Thursday, March 31, 2011


I've noticed, while reading through a number of blogs by people in the Pacific Northwest, that many are commenting on the amount of rain. Apparently, it has rained every single day in March.

I have to say, I didn't really notice.

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I mean, I realized it was raining a good bit, but the sun was out every day too. At least for a while. We generally got to spend at least an hour, dry, at the park every day.

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The grass on the sporting fields is growing amazingly tall and super green.

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The dogs have been spending a good amount of time supplementing their raw diet with fresh green spring grasses.

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And, I think all this wonderful grass, sun, and rain is making my dogs crazy.

Koira looks a bit demented.

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Pallo is going all floppy.

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They get to the park, and go crazy nutso insane excited. Pallo starts whining as soon as he realizes where we are going. Then, when I let them loose in the fields, its PLAY TIME.

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Plus, the park is a great chance for socialization. The park is so large, and unfenced, that we generally only come up on one or two dogs at a time, not the big packs of dogs many people see at dog parks (and avoid dog parks because of).

These two were headed by with their owner, who was biking, so stopped for a fast "hello" before heading on their merry way.

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This pretty little whippet is surprisingly outgoing, and even managed to get Pallo into some chase games for a little bit.

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So, overall, I have no complaints about the weather. Its Oregon. It rains sometimes. I love the green grass, green trees, and our generally green-all-over state, and for that, we need a lot of rain. Its just one more of the many things I love about living here.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does this make my butt look fat?

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Pallo would like to know, so he can kill me in my sleep for sharing this picture.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Flyball practice, and the Blog Hop

Well, as per my vet's instructions, I took Koira to flyball practice. We were asked to do our normal activities, and then see if any of them were linked to or lead to limping.

Flyball does not, apparently, lead to any limping or stiffness. At least it doesn't this week.

Koira, however, did four FULL RUNS! We started up really close, and still had a jump prop in at the box, but Koira did four full runs, all the way down there, all the way back with the ball, with a pretty nice look turn in at the box. She only did the spin and refuse to go once, when she could obviously see one of her balls off to the side. So, we will be working on some distraction training with balls outside of practice.

I am so proud of my little girl.

Pallo also did some remedial work at practice, as last week his turns were low and sloppy and he was dropping his ball a lot. We spent one of our two turns in the building working on his turn. I think we will go ahead and run with the prop in for a week or two and see if that gets him back UP on the box again.

The second time in the building, we did full runs. He dropped the ball early five times in a row, but finally the sixth he brought it all the way back. We had a huge party with lots of tugging, treats, and happiness, and a trip to the water bowl, and ended on a great note.

Now, if you would, please join me in the Saturday Pet Blog Hop.

You can sign up your blog, or just follow along with everyone else in the Blog Hop.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Adventures of the Flying Dutchman

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Me and Brittany went to the coast with the dogs for the day. It was a typical Oregon Coast spring, meaning gloomy, wet, rainy, windy, and alltogether enjoyable.

We stopped by the Devil's Punchbowl and while we were there, had to stop by and do some wine tasting at the Flying Dutchman Winery.

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After that, we headed north to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Unfortunately, health codes don't let the dogs in. But, that just means more cheese samples for the humans, right?

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And, when I say cheese, I mean CHEESE

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And ice cream, of course. About the only ice cream better than Tillamook (discounting home made, which is a whole different ball game) is Lochmead, which I am pretty sure is only sold locally, but is super amazing. We always have to get a sampler dish at the Tillamook Cheese factory though, and try out as many new flavors as possible.

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After the wine and cheese we headed back down to the beach.

It was, as I mentioned before, raining. And windy. Oh, and it was high tide in a major kind of a way, so we had to be on a constant look out to avoid the waves.

Luckily Pallo keeps lookout quite well

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Koira has a rock obsession whenever we are at the beach. I try to dissuade her as much as possible, since I prefer that her teeth not be worn into little stubs early in life, but did get some pictures before walking over and removing said stone from her (at which point she found a different, larger, stone to obsess over and try to dig up and carry away).

