Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Magnus’ Sticks

"Didn't my stick used to be bigger?"


Training Levels Question of the Day

Target, Level One Step 5: “The dog practices with more changes.”

Question: How am I going to use target in my everyday life?

  • Give “I must always be in every game my sissers’ playing” Magnus his own game to play and thus move him out of the way. (Also a zen issue we’re working on.)
  • Move both pups off the bed when I’m changing the sheets. (Contrary to their popular opinion I don’t view changing the sheets as a fun game.)
  • Get a pup on the scale at the vet.
  • Help Magnus learn he can hop from the front seat to the back of the car.
  • For picture posing. Getting a pup into position where I want them.
  • As a transfer method preferred over manipulating or luring the dogs where I want them.
  • When I want a pup HERE but he/she’s way over THERE.
  • As a “get your head in gear” game when they see something “scary.” (For Maizey dogs. For Magnus anything that “Holy shykies that wasn’t there yesterday!”)

How do you use Targeting in your life?


Magnus’ Mysterious Limp Is Not Coming From His Ear

Well the limp is still mysterious, although not so much now that we went to the vet today.

We saw a new vet, a surgeon who does more work with injuries, he was great. Thanks to those of you who recommended him, you didn’t steer me wrong.

First he narrowed the pain down as coming from Magnus elbow on his left leg. Then of course he scared me to death by listing two things that require surgery to fix. One thing that was structural. Then mentioning what we already knew, that it could “just” be a soft tissue injury.

Five x-rays and a couple hundred dollars later he gave me the news. It’s not surgical (Huge sighs of relief were heaved by me, Magnus was still out of it and loopy from being put under for the x-ray.) His shoulder does have some malformation in it, it’s not severe, but it could be causing the pain. If you look in the x-ray of the left elbow you can see the space around the ball of the joint is not all even. It’s looser on one side and tighter on the other. In the right shoulder the space is all even so it’s fine.

It’s good news, except that there’s very little to do for him if that is the cause of the pain. The treatment basically consists of an injection of fluid to cushion the joint. We won’t know if we’re doing that for two to three weeks because first he wants to rule out a soft tissue strain.

To rule out a soft tissue strain Magnus is on restricted activity. No walks over a mile or a half hour. No jumping, hopping, skipping, zooming, running, climbing, or wrestling. In other words, no being Magnus. For how long does he have to endure such torture? The first figure the vet threw out there was 14 days. I must have looked and sounded appalled when I said, “14 more days?!? His head will explode!” I was thinking, “And so will mine!” but managed not to whine that out loud. At that point he took pity on us and said, “Okay, how ’bout 10?” Of course I told him if Magnus needs 14 days we’ll give him 14 days, but UGH! It’s going to be a long two weeks.

After three weeks if he’s still not 100% then we’ll do a K-laser treatment and the injection. After today’s bite out of the old wallet I didn’t even ask what that would cost me. Here the sighs are not of relief, but in dread. So for his and my wallets sake let’s hope he gets feeling tip-top soon!

Now you may be wondering what his limp has to do with his ear. Nothing, it just made a funny title for the post, but his ear did cost me $100.00 dollars today. Well, having the fox tail removed cost that. Did I already say Ugh in this post? Let me follow it with an Arghh, then.

"Did you hear I can't do ANYTHING fun? It's so lame!!"

Fox tails are the true weed of the devil. This one had a story behind it. I’ve been doing nightly foxtail searches on both dogs, but Magnus in particular. He’s like a sticker magnet! Well, I saw two foxtails on his ear and quickly devoted them to destruction. Then I saw IT. The foxtail was already in his ear canal, just out of reach. I hollered for Mehusbandy to get the tweezers, but by the time he ran them to me, it was too late. The slippery bugger was gone! Turns out it was gone right to Magnus eardrum. Let’s see I used ugh and argh, I’ll just give this one a solid bleck!

So that was why Magnus ended up getting his first dose of anesthetic since he has been my boy-to remove a lousy foxtail! I’m just glad we got it soon enough, the dog the vet saw before Magnus had a foxtail removed that had already pierced it’s eardrum. I don’t even have an exclamation strong enough for that one!

Thus the first half of the day was spent diagnosing the still slightly mysterious limp and removing the weed of the devil. Magnus has spent the last half splayed out in exhaustion from his adventure and woozy from the drugs. I’m enjoying the quiet before the storm of crazy he will unleash on me when he finds out he can only walk a mile a day and for the next two weeks the world can not be his jungle gym. Poor boy!


It’s Not Just Monday Miles

Monday Miles roundup is here again. How’d the week go everyone?

