Monday, October 25, 2010

Ryddick's troubled journey

Little did I know this would become a difficult journey. A journey not everyone is willing to take. Some of it included hatred from local Obedience club officials (but that is another story) .
From the moment I met Ryddick at 6 weeks old I knew I had to have him. I did not know what it was about him, but I just had to have "him". I was offered a few other dogs from the litter that seemed a bit more "normal", but I had this feeling about Ryddick that we were destined for each other.
Ryddick 8 weeks
My heart sank when I brought him home and he was horrified of the other dogs. It wasn't your normal fear of meeting other dogs. It was full blown vicious snarling, barking, lunging, he was horrified. I talked to the breeder and she said he did that with one of the older pups she had bought and added to the litter. I was shocked to hear this. The 4 month old she had purchased was added into the kennel with the 6 week old littler of pups and left to "play" with them. Ryddick got the most attention from this pup. Being so young and defenseless he must have tried all he could to get away from this much bigger puppy. This went on for 2 weeks until I picked him up to take home.
As the days went by he got used to Rylie, Raygen and Ryker and he showed more and more of his personality. He loved to snuggle with me and ran around with the other dogs. He still was not able to meet dogs not in my household without going into a severe rage. He also showed more and more sings of fear of human strangers.
9 weeks, first encounter with small children
 At 9 weeks old he met his first children, a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy. I only got to about 10 feet near them before he went into a rage. This got progressively worse as he got older. Since children are unpredictable I am not comfortable exposing him to any of them. In puppy class he was not able to play with the other puppies he was so afraid of them. He would freeze and show his most vicious snarl. I implemented a rigorous training and behavior modification program.  At the age of 6 months he was diagnosed with severe Panosteitis in both his rear legs. He was in a lot of pain and this was a huge setback for training and meeting new people and dogs. He would wake up from, what seemed, a deep sleep growling and snarling at his surroundings from fear of being touched. It took months for him to outgrow the Pano. I kept him on pain meds, but they seemed to have little effect. He would wake up in a rage when anyone (people or dogs) would step near him. He was fearful of feet and I had to desensitize him to them. A little cheese-in-a-can goes a long way. Even though he is much more comfortable sleeping around us, he has decided to sleep away from us at night,  in the living room. He has the couch all by himself, a dogs dream.
I have trained him in Obedience, Rally, Agility, and was doing some Flyball drills in my yard and next to Flyball practice. I take him to regular herding lessons during the warmer months.
Agility started out to be a lot of fun with him. He was very responsive to my cues and his first runs in the ring were a dream. I remember the trial when he told me he did not want to do it anymore. Thinking he would overcome his decision, I continued to show him in Agility and it all came crashing down.
In July of 2010, I contacted my vet and talked to her about possibly trying some Fluoxetine (Prozac) on him. This was not an easy decision and having tried changing his diet, herbs, flower essences, aroma therapy, DAP, Calming Cap, T-Touch, Massages, training (and what else is there?) I thought it was time to help him with some western medicine.
He has been on it since August 30th and I have noticed some changes. Instead of going into a frenzy when Rylie and Raygen are playing tug  of war he lays in the grass and watches them. He has significantly calmed down around any of the dogs doing agility in our yard. Herding has become much more enjoyable and less of a roller coaster of  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. My only regret is that I have not put him on the meds sooner.

Ryddick with his friend Chocolate
  Ryddick is very sensitive to touch. He quivers when I put his collar on. He refuses to come near me when I have anything that resembles a coat, harness or halti. One time I though putting on his Cool Coat for herding might help with the heat. It became apparent that he hated the coat and let out his frustration at the sheep.
Ryddick thanking DOG for Prozac
Ryddick has also a medical mystery. His epiglottis is always open and he will choke on food when fed in large amounts,  August 30th Choking incident. Sometimes his saliva will go down the wrong pipe and he gets very concerned when dogs get near him when he coughs. The vet has not been able to explain why the flap is open. At this time I feel that surgically experimenting on him is not necessary since we have managed to keep his food and water intake without any joking incidents for a few years now.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pocatello AKC Agility

