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Of Beachbody coaches and professional dog trainers.

December 30, 2015 1 comment

Today I am snowed in. Like yesterday. And I start feeling some cabin fever. And since I am like this, I started looking at Facebook. I know, I have decided to let it be for a while, kind of a “cleansing period”. But there is just so much I can do when I am bored and stuck inside.

On Facebook, I came across two disturbing “commercials”. One from a Beachbody coach, advertised on the Agility Canada group (or another agility group). I think. The other from a dog trainer offering a professional dog training program.

Call it cabin fever, but I could just not prevent myself from commenting on the Beachbody coach post. I asked what were her credentials. I wanted to know whether she was a physiotherapist, an osteopath,a kinesiologist, a rehab therapist, a vet, a physician, etc.  What is she? Apart from some sort of financial consultant (yeah, totally related eh?!). Because without any real training in any of the above, I seriously doubt she could help any dog or any handler without risking to actually do more damage than help. Unless, of course, she only wanted to encourage people and offer moral support. However, that was not stated anywhere in her post.

Interestingly, the whole thing is gone. And she messaged me going on and on about the fact that Beachbody coaches do not need to have any formal training (which I know) and that I should have not offended her publicly. I am blown away by the fact that asking for someone’s credentials and stating that as a Beachbody coach she does not need any, is now taken as an offense. Really? What, am I just supposed to praise her for her endeavours and not ask polite, yet to the point, questions?

So, obviously without any relevant background as my questions “offended”her, just because one day she decided to add some extra income and to become a Beachbody coach, she can now “help design a workout”.

Encouragement, metal support, maybe. But designing a workout?! That is potentially a dangerous thing to do without any idea what one is actually doing.

I have a personal trainer who has studied kinesiology, exercise science, functional movement, and is working his ass off to stay in business in a world where anyone can go out there and profess to be whatever and people will just go for it. This is great, just great.

But hey, one must not ask what their background is because they will remove your comment and message you privately telling you that you offended them and embarrassed yourself? I do not think so!! I do not feel embarrassed in the least. If asking a simple question can cause this reaction, perhaps this person knows that she is not qualified to do what she is doing, even if legally perhaps she can do so.

But, let’s move to another favourite topic of today. Professional dog trainers. This is such a ludicrous title in Canada where there are no rules/regulations pertaining dog training.

I am not a professional dog trainer. Simply because I do not train dogs as a profession. But I could easily be one in Canada. As I said, this profession is, in Canada, non regulated. Which means that anyone can go out there, and say he/she is a professional dog trainer, and start teaching other people how to train their dogs in pretty much everything. Like the much criticized Cesar Millan.

Of course there are established dog schools, established meaning that they have been around for several years, that offer what they call “certification programs”. But, as the industry is not regulated, those certification programs can, again, be set up by pretty much anyone claiming to be a professional dog trainer. They only need people to believe in them and be willing to pay quite a bit of $$ to get a certificate that legally is worth nothing. It will just mean that they have gone to this “school”, taken whatever classes the “professional dog trainer” has deemed necessary for them to get the certificate, and passed whatever test he/she decided on with whatever passing score he/she has set.

Mind you, some dog trainers have lots of experience and are really good. And their certification programs may be excellent. What I want to say is that it is a jungle out there. And one has to be careful and “shop” well before registering in any of these types of programs.

A perspective professional dog trainer could go above and beyond this, and go to university, to earn a degree as Certified Applied Animal Behaviourist  (C.A.B.B.).Becoming a C.A.B.B. requires a Masters of Science in Ethology, Psychology or Applied Animal Behaviour plus an apprenticeship under an Animal Behaviour Society certified animal behaviourist plus peer reviewed behavioural research.  A  C.A.B.B. has nothing to do with being a “canine behaviourist” or “dog psychologist”. Because these two, exactly like the “professional trainer”, have no legal requirements in Canada. I could just go out and start professing to be a “canine behaviourist”. After all I have dealt with my dog’s “issues” for 5 years now.

I do not know anyone in the dog world here in the Ottawa/Gatineau area who is a C.A.A.B.

