Chronic Pain and Dog Sports

Quinn

I suffer through a lot of body pain, which my doctor has told me is most likely Fibromyalgia. In addition to a general sense of pain in my joints and muscles, I also get very, very tired after I spend three or four days on my feet with the dogs at a show or a trial.

If you suffer chronic pain and still push through and do sports with your dogs, what do you do?

I personally take about 2 or 3 days after a trial to rest and sleep and get back on my feet again. I’m fortunately enough that I don’t work, I’m retired, so I have that luxury. When I was working, I worked a desk job as a computer programmer, so that also helped me to recuperate. However, it didn’t allow me to sleep!

I also take some medication to help my situation, but I won’t go into details. I try not to take pain meds, and I don’t really think they help all that much, anyway. Things like Ibuprofen or acetaminophen. I think they can be dangerous if used too much so I try to stay away from them.

I also have a lot of chronic neck pain, and I try to rest my neck and get massages whenever I can.

I am fortunate that my dogs are patient with me on rest days. They want to chase the ball or play a little, but they will sleep with me if I ask them too. They are good dogs!

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Dogs Bond No Matter What

2016-10-028Every day when I look at my dogs, and snuggle with them and love them and play ball with them, I can’t help to think about how every bit of their lives is determined by me. They really don’t have much of a choice about what they do. If I want to sit around all day, they sit around all day. If I want to train or play agility or nosework, they do it with me too. Fortunately, they are easy going spirits and also love to work and play and so far are enjoying everything I offer for them to do.

2016-09-058And they love me with all their little doggie hearts. I love them too, of course, I could not imagine not loving them. But they bond to me so strongly, follow me around, and even, like Connor, pout and are sad when I’m not home. Fortunately, I’m able to be home with them most of the time, but I do have to go do people things sometimes and leave them home by themselves.20161031_170652

I can only imagine the sad dogs of the world who love their caretakers so much, and bond to them so completely, and then are treated poorly or neglected. This breaks my heart. I’m sure it’s the same with human children. They have no choice but to love and bond to their caretakers.

I don’t know why this concerns me. Maybe I was involved in dog rescue for too many years and saw too many dogs treated poorly.

2016-10-22-02-43-24So what I’m just really trying to say is that we, each and every one of us, needs to be very aware of our dogs, their needs, their emotions, and their well-being, and treat them as best as we can. They will bond to us no matter what. They will love us no matter what. They deserve the absolute best from us in every single way. It’s our responsibility to give them the wonderful, safe, happy and healthy lives that they deserve.

Take good care of your dogs, your cats, and your kids, because they are the true innocents and give of themselves completely. Let’s honor that and give to them everything we can.

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Training on the Green Grass

Yay summer is here! I have been out of town for a really long time, most of June actually, but I am back now and training again. I need to post about my long trip. It was a lot of fun and I drove almost 6,000 miles. 🙂 But I’m glad to be home and have nice weather to train outside!

Connor has been competing in agility regularly now, and now that we are in Excellent I am seeing our issues. He is not as confident as Jet. He’s been popping his weaves consistently, and he’s lagging behind me, not driving forward like I know he can do. So I’m working obstacles and sequences to try to gain him more confidence to get him to drive ahead more and complete the weaves. I even pulled out of our July trial in order to train and hopefully build up his confidence more. Here’s my training videos of him for today and yesterday. Yesterday we worked on his jumps, and today we worked on his weaves and teeter. I’m using the push-back game to hopefully get him to drive towards the obstacles more. And I’ll do this with sequences more too.

Connor and the jumps:

Connor and the Weaves:

Connor and the Teeter:

Maze and I continue to have fun learning what is best for him. Starting to train some 2×2 weaves by getting him to just go through one set. He does seem to poop out on my pretty quick… but we got some really nice throughs in! I don’t know if he stops trying because I don’t reward him with the toy if he’s wrong… or if I worked him too long. With the baby-teeter I set my watch to only work for 1 minute 30 seconds. But then I felt a bit rushed at first wanting to get so much in. LOL I am not used to setting a timer but maybe I really do need to get used to it.

On the sit-stays I didn’t set a timer, just worked and saw how he did. He’s doing good with that. I had a private lesson with Julie Daniels when I was on my trip and it was awesome! I have to joke that I needed a lesson with a pro to get my dog to do a stay.. LOL, but Maze is a bit of a challenge for me, and her method works great!

Maze Through 2x2s:

Maze baby teeter. He’s doing sooo so so well with this! We have been working a lot on moving things:

Maze sit/stay:

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Pushing over Boxes, Cart, and Jet too!

Today I worked on a few little things with Maze. The first thing was having him push over some plastic containers in order to make some noise. Yesterday I had him push over some pieces of wood, but they made too much noise for him. While he didn’t flinch when they clanked, he moved away after he ate the treats, telling me that was too much. Here is yesterday’s video:

So I backed it down and made it easier for him. I want to build up his sound confidence slowly so he masters it and is eager to make the noise. Today was much better! You can see how he willingly pushed over the plastic to make some noise. Good boy, much more confidence!

I was very pleased with the plastic!

Then I asked Maze to get onto the cart again. Well, I want him to ask ME to get on the cart! And although he liked the treats in the prior exercise today (Red Barn Log), he wanted something different for the cart. Yes, he is very picky with food, and not super food motivated. So I gave him Real Meat instead, which was more acceptable for the cart. Silly guy.

I’m having him eat a pile of treats while I gently move the cart, which he is fine with. He doesn’t jump off, he doesn’t look nervous at all at the movement. So that’s great, yay Maze!

I also am training Jet to put things in a container. I’ve never trained this before, but many dogs learn it and do great. So I’m using a glove and a plastic basket I got from the dollar store. He’s doing pretty good! I am trying to put the basket at a distance from myself so he understands to take the glove to the basket. He has an awesome retrieve, so he’ll naturally bring me the glove (which he should, for obedience). So for this trick, he needs to take it to the basket instead. Jet is such a joy to train, so enthusiastic! He’s a Danish-Swedish Farmdog. 🙂

Such fun to train! Indoors today, ’cause it’s raining outside. I’m so ready for the weather to warm up so we can be outside on a regular basis.

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Don’t Work Too Long!

Ahhh the mistake of training too long. It’s so easy to do. At least for us humans. The dogs can tell us, though, when they are done. Maze is super good at letting me know!

I worked him too long today. This is the good parts of his game today of pushing stuff around in the pan. At the end (the part I’m not showing) he left me and wandered off, he was done!

Since I want him to like things that move and bang, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to pile up some boxes and have them push them over. Eventually I can change it up to pieces of wood and metal, so he makes more noise. So this video shows him pushing the box out of the way to get to his cookies. I think he did a good job!

I also worked Maze’s cart a little bit… but, because yesterday it moved in a scary way, he didn’t want to get on the cart today. Oh no… so I have some fixing to do. I want to build him up, not take a step back! However, I’m human, and unfortunately will probably make mistakes along the way.

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And here are some short videos of training Jet and Quinn to close the door. 🙂 I want to build on this game and make it fun!

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