that I was very happy about was how well he handled all the loud noises of the truck. I set his mat on the seat in between us and he just laid there and slept while we drove around. I am going to get him a seat belt harness for next time, since there is no way to take a crate.

In other Magnus news he starts Agility For Fun class on thursday night. I am excited, but also nervous-as usual.

Unfortunately we had a funeral to attend in Saturday so we missed Maizey’s Petite Pals class. Next week we’ll be back on schedule with that.

Maizey’s eyes are better, though I know until I have the $900.00 to do the allergy testing they will continue to have problems. She does have some relief with the meds she is on now, so that will have to be good enough for now.

Marie gave us a new crate that Maizey loves. It’s a soft sided travel crate, but it is super light and the best one I’ve had yet. Maizey  loves it so much that I’ve hardly been able to get her out of it since I set it up! Thanks Marie!

Charley and Chloe are staying with us this week, so Magnus is in heaven. He is in love with Chloe and they play so well together. I figure with all four of them to walk I ought to get in some good miles for the Challenge. If you have suggestions for managing a four dog household I would love to hear them!

Well this is a disjointed crazy post, but I wanted to at least update for myself. Don’t give up on our poor neglected blog, I have a big announcement coming with exciting news so you’ll have to keep coming around for that!

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Exciting Walking Challenge News

More exciting Walking Challenge business!

We have new 2011 Walking Challenge members! Carrie from All Things Dog Blog found us and joined our Challenge with her two 4legged friends, Tanner and Oliver. Carrie also invited all of her readers to join us and Elizabeth, Cocoa and Oreo also joined us. A huge welcome to them and thanks for sharing our excitement and joining our challenge!

We now have nine people and 22 4legged friends in our challenge! I have gotten to know you all, but I’m going to bite off more than I can probably chew and start a series to highlight each team of walkers in the challenge so we can all get to know each other.

If you want to be featured please email a picture of yourself and short bio of your 4legged friends. It doesn’t have to be anything too much, but names, ages, perhaps how your 4legged friends came into your life and a couple fun facts about how the walking challenge is going for you. It might be your favorite place to walk, or how you get motivated, you could even share what your biggest challenge is in the Walking Challenge. You could let us know what your favorite walk this year has been and why. I would also love to know some training tidbit you do on your walks, this is training blog after all!

As the emails come in I will do my best to post the stories as quick as I can and of course leave links to any of your blogs.

By doing this I hope we can build enthusiasm and support each other even more.

We really are accomplishing a great deal with this challenge. We are 83 days into the year. Some of us are behind, some are ahead and all together we have walked an impressive 396 miles! It’s not too late to get caught up and with warmer weather and longer daylight hours upon us I know we can all do it!

I know there are those of you out there with miles to report, so turn in those miles folks and lets get that total mileage over 400!

A Great Walk
Tonight was one of my favorite walks so far this year!

First Magnus and I walked to the park with Chloe, Charley and my mom. When we got to the park we met Indigo and his family. Indigo is a 4 month old Golden Retriever. He was not only a handsome and big boy but had wonderful manners. After the dogs met and got to know each other Indigo and Magnus got the zoomies.

These were serious puppy zoomies so I was super proud of my crazy boy when he could do a perfect recall, come in for a collar grab and take a break from the crazy fun. I was even more pleasantly surprised when Indigo’s mom said, “You use the same words we use at puppy class!”

I laughed and asked, “Do you train at Calling All Dogs?” They are in Puppy Prep right now and it seems they are doing great. Indigo did fabulous with his gotcha’s and it was thrilling to see someone working with their pup and applying what they learn.

After we got home I couldn’t leave my little girl home so we headed out for another two mile jaunt. She did great, with only one reaction and that at 5 dogs in two yards right next to each other. Even then we got a chance to c/t for reorienting to me and we were able to move on quickly.

These were my best walks this year and I am looking forward to many more!

So there’s my three miles for the day, how ’bout the rest of you? Lets get this walking challenge rockin’!

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Wordless Wednesday: Missing My Meeka

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One Year Blogisversary and a New Feature

Feb 26th was our one year blogisversary. I didn’t post about it, but it was on my mind. Then yesterday we had good friends from out of town visiting. I pulled up the blog and we went back through some of the highlights together and I realized again how much I enjoy blogging, how it’s like the best scrapbook I could make of the dogs’ progress. Some highs and some lows, but over all a record of a year long journey that I’m so glad to have.

Those of you who have been reading for the longest have seen the highs and lows, and I want to thank everyone for their words of encouragement over the last year. I hope to keep learning from you all for many years to come!

It’s been a slow blogging week since I have been using my little bits of computer time to set up a Facebook page.

I thought this would be a fun way to share shorter bits of training and more day to day living info with all the readers we so love hearing from.

You can follow the link here or in the sidebar to ‘like’ our new page.

Of course the blog will stay the same, but with spring coming, us spending more time outside, Maizey and Magnus both being in class, gardening to get done and walking challenges to get caught up on I’m finding it harder to post as much as I’d like. Hopefully the FB page will let me stay connected with everyone although with shorter bits of info.

The blog posts will be syndicated there also, so it’s a very easy way to not miss any posts. Please don’t forget to hop over here frequently though as I love all the comments and advice I get here.