And this is why when I see people going off promoting their certification program I wonder…it is funny because some of them list in their resume that they are certified pet dog trainers! Certified by whom?! Others promote their certification program saying it is “fully accredited”. By whom?!! The industry is not regulated in Canada!!!

And what should I say about those people who list their title next to their name, e.g. “Ms Trainer, PhD”? I do have a Ph.D., perhaps if I wrote it on Facebook next to my name people would ask me to train their dogs, even if my Ph.D. has nothing to do with dogs! Sure. Why not. Those 3 letters look so cool after all.

I could go on and on about this, and add the canine nutritionists to this, but I made a hole in my snow bank just big enough for my car to go through. So I am getting dressed and bringing my two dogs to run in the snow.

 

 

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Categories: Varia

On playing agility on outdoors artificial turf

November 24, 2015 Leave a comment

The 2016 AAC National Agility Championships will be held in Montreal.

Wow! When I heard the news, I was ecstatic! Just a couple of hours from home. Short trip. Cool!

When I heard we were going to be playing on the soccer field of Ecole Secondaire de la Ponte-aux-Trembles, on artificial turf, I was very happy. I thought it would be great to run on a nice, smooth, even surface, no matter the weather. I did not give the surface a second thought, but then my experience of running on artificial turf/grass has been limited to a couple of indoor trials and training sessions.

Then, last week, the organizing committee posted on Facebook more information about the soccer field we will be using:

“Finding a perfectly even and athletic quality field that could hold 6 rings was an important objective for the organizing committee. In addition, for those who were in Sussex in 2014, it is easy to understand the fear of seeing a field deteriorate from one competitor to another. In Sussex, they had a field that resisted very well to the atrocious weather conditions. However, Montreal Island is known for its clay type soil in many areas. This can be disastrous in wet conditions, to the point where an event would need to be cancelled. Renting a one time use venue (predicting the soil’s capability to resist in wet conditions) was deemed too risky.

The choice was obvious; it would be artificial turf (Synthetic grass).
The site chosen has an excellent quality field surface (recently replaced- approximately 2 years old). New enough to avoid being patted down or worn out, yet old enough to be broken in. Thanks to local government support, we obtained special permission to use it for a canine event.

Many worry about the heat from the turf on paw pads. On a bright and sunny day during summer, it is undeniable that artificial turf is hotter than natural grass. We tested by checking if we could leave an open palm hand easily over 10 seconds on a very hot day, with no clouds at high noon. There was no problem in doing so. There is no danger for burning pads due to the heat. However, the committee acknowledges needing to find ways to reduce the discomfort caused by the heat floating off the turf in the waiting areas and for the volunteers who will be there for hours.”

Reading the text I highlighted above, sent me some warning signs. I had not “clicked” until this post came up on Facebook.

Considering that the dogs will have to spend more than 10 seconds on that surface, and also not having any idea of exactly how hot such surface can become, I set out to find some answers.

The first things I found were journal articles about the 2015 Women FIFA World Cup held here in Canada, outdoors on artificial grass. Here in Ottawa, on a 25C day (air temperature) the artificial turf the soccer players had to play on was at 55C. The women at the FIFA World Cup kept their cleats on ice before going in the field. And developed blisters in their toes because of the heat of the surface. In June.

I then discovered that there isn’t much research done on the issue of artificial turf overheating and most of the research has been concerned with their toxicity. However, there is a reputable source of information: the Penn State University Center for Sport Surface Research:

http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/ssrc/research/synthetic-turf-research-penn-state

This year they studied the effect of irrigation on synthetic turf temperature:

http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/ssrc/documents/irrigationsynthetic.pdf

