March 22, 2006

Ttouch for Dogs

Dusty and I had a consultation with Andy Robertson in Galston (Sydney) who outlined the procedures that would help Dusty with her back pain, and with her shyness around strangers. Andy wrote up the program after our visit and emailed it, which was a great help in remembering the specifics. Linda Tellington-Jones book, Getting in Ttouch with Your Dog, gave us the details.

The program has three elements:
  1. the ttouches,
  2. The leading exercises,
  3. the confidence course.
For Dusty, Andy recommended:

  • the Ear Ttouch, which calms and soothes;
  • the Lying Leopard Ttouch in waves, approaching closer to her rear end as she built up a tolerance, which is relaxing and confidence building;
  • the Mouth Ttouch, which influences emotion;
  • the Tail Ttouch, which reduces fear;
  • the Tarrantula Pulling the Plow, which desenitises skin and improves circulation;
  • and Leg Circles, which improve gait and balance.

Leading exercises

  • The body wrap

Confidence course

  • Cavaletti
  • Wobble board / see-saw
  • Ladder
  • Labyrinth
  • Slalom with cones

The confidence course is very much like a pre-agility program. We did a lot of this work in the early days, so it's good to have a reminder that this work should be ongoing.

March 17, 2006

Canine Chiropractic

Dusty was very reluctant to stand for examination at a recent show. My neighbours at the ring said she was being willful and I should come down hard on her, or I'd never get her to behave in the show ring. But I decided to rule out all other possible causes first. A key symptom was that she didn't like me touching her back, even relaxed at home - which suggested a physical problem. Her tail also didn't hang straight as it usually does, but curved off to one side.

I take Thommo for regular chiropractic adjustments, to keep any agility derived injuries at bay.

"Agility and obedience dogs need regular chiropractic care to restore their flexibility and to achieve and maintain peak performance. Performance activities like jumping jumps, attention heeling, and leash corrections place additional stress on the competition dog's spine and limbs, leading to loss of spinal and limb joint mobility. Most of these dogs will be asymptomatic except for subtle signs. Many behaviors (e.g., hesitation or reluctance to jump, failure to maintain attention while heeling) that are often ascribed to unwillingness to work can be caused by chiropractic problems. Conformation dogs who consistently refuse to stand square (stack) frequently have spinal flexibility problems which cause the stack position to be uncomfortable. Gait problems like crabbing, lack of rear drive, and inadequate reach can also be symptomatic of chiropractic problems." Chiropractic.

So I booked Dusty in with Peter Schofield in Sydney. As it turned out Dusty did have a number of sublaxations of the spine, and was probably in a good deal of pain from pinched nerves.

She was a little reluctant to trust Peter, but he won her over. She is shy of strangers, and we have been working on that. I've called her to me and asked dog people to gently approach her; and I've asked total strangers to toss her a treat without looking at her or speaking. But I'm now going to start a Ttouch program with her. She is so confident about life in other respects. And I don't want her shyness to develop into a fear of people she doesn't know.

I'm still computerless. I'm reluctant to believe that Dell are punishing me for not taking out a service agreement with them by not rushing to supply parts to my repairer, but ....

March 15, 2006

Canine Mulcher

Canine Mulcher
Originally uploaded by marj k.

I am currently computerless after a lightning strike, but Dusty continues to grow and learn and modify her environment.