Sunday, July 10, 2011

Doctors Orders

Couldn't even convince him to get on the steps for the picture

We have a new interior design piece at out house. Last week I bought three sets of little steps to help Gauis on and off furniture with out the gigantic leaps (and sometimes wipe outs) he generally has to do.

This was one thing Dr. Regina Schwabe wanted us to try. She's a DVM, acupuncturist and chiropractor who does a lot of work with agility dogs. She also does a lot of work with dachshunds recovering from back issues. We decided to pay her a visit after a Tracy Sklenar seminar where Tracy said Gauis seemed a little sore by the end of the day and should have his back and knees checked. (I have a lot of footage from that seminar I need to compile for a post. It's on the to do list)

So I trucked him off to P.A.W.S. as soon as I could get an appointment. She's a very busy lady Dr. Schwabe. It was a really nice visit. She has a very cool office that doesn't feel like the vets at all. But Gauis is a sharp cookie and he can smell a DVM from a mile away so there was a lot of barking. But he was defiantly more relaxed than at a regular vet clinic. He still ate the whole time and even played with some of the toys she presented to him. At one point she and I were convinced the barking didn't have to do with him being frightened anymore and had more to do with his attempts to shape us into presenting him with new and better interactive toys and treats. He knows how to make the best of any situation.

So she checked him out. She said there was a little bit of twingyness in his back right where his ribs stop. This is a common place for agility dogs to be sore but it's also a common place for dachshunds to slip disks. After she adjusted him she said she couldn't detect any sourness, which is a good sign. She still wants me to get his back X-rayed (something I've wanted to do for a while). But she recommends every dachshund have its back X-rayed at two years old to look for any calcification that could lead to slipped disks, since the causation is mostly genetic. In good news she said his knees look awesome and she doesn't see any luxating patellae in his future.

She gave us some warm up tips (I'll make a whole post on warm ups later) and a few other things to do. She sent him off with a clean bill of health and ants to see him for maintenance every six months. She would like to see him drop about half a pound, he's 10.2 pounds right now, 9.5 ish would be better for an agility dog. His weight is fine for a pet dog but with all his extra activity he needs to be super slim. Actually his regular vet says he's the slimist dachshund she sees (so many pet dachshunds are so fat :( ). But he's a performance dogs so the rules are a bit different.

She also wanted us to get these steps so he doesn't jump up and down and up onto furniture all day every day. She asked me, "How many jumps does your do do in a week?" I said hmmmm.... "Gauis goes to two agility classes a week, we get 4 or 5 turns a class, with about 10 jumps each...... so between 80 - 100" then she told me to add the number of times he jumps on and off of furniture in a week. Lets just say that's a significant increase in the number. So we're trying to reduce the number.

Gauis is not really into cooperating with this plan. He was really excited about the stairs when I got them out of the box, but once he was told they were not giant stuffed animals we bought him to grab, shake, drag around, and play with he lost interest. He'll go up them when lured but he's certainly not offering the behavior. In fact even when lured he looks resigned. We're working on it. He certanly thinks jumping on furniture is a great deal more reinforcing.

Oliver on the other hand is quite enjoying his new found ability to get onto furniture. So maybe even if I can't convince Gauis that stairs are where it's at, future fosters will appreciate them. Speaking of Oliver it's about time I gave you all an update.

Oliver is a giant sweetheart. Not a mean bone in his body. I took him to stoney point and he loved meeting all the new people and kids. He even gave one little girl kisses. We've been taking him on dog scout hikes to get him a little more exposure. He gets along great with the larger dogs and any weakness he had in his back end has virtually disappeared.

He's still very hesitant about stairs but I think that's more of a lack of experience with them then any physical problem. He's still good with the cat though he does try to mess with her more than my other fosters. I get the impression that he was a cat chaser at a young age and has since decided that it isn't worth it. Doesn't mean he's not VERY interested when she walks into a room.

The marking hasn't really improved BLECH. We need to buy stock in diapers. Sean and I used to have this inside joke when we lived with roommates. We'd walk down the aisle of a grocery store with the baby products and I'd always ask "Do we need to buy diapers for the baby?" We'd then laugh and make some disparaging comment about our roommates maturity level or cleanliness (All in love and jest). Well the habit stuck and I still say it even though we don't have roommates. Last the words slipped out I realized we actually were almost out of diapers. It was one of those sort of sad silly, and hilarious moments all in one.

In other news his soiling of his crate is much reduced, which is progress. Not 100% eliminated though.

Also remember when I called him very active for an old bugger. I have come to believe all the constant motion is more anxiety than anything else. So we've been doing a lot of rewarding for all four feet being still (To get a treat, get fed, or be let out of his crate). He is not a big fan of the training and is easily frustrated. Poor thing was never taught to think. He barks at me and circles like a herding dog. It's really odd. But I have see a marked decrease in the 'ants in his pants' fidgeting that he came to us with. Now that could be because of the training, or it could be because he's just been here longer and is more comfortable. But whatever the reason it's better.

Watching him interact with Gauis is interesting. Though he has no fear or discomfort around other dogs, you can tell he wasn't socialized much as his doggie social skills aren't the best. He doesn't read doggie body language signals well, and he doesn't know the all important doggie rule that possession t is 9 10ths of the law. or that walking on top of others and lying on them without warning is not really polite. Gauis is very tolerant so Oliver has been lucky. Something I think a new owner should be aware of though.

All in all he's a good boy and we are happy to have him, diapers and all.