Along with Monday Miles I don’t want anyone to forget there’s only four days until the Halfway Giveaway. The cutoff for entries is July 1, 2011!

I asked before that everyone who wants to be entered for the second drawing let me know if you are up to date on your miles. As a friendly reminder: I can’t enter you for that giveaway if I don’t know where you are for the year in your miles. So if you are current on your goal and want to be entered to win a fabulous snuggle and fun pack please let me know no later than Thursday June 30, 2011. If you need to remember what the rules are the reminder is here.

If you’re current on your goal and want to be entered to win a fabulous snuggle and fun pack please let me know no later than Thursday June 30, 2011.

I’m logging in with five miles for last week. It doesn’t seem like much, but it brings us to 135 miles for the year! Magnus’ mysterious limp really put a crimp in our walks.

Magnus is my walking buddy. He’s such an easy walker. Not being able to walk him last week really showed me a few things. One was I don’t walk Maizey near as much as I should. It also showed me how much he needs his walks, he has been a crazy boy this week.

Another thing it reminded me was that I would love to be able to walk them together. Maizey makes walking into work. With a fearful dog you must always be on high alert. What dogs are coming up in yards? How close to the road are they? There’s a dog walking towards us, how can we get enough distance to prevent a reaction? I hate to say it, but it’s so much more work to walk my scaredy girl.

But choosing not to walk her is sheer laziness on my part, especially last week when Magnus couldn’t walk.

They are polar opposites when it comes to their reaction to dogs. He wants to go and visit, she needs distance and no interaction. On his own with me Magnus has great attention around other dogs. We’ve worked hard to make another dog just another dog. His attention goes out the window when Maizey reacts. It’s as if he knows my focus is on helping her, so he may as well go make a new friend. Picture me in the middle, one bundle of fearful Cavalier who needs to stay away from a stranger dog, one bundle of friendly Cavalier determined play with the same stranger dog. Can you hear me sighing?

Picture me in the middle, one bundle of fearful Cavalier who needs to stay away from a stranger dog, one bundle of friendly Cavalier determined play with the same stranger dog.

It’s a problem I have no answer too, but it’s time to find one. Until I do I need to step up and get back to walking them both separate. That means two walks a day. Wow! I better get out the whip to crack on myself, cause that will take real discipline.

So there’s my newest challenge in this year long journey of a Walking Challenge, how ’bout all of you? What did you face this week? Anything news for me? Let’s hear those miles folks!


Zen Traps and Defaults

Level 2 Step 5: Zen traps and defaults.

Before I get to the deep stuff, a small brag. We’ve been testing through L1 Zen and tonight I was able to pour the entire 15 pounds of dog food into the dog food bucket without the dogs diving head first into the bucket. I suppose that’s a zen trap of sorts since normally I wouldn’t have dared such a feat, but they’ve been doing so well I thought I’d try to “trap” them. They passed!

No, my dogs are not on L2 step 5 yet, and since we’re following Sue’s advice to start over from the beginning we probably won’t be there anytime soon, but I had to jump ahead and read about what a Zen trap is. I’m glad I did because it allowed me to set the dogs up for their success tonight.

You have no idea what complicated ideas I came up with when I first read about Zen traps and defaults. Turns out a Zen trap is exactly what it sounds like. Which perfectly illustrates one of the things I love about the Levels-the simplicity. Sue does start out the step warning you, “Here’s where it’s going to get complicated. I’m going to ask you to think.”

Well, compared to the convoluted ideas I came up with her explanation was plain as day!

Step 5 begins by having you think of the area’s “of your life with your dog that’s crying out for hand Zen or floor Zen.” Then Sue urges us to have some forethought, to even write out the problem and a plan for explaining it to our pup. L2 Step 5 starts transferring Zen from a treat to real life situations.

For example, Magnus needs a serious dose of kitchen table zen. (For fun check out the fun conversation on our FB page about “You know you’re a dog person when. . .” one of mine was about Magnus and his desperate need for kitchen table zen.) Since dogs on the kitchen table isn’t exactly covered in a specific step in the levels and I really don’t want dogs on the kitchen table my whole life L2 Step 5 fits perfectly.

Sue says, “Get yourself (italics mine) ready to respond correctly then enter the room with the Zen trap in it. Work the pre-placed trap as you would any other bit of food on the floor.”

The kitchen table Zen trap looks like this, I leave a chair out so he would normally want get up on it to get on the table. Of course since we are starting a new Zen behavior I make things easier and leave off the cue.

