Thursday, August 31, 2006
FSF and amyloidosis are related and inherited, though the mode is not clearly understood. With this in mind, Me-Me's owner/mom, who also owns her maternal aunt was in contact with the owner of Me-Me's sire. (Who is not her breeder btw, as he'd been sold after the litter was bred to a new owner.) Her sire is Sami, Epic's Am I Blue and his new owner was very distressed to report that he was also ill.
I just found out today that on the 29th of August, Sami passed away. A CRS has yet to be done but it will most likely confirm what we all suspect. I am so heartbroken thinking about this beautiful, vital boy being gone... it blows my mind. And it makes me face the fact that Me-Me will also go downhill and pass away much too soon as well. Sami was such a silly, goofy boy... always the class clown, he would never stop moving or wiggling or licking for two seconds in a row. He was such an unserious dog, who took a lot of joy in everything he did. When I think of him, I remember him sticking his muzzle in the waterbucket and then goosing me on the back of the knees, trying to keep him in something resembling a stack while he wanted to bounce and kiss the 'judge' at training, lazing in the sun with Ella and Action and just generally being a big goofy lug-a-bug. I really just can't believe he's GONE. My heart also breaks for his owner, who not only loved him as a beloved family member but had imported him from the US to Romania to show and eventually breed. My heart breaks for his puppies who carry genes which may well cause them to suffer the same fate and for their owners who can do nothing but take care of their lovelies as best one can if so.
I hate this damn disease.... I hate that it hurts so many dogs.... I hate that it hurt one of "mine"... I hate that some people hide problems and that the breeders and owners who are honest and forthcoming in their troubles worry about being lambasted. It's just so damn unfair!!!!! All of it!! Hug your furbabies a little closer tonight everyone... and look for the newest star in sirius tonight.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Oh. Dear. Gods. THE STENCH!!!
Ewwwww! I've smelled week old roadkill that was less fragrant! GAG... I don't think I want to know what she ate to produce that kind of odor!
Heaps of photos from Jayne's today!
Nic and La after poor tuckered bubs finally went to sleep
One of the three boys having fun together
And a whole bunch of Sienna and Jayne. You can tell neither of us get the chance to shoot a little girl often as we went a bit nuts... I do have a few other ones that may have come out (can't tell if they're blurry yet) but my camera battery is recharging and I can't process anything till it is. I'll post them privately if they do come out as Liam's streaking in the backgrounds.
Monday, August 28, 2006
I had started by simply free-shaping for the behaviour as I had the various front paw targeting stuff or the 101 TTDWAB exercises. It became soon was apparent (10 clicks) that I really wasn't helping her because she knew she was supposed to do something which involved the target but couldn't work out what. (Well DUH... it's hard to be aware of that being the thing I'm looking for her to utilize! Admittedly not one of my brighter moments! Plan first THEN train!)
So breaking it down more, I started working on shifting weight on the rear feet etc. with the idea being to get her to deliberately move the rear foot in any movement. Simplifying it as well, working her in a smaller area. Better but still not as nice as I'd like. We've done ladder work and such so I thought she was to the point this would be a fairly easy connection for her to make but maybe the fluency for that isn't there to the degree I thought? Hmmm....
So yeah, I think tomorrow I'm going to go back and fiddle with that a bit more and maybe use some vet-wrap or something on her hocks to make them a more noticeable sensation. T-Touch was also a thought and on a quasi-related note I want to look at spinal alignment as I think she may be pulling and seeming tense in the shoulders.
Other than that, we did very little training today, maybe 20 minutes all up? I spent most of the day just thinking about where I am with our training and where I want to go, chewing over our relationship. Something my instructor said to me has been gnawing at me. This was a session when Si’s blood sugar was wonky and she was being pretty hyper about offering behaviours, which for her is also a sign I’m lumping and frustrating her. At any rate, the comment was made that I needed to keep my hands stiller because Si was so in tune to my body language she was trying to interpret every little movement. I was trawling my bookmarks tonight, as I have a folder full of interesting stuff I've found and didn't have time to throughly read at the time, and came across something that just sort of stood out to me: http://www.tellingtonttouch.com/pause.shtml
This is something I really want to think on and figure out if my behavior is causing her to react that way. Yeah she is a spaz anytime she’s not had breakfast but I can see where she would react exactly as described in the ‘leading’ example.
