We always said he had such a big heart. Such a loving boy. He wanted nothing more than to make us happy. I gave him his birthday, Valentine's day, since I didn't know the exact date. His heart disease had advanced to the point where his heart was very large and working so hard. He was taking Pimobenden, Furosamide, and Enalapril since June which did help him for a while. He wagged his tail til the very end. Even when I was following him around the house begging him to eat.
Indigo and I have recently discovered a very exciting new sport. K9 Nosework! We took a course through our local kennel club and had so much fun I just had to share.
Our teacher provided the first odor, Birch and a small tin with holes in the lid to keep the odor in. After a few weeks I made up my own kit and ordered my own oils on line. If you look around a little you can find the best deals but you can also buy already made kits for nosework online. I thought I could do it myself pretty easily and cheaper too.
To start with you will need your first odor which is Birch, botanical name: Betula Lenta. It is a lovely smelling essential oil that your dog will soon be crazy for!
I took home pill bottles from work to keep each bottle of oil in as you don't want any scent to escape and confuse your dog when you're not working with it.
You will also need a few small glass jars to keep scented q-tips in and separate jars to keep your tins with odor in. I used baby food jars that I had in my cupboard and they work ok to keep the scent in but I will tell you that the lids are a little hard to screw on. I need to get different jars. The size is just right though!
The tins I have are smaller so I had to cut my q-tips slightly smaller than just in half. Fill the jar 3/4 full with the cut up q-tips then add 1 or 2 drops of Birch oil to the lid of the jar, close the jar and shake it up. This will scent the whole jar of q-tips magically!
I had some old tins of Burt's Bees lying around so I cleaned those out thoroughly and drilled holes in the tops of them. These tins will hold your scented q-tips.
You only need a few scented q-tips in the tin. Each week at class our teacher refreshed our q-tips with new, smellier ones from her stash so the odor would be strong. You have to use tweezers to transfer q-tips as you don't want the scent on your hands, obviously.
Ok, now let's teach your dog some nosework!
Take your tin with Birch scented q-tips inside in one hand and some good treats in the other closed hand. Hold your hands out to your dog and wait for them to stop slobbering up the hand with the treats in it and notice your other hand with the TIN. When they sniff the tin, even briefly you will give them a treat from your other hand. The reward must be given directly on top of the scent tin to create association with the odor. Warning: your hands will become very slobbery! Give lots of small treats, one at a time over the top of the tin.
Here is a video!
Do this over and over and over and in different parts of the house, outside, all over! Then, when your dog is really starting to understand you can put the tin on the ground, or hold it up high, play around with it but always reward right on top of the tin and don't try to make it too hard right at first. You don't want to overwhelm your dog.
We competed in a Nadac agility trial last weekend and had tons of fun! We still don't know what we're doing but we haven't quite given up yet! Tunnels are THE BEST!!!!
I was committed to running faster, being ahead of my dog and giving her the information she needed before each obstacle. I did not always achieve that goal...
It seems like I'm stuck in my old handling ways and can't get out! I forget to talk to her and I forget to RUN. I still can't lead out, that is bad, I know. But she is oh so much fun. I do so love my beasty girl!
Here is a Jumpers course with one knocked bar. I was rushing her on the last line of jumps causing the bar to come down.
And here was a Regular course that worked out well! We had another Regular run where she took out a hoop and then one more where she took out a whole jump, but was not hurt, thankfully!
Do you think someday we will get it together? In the mean time I will enjoy each run!
Suddenly I am in the mood to write a little! And share some pictures. I do like this blog just so I can look back on it and see the things my dogs and I have done together and how we have changed.
Indi and I hiked the hills this morning. What a warm Spring we're having, very dry and unusual. It's nice for hiking but I know we need the rain!
Recently Indi has started being a little more suspicious of strangers than she had been. Especially people in hats or wearing large back packs. When she sees them coming toward us she stops and stares and then sometimes jumps off the trail like she's spooked when they pass us.
I started carrying string cheese (the almighty string cheese) on our walks and it has helped a lot! Whenever I see a person coming toward us I wait for Indi to notice them and then she gets a Yes! and a bit of cheese. She is doing so much better. I don't know what changed for her but she has always been a little suspect of new things and people. Her level of spookyness had risen though and I didn't like it!
Meanwhile, Rye turned 14 on Valentine's day! He still hasn't aged that noticeably. He doesn't have the best night vision anymore and has a little bit of a limpy shoulder but other than that is a happy healthy guy who loves his food and his walks around the neighborhood and chasing Indi at the park. I wish I could get rid of those tear stains!
I have been cooking for the dogs to supplement their dry food. A common dish is turkey and sweet potato stew with turmeric added for it's anti inflammatory properties.
With breakfast they get yogurt or cottage cheese plus a spoonful of coconut oil on their kibble and then for dinner a mix of the stew and the dry food plus fish oil and a vitamin E. Rye is on adequan injections for arthritis plus has been to work several times for therapy laser treatments. It's sure nice working for a vet! Sometimes....
Until next time, Indi reminds you to find the joy in the small stuff! Like sticks! Sticks are the best.