The study was conducted at Penn State’s Center for Sports Surface Research on June 24, 2015 on a FieldTurf Revolution plot that had been installed in 2012. Weather conditions were sunny, breezy, with clouds moving in at about 3:00 PM and lasting for the remainder of data collection.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I highly recommend having a look at Figure 1 on the above article, which clearly shows how the temperature of artificial turf (control – yellow) increases, how lower the temperature of “real” turf is (blue)  and how frequent water irrigation can help keeping the artificial turf temperature down. Also, one can see from table 1 that when the air temperature was 75F (23.8C), at 2:30 pm , the artificial turf had reached its highest temperature for that day, of 155.7F (68.7C). Already at 11:55 am the non watered artificial turf (control) temperature was 143.6F (62C), while the air temperature was only 70F (21C). It is also interesting to note that at 3:30 pm, 30 minutes after the cloud cover established itself over the field, the non watered artificial turf temperature had dropped significantly to 124.9F (51.6C) while the air temperature was higher than at 2:30 pm at 78F (25.6C).

The article also indicates that turf temperature is dependent on how the sun rays hit the surface. On a sunny but relatively cool day with no cloud cover the artificial turf will likely be hotter than on a warmer day where there is a cloud cover or a significant amount of haze.

The above may be misleading as one may think the day is sunny but not hot and not be prepared for a high artificial turf temperature.

Another good image can be found on this article and it shows clearly how between natural grass, sand, cement (pavement) and artificial turf, the latter reaches the highest temperature on a given day: http://turf.uark.edu/turfhelp/archives/021109.html

As for burns, according to AntiScald Inc., at 55C one can develop a second degree burn in 17 seconds and a third degree burn in 30 seconds, while those times go down to 2 seconds and 5 seconds respectively at a temperature of 60C (http://www.antiscald.com/prevention/general_info/table.php). They are referring to human skin and not dog paw pads. But it is still an indication of the potential danger of a hot surface.

Because of the above,  I wonder what the AAC Nationals organizing committee means by “no danger”.

Not only the scientific data indicate that outdoors artificial turf can overheat and become an issue. But the recommendations I received from fellow competitors who have experienced trialling or working with their dogs outdoors on artificial turf on a sunny day are not those one would get if there was “no danger”.

I asked questions on the Agility Europe Facebook group, as I know that in Europe they trial on many different surfaces and I sent a private message to a Facebook friend who is very active in agility and plays at a very competitive level.

My post on the Agility Europe Facebook group can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/383870845005713/permalink/976189345773857/

Kristýna Hrazdilová comments on my post on the Agility Europe Facebook group: “We had a third qualification competition (2 days) on artificial grass in conditions you describe (temperatures about 35°C) – Impossible to step on the grass barefoot, but during the 2 days just several dog paws were hurt. It was very important to keep dogs in shadow, wet and minimize the time spend on the grass. So it is possible (and possibly safe) to compete in such conditions, however not optimal”

Monika Rylska  comments: “plus remember to wet your dog but keep his paws dry – wet paws plus hot artificial surface will surely scratch skin off”

Susan Fallon Paulsen comments: “Yes, our nationals in the USA for USDAA was like that. It can get very hot so wet your dog down. Also, the turf can get very slick.”

My Facebook friend, in a private message, told me that he has done a 3 week-ends camp on 3rd generation astroturf. Air temperatures were 30-35C. They would do a maximum of 4 minutes on the turf, and only from early morning till 11 am. Then they would pause till 5 pm when the sun was starting to set. From 9 am on, they watered the field every hour to cool it down. They also wet the dogs every time they went on the field. With those precautions, a few dogs got minor burns, likely due to a combination of hot temperature of the turf and friction.

Because of all of the above, the statement “There is no danger for burning pads due to the heat.” by the AAC Nationals 2016 organizing committee appears to be a gross misrepresentation of what things could really be like at the 2016 Nationals on an outdoor artificial grass field, given “unfavourable” weather conditions like a bright sunny day. I was hoping the field was provided of an automatic irrigation system, but I just received confirmation from the organizing committee that there is none.

Had I not gone through this exercise, I would not think of the necessity of watering down my dog before a run on artificial turf when the air temperature is, for example, 25C, when the day is pleasantly sunny and not humid. I would not know that the artificial turf, if my run is at 2:30 pm, may be at a temperature close to 70C. I would not know of the need, in such conditions, to minimize contact of my dog’s paws with the artificial turf. And my dog would still risk burning his pads because of the turf temperature and the friction on that surface. Had I not gone through this exercise I would believe, because of the statement by the organizing committee, that everything is fine. Until stepping on that surface, for the first time, on a bright sunny 25C day. That would also likely be the last run my dog would run at that event. Because he would likely burn his pads.

