I did take Laev to a highly-recommended veterinary chiropractor tonight. She'd been getting worse -- yelping and snapping if bumped by another dog, suddenly less pulling on the tracking line (she's ALWAYS tried to drag me down track) and weaving on the track, some faint hackling over hips.... I had hips, elbows and lumbar x-rayed and all looked fine (went ahead and submitted to OFA, as long as we were doing it), so next step was the chiropractor. It was very interesting and I think well worthwhile.
He found a whole laundry list of things wrong with Laev -- pelvis out of whack, something more with the left hip in particular, the right shoulder wonky to compensate for the left hip, the lower neck.... "Wonky" is of course not the medical term, but in short, Laev was messed up. He suspects the lack of pulling on the leash would be due to the pelvis/hip and the yelping when bumped due to the neck.
He spent a while poking, pushing and snapping Laev into place, and there was a quite loud pop when he adjusted her left hip. She only really shifted away once; what really amazed me was how cool she was
with all of this. I'd given her my palm to position her and keep her steady (she's trained to chin rest in it), but she relaxed very obviously and really sank into my hand.
"Ah!" he said. "A Doberman I can do a tail adjustment on!"
Afterward, he did some acupuncture and injected a tiny bit of B12 into each needle, which is something my regular vet had mentioned. We got on the list for a future appointment; he's in big demand and travels
I feel a tiny bit validated -- I'm guessing the hackling I observed was due to the sore hip and pelvis, for example, so I wasn't totally off in my assessment. I'm just really, really hoping now that this wasn't just incidental or contributing and there's still another major problem elsewhere.
Our club is really safety-minded, and our training director very particular about the catching of the dogs, but of course a small thing can happen and then just build as the dog keeps going, and more can be pushed out of alignment as the dog compensates for the sore area. Laev will be taking another week off to let the adjustments really settle, and she'll definitely be getting an agitation harness for work instead of the padded leather collar I have been using.
Regarding tomorrow's tracking.... Laev tracked much better this afternoon on a harness for the first time -- no neck pressure! -- and so I'm hoping that we do well tomorrow, despite the fact that we haven't really prepped for AKC style and that I've been a total nervous wreck about her! At least I know she did well today and I know that tonight's chiropractic was beneficial, so that will help my end of the leash to be calm. :-)