Monday, March 10, 2008

Maintaining Laev.

So Laev's condition, whatever this mystery ailment is, is possibly worse. She doesn't seem quite as low energy on the B12, but she is much more protective of her personal space with the other dogs.

The other night I opened the door to let Laev out and Shakespeare in. They collided lightly. Laev screamed and went nuts, first snarking at Shakespeare but quickly allowing her survival instinct to kick in. Then she turned at me and freaked, definitely not wanting to bite me either but wanting to bite *something*. I quickly took her outside and closed the door, preventing a possible dogfight, and she was completely frantic for a few minutes. I stroked her and then let her go to do her thing.

That makes the third time I've seen a dog encounter make Laev yelp and snark, and the first time I actually saw what happened. The first two times were with Inky, who is a big klutzy lug and who very probably bumped Laev; both times Laev went more reactive than I've ever seen before and bit, both times needing physically separated. I didn't see the bump either time, but I did mention to the vet during her exam that she was more sensitive about space than usual. These dogs have been passing in the doorways for years, and all three of these incidents have been in the last two weeks. This looks completely different from the "you're in my space!" reaction she'll give a rude dog with an inattentive handler.

I'm also seeing occasional hackling over her lower spine, very small but I think it's there. That's not where she hackles when she's hearing something odd at night, which is at her withers and croup.

She's getting x-rays tomorrow of hips and lumbar region; I think I'll go ahead and have them shoot images of her elbows, too, so we can just get her OFA'd at the same time. I don't want to knock her out again if I want them later. Then, Friday, we have an appointment with a veterinary chiropractor.

My sister thinks Laev's lost weight, and I think I agree. This could be a sign of either something wrong internally or, I'm told, chronic pain. Yeek.

Anyway, all this means I'm not taking Laev to Schutzhund training, because I don't want to hurt her or risk doing anything permanent. But Laev doesn't like rest. She's been getting increasingly needy and twitchy, having no way to burn her physical and mental energy.

"You have to do something with the puppy," Jon said. "'My mommy is gone, my sun has burned out and my life is over.'"

Well, I figured, she can track safely enough, I'd guess. And I want to get her AKC TD anyway. So tonight I laid a ~300 pace track with 3 articles and a half dozen turns. While it aged, Laev and I played at training; I'd like to capture and shape an open mouth behavior. It will be fun for conformation class and a great trick for demonstrating the uses of clicker training.

Then we went into the dusk and tracked. Laev missed the second article (so did I) but tracked pretty reliably over the lots and lots of molehills. She was sloppy at corners, as much as several feet off, but enthusiastically got back on track. Nailed the third article even though I was the furthest behind her I've ever been (I'd dropped back in a long straightaway and for final corner).

Then we went back inside for more hard thinking and easy physical stuff. After a couple hours of training, she had reached a point where she could lie beside me and chew a knuckle bone.

While I'm thrilled with her work ethic and I don't mind having to find new challenges for her, I hope we can find the physical problem soon. I want my dog back!

1 comment:

Judi said...

Laura, sorry to hear of Laev's issues. I hope the chiro fixes her up. I know you are on the up and up of holistic care too. I hope they find her pain, and are able to get it under control. Is she on any vitamins?