I understand the attempt of the AAC Nationals organizing committee to have all competitors run on the same turf, not on a turf that deteriorates due to unfavourable weather conditions as more and more dogs run on it. However, I do not think they solved this problem. Between the first dog running an event at 8:30 am and a dog running that same event on that same turf at 11:00 am, the turf will still be the same in terms of evenness of the surface . However, the turf will be at a much higher temperature for the latter dog, potentially so hot as to cause burns due to heat + friction or heat alone, depending on the atmospheric conditions. How is this any better? And, how is this the same turf for all competitors?

What I really dislike, however, is the false sense of security that the AAC Nationals organizing committee is giving to competitors. I certainly hope nothing will happen, that the 4-7 of August 2016 will be all overcast breezy days and no sun rays will hit the artificial turf of the six agility rings.

And, I wonder which value would have a waiver signed by competitors under the misleading information publicly given by the organizing committee that “there is no danger of burning pads due to the heat”, if anything happened…

I have been criticized for spreading some of this information on my Facebook wall, I have been told that anything can be made look scary, that the 10 seconds hand test is a well accepted test, that if I can hold my hand for 10 seconds on pavement my dog can walk across it.

However, my Facebook wall is mine to do as I please. I did not offend anybody. I just stated my concerns and some of my early findings. One may take it or leave it. Or just read it and remain indifferent, or of course comment on it. Nobody is forced to read the stuff I post on my wall. Or to take it at face value.  As for making things look scary, I disagree. I am just putting together whatever I found out there. Both from scientific sources and from fellow competitors who answered my questions.

My job, that pays for my agility, consists on finding out information. Both from scientific sources, blogs, patents. Anything I can find about a certain topic, made available to the public in any possible form. And what I posted here is out there for anybody wanting to look and read it.

I am a chemist. I do understand what I have read. I may not get much about politics or economics, but I do understand heat, conductivity and temperature and polymers and so on, even if at first I had not paid much attention.

I also understand that my dog will not be trotting on cement. He will be running full speed ahead on a possibly very hot surface, a surface likely hotter than cement (see above article from Arkansas U). He will be weaving, doing tight turns, accelerating and decelerating. There will be significant friction with a surface that can already inflict friction burns when cool. And while the hand on a surface for 10 seconds may be considered as a good empirical way to see whether a dog can walk on a hot surface, I do not consider it a valid test to determine whether it can run and decelerate abruptly and turn sharply on the same hot surface.

I now have a much better idea of the potential dangers of outdoors astroturf on a sunny, not necessarily hot, summer day.

And I have also read carefully the recommendations of my fellow competitors.

As far as I am concerned, when I will decide whether to go to Nationals, I will have made an informed decision, not one based on what, so far, to me looks like a wrong and dismissive “no danger” statement, which does nothing more than spreading a false sense of security. Because us commoners, without looking into the issue, with just that statement, would only consider the usual precautions we take when running our dogs in conditions of extreme heat. We would not think that a surface we run on can be at 68.7C when the air temperature is a pleasant 23.8C as shown by the folks at the Centre for Sport Surface Research of Penn State University.

A last thought goes to the judges of the event, and to the volunteers, who may be faced with sitting or walking for several hours on a surface that can heat up to 70C on a nice ordinary sunny day. The organizing committee mentions that “the committee acknowledges needing to find ways to reduce the discomfort caused by the heat floating off the turf in the waiting areas and for the volunteers who will be there for hours.” I am looking forward to their solution, especially for the judges. As this type of event has been run on outdoors astroturf abroad, I am sure it can be done also here. I just cannot see everything stopping every single hour to water down the whole soccer field at an event where about 500 dogs need to run 2 courses every day, if the need arose. After all in Sussex they did not stop during the downpours unless, like during my gamblers run, the scribe was unable to hear the judge…

Regardless of what I will decide to do, hopefully all the stars will align in the universe and August 4-7 2016 will be 4 great overcast days in Montreal.

