Friday, July 29, 2016

Brain games

Dogs are not natural multitaskers. The first time you ask a dog to sit while he's holding an object in his mouth, he'll most likely drop the object and then sit. Chimera can now hold onto the dumbbell and sit at the same time, but yesterday I asked him to wave a paw while holding it, and his brain exploded. He stared at me, frozen for a good five seconds. Finally he dropped the dumbbell and then jumped on me. "I don't understand what's happening!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


It's Chimera's fourth birthday! This is how we celebrated:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Iliopsoas rehab update

We saw Dr Yamamoto at the Canine Rehab Center on Wednesday. She felt him over to see assess how well he's healing. The assessment: not much. He was still sore and whipped around to give her warnings when she felt the iliopsoas on both sides, as well as on his back at the spot where those muscles originate. We were disappointed. We decided to do an x-ray to see whether there was perhaps a congenital issue that was impairing his healing. There was some subtle disc narrowing and hip changes but the radiologist thought that it was just a result of his positioning during the x-ray. (He was quite squirmy - he doesn't like being on his side or back.)

We could potentially do an ultrasound to give us more information but it would probably not change our course of treatment. We could do an "MRI to rule out a spinal cord, spinal nerve or disc problem that is not showing up on radiographs" but "this is expensive and would require general anesthesia." The doctor even mentioned the possibility of stem cells. But before we jump into any more aggressive treatment, we agreed to do another 6 weeks of restricted activity and cold laser treatment twice a week, with the addition of a muscle relaxant and PT exercises. The PT exercises are designed to keep the other muscles around the iliopsoas strong, but they're also good because I was worried about Cai losing muscle tone due to the extended rest period. I will also continue the chiropractic visits every two weeks. At the beginning of September we'll do another recheck and go from there.

On the bright side, we've exceeded the annual deductible for Cai's health insurance with Healthy Paws, and are now getting reimbursement checks for 80% of the cost of laser and chiropractic adjustments.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Clicker savvy

It's fun to have a dog who is used to clicker training and has many skills in his repertoire.

Cai already knows well: picking things up, holding items in his mouth, backing up

We quickly reviewed: picking up items from an awkward angle, moving while holding something (including backing up while holding)

We did a single shaping session to teach: pulling hard on an object to get it out of my hand

We combined those skills to teach: grabbing hold of my zipper tab and pulling/backing up to unzip my sweatshirt

So fun!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Still in rehab

I never know what to say when the vet techs doing Chimera's laser therapy ask me if he's getting better. I'm still restricting his activity such that I'm not asking him to do the things that had originally tipped me off to the problem (such as jumping into the car, going up and down stairs, and doing weave poles).

Today he was reluctant to let the tech use the laser on his iliopsoas on both the left and right side. (Usually his right is worse.) It might be because a few days ago he got a rare case of the zoomies in the living room and I just didn't have the heart to catch him and crate him up. My mistake.

We've been doing nose work to give him mental stimulation. The hides are all at low heights, of course, and the furniture is blocked off in case he's tempted to use it to source the odor.

He's really being a good sport about all this as long as he gets plenty of cuddle time.