October 1st -3rd we visited Pocatello for an Agility trial. There were many firsts. Raygen got to run in F.A.S.T. Novice preferred and earned his NFP title. One of his runs was 13.41 seconds, with 59 points.
Although he decided to end the run by leaving me for the tunnel who had the time at the end, I like the fast time in which we accumulated 59 points in. Running contacts can definitely take many seconds away form the runs. 
Rylie earned her first Excellent STD leg. She had a lot of fun in JWW however she ran past jumps and weaves is not something that gets her Q's. She was sore on Monday and I have decided that Agility may just be to much for her and retire her to pursue K9 Nosework and also go back to some Freestyle training.
Ryker got to run again for the first time in 13 months. Even though we did not Q, his times were mind boggling. I had some late cues and he was already on to the next obstacle when he realized what I actually asked of him. A spin 'cause he is waiting for me to tell him where to go, knocking a bar 'cause I am cuing to early are only some minor errors I need to iron out somehow. I am hoping that I have his weave entry cue figured out. His problem has always been collection before the weaves, actually the lack of collection. He did get some nice weave entries when I cued weave collection. We will see in future trials.
My motto was run as fast as you can, give him the cues he needs, run like you train with Stacy and the HELL with being afraid. I had more fun running fast and not cuing then running to Q. In the future this may change or not.
And then there was Rydge's first ever trial debut. I had him entered in FAST and JWW. As I entered the ring the first time and took his collar off he perked up and looked at the course. It seemed that he was a bit unsure, but exited at the same time. His first run was JWW and he did everything I asked him to.
FAST was way hard for him. Leaving me five feet to take a jump is sure harder then doing it at home. His second JWW runs was much faster, which I like a lot more. I entered him not expecting to much, but getting Q's as a reward feels nice.
Looking forward to the next trial.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Livin' on the Edge aka Rydge

In January of this year I fostered a little black Toy Poodle. He needed to get neutered and had a mild umbilical hernia that needed to be attended to. He had extreme separation anxiety and still whines a bit when left in his x-pen downstairs. As the weeks passed he changed from this shy little pup to an outgoing, friendly dog.
Ryker ignored him, which was fine with me, as Ryker usually does not like small dogs. Rylie also had no interest in him, at first. I did catch her playing with him one time and it was so dang cute. Rylie does not play much with dogs other than Raygen. Raygen didn't care much about Rydge either.
Ryddick on the other hand loved to play tug with him. He would self handicap lying on his bed and let Rydge pull and pull. Ryddick looked like he was falling a sleep, while the 10lb monster jerked on the tug, letting out a little growl every time he did.
He was operant within a few days. the hardest part was for me to make the treats tiny and to keep up with his insane speed of offering behaviors. I decided to try some Agility with him. It was amazing. 2x2's were a breeze and he weaved in no time. The teeter was also not much of a challenge. Mhh, maybe I should keep him? I have fostered over 70 dogs and I have never kept a dog. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to keep several, but the timing was never right. My daughter accused me of making a dog out of this shy Toy Poodle. A few weeks ago he got to run in Course-A-Lure for the first time and he won a few Bronze Medals with a best time of 16.06.
I don't know what the future will hold for us. Maybe Agility, Rally, Obedience and more Course-A-Lure. I use him in my puppy classes and reactive dog classes and as a decoy dog for BAT sessions. He has a calming effect on dogs like none of my other dogs do. Nothing that can be trained.

Ryker Limping part two

Live has changed since Ryker started limping last year. I have been religiously following my vets advice to continue him on the Water Treadmill and laser therapy.
He loves his water treadmill hour so I did not mind taking him. However his condition did not improve. He was good for a day, then got worse on the next. Then I asked the rehab therapist if I should take him to see the chiropractor. She said that "Why try to fix something if it isn't broken". I did not know what to say. Have they not been listening to me? At that moment I felt I have been used like an endless money bag. I decided to see another vet to retake the x-rays. Remember the original diagnosis was: " ..... evidence of left hind limb hip dysplasia, with mild OA present along the dorsal rim of the acetabulum." " The lumbar spine shows some LS sclerosis which could be indicative of L7 S1 instability."
Well, this vet did not find anything wrong with Ryker's skeletal system. He prescribed some Previcox for him to take for a week, than another week of leash walking only and then, he said, I should be able to start training him again. I felt a bit numb as his words seemed unrealistic. Remember he has a bad hip and spine and some pills won't fix that. Well, they did. I have not seen any lameness since this day. The vets diagnosis was that he may have a mild pinched nerve that gets aggravated sometimes. Seems to make more sense with the symptoms he was showing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ryker Limping

Ryker has improved a lot since I last posted. I have taking him to four accupunture sessions, twow accupressure massages and he has been going to visits to the water treadmill twice a week.