——-

As an aside, the city of Barcelona (Spain) public agility field is artificial turf. But there is an automatic irrigation system (according to the info I found online). This appears to be the best way to dissipate the heat and cool this type of surface.

——-

A short summary with recommendations from Penn State U:

http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/ssrc/documents/temperature.pdf

Getting back, up and running, can be scary…

August 27, 2015 1 comment

It has been a long time since Krypto and I have done any “serious” agility, that is trialling. We had stopped last November because of Krypto’s injury due to some scar tissue adhesion that had deteriorated his jumping. We had reached the point where he would refuse to jump the double, spread and tyre. And stutter step more and more frequently.

Then it was my turn. I was not injured, but I underwent surgery to get a second total hip replacement. This time I got a brand new left hip.

Then, at the very end of my convalescence, I discovered that a very small mass on Krypto’s chest (left-hand side), which I thought was gone since I had first seen it in February, had actually grown a bit. In February the vet that had seen him (unfortunately mine was on holiday) had sworn it was a histiocytoma (benign) and that it would normally reabsorb within 4-5 months. I brought Krypto to see my vet, to get her opinion on the mass, and decided to have it removed as it was growing, even if very slowly. That was a good call on my part as it turned out that mass was an early grade 2 mastocytoma, that is a cancer. Luckily we got it in time and my vet was able to remove it completely, so Krypto did not require any further surgeries or chemotherapy. But it was a huge scare for me, and of course we were off any type of activity for an additional couple of weeks.

After my surgery and before Krypto’s, we just had the time to do a couple of Gamblers runs at a small local trial. We did well, but Krypto popped the weaves in a very costly mini-gamble, which is very unusual. I did not think much about it, but after his surgery, he kept popping the weaves in training and at agility class. A visit to the chiropractor explained the issue as he was “a mess” and even his toes were out of alignment. He hasn’t popped them since.

Between Krypto’s surgery and his visit to the chiropractor, we managed to go for a One Mind Dog workshop held by OMD coach Jessica Ajoux in St-Lazare, to learn the techniques. It was mostly young dogs, and we were pretty much the only “old” team, and also the only one who did not know those fancy moves (I think…). It was an extremely hot day so even if we could have worked longer with the coach, if we got things right at the first attempt, we stopped there. It was fun, but I also got a bit self conscious watching these speedy handlers, with their young dogs, doing impressive handling, while I considered it a success when Krypto and I got the German turn or the double lap turn right!

And now this is it. Saturday we have our first trial in a long time.  If I do not consider those two Gamblers runs, it has been roughly ten months.

The one on Saturday is a small local trial at our club, More Dogz. Four runs: standard, challenge and two jumpers. It should not be a big deal but it is becoming a big deal for me. I am concerned about what we’ll be able to do. I am not really fast on my legs. I think I can get better once my left leg is stronger, but now I am so so as far as speed is concerned, and I lack endurance. Not that I will ever be fast…but…

And I see all these young people with legs that go up to their necks, run so that it looks so simple. And they are oh so coordinated. I was never an athlete (and never will be…), let alone coordinated!!

I think I need to get my act together and just trust that my adrenaline will keep me breathing till the end of each course. And go in the ring forgetting about young people with great legs and beautiful smooth “international” handling skills. Remembering the course and what I need to do both in terms of handling and in terms of verbal cues is what I must do. And I’ll be ok.

But,most of all, I must remember that I do not care about the Qs. I care about being as one with my amazing little border collie, to play and have fun together. Then everything will be ok, no matter what.

Our 2014, from when we left the blog to December’s “revelation” and more…

January 19, 2015 1 comment

Our agility year (2014) continued pretty well as Krypto succeeded beyond my expectations. We became a better team and brought home several titles, and finally one sunny day of July, at the Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club, Krypto and I succeeded in “conquering” the last Masters Jumpers Q we needed to obtain the ATChC! Not only that, but we also earned the Bronze Award of Merit (10 Masters Standard Qs + 25 Masters Games Qs)!!

with judge Wendy Beard, showing off our ribbons

with judge Wendy Beard, showing off our ribbons

Before that “epic” day (for me), we had competed at the Quebec Regionals and with 507.95 points and a 10th place in 22 regular we had qualified for Nationals. Again, something I had only dreamed of!!