We still had a great day though. Lots of lovely "together" time for all of us. I really love it when we have mornings like this one, where as soon as I woke up I was surrounded and cuddled up with Nic, Laurent, Cade and Si all piled in the bed together cozy and enjoying each other’s company in the morning sunshine for half an hour or so before we finally rolled out of bed for an equally leisurely breakfast and a nice day just spent together.
*yawns* And now it's time for bed!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
After trying to get into Croydon obedience club for ring obedience since before January, today we went up there to see if we could talk to anyone and check on how the feeler one of the club members who is in our tracking club was going to put out for us. She'd told us she'd ask if there was any way we could squeeze in. Long story short... the phone was busy when I called a few times, so we drove out which we'd intended to do anyhow. We got there too late to talk to the people we'd need to to check on the waiting list and as it happens the aforementioned tracking club member was there and told me she had asked and they said there was nothing for it - they're *still* chock full. Bugger! :-(
I know there are other obedience clubs and lots of them closer but this one trains with positive reinforcement and also has a nice agility and rally-o program. It's also where I'm hoping to get the puppy into if we end up getting it. Adding to that general grump, I'm also fighting off a bout of meniere's I think... very queasy and have this nasty pain in my left ear, lots of tinitus and just generally tired and blech.
Meanwhile I need to do some training with Doggy Zen for Sierra, which I meant to start at the beginning of the week but got sidetracked with teaching the central heeling thingie, which has turned into a cute little move if I do say so myself. (And I do... lol) Rear targeting is going interestingly. I'm having to break it down a lot more than I usually do, rewarding for little shifts in weight, as she was getting really frusterated and throwing off random behaviours one after another trying to figure out what the heck I was after. It's (rear foot targeting) a tricky concept it seems.
We're doing some cavaletti work as well but I need to find a horse person to pick their brain on strides and such and about teaching her to shorten her stride and collect a bit.
I'm trying to watch my hands as Sierra is very focused on hand-signals due to my training with them exclusively after I got her. (I'd just lost my hearing and was signing only, so sound still isn't a real attention grabber for her even though her hearing -is- fine.) My instructor noted that she was getting a bit frentic about it at times. After reading an interesting discussion on the stuff that was discussed at a recent Jesus Rosales Ruiz seminar (which is what set off my whine about needing to be rich a few days ago...) on the effects of delaying the reward by 5 seconds or doing click-click-treat v. click-treat in clicker-savy animals and also the location the reward was being delivered in (eg delivering in position v tossing it elsewhere).
And just because I'm a big sucker for punishment, I'm going to do a plan to teach a hotdog retrieve. (As in the dog retrieves a hotdog... without eatting it.) I'm saving that for a few more days of planning though!
Friday, August 25, 2006
"Sierra, go back." From a wiggling, joyous mass (oh happy day, I hadn't meant to leave her after all!) she froze. She didn't hear me right, surely!
"Sierra, go to your crate." The whole dog just wilted like a cartoon balloon that's been deflated as she trotted back, flomped into a down and heaved the most put upon whine in the history of dogdom. Poor Sie-sie...
Just had to share this shot... both dogs are using the nail file board to trim their nails and L is very interested in getting in on the action.
Training was pretty plain tonight, mostly jsut working on memory games. IE Do you remember
Now this is the new improved front garden! Not the best angle of it and not finished also but coming along! When we started there were massive leggy trees dying and overgrown everything, a patchy scrub lawn. The "beds" which were so overgrown you couldn't tell where they really were, were straight making it look very narrow. We took everything up, including the grass! We put down new grass in two connecting circles. Trimmed the roses, planted the iris, the hydrangia quercifolia, the chinesis, the mexican orange blossoms, snowdrops, limonium, artemsia powis castle, penstemon sour grapes, heliotrope lord roberts etc etc etc. The bricks, I've just started to lay out and haven't dug in yet which is why they are still crooked and above ground!
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
* ducking through my legs - forwards and backwards, going nicely, need to watch I'm not having her target crooked
And our newest tricks:
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Our back garden has been a project and a half to get looking nice... our front garden as well! It's been slowly being worked on since late in my pregnancy. And while they're not completely finished by any means but there was MAJOR work done today! We're getting close!