He loves the water treadmill. He runs all the to the rehab room and pushes the door open and starts scratching the belt for the treadmill to start. He was in for 5 minutes the first session and worked up to being in for 56 minutes at 1.1 mph. If you ask him he would love to stay in longer. I have not seen him limp for 3 weeks and I have started to let him run around the yard at his own pace, which is a nice canter. So far so good. Maybe I can start training him in agility again in May. I want to make sure that whatever hurt him is fully healed before doing the crazy stuff again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ryker is hurt....

..... and we don't know what it is. I took him in for x-rays and was told he had some mild hip dysplasia. I was also told that he had some mild scoliosis in his lower back. I had two other vets look at the x-rays and was told they were of mediocre quality and there was no evidence of hip dysplasia.
I also had him examined by another vet in Salt Lake City. Ryker was not lame at the time and the vet said his gait was beautiful. He also confirmed that he does not have hip dysplasia. He did some leg stretches with Ryker and confirmed that he was uncomfortable stretching his left leg.
He recommended to give him some crate rest and to keep him on the leash to avoid running and jumping. The following week I met with Anita our acupressure massage therapist and she also recommended to keep him in on crate rest for 4 weeks. I have seen very little improvement. Sometimes Ryker comes out of the x-pen normal and other times he keeps his left rear leg up and hobbles around for a few minutes. It is very disconcerting not knowing what is wrong with him. I am not planning on doing anything with him until he is fully healed. I would rather keep him as a healthy pet than to enter him in any more Agility trials. My plan is to let him rest until the end of February, than sign him up for some underwater treadmill sessions. Maybe he will be ready for the USDAA trial in April, but I am in no hurry and will be ready to wait for as long as it takes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ryddick and Chocolate

This is Ryddick with his BFF Chocolate. He is a 7 lbs Yorkie/Shi-Tzu mix. Smartes little dog I have ever known.
Gotta Love Me!!

Ryddick and Dexter

Ryddick loves puppies. This is Dexter, who at the time the pictures were taken was 9 weeks old.

Ryddick and Dexter (Corgy)

Monday, September 21, 2009

About the choking incident on August 30th, 2007

Someone on Facebook posted about how to do the Heimlich and CPR on your dog. It brought back a very scary memory about an incident that happened two years ago. Here is the email I wrote to my friends.

This morning, Ryddick, my 15 month old BC, was choking on some of his food and stopped breathing. He was close to loosing consciousness and his live was in our hands. My husband did the Heimlich and I tried to give him breaths into his nose. I could not get any air in. It was closed! His tongue had turned blue and his gums white. He wasn't moving and had this horrified stare into nothingness. My puppy was dying and all we could do was to push on his belly and hope for the best. It took forever, but IT WORKED!!! He recovered within minutes and there seems do be no sing of brain damage. We were so, so, so, sooooo lucky. I guess the Infant and Adult CPR class finally paid off! I am going to invest in a grinder this weekend.
We were very scared. We knew that if we did not succeed he was going to die. That is why it is so important never to leave dogs unattended when they feed. I would have found him dead. I don't ever want to have to do it again, however I know that I can.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My poor Raygen

Today I went to the vet with Raygen and by "accident" he found a growth under Raygen's tongue. It was not there on August 8th, when Raygen had a tooth fixed. Growing that fast is a bit scary. The Dr. took a biopsy and send it in. Results are not going to be available until next week.
Even if it is benign it still has to be taken care of. It is very close to the salivary Gland and
Under Raygen's tongue. Note that the growth looks like two, however it is one with an ulcer in the middle.
This is after the biopsy.