However at Regionals one thing started haunting us again, after some time we hadn’t had that issue. Krypto was stutter stepping before jumps. But, it was not consistent. Outdoors things were going better and the stutter stepping was minor. Krypto also started taking off very early on for a jump, and I started worrying. However it was hard to work on this issue since it was not always present and I could not figure out its cause.

At the Quebec Regionals.  Photo by Jacques Beauvais.

At the Quebec Regionals. Photo by Jacques Beauvais.

Regardless, off we went to our greatest agility adventure: the AAC 2014 National Agility Championships, that were held in Sussex, NB. I still remember discussing things with our trainer/coach/instructor/friend J.L. and telling her the same thing I had told her about my strategy for Regionals. I was going to give it all and push our limit. We’ll go for it. Playing conservatively when there were other 96 dogs in our category was really not an option. And I remember her agreeing with me.

So off we went, with a friend and her dog. And we had the grandest of times! We ran our heart out, we rose to 11th place after day one, then an unfortunate run under the downpour and my mistake brought us down to 33rd place after day two, but we managed to keep our cool and to climb back 6 places to finish 27th out of 97 dogs! And we even brought home a 7th place ribbon in Gamblers. I was on cloud none, and thinking of it, I still am. That was the most amazing competition ever. Before our first run I could barely breath! I had so much adrenaline running in my system that I had a hard time sleeping even if we were waking up every day at the crack of dawn! I learnt so much and I am so so proud of what we accomplished for our first time playing with the “big” dogs!

7th place Gambler 1

7th place Gambler 1

Once back home, things started deteriorating. Krypto’s stutter stepping, almost absent at Nationals (although I think it cost us a clean Standard 1 and 5 points in Standard 2), came back with a vengeance. Not only that. After an accident with a small non-breakaway tire, Krypto started refusing this obstacle. I spent lots of time training him, reading jumping books by Linda Mecklenburg, Chris Zink, Susan Salo and Suzanne Clothier. I started thinking that what was gong on was due to lack of confidence. But our trainer convinced me to go see a canine rehab therapist. And what she found was amazing! 
Krypto’s neutering scar, which is a tad different and a bit bigger than a normal one as he had an undescended testicle, has adhered to the underlying tissues, e.g. the fasciae. This is exerting a pull on his muscles and is causing a lot of discomfort, and a tightness in Krypto’s left psoas. The pull has gotten worse over the years as has the tightness and the pain.
This could be the reason why Krypto takes lots of small steps instead of a couple of nice strides before jumping, why he has started tucking his back paws under his back when jumping while he used to extend his paws backwards, and also why he tries to avoid certain obstacles…He may be trying to protect his leg while still doing what he loves to do.
Of course this is not necessarily the only cause of what he does, but may certainly be a contributing factor.

Krypto underwent therapy, the adhesion is almost completely gone, and last Saturday we went for the first training session since we have found out about this injury. I must admit that I was very concerned about not seeing any improvement, especially since after over a year of jumping the way he did, he may have created a habit that may be difficult to break.

We did extension grids, set points and speed circles. Krypto was extending beautifully doing grid work, but he kept tucking his back paws under while doing the speed circle…until we were almost done and he started extending his back paws back while jumping! Now, this may not mean much, but I am really hopeful that he may have understood that his muscles do not hurt anymore and it is ok to kick his paws back!

And this is it, in short, what we have done since our last post. In the next months we’ll keep working on Krypto’s jumping skills and try to break his bad habits. Until then, no trials for us…

Winter training dilemma.

November 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Winter has arrived and our favourite place to play agility is closed until next May. Unfortunately, Red Gate Arena, our favourite indoor facility to do agility, closed in March of this year, and there aren’t many alternatives around. Either I do not like the footing, or the size, or both…Perhaps I am picky, but I have started considering taking a break from the sport/activity I like the most, and not train until next Spring/meltdown.

