Friday, 29 November 2013

One Year Later

One year ago today I took a huge leap of faith and dropped Riley off for his major surgery.  I was scared to death that I wasn't making a good decision but equally terrified that if I didn't do it his quality of life would continue to deteriorate.  Some readers might not know that Riley had a hemilaminectomy procedure to remove a cyst pressing on your spinal cord.  Today Riley still has some lingering after effects of his condition (mild ataxia) and a bit of a wonky hip but for the most part he is healthy, happy and pain free. I am forever thankful that the surgery and recovery went well.  Past blogs on the subject can be found here.

It is also the USA thanksgiving and because I missed the Canadian version in blogging I also want to share some other things I am grateful for.

- my wonderful husband for supporting me on my crazy dog adventures 
- my dogs for bringing much laughter, fun and challenges to my life
- my cats for all the cuddles.  They are the finishing touch to make a house a home.
- my friends who are always there for me.
- my mother, brothers, sister and various niece, nephews, aunts and uncles.
- health for myself and all those (human and animal) I love and care about.

There is so much tragedy and challenges all around us that sometimes it is important to count the good stuff.

Morning after surgery

48 hours post-surgery

Spring 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Oh my dawg, where have the last two months gone!  Life has been very busy as we have just downsized my mother to a smaller house from the huge house that I grew up in.  Thankfully that it almost done now so life can get back to a more normal.

I have also been having great fun recently with dog training.  Stella and I have been enjoying more on-line courses with the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy plus I got to attend the APDT conference which was five days full of all sorts of wonderful dog trainers (Ken Rameriz, Denise Fenzi, Nicole Wilde, Ian Dunbar etc.).  It has been lots of stuff to learn that I now need to blog about :).

First up was the fact that we participated in August/September as a online working spot (video submissions) for Ob-ility with Denise Fenzi.  This is from the course description:
"But...what IS Ob-ility?  In the teaching phases, Ob-ility is simply a way of breaking the exercises down so that the movement parts of the exercises are separated from the other parts - this makes the work a lot more fun and "flowing" for the dog. "

Stella is not a "high-drive" dog.  She might be different if we were working in agility or field stuff but overall she is not one of those dogs that just loves to work.  She does however find movement and play reinforcing so this type of training helps me to put some fun for both of us into traditional obedience.  It has a great side benefit of helping build duration to training periods without needing to use a lot of regular rewards.

The basics of ob-ility (fly, thru)  build into the higher level obedience exercises.  Fly is used to eliminate stay positions which keeps up energy and allows lots of repetition in short time frames.  Recalls, go-outs, drop on recall, broad jump, directed jumping can all be modified to be done "ob-ility style".

I have seen good carry over so far with added in the finishing parts needed to compete in the ring.  We are still a long way from competing in formal obedience but it feels good to get some of these foundations in such a fun way.

Here is video of Stella and I training for some of the ob-ility course lessons:

We are currently a working spot for "Bridging the Gap" at the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy and so far that course has been amazing. I am officially now a fan of online dog training courses.  A new session starts in December and there are many great instructors and courses I am considering for audit spots.  I still love working with my real-life instructor but I am enjoying viewing all the different teaching styles and absorbing all this great information.