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I did manage to get some good feet pictures of the pups. Koira, obsessing over the frisbee (which I figured was better than the rocks, since it, at least, won't destroy her teeth as fast).

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Pallo just has adorable huge feetsies, and thick, short legs.

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Overall, we had a ton of fun. The dogs spent most of today sleeping, right up until we headed out to flyball practice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stupid Computer; Guess the Breed

Gah, I am so annoyed with my internet right now. My computer seems to insist that I balance it just right, otherwise it won't connect. And, should I type up a long email, it will always disconnect right when I hit the send button.

Any tips on a good wireless internet booster that you plug into the USB on a netbook/laptop that would give me steadier internet?

Now, just for fun, how about an episode of Guess the Breed.

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This little cutie is Lexi. She is a registered purebred dog, recognized by AKC. And, its one of my favorite pictures I took of her last summer.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vet Verdict

Pallo went in to update his rabies shot yesterday afternoon.

I took the opportunity to talk to the vet about Koira's x-rays in person, and to pick up the official analysis paperwork. While I was told over the phone that Koira's hips were clear, the wording on the official paperwork makes me think she might have a problem there that will develop later on. Basically, they found her hips to be slightly abnormal, but are blaming positioning during the x-ray due to no evidence of degeneration. I am not attempting to second guess the professional opinion as given, but have decided to add glucosamine/chondroitin supplements to Koira's diet as a precaution, in case the abnormalities were actually abnormal.

Because the x-rays revealed nothing that would cause a limp, I have been asked by my vet to log Koira's activities and limping, to see if we can pin down specific causes for her intermittent limping. I will also be keeping Koira on light exercise only for two weeks, in case of a soft tissue injury that was not in evidence. So, she will still be able to go on walks and play with Pallo, but no frisbee and no flyball for her.

Pallo actually did very good at the vet. When I got him a little over a year ago, he was nippy about being handled in general and very scared at the vet. His first ever annual exam last year involved him snapping at the vet and tech when they touched his ears, feet, stomach, or tail, and he peed all over as well when his temperature was taken. In fact, at last year's annual, Pallo was so bad about his ear exam that he had to be muzzled and have to vet techs help hold him.

This year, he was almost like a totally different dog. It is great to see how much progress we have made since then. There was one spook when the vet went to look in his ear, but no growling and no snapping. He did growl for his temperature to be taken, but allowed me to hold him steady, and again, did not snap. His feet and stomach exams were a total non-issue and the vet was even able to feel around his back legs and tendons to check him out for me without any fuss at all. I think, with a little more work, I may get a dog who, while probably not overjoyed at going to the vet like Koira is (they give her cookies and pets and she loves them there) will hopefully be able to go to the vet safely and relatively happily.

Pallo was totally normal, no ear problems, no teeth problems, no problems. The only slight issue (other than the behavior training we have to do still) was that his right hind leg apparently has a slightly looser feel to the tendon over his knee than the left side. I was told it may have been positional, or it may develop into a problem later. For now, we will keep an eye on that knee for signs of ACL injury and continue to give Pallo steady, regimented exercise to help keep the joint supported and healthy.

Summary, both my dogs are normal. However, despite being normal, both dogs will now be getting glucosamine supplements, both in pill form and by way of raw treats such as chicken feet and trachea. Thank you to everyone who was worried about Koira's limping. Here's to hoping that thoughts of good karma will get her back to her non-limping self in no time.

And now, a corgi picture for cuteness.

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This little guy is one of Pallo's buddies from the park and is absolutely adorable.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day

Or, well, I'm a day late, but I was busy yesterday. We had a lot of stuff to do, including heading up to flyball practice, which was great. Pallo was having some ball dropping issues, and his box turns looked terrible for once. I had someone else in the club run him. First time someone other than me did it, and he couldn't have cared less. I think I could officially send him off to a tournament with anyone and he would run just dandy.