After bringing him into the room I can picture two options. In option one he’s off leash and I sit down on a different chair with my clicker and treats and ‘read’ my new Levels book. I then have the opportunity to reward any choice he makes not to get on the chair with a very high value treat.

In option two if we get to this point and I feel like his leave it is solid enough for him to understand the cue I think I could cue “leave it” at the chair if he leaves it click-treat! If not I know I need to go back to the beginning and make it easier for him.

Hmm. . . interesting plan. I’m glad I have several steps until we’re ready for step 5 so I can refine it. Any ideas?

Other areas a Zen trap could help us are my bedside table and the cat food. Set ups would be similar, the key is preparation. Have my plan thought out ahead of time, treats and clicker in all the places I set up a trap. Both are areas where I want Zen to be the default, meaning he always chooses to never get into those things.

Turns out Sue was right again, she warned me and she is making me think!

As always I welcome any suggestions, refinements or overhauls to my plan. When we get this far I’ll be sure to let you know how it went! Hopefully I report back a full A+ pass!

One more thing, if you haven’t bought your new Training Levels books yet, you really should. They are awesome!


Countdown to the Halfway Giveaway

The Halfway Giveaway is in the final countdown!

One week from today on July 1, 2011 we will be halfway through our 2011 Walking Challenge. That means this is the week you have to get your final entries in for the Halfway Giveaway.

As a reminder of the rules there are three chances to win. Just by being entered you all have your first chance to win.

Then if your are caught up with your personal goal you have a second chance to win. Here’s the catch for that, please let me know by July 1 if you are up to date with your goal. I have a record of what your goal is, but not when you started your challenge so it’s up to you to let me know if the figure I have is correct and if you are up to date with your goal. If I don’t know if you’re up to date I can’t enter you in the drawing.

Your third chance to win is by writing a post about the walking challenge and linking back here. So far this is who I know has written posts:

If you’ve written a post and I missed it I’m so sorry! Leave the link for me and I’ll get it posted for you.

Remember you’re in the running for three great prizes here including a fleece leash, a Magnus approved fleece toy and mat, even a clicker training pack is up for grabs!

So how ’bout it? Who’s on track with their goal? Any posts out there I’ve missed? As always if the numbers I have down for you are incorrect due to my math dyslexia please feel free to correct me!

Let me know as I’m getting all the book keeping done now so I’m ready in ONE WEEK to pull those numbers and give away some great prizes for all your hard work!


Posts For Me

If you saw the number of “drafts” in my posts list you would never believe it.

Seems like I just can’t get past a title for a post anymore. I have no idea why. I have bloggers block. It’s weird too, cause I love to blog. I love to write and I love my dogs so what could be better than writing about my dogs? Still. . . no words come.

I still read everyones blogs, and love them. But for my little neglected blog there just seems to be no words.

So it got me thinking, Why did I start blogging? Who do I write for anyways?

The answer might seem selfish, but I started blogging for me. I started keeping a record of the lessons I was learning for me.

So what’s the problem?

Sometimes I bog myself down in feeling like I have to link to everything possible, have stunning pictures in every post, never have ONE typo-gasp! A typo! Then I got bogged down in the commercial aspect, the details of Google Analytics and SEO’s and paid posts. Making my blog into something that the “whole world” could find valuable or something silly like that.

But you know what? My favorite blogs to read are not always the technical training blogs, though I do love those. Most of the blogs on my blog roll are the daily stories of you and your 4legged friends. When I loved my blog the most thats what it was too.

I need to go back to that original goal of keeping a record of the adventures of my pups for me. I hope that means someone along the line will still be able to learn from our lessons, but if not, I still have it for me.

It’s not that I don’t want to be a resource for all the loyal readers I have, but I’m not much of resource if I never post. I’m tired of getting to the end of all these drafts and thinking, “Who would want to read this anyways?”

You know who wants to read it? I do!

So in the spririt of reenergizing this blog here’s a brief recap of what we’ve done with our lessons the last few weeks and months:

Magnus is doing good. He doesn’t understand why he can’t zoomy and fetch like always, but his limp is getting better.

Maizey is still my Princessface. She has good days and not so good days. We finished her Tricks for Clicks class a while back and she did great.

Our Training Levels work is going good. I love Sue’s new books and am far enough into them to actually start testing through and working on the levels again. I’m loving that.

Magnus got his AKC STAR and now we’re making CGC plans.

Lots of exciting walks and training has been happening, although this has been out slowest week in ages since I’ve had stomach flu and Magnus has that pesky limp.

And while none of this seems that interesting, I know in a year I’ll look back and even if I’m still thinking, “Who wants to read this anyways?” I know I’ll be reading it and be glad I am!