Sunday, February 05, 2006

In Limbo

I had an MRI done on my knee and I'm waiting to meet with the doctor on Tuesday to see the results. They gave me a disk with the pictures and they're pretty gross but I have no idea what I'm looking at so I'll just have to wait. After meeting with the physical therapist I decided it would be worth it to see how bad the tear is. My insurance is giving me hassle about PT, only agreeing to pay for 4 weeks instead of the 6 weeks the doctor prescribed so I don't want to waste it then find out I need surgery. I'm hoping the MRI will rule out surgery but if I need it for sure I want to know now. So for now, no running or cross country skiing which is driving me crazy because the mountains got slammed with snow again. It's the best snow season they've had in a long time and I'm missing all the fun. My knee is having good days and bad days though so I don't want to make it worse. I went to masters twice this week, had a 2 hour ride on my mountain bike yesterday (easy trails, I avoided all big hills and spun up the small ones), a 1 1/2 hour walk this a.m. with the dogs but that was about it aside from some walking this week with the dogs. Don't know if there's much point logging it all at this point.

The PT appointment was very weird. She did all kinds of strength tests and decided my knee problems are likely coming from a weakness in my S.I. joint in my back that was likely caused from the impact of the car crash. She sold me a brace for my back that supports the S.I. joint and keeps everything in place so the ligaments etc. can heal and I can have some stability to be able to handle the physical therapy exercises. I have to wear this stupid thing all the time even while sleeping and while it seemed to really help the first few days I've become somewhat skeptical. The whole thing's been incredibly frustrating, I'm ready to be done with the effects of this stupid accident already.

On the upside, agility training has been going well. Cody and Lola both did great at course run throughs yesterday. They were fast, focused and having a blast. Cody was dancing on his front feet in anticipation of his turn, very cute. It was a jumpers course and I let them run, ignoring all mistakes and working on the trouble spots in smaller sections later. We had some clean runs and some not so clean runs but it was all a blast.

Strummer had his first agility session today and he loved it. I introduced him to the tunnel, chute, tire jump and Buja Board. Jonny came with to help since Strummer doesn't have much of a sit-stay yet. He held him in front of one end of the tunnel while I teased Strummer with his tug toy then ran to the other end of the tunnel and called him through. Strummer came flying through the tunnel and I'd reward him with a game of tug. A couple of times he didn't go through the tunnel but rather ran straight to me. When that happened I walked him back to the other end and we tried it again with him closer to the tunnel entrance. This rarely happened though, he was nearly 100 percent successful which is what I wanted. We did a similar thing for the tire and chute with Jonny restraining him by the chest on one side and me teasing him and calling him to me on the other. I started with the chute rolled up a bit and held it open for him then extended it all the way still holding it open then started dropping it on him when he was nearly out. He wasn't phased at all and came blasting out looking for his tug toy.

The Buja board was the most fun because I wanted to shape that rather than lure him like I was doing on the other obstacles. I used a clicker and food treats (kibble and pieces of string cheese) so I could get more repetitions in. I stood by the Buja board and waited for him to take in interest in it. When he looked at it I clicked and gave him a treat. He soon was taking much more interest in it, touching it with his nose then his paws, getting a click, treat and enthusiastic 'yay' from me each time he touched it. Soon he was racing over it, banging it with his paws and having the time of his life. The purpose of the Buja board is to get the dog used to his feet moving under him and the noise of the board hitting the ground so he won't be scared when he starts to learn the teeter. Lots of dogs are freaked out by these things and Lola was one of them. It took me a full year to teach her the teeter and it was a painstaking process. Thankfully Strummer doesn't seem to have the same fears so I'm hoping that his teeter training will be easier.

At 10 months he's too young for jump training and I need some more foundation work with him before he can start contact training so that's the extent of his agility training for now but I was pleased with how it went. I also started remembering how much time it all takes. But Strummer's going to be a lot of fun to train so it'll be worth it.

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