Koira's x-ray analysis came back clean, so no hip, knee, or back injuries, and no signs of any inflammation of tissue either. I will get her to the chiropractor for an adjustment, and see if that helps, and otherwise am doing just gentle exercise for a few weeks (no frisbee, no flyball).

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Pallo had a ball last night. Got a little out of control for the holiday.

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Getting out of control like that leads to sleeping with strangers

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Which leads to wide eyed regret the next morning.

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Hope everyone had a happy, and safe, St. Patrick's Day

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We went to the vet this morning and Koira had x-rays done of her knees, hips, and lower back. The vet said her knees and back looked good, but that her hips might have an issue. We sent the x-rays off to a specialist to analyze. They were supposed to get back to my vet in a couple hours (sent them off at 9 am), but I haven't heard anything yet. Hoping calling tomorrow morning will get me some answers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I finally got some pictures of Pallo working today by the simple way of visiting a friend while she was at work, and working my dog whenever there were no customers in the store. It does mean I have to appologize for the poor quality of the pictures, because they were taken indoors, and my camera has a hatred of the indoors.

We didn't have a wall to work with, so I just brough my jump and touch stick along and we worked touches and over-and-backs with the stick.

Pallo is always super attentive during training. Notice how the stick I have is black on the tip. When training the "touch" behavior, I only rewarded for touches in that black area, since I want the dog to follow the end of the stick, not the stick anywhere they feel like grabbing it.

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Pallo goes over the jump. He is already turning back to me before he is fully over the jump, because the stick has whipped away, back to my side.

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He then jumps back, and I take the stick out of target range, and give him his reward.

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He got a little more speed on this over, and has to really dig in tight to get the fast, single stepping turn I am rewarding for.

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You can tell by looking at him that this dog is loving what he is doing, and having a great time out there. Though possibly that was just the sardines he was getting as rewards.

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He did great, considering this was working in a new location, around one of his favorite people, and with tons and tons of new smells around (my friend works in a tack consignment store, so lots of farm and horse smells in things).

His over-and-backs were very smooth.

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Koira didn't get her pictures taken, because her limp is back, so no working for her, and leash-walking only. She is going in to the vet for x-rays tomorrow morning though, so hopefully we wil get some answers to what is ailing her.

I did get a video of her limping, as it appeared at the park.

My old digital camera doesn't take the best videos by a long shot, and my netbook can't support video editing, but you can get the general idea of her gait problems. She is limping a little on her right hind, and is generally tight all over in the rear.

Here's to hoping the vet will figure it out soon, so my little girl can be on her way to recovery.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ruff Wear

I went in to the local pet supply place to pick up a new frisbee for Koira today. Her old one is the small size Ruff Wear frisbee, which we got as part of our compensation for a photo shoot we did with them last summer. It lasted really well, up until the tug-of-war games in the snow with Possum the Border Collie. Now it still flies fine, mostly, but has a bunch of fraying along the seams, which apparently is tempting to stop and chew on.

Given how well the previous frisbee held up, especially compared to other ones we have used, which tend to last about 2-3 throwing sessions at the most, Ruff Wear was the brand I went for again. Even more so after the store clerk I talked to recommended it as the best for a power chewer dog who may or may not use it as a tug toy as well.

In any case, once in the store, frisbee bought, it started pouring rain outside. So I decided to waste a bit of time browsing around the store, looking for booties for Koira's tender little feetsies. After trying on a few of the booties they had in stock, I have some ideas of boots that might actally remain on her feet for a while.

Better though, I got a peek at the Ruff Wear spring/summer catalog. And guess who has her picture right inside? Thats right, Koira does. I hadn't found Koira or Pallo pictured on the Ruff Wear website at all after our photoshoot, so was thinking they had decided not to use any of those pictures, for whatever reason.

