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Archive for November, 2014

All the weather reports looked bad. Rain, rain, and more rain. Of all weathers to hunt in, pouring rain is my least favorite. I even asked Russ three times the night before if he wanted to cancel our hunting trip. Fortunately, he said no all three times.

It did rain from time to time in the fields on the Luckiamute Valley Pheasants hunting preserve, but mostly it was just cloudy, with even a few sun breaks. It wasn’t cold (by Northwest standards — in the low 40s F), and I even had to take off my jacket because I was getting too warm hiking back and forth along the rows of corn and milo, following the dogs while they hunted for pheasants.

We started the morning “airing” the dogs. After the 1-1/2 hour car ride, they were ready to stretch their legs and take a pee or two.

Trice, Carlin, Tooey and Cooper

Trice, Carlin (on leash), Tooey, and Cooper

After that, we put the two boys back into their crates in the car, and took Tooey out to the hunting field. Tooey is a very methodical hunter. Not flashy, not fast, not stylish. But she gets her job done, finding birds and flushing them up. In fact, she put up five birds in the space of only an hour or so. Too bad our shooting wasn’t as good as her flushing. We only brought down two of those five.

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Tooey all dressed up for hunting

Then we got out Cooper. He put up several birds, too. He’s flashier than Tooey, working more quickly. But his nose wasn’t working as well as Tooey’s was this morning. In fact, I saw a rooster hunkered down in the corn that Cooper had passed by without finding. We had to call Cooper back and handle him to the bird, so he could flush it up for us. But even so, Cooper put up three birds, of which we brought down only one. At this point, it was confirmed that the dogs were hunting better than the people were shooting.

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Cooper and all the day’s birds

Then we decided to see what Carlin would do, so we dressed him up in a blaze orange “skid plate” like Tooey’s, and took Carlin and Tooey out to cover the last three rows of corn.

Carlin, of course, had no idea what we were doing out there. To him, this was one great big field to run and jump around in. I was very glad that he stayed close to Tooey, pretty much following her in and out of the downed crops. Although, while Tooey was trotting in, through, and around the corn, Carlin was leaping and jumping — perhaps he was channeling his inner Springer Spaniel.

While we were out there, Tooey put up two more birds (and I think Carlin was in on flushing one of them). Of those, we got one, and I was thrilled that Carlin didn’t so much as blink when the gun went off.

Tooey ran out to retrieve the bird, Carlin following along. She got out to that bird first, grabbed it up, and turned to come back to Russ. Carlin thought that that bird was pretty interesting, so he raced Tooey back almost neck and neck, trying to get the bird from her. Tooey didn’t let him have it though (and even appeared to be a bit annoyed with the brat), and brought it to Russ.

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Carlin and Tooey admiring Tooey’s bird among the rows of downed milo

So after about 4 hours, we walked away with four birds and three happy, tired dogs. We even had time to stop off at the dog wash on the way home.

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Last Saturday, I played judge for a Rally match at my dog obedience training club. It was fun. I enjoyed choosing and setting up the courses, running the people and their dogs through them, watching for errors where I might take off points if I were a real judge at a real trial, all to help my fellow club members improve their and their dog’s performance.

I discovered that I naturally see certain things, like inefficient or incorrect footwork on the part of the person, or the dog’s sitting at an angle at the Halts, rather than sitting parallel to the person. I saw incorrectly done stations and missed stations. But I realized later that I  hadn’t really noticed out-of-position heeling — as long as the dog was not really lagging for forging, as going along pretty much next to the person, I didn’t really see if the dog’s neck was right next to the person’s pants seam or not. Interesting…

But what I did gain was a pronounced appreciation for real judges. For their ability to stay focused, observe closely, treat every body with respect and kindness, all while standing on hard floors, for hours.

Thank you, judges.

I didn’t judge the whole time. In each of the courses, I took a few moments to run one of my dogs: Cooper in Excellent, Tooey in Advanced, and Carlin in Novice (sort of).

Each dog had a different experience:

  • Cooper: “Hah! I already have my RAE title. I don’t have to do this anymore. Except the jumps. I like the jumps. Let’s do that jump again!”
  • Tooey: “You really want to do this? You do? Really? Oh… okay…. But there will be food in the ring, right?”
  • Carlin: “Wow! Look at all these dogs! Smell all those treats! What are all those cones and signs all over the floor? Oh, you want some heeling? Ok, I can give you three steps. 1, 2, … Oh! Look at that puppy over there! Let’s go say hi!”

We all came home tired and ready for a nap.

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In talking with a fellow IWS owner this weekend (from overseas, even!), I realized that I hadn’t written about Cooper’s SLO lately. I guess that’s because nothing is happening.

And I mean that. Nothing is happening. No nails are breaking. No nails are splitting or bleeding. It’s been wonderful. Some of the nails are a bit misshapen, but we’ve even been able to grind all his nails every week, just like we do with the other two dogs. Nothing special.

Well, nothing except that he’s still getting a bunch of medications and supplements every day:

For the SLO:

  • fish oil capsules, 3-1200 mg in the morning and 4-1200 mg in the evening (for a total of 1260 mg EPA and 840 mg DHA omega-3 fatty acids per day)
  • vitamin E, 400 IU, 2x/day
  • niacinimide, 1-500 mg capsule in the morning, and 2-500 mg in the evening
  • doxycycline, 2-100 mg capsules in the morning

For the low thyroid:

  • Soloxine thyroid supplement, 4 mg, 1x/day

For his coat and general well-being:

  • Nature’s Farmacy Dogzymes: Ultimate multi-minerals and vitamins, 1.5 tsp, 2x/day
  • Nature’s Farmacy Dogzymes: Gro-Hair, a source of zinc methionine, .5 tsp, 2x/day
  • Glucosamine/chondroitin powder on his breakfast

About maybe 10 months ago, we decided to just stop with the doxycycline and niacinimide. I just thought — all those antibiotics all the time. That’s got to be hard on his system.

But then, about 5 months ago, we noticed that he was breaking and splitting a lot of nails. While there was no infection and Cooper was never disabled, his nails were ugly and seemed to make him uncomfortable. He spent increasing time licking his nails and chewing off the broken pieces.

So, we took him back to the veterinary dermatologist, who advised us to get him back on the regimen. So we did.

I imagine that he’ll be on all these medications for the rest of his life. We’ve tried different combinations of the various -cyclines, and we’ve tried Chinese medicine and acupuncture. We’ve tried quitting all the medicines and staying with just the supplements. But it looks like he’s not going to be one of those lucky dogs who go into remission with just fish oil for maintenance.

So it’s just better to stay on the program, so that nothing keeps happening.

 

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