Blogging has turned out to be a wonderful way for me to share the lessons I love so much, and I’ve discovered a wonderful way to learn from so many talented dog trainers around the world. I hope the FB page will be equally fun for us all to keep in touch and help each other keep learning all those 4legged lessons!

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What Kind of Trainer Are You?

Tomorrow is Maizey’s first Petite Pals class. I went to the people part of the class last week, but tomorrow is her first time. Then in two weeks Magnus gets to finish his Agility For Fun class.

With all these classes it really has me thinking about my training style. I’ve had the opportunity to observe several different trainers lately and each has a distinct style. Not all are straight positive trainers, though I don’t work with any who are harsh. Some use corrections, some don’t. Some are talkers, some let the clicker do the talking. One thing they all have in common: all find joy in their dogs.

So what about me? What kind of trainer do I want to be? I use a clicker. I’d say I use 85%, maybe even 90%, positive methods. I don’t believe in anything harsh, and prefer to be force free as much as is possible.

But what kind of trainer does that make me? What is it that I admire and want to imitate the most?

I came up with one word: Serene.

Serene: calm, unagitated. . . tranquil (without losing self-possession) “remained calm throughout the uproar”

Not a word most think of in dog training, but for me a lofty goal.

I talk to much to my dogs. I confess, I’m a chatterer. I especially find my self chattering at the dogs in a class environment, one that can, at times, feel like an “uproar.”

But have you ever seen a trainer that seems to empathically tell the dogs what they want them to do?

One that with very little spoken word and very good body language demonstrates what they want next?

One who uses a clicker to mark the behavior and shows their enthusiasm through quiet, loving commendation?

One that is in the zone with their dog, not even really aware of the hustle and bustle that can be around them?

One that’s “calm and unagitated” and as such teaches the dog to be the same?

That’s the kind of trainer I want to be. That’s the kind of trainer I want to go to class with Maizey tomorrow and help her be calm and unagitated. Serene. So that she can go to class “without losing self-possession” and remain “calm throughout the uproar.”

So that we can go together and be in the zone where we work so well. The zone where it doesn’t matter what big scary things there are in the world Right then it’s just me and her playing games and that’s all we need to be serene.

(Post Script: I don’t expect either of us to achieve complete serenity tomorrow, but wouldn’t it be cool if we did?)

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Turns Out Persistent Blepharitis IS Persistent and Itchy Eyes are Just No Fun

Even the word blepharitis is an unpleasant word and based on Maizey’s goopy, runny, itchy, red eyes I can tell the condition is even more unpleasant.

Ahhh. . . please scratch closer to my burning eyes!"

It’s been two and half months of eye drops, ointments, hot compresses and antibiotics and little progress has been made. Thus yesterday found us at not only the ophthalmologists, but also the dermatologists. This little girl dog has certainly suffered her fair share of ‘ologists in her life.

Both these doctors are very nice vets with a very high skill set and the price tag to go with it. It only cost me my left arm yesterday, but it turns out you can’t put a price on relief.

Which after a new ointment, a prescription for six days of steroids, an antihistamine, another round of antibiotic ointment and more hot compresses, Maizey is finally finding for her little eyes.

Corneal Dystrophy
I never really covered what started this journey and ironically enough it wasn’t the eye irritation. What started this journey was a small cloudy spot on the middle of each eyeball.

The small cloudy spots turned out to be the corneal dystrophy part of the Blepharitis, Corneal Dystrophy, Distichiasis story. Corneal dystrophy is a build up of minerals on the cornea. It’s a genetic weakness in Cav’s.

It doesn’t cause blindness, is slow to grow, usually covers a small area of the cornea and rarely causes any problems until the dog is older. Unless of course you’re Maizey and worse, cursed with being one of my animals. In which case your doomed for a life of bizarre and expensive ailments.

If you’re my Maizey then corneal dystrophy will appear suddenly, grow markedly in the first four weeks after diagnosis and require painful eye drops. Treatment of corneal dystrophy is on the back burner until the blepharitis settles down.

Blepharitis
What is persistent blepharitis? As far as I can tell it’s any number of symptoms that describes inflamation of the eye tissues. For Maizey it’s accompanied by a wicked bacterial infection and caused by allergies. It makes her eyes and eyelids swollen, inflamed, itchy and red, red, red. It’s not fun and it is persistent.

"Who could believe these eyes don't shine?"

Thankfully her allergies are limited to her eyes. I think I would be pulling my hair out if she also had skin or food allergies too.

The blepharitis is an ongoing process to treat and ultimately requires extensive allergy testing and months to years of allergy serum to possibly cure. Until then we will stick with antihistamines and a med called Paralube to help soothe the irritation.

Distichiasis
We did catch a break with the distichiasis. It’s a condition where the dog has extra eyelashes growing towards the eye ball. It can be terribly irritating and require surgery, but thankfully for Maizey hers are very soft and extremely unlikely to ever cause damage to the cornea so she caught a break on that one!

So thats the whole long, boring and slightly dramatic story. Looking at this post I think I could have just posted, “Maizey gets lots of goop for her eyes and they are much better.” Of course that would have been much more succinct, but I guess now you have all the details you could ever need and never wanted. Oh well, what do you expect when you visit? I wouldn’t want to disappoint you by being succinct!

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