I love our garden, it's a lot of different reasons I guess... it does feel like a tribute to Nic's mum as a lot of plants here are ones she loved or from her cuttings. Also it's lovely for us to just be able to work together as a family and enjoy the sunshine. And I'll admit, it's been a big deal for me because I never was able to have a garden before due to A.) renting, B.) the fact that Michigan isn't flower friendly as it's frozen half the year and C.) what the cold doesn't kill the deer eat. I'll take photos when we get it finished up but for now I think it's probably the best way we could have spent the day short of being able to spend it with his mum.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Friday ended up being a real handful. We had to take care of a bunch of bills, rates, car registration etc. We parked outside Vic Roads for the last one just before they were closing. They took forever of course and we came back to find we'd been ticketed! WTF! I look at the sign - 1 hr parking from 9:00 to 4:30. I look at the time the ticket was issued and it's 4:39! Talk about anal! I'm writing to protest as I really don't need a $107 fine at the moment, especially for being 9 minutes late because Vic Roads happened to be busy! Meanwhile, L didn't get any naps and was super cranky by the time I had Freestyle class, Sierra was well and truly bouncing off the walls because I didn't give her breakfast and her blood sugar was wonky so her brains were out the window. Class went fine except for apparently we were supposed to work on teaching a left spin which apparently I didn't hear so of course I didn't teach it. Urg. Stupid hearing loss! To be fair the building tends to have a lot of echo in it and the teachers are moving around across the building so it's not like they're in one nice quiet place for me to lip read! ;-) Ah well. We started working on it right away but Sierra was such a nutter she didn't really get it until we worked on it Saturday morning. Got it in about five minutes then! Silly girl.
Saturday we went to a birthday party for one of L's friends at playgroup who is going to be a year old. It was a beautiful day and the birthday boy makes a gorgeous one year old but it's also made me realize that Laurent is almost a year old as well! YIKES! It still seems amazing to me that I'm a mum at all, let alone being mum to a 1 year old. Holy heck, how did that happen?!? I also probably should solidify my plans for his party soonish as well and avoid my typical last minute freaking out. LOL Nic ended up getting home at 2:30 AM and so he was zonked for much of the day today.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Then later when Nic came home again L did his welcome-home-daddy routine which consists of lots of smiling, bouncing, burbling and hand-flapping and once again exclaimed, "DADA!" It's so stinkin' cute, I don't even care that 'dada' gets the first word instead of 'mama'! ;-)
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
As it happens the weekend was a busy one with both a double obedience trial and Top Dog on Saturday and a double agility trial and Top Dog on Sunday as well. Both days we were just watching and cheering on a few folks we knew who were entered but it was soooooo nice to see so many amazing dog and handlers out there working their best! All of the Aussie's I saw there and their owners did well and I was pretty impressed with how the dogs were all giving their owners a lot of heart in their work! Even when there were mistakes made, you could see the work put in as a team and the partnership and that the dogs were happy to be there working with their person. What we saw of the Top Dog ceremony was very impressive! We didn't get to watch much as DH had a work meeting we had to be at but the dogs and handlers there were very, very nice indeed.
We went back Sunday to watch the agility as well. So many nice performances and some nice examples of handling! Particularly those who were wsorking their dogs at a distance was very nice to see for me. The courses, from my rather novice point of view, seemed to be a nice mix, they had decent flow but also had some real challenges as well where the handlers skills and their ability to be a team with the dog really came into play. There were several times I saw what otherwise were DARN impressive runs get snagged and the handlers had to be very much on their toes!
For my part I had a great time just watching everyone and learning from the nice handling I saw in the more advanced classes. We got in some time working with Si-si ringside and got to catch up with several people as well. Nic came and got to enjoy the day as well and Laurent came and enjoyed it until he was exhausted... and refused to go to sleep because there was too many people and dogs to watch! ;-) What a fantastic day! I am so jazzed and just can't WAIT to train some more until we're back out there on the weekends and having fun competing!
Monday was mostly spent cleaning and recovering from the weekend and today I spent half the day gardening! I still have heaps and heaps more to do but now that the weather is being civilized I'm enjoying being out there in the sun... hopefully Laurent will start taking NAPS again so I can ahve my hour a day to clean and garden again!
Friday, August 04, 2006
1. One book that changed your life:
Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot The Dog. Yup, it's where it all this clicker/dog-friendly training stuff really took off for me. I'd been interested in dogs and training since I could toddle can remember but I hated the way the only books the library had and trainers around us said was how you trained. That wasn't the type of relationship I wanted with my animals! I used cherios and kibble to get them to do what I wanted. But when I read Karen's book, it was the start of my clicker journey and started the snowball that led me to other books and seminars and teachers who trained with a philosophy that felt like what I'd been looking for all along!
