Sunday, June 3, 2018

Hemorrhaging in left eye

Yesterday evening I saw that when Cai looked to the right, the left side of his left eye was bright red where the sclera should be white. No swelling and no damage around the eye. No change in behavior from Cai - he was his usual perky, barky self. Off to UC Davis we went for an emergency visit. We were there for 3 hours. They found that his eye was mostly healthy - good pressure, no scratches, no ulcers. They ran blood tests just in case it was a result of disease like a clotting disorder, but those came back clear. So we think that the bleeding is a result of a physical trauma, and the most likely candidate is that Terra hit him in the head with a giant paw and got his eye. She does that when she wants him to play with her. It does not get the intended result. This is why I usually don't leave them together unsupervised, but obviously I'll need to step up my game. We were sent home with some drops to put in twice a day and instructions to monitor and recheck in two weeks.

During the exam, Cai was well behaved and showed off his cooperative care training, except when the vet or student wanted to touch around his left eye. That was clearly painful, and he growled and snapped. They were both sympathetic. I realized that I had forgotten his custom made basket muzzle that I had ordered specifically for situations like this. We used a fabric muzzle. They let me do most of the restraint because Cai was much calmer when it was me handling him. I gave him lots of treats and breaks from the muzzle in between the vet checking his eyes with various instruments. He even did a mostly-voluntary blood draw at the end. He was nearing the end of his patience so I had to place my hands gently on his chest and side to remind him not to move, but he placed his paw in the vet's hand on his own and didn't shy away - we didn't need to use the muzzle for this part. After that the student was supposed to do a standard physical exam. (They had done the eye exam first, then blood work, then physical last since that was least pressing.) Cai grudgingly let her take his temperature and listen to his breathing and heart rate. He didn't let her touch him though - when she tried, he really started snarling. He was obviously DONE and she was scared by his response, so we stopped the physical exam.

I wish we could have made it even less stressful for him, but clearly our prep work at his regular vet, plus all the handling practice I've done over the years, had a positive impact. I was proud of my little monster.

I talked a little about clicker training with the student, and I narrated what Cai was doing and "saying" as we worked. I hope I helped educate them a bit (since vets don't usually get much education on behavior and training) and made a good impression as well.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

AKC Agility Qs in Open Standard and Jumpers

Flawless (though slow) weaves this time! Jumpers was first:


And here's Standard:


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Posing on a tree stump

He jumped onto this tree stump on his own when I approached it. First four photos were taken then. I asked him to jump up a second time to get some more. All those times that I've asked him to do a handstand with his back feet up against raised objects paid off. Look how he reached out and confidently balanced!








Monday, April 23, 2018

Novice AKC Agility titles (NA & NAJ)

Chimera qualified in AKC standard and jumpers classes on Saturday, earning novice titles in both (NA and NAJ). He was perfect with his jumps, crosses, and teeter. He was fast and he didn't get distracted, other than glancing over at the judge as she approached him on the a-frame descent. The only problem was that in both runs, he initially blew right past the weave pole entrances. Both times I called him back and resent him, and he then did them without mistakes but slowly, not with confidence. I'd already started remedial work on the weaves as this has shown up in practice as well, but it hasn't clicked yet.

I got a video of our standard run:

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Camping weekend

Went camping this weekend. Cai barked when he saw other dogs, but was otherwise perfectly behaved. Spent most of his time just chilling.




Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fast CAT photos

We had two more runs on Saturday. As usual, Cai ran as fast as he could, about 16.5 mph. He actually outran the lure - I need to tell the operator to make it go faster in the future.

I had another competitor release him at the start. He is now totally comfortable being given to a stranger, waiting in line, and taking off at the start without me. He wants to get those bags!! I can always see him lift his head and look for me as he approaches the finish line.

On the first run, he started to come toward me at the finish, but then noticed the lure again and ran over to bite and shake the bags. The second time, he didn't bother and came right to me.

My photographer friend Olga was at the trial and took gorgeous photos. Here are my favorite two (click on either one to see it pop up in full screen):



Saturday, March 3, 2018

BCAT title (Fast CAT)

Chimera had two Fast CAT runs this morning in Fairfield. It was a great event put on by the NorCal Whippet Club - they always move things along quickly and are well organized. Cai ran as fast as he could and this time, came right toward me as he spotted me at the finish line. In fact, he would lift his head and start glancing around shortly before the finish line, and one time started to shift toward one of the timers as if he thought that was me. I called his name and he immediately corrected course. His time was the same as usual - around 12.5 seconds, which is about 16.5 mph.

I took a video of his second run. It's a bit hard to see because he's tiny and he's coming directly at the camera, but toward the end you can see his happy face as he spots me.

This completes his BCAT title (the first level in Fast CAT).

Friday, February 23, 2018

Rally-FrEe Champion title (R-FE/CH) and first freestyle legs

REDD had our sort-of-annual live event at the beginning of February. Chimera "No Audience Member Shall Move While I Work" Monstra and I earned the RF Champion title with scores that would have been quite good if not for his major distracted episode on Saturday and the breakdown of the backwards weave behavior (which was used on both days). Here's Saturday, which scored 138:


Other than the obvious, I was very happy with how Cai did. When he was with me, he was engaged and willing to do these silly tricks. Even after the major distraction in the middle, he went back to work without stress.

Here's Sunday, which scored 167:

We debuted in Musical Freestyle and earned two novice legs. The song we performed to was Jill Sobule's "I Kissed A Girl" (edited down for length). As I look back on our routine, I think that it is quite boring and has too many technical positional elements (ie side passes, backing up, pivots). I'll record and submit one more leg without major changes, but I'm looking forward to developing something that's more fun for both Cai and the audience for our next level. On Saturday, he was precise but slow and not into it. On Sunday, I changed the beginning to start off with a little jog, and had him do a couple of jumping hand touches during the routine. The hand touches look awkward and mess up our flow but successfully kept his attitude up. Here's Sunday:

Monday, February 5, 2018

Off leash hikes

We've been doing a lot of off leash hiking lately. Chimera used to be terrible at coming when called, especially away from other dogs. Nowadays he is nearly perfectly behaved. At Lagoon Valley, he started running after a flock of geese taking off from the field. I called him, and he immediately, without any change in speed, made a wide turn and raced right back to me!

And here he is walking next to my side at Pt Isabel:



Thursday, January 25, 2018