Gracie is due to meet her partner next week and if all goes well I won't have her for very long.
I think Gracie just wanted to give a proper Labrador welcome to Zumi like she was able to do for Pyra!
The trip to return Pyra went pretty well. Py was happy to see so many "new" doggy friends and even got to play with the litter of puppies. She apparently figured out how to play leap frog in order to get to the toy bin on her first night. Also is learning some quick lessons about needing to look before you leap from the top of the couch.
The time with Pyra is coming to a close as I will drive her back to her breeder on Friday. I thought this last week would be harder than it has been. For the most part I'm at peace with my decision. Sadness, but no regrets.
Between a missed entry, lack of money, and conflicting plans, Lance's last obedience trial of the year was apparently our October trial.
So I've been working quite a bit on proofing all his exercises lately. Trying to be creative and just having fun with testing his understanding.
Some proofs that Lance still needs a bit of work on are:
|Winter is here :(|
This whole decision to return Pyra is way harder on us than it will be on Py. I know it's going to be easy for her to find a great home and new people to love. Such a confident and easy girl! Huge thank you's to everyone who has been supportive of our decision, even if you disagree.
Last picture with leaves. First snowfall brought 7 inches to our door. It's safe to say that Py loves the snow!
While I have been writing about Pyra these past two months I haven't been sharing everything. I noticed Pyra's feet turnout and jutting elbows starting around 10wks of age and have been closely monitoring. It's been quite the roller coaster ride of feeling optimistic she will outgrow it and feeling completely wrung out with worry that her body will never be able to handle the impact of dog sports. Around 14 weeks of age I was fully panicked with worry and by 15wks of age I called to make an appointment with a specialist to discuss her options and predictions for the future.
In the meantime I've went back and forth several times a day on what I would do if her body could not handle training for dog sports. On one hand, the amount of time I spend on a daily basis training for sports is a miniscule amount of the time we spend just hanging out together, going for walks, and cuddling. But on the flip side, the time I do spend training each dog one on one is priceless to me and I believe it forms the foundation for the strong bond I have with my dogs. I know that without the push to train for the sports I love, I would need to make a much greater effort to get that same type of effortless communication and teamwork with her.
I've also thought immensely about whether it would be even be doable to keep Pyra, and get another puppy in a year as my performance prospect. Do I have the time and money to devote to 4 dogs? If so, what about the future when Vito gets close retirement and I have 2 retired older dogs? So many questions and so many thoughts whirling around.
The discussions I've had this last week with the specialist left the decision I needed to make a reality and not just a "what if". The radius (or maybe the ulna?) isn't growing at it's normal rate and it the cause of both the leg turnout and the elbow issue. It's not going to get better. It is possible it may not get any worse and she may not have any symptoms of limping or pain. By the time she's 8 months we should have a pretty good idea. Any problems she could have will likely stem from the elbows and not her feet.
According to the orthopedic specialist she could possibly do agility just fine. But from others I've talked to about the impact that jumping and turning creates on the dog's front end, I don't think I could ever feel comfortable trying it and could never forgive myself if she was in pain and just not showing signs right away. From discussion with rehab specialist, the risk of arthritis is high and the chance of injury greater.
Ultimately I've decided to return Pyra to her breeder to find her a good home as a pet. As you can imagine this has not been an easy decision and the choice will only get harder as the day to hand her over comes. Currently we are still working out the details and deciding what comes next.
I'm so sorry Py.
|Finally mastered backing up to her 2o2o position!|
I've written quite a bit on the work I've done with Vito's obedience training and the re-training I had to do for myself to stop trying harder than the effort he was giving. It was easy to wave the food or toys in front of his face and pretend that he was really engaging with me. But of course all of that was just fooling myself into believing that he didn't really have issues of focus and motivation.
All of our re-training went into Vito choosing to work and giving him the power. Our initial "work" was really 95% play. But it was driven by Vito and his choices. No more somersaults and pleading from my end. It also meant a lot more time spent on doing nothing. And we still have that issue, especially in new places as he has to check out the world. Baby steps.
But Denise Fenzi's blog post yesterday on the topic of engagement summarizes so eloquently the philosophy that I had to move to with Vito and