2. One book that you've read more than once:
Anam Cara by John O'Donohue I've revisited bits of this book for years and years and was reading it during Laurent's labor inbetween the contractions! LOL I also love The Little Prince.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island: My scrapbook. And all my photos and markers and tape etc, so I could journal all my thoughts and feelings on them and my family.
4. One book that made you laugh: *blinks* Um. Wow. I just realized all the books I read are pretty serious texts. *must remember to rent something light and fluffy sometime...*
5. One book that made you cry:
Murphy's Boy by Torey Hayden Such a sad thing to imagine happening to someone and I could relate in a lot of ways to both of their struggles.
6. One book that you wish had been written: How To Remember All The Stuff You Forget Now That You're Lactating And Your Brain Is AWOL In 1 Easy Step. (No, that is NOT a typo, no way can I remember ten or twelve steps!)
7. One book you wish had never been written: For dogs: the stupid paper in the 40's on dominance. Good grief, think the amount of CRAP animals and people would be saved if everything from peeing to walking through doors wasn't ascribed to that piece of ####! It's staggering! For people: The umpteen Dr. Spock books, Dizzy Tizzy's books, Ezzo etc. etc. etc. For all of the same reasons.
8. One book you're currently reading:
Dusting up on my Tracking books and Herding books since we're doing both of these at the moment!
9. One book you've been meaning to read: Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali. After whining about how much I wanted it, hunting through every book store in the area and saving my pennies and feeling horribly guilty for buying something so indulgent I still haven't actually read it now that I've GOT it. ~_~'
I'm pulling a Sif on the tagging issue... I have NO idea who reads this that hasn't been tagged that blogs as well. So if you're reading this and qualify: TAG, YOU'RE IT!
And Jayne, re: Mists Of Avalon - ITA!
I also realized, I probably actually should read some book on kids at some point. I read some developmental stuff during pregnancy and nothing since. I keep hearing about TCC and Pinky McKay's books and What Mothers Do Especially When It Looks Like They're Doing Nothing or whatever that one was and I have the Sears books and a couple others which I should probably at least glance over but haven't yet. Um. Yay for trusting my instincts and preserving them unfettered by other people's perceptions of what's correct?
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Since the first photo I took of him standing was a pretty yuck one, I had to put up a nicer one instead! He pulls himself up on everything, as often as possible and even pushes the little table around to 'walk'.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Breast-feeding is so important, for both bubs and mums! There are so many reasons to breast-feed and avoid using artificial substitutes unless there is no other choice and yet not enough people follow the World Health Organization's recommendation that babies should be fed breast-milk exclusively until 6 months of age and after that should continue to receive breast-milk until 2 years of age minimum.
Most of us have heard the phrase that "breast-milk is best milk" but do you know why? Did you know for example that it reduces the mothers chance of breast cancer by up to half, ovarian cancer by one-third and endometrial cancer based on the length of time the mother nurses? Did you know when compared to babies fed artificial infant milk formulas babies, breast-fed babies have a reduced chance of leukemia by 21% and breast cancer in girls by 25%? How about that it also helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mums? Did you know for babies when compared to artificial infant milk formulas it also results in a higher IQ by an average of 10 points, lowers the chances of catching common childhood illnesses and lowers the chance of such diseases as juvenile diabetes, asthma, allergies, ear infections, SIDS, bacterial meningitis, multiple sclerosis, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, vision defects, obesity in later life and even needing corrective orthodontia in later life? And that's just for starters!
In a study on Breast-feeding and the risk of post neo-natal death in the United States (Pediatrics, 113: 435-439, 2004) it was found that babies who were never breast-fed had a 21% greater risk of dying in the post-neonatal period than those who were breast-fed and the longer the child was breast-fed the lower the risk.
Breast-feeding really is one of the most important you can do for your baby, no formula comes even remotely close to mimicking the benefits of breast-milk. With very few medical exceptions, given proper support and help, any mum can breast-feed and overcome breast-feeding challenges.
Three cheers for breast-feeding mums and special cheers to all the mums who have had to overcome challenges and perservered to give their babies and themselves the benefits of breast-milk!