Monday, April 14, 2008

There's Uncle Joe, He's Moving Kinda Slow

That's how I've been feeling lately-Uncle Joe. Moving kinda slow. That's o.k. though, at least I'm moving.

I took Strummer to Biscuit Eaters on Saturday and Sunday to work on the teeter and contacts. This was my first time back there since surgery and I wasn't sure how it would go. I put the teeter a notch or two lower than where we had left it at 6 weeks ago and he had no problem . By the end of the session I had it back to where we started, about a foot below full height. Sunday I moved the chain 2 links tighter by the end of the session and he'd had only one flyoff right at the start of the session and I think it was a freak thing so didn't worry too much about it. I took video on Sunday as sort of a video progress report of where we're at and after spending tons of time uploading, editing it and editing it some more I decided it was way to boring to post. I noticed a few things about myself, firstly that I'm still not walking great. The PT told me I was still limping and I thought she was nuts but I can see from the video that I'm still not walking properly. Secondly, I was running for a few steps here and there! Very bad, I'm absolutely not supposed to be doing that yet and I didn't even realize I was doing it. I get carried away with the training and forget myself so I think I need to stay away from the agility field for a bit. Maybe by next weekend a few steps of running will be o.k. but my foot was mighty sore when I got home and I couldn't figure out why until I saw the video.

After watching a bunch of runs at last weekend's trial and paying particular attention to contact performance I've decided to switch the older dogs to running contacts as best I can and switch Strummer's training for running contacts. Yes, I know, just like that I change my mind but I'm more and more worried these days about Cody & Lola's shoulders and the running contacts looked so much nicer, the dogs looked so much happier and motivated. I've been following this dog's training diary and so far I think the results are really nice. I've never had much of an idea of how to train this and I'm not sure I'll be able to have the same success since I'm not hardly anywhere near at the same level but it will be fun to try and how will I ever get any better at training if I don't try new things? What I need is about half a dozen dogs so I can experiment with different methods but for now poor Strummy will have to humor me. I'm not so concerned about Cody & Lola getting to the point of being 100% consistent as the number of reps they'd have to do to get there is way too hard on their older bodies. Heck, I have crappy contacts with both dogs at the moment, how much worse can it get? I think a big part of the problem is the difference between training and trialing. I can get nice 2 on/2 off contacts at practice but it all falls apart in the ring and the dogs are too soft for me to do things like take them out of the ring or make them lie down when they're wrong. I may have the same issue with the running contacts but no way to know unless I try. I'll get it right by dog number 10, I promise.

I started with trying to get Strummer to run straight across his board without stopping and laying down at the end. This was depressingly easy since I thought that down was pretty solid. He was quite happy to run across the board for tossed treats though and he seemed to be enjoying the game. I tried to click the moment his front foot hit at the very end of the board (no leaping) and it's hard to get your timing right. I've got some video from Sunday but I'm hesitant to post it. He was nearly perfect, had only one or two misses, but toward the end he's trotting across the board at a not very impressive speed and then there's me gimping around in the background and running again when I'm not supposed to and it looks kind of lame. It's hard and frustrating to do agility, even the foundation stuff, when you can't move properly so I think I'm going to wait a bit before getting back into it. I don't think there are any more trials this weekend so hopefully I can get someone to run Cody & Lola for me at practice.

In addition to the agility I had a walk on Saturday (1 1/4-1 1/2 miles) and an hour bike ride on some easy trails and dirt roads. Bike was great, walk was maybe 1/4-1/2 a mile too long. I was going to walk even longer since it was such a nice day but luckily talked myself out of it and 5 minutes later I was glad that I had. Walking is getting better every day but it only takes about 5 minutes before something starts hurting and half an hour is about my limit. The doctor and PT say I'll be fine for the agility trials next month and I guess I'll have to trust them.


  1. I agree about the 2o/2o in the ring. I couldnt keep the criteria in the ring either. So Im training my puppy to a running contact. My other dog has had lameness issuse. Im not sure he will be back. Diana

  2. I'm also sick of the lameness issues. I can't say for sure the injuries have been from the 2o/2o but it sure isn't helping matters.

    Good luck with your injured pup. Paws crossed he can come back one day.

  3. I'm also working (nominally) on running Aframe for Tika for similar reasons--never had a solid 2o2o except in class (= never had a solid 2o2o), neck/shoulder stiffness, plus she needs every extra tweak of speed on course compared to those superfast BCs. Can I retrain a dog when (a) she's 7 and (b) I'm lazy? Who knows. I like Rachel Sanders' strategy. But I hate teaching contacts, hate it. Don't know how I got such good contacts with Boost. I think it has more to do with Boost and less with me.

    Sounds like your healing is coming along very well. I'm sure it helps that you were in such good physical condition to begin with. When I was healing from my knee surgery, my surgeon gave me general advice but then kept saying basically "let your body tell you how much to do and how soon." But I'd imagine there's a teeny wee bit of difference between having some cartilage trimmed out of the knee and having an entire toe removed and replaced. At the time it seemed like forever until I was functioning again, but in retrospect a month or two was nothing.

    I like videos when I have time to watch them. I think it would be cool to see a gimp video compared to a normal video. :-)


  4. I hate teaching contacts too and I don't know why. I love teaching weaves and jumps. We'll see if I have more success and fun with the running contact method. Can you retrain a 7 year old? I guess we'll both find out, Cody's 10 and Lola's 7. I'm not expecting perfect results but hopefully an improvement over what I've got just now.

    Surgeons aren't typically all that helpful when it comes to rehab beyond general guidelines. Mine seemed irritated when I kept pressing him for specifics and finally told me to 'follow my heart' when it came to deciding how far to push things. Probably one of the most useless pieces of medical advice I've ever gotten. The physical therapist has been great though, probably the best I've ever had.

    I'll reconsider posting the gimp video. It's boring though unless you like seeing a dog run across a teeter and a plank a million times. But I suppose we agility people are a weird bunch and easily amused by that kind of thing.

  5. Wow, follow your heart, huh? So if he had done heart surgery on you, would he have told you to follow your foot? SOOO many questions!