I had the store put a post-it on the catalog to call me when they are ready to throw it away, and give it to me to keep. Because, you know, my dog is famous, with her picture in it.

We did end up getting to the park in only a light misting rain for a while to break in the new frisbee, which throws way better than the little one ever did. About 45 minutes after we got to the park, Koira started limping on a front leg (cut foot this time) and we got back to the car just before the rain started pouring again.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The sun was out today

To us, that means time to hit the park. We have an awesome local park that is not fenced, but available for off leash play time all winter. In the summer, it is leash-only as it doubles for sporting fields for little legue baseball, t-ball, soccer, and other sports. We have less than a month left of off-leash time there this year, so have to enjoy every sunny minute possible.

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I like this park a lot. It is huge, so if you don't want to be around other people or dogs, you can easily walk one of the back trails through the woods, or walk along the outside edge of the fields, instead of taking the main path through. And, since it is not fenced, people actually pay attention to their own dogs way more than in most dog parks.

We started off just walking through the park, seeing who was there, and saying hi to everyone. Then I headed back to the car to pick up the frisbee and my camera, and we got to serious dog-tiring work.

My lack of a stellar camera makes frisbee-catching pictures a bit of a challenge, but I liked how this one turned out after some editing, though it was still a little dark in the end.

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With no ball around to play with, Pallo got some frisbee action in too, even making his first good in-the-air catch today. Ball is still his main game though, and everytime someone walked by with a chuck-it I had to work hard to keep Pallo's attention on me.

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Koira quickly got too hot, and found the nearest puddle to lay down in.

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She even insisted on drinking the nasty puddle water, which I suppose is much less nasty after all winter of being rained on that it would be in the summer when they are actually grooming the sporting fields.

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Pallo even got in the puddle too, though he was nice enough not to lay down and wallow like a pig, the way Koira loves to do. Given that he has a much longer coat than her, I appreciate it.

Pallo wonders though if this picture makes his butt look fat.

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After the mud baths, I had to take the pups down to the river for a quick clean-off session. It was cold, so we didn't stay too long. I did get both the dogs into the water after the frisbee though.

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I had to hold Koira back for Pallo to even think about going after it, as she was being a bit pushy, and he is not too confident in the water

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Koira was being kind of pushy all around today, barking at me to demand that I throw the frisbee NOW. And this, from the dog that I never heard a bark from until she was over 8 months old.

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And believe me, it took a lot of barking to get a good picture of it.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Flyball training: touch stick progress

Both Koira and Pallo have made a ton of progress doing training with their touch stick. I managed to (finally) build a jump out of some scrap super-light plywood and my mom's chop saw yesterday. Today, I tried both Pallo and Koira on doing over-and-backs with a touch stick.

Over-and-backs are something I have worked with both of them with before. Pallo learned it when I first started doing flyball training with him, and Koira saw it when I was busy retraining her box turn, the first time. Doing it with the touch stick is way more different than I thought it would be.

What the dogs should be doing is hopping over a single jump (me holding touch stick on the other side for them to go toward). As soon as the dog's front feet are over, I whip the stick back to my side of the jump, the idea being that the dog will quickly hop back over the jump to me after landing on the far side. This is what I refer to as an over-and-back (some people call it a hup-back).

Pallo is a bit hesitant on the return part of this exersize. I'm not sure why, but I think its because the stick is gone before he gets to touch it with his nose. After two sessions today (about five minutes each) he has lost a lot of that hesitancy and is doing the over-and-back relatively smoothly.

Koira still doesn't like touching the end of the stick really, despite having learned the behavior very well. She actually really seems to like this exersize, as she realized after one try that she gets a click and treat without ever having to put her nose on the stick. It also took me a few repetitions before I realized that she needed a little bit of vocal encouragement. Pallo needs me to be quiet, Koira needs me to talk. Once I started asking if she was ready, and then saying "Go touch it" the whole thing seemed to click with her. She very quickly started offering over-and-backs that are incredibly smooth, quick, and enthusiastic.