As one of my friends told me, dogs do not forget. True. It’s just that I always end up with new challenges being presented to us at each trial we go to, and I would like to work on those challenges asap. I also worry about the Regionals coming up in June and having had barely a month to get ready for the big event…

Perhaps something I have been planning with a friend will work out and we will go off to train for a few hours a couple of times a month. That would actually be awesome. And, our other training activities will be limited to a couple of fun matches (January and April), ball exercises, tricks and similar stuff, and we will play frisbee and go for long walks…

……….

……….

Categories: Uncategorized, Varia

Rosanne DeMascio workshop

October 14, 2013 Leave a comment

On Saturday and Sunday Krypto and I went to a couple of agility workshops organized by the Ottawa Valley Border Collie Club: Masters Handling and International Handling. Our instructor was international handler Rosanne DeMascio.

At first I did not want to attend. I did not know what Krypto and I could do at those workshops, considering that I do not run much and that we use, if not a unique, a rare handling style. As a friend of us put it, I handle Krypto “remotely”. Then my instructor and a friend convinced me to go. Their arguments were that there is always something to learn at a workshop, and that a good instructor would adapt to my limitations and give me feedback no matter what.

They were both right. We had a great time at both workshops and we came home with tips and ideas on how to improve our handling and our partnership to succeed in negotiating even international agility courses. This is a video of the two of us at the workshops:

The past two afternoons, spent with Krypto at this agility workshop, made me realize how lucky I am to have him as an agility partner. When we run an agility course, I am usually far away and cannot help him with his weave entries, discriminations and so on apart from giving him a verbal cue. He can very seldom rely on deceleration cues, feet pointing to the “future” and so on, because I am not there. Sure, he has been trained for this, but he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, I believe more than a dog with a handler who can be there for his dog. He takes this responsibility quite seriously, one would think he knew. He works always giving me all what he has, he is always happy and very businesslike. He is a workaholic!  Sometimes I think that with a different handler the sky would be his limit. But…he has me 🙂  He does not care though, he is a happy dog whether we compete locally, play at a fun match, go for a walk or watch TV, and I am grateful I chose him almost three years ago, to come home with me and Pongo.

Categories: Agility, Varia

New hip

April 5, 2013 2 comments

It has happened…on March 17th, while I was at LL for a Fannie-Krypto playdate, I received a phone call from the hospital and I got scheduled for surgery on Monday March 25th.

Needless to say I freaked. I am thankful to LL for offering a shoulder to cry on, and to Krypto, who cuddled up with me for a bit while I absorbed the news (I was supposed to get at least 3 weeks of warning).

My friends and I organized everything for Pongo and Krypto, and on Saturday March 23rd off they went to their respective foster home, so to speak. Pongo went to LR and Krypto to LL. I finished cleaning up the house and got ready for “hip day”.

Now, a week and a half after the surgery, I feel great. My only pain is dues to the surgical cut, and is quite minor compared to what I had to go through with my old hip. I stayed in the hospital for two days, the surgery day and the following one, and at noon on Wednesday March 27th I was sent home as I was doing really well. On Tuesday April 2nd I have been upgraded from walker to cane, and yesterday I went for my first little walk outside the house, under the watchful eye of my nurse extraordinaire NL.

While I am at home alone, doing my physiotherapy and recovering, the boyz are enjoying their stay at my friend’s. Krypto is getting lots of attention from LL, he is learning to heel properly since I disregarded this aspect of his training for over a year and his heeling ability have gone from excellent to crappy, to say the least. He is also learning to skateboard, and he has been training in agility as well. This is a video of him having fun at KN agility arena in Mallorytown:

Pongo is enjoying his stay as well, and he has three wonderful companions to play with:

Pongo, Gilligan and Walter 903105_10201031575650207_786144827_o

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watching the video and looking at these photos, taken by LR, I believe that the boyz are much happier than I am…I miss them so and I am looking forward to their return…soon!!

Categories: Varia