Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bellyache, and Potential Trouble?

So the semi full of Bravo! Raw Diet came yesterday, and my husband set out 30 lbs on th porch for my sister to pick up. Last night, he (completely forgetting the food) let Laev out front. By the time he realized his mistake, Laev had eaten somewhere between 2 and 12 lbs of ground raw food -- on top of her normal supper.

At least with a raw diet I don't worry much about bloat, but even so, Laev looked positively like a bowling ball this morning. I didn't think she would track for food, but she did (TOTs in the footsteps, and cheese/hot dog bits for the article). A few minutes after I put her in the car, she puked it all back up. /sigh/

We practiced in a mock trial format today, tracking first (better for both Shakespeare and Laev, although I'm told I need to age Laev's tracks much more in order to slow her down more) and then obedience. Laev was still willing to work for food :-) but was a little slow for the toy, as if she for some reason didn't want to jump around a lot. /wink/ The weather was nasty -- a crazily unseasonable 60 degrees yesterday, and then today a miserable cold, wet, dark day. We were all saturated and freezing.

Three of us reported in to the "judge" at once, as for the trial, and while we lined up, one dog attacked the next. I immediately backed away and called Laev to me, reaching for treats and rewarding front position as I backed hurriedly away, swinging Laev between heel and front, but she was rattled by it. I don't blame her; she hasn't seen much of that, and she's only 18 months old -- it's hard to believe sometimes that she's still impressionable, but she's really not terribly mature in some things. I brought her back when things had settled and treated generously for holding eye contact while the offending dog was heeled about the group. She did it, but it was a little tough.

Then I went to put her in position for the honor down. The offending dog worked first, starting the heel pattern. The pattern is in the shape of a capital J, with the baseline and short upper stroke heeling toward the honoring dog. Laev broke the down as the team turned toward us and the two dogs made eye contact. I replaced her and when they came for their second lap, Laev broke again. This time I replaced her and stayed close, reminding her to down and hoping my proximity would give her some confidence, but she popped up from the down two or three more times before her turn ended.

We started our heelwork, and it was obvious that Laev was a little rattled. She stayed in heel position, but she just wasn't "on" like normal. It was a new field (our usual field was completely flooded with the weather change), but I felt her performance had more to do with the incident than the environment. Still I didn't hesitate to take her off leash for the second half of her pattern, and aside from a botched down out of motion (she gave me a sit instead), nothing was too hideous.

I took her back for another try at the honor down during the next dog's work, and she remained in place the entire time. Of course, that was the attacked dog, and not the attacking dog; the problem is, I'm pretty sure we'll be paired with the dog she's newly unhappy about for trial day. /sigh/ Just when I was starting to feel pretty confident about the BH, a new challenge....

I'll have to work my butt off this week, training in different locations and with big and slightly scary distractions, but not crossing the line into stressing the dog. Ick.

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