I will keep doing the over-and-backs, but think I will introduce the wall work soon as well, to give them a new challenge. I know it will improve their turns greatly (though Pallo already has a damn good turn).

I am excited to do this whole new box turn training method. The box turn training is the big nemesis of many flyball trainers, and if the process can be made easier, with a great, solid, high, fast, single hitting box turn as the result, its pretty amazing to think about.

Hopefully I will soon have another person around to help out at training and maybe take some pictures of my pup's working their new skills. I have zero skill at taking a picture while trying to do anything else at all.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I am moving this week. So far I have brought two loads of stuff to the new place, and now am staying for the weekend, just me and the dogs, since I work four days in a row all day.

The dogs still are examining the yard, and Pallo keeps trying to lick up something along the wall in the carpet near the door, though I can't see anything there. Overall, going good with the move.

Thats is, until a few minutes ago when I saw a flea.

Stupid fleas. Just takes one and I start thinking they are everywhere. My head starts itching, I start slapping at any little tickle or itch. Looks like I will be picking up a bug bomb tomorrow and spending a night in the old place while the fleas die. And picking up some Comfortis for the dogs and Frontlining the cat. Oh joy.

On the limping note, Koira is being true to form by not limping at all since my last post about her. I haven't heard back from the vet yet, but she did say most likely it would be Monday, so I'm not too worried about it.

I have gotten a handful of potential ideas of what it could be, adding tick disease to the list as well, meaning a possible SNAP4 test. Western Oregon has a really low incidence of TBD, but it might be worth testing for just in case. Afterall, I have a itchy tick bite from 9 months ago that won't go away, so I shouldn't rule anything out really.

The dogs are for sure enjoying living next to the park again though. We went out this morning before I headed off to work for an hour of off leash play and running time. There weren't a ton of other dogs there, which was unfortunate, but Koira and Pallo are pretty good at playing with each other for exersize, and managed to get a good work out I think. Pallo might need to start going on leash though, or with cookies, or something, as toward the end of our walk he latched on to someone with a chuck-it and wouldn't be called off. Just followed the man and his four pitties around until I came and got him. Not cool, Pallo, not cool. This after I was so proud at him responding really well to a "leave it" for another dog's ball.

But now its late and I am rambling, so am off to soak out the soreness of a day of standing on concrete in the cold with a long hot bath

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Well, Koira is limping.

Silly girl just had to get all funky right when I need new tires on the car (driving on the donut is apprently frowned on in the long term).

She is managing to only limp at night, only about 1-3 nights per week, and has been doing it for a few weeks now. I thought it was due to her cutting her pads up, as she has really sensitive feet, but her limping last night was NOT a foot injury, at least, not one that I could see when I inspected it.

Vet's best idea, when I talked to her over the phone about it, is that Koira may have rhumatoid arthritis. It would, according to the vet, explain why she is sore in the evening after her muscles have gotten a good workout (it more often happens when we have been playing hard that day) rather than stiffness in the morning, as most people are more likely to see. Second guess is a spinal injury, as it is both rear legs that she is limping with, rather than always the same one.

I'm not really sure what I am hoping for with her. RA is a life long autoimmune disease. Spinal injuries can be really bad, but some of them can be fully recovered from. One of our team dogs just had to retire from flyball at age 5 (I think) due to a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease. No more running, jumping, playing ball, etc. I couldn't do that to my dog. She loves her games.

Most of this is just my human mind going into worry mode. Me wishing for it to be one thing doesn't change what it is, right now. But, I can't really help it. My baby girl is so sad and pathetic looking when I ask her to come to bed for the night and she groans, gets up, and then limps to the bedroom.

At least I do know, no matter what is up with her, she will still be able to go swimming. Spinal injury, RA, hips, ACL, any of it, and she not only would be allowed, but encouraged, to go swimming. And my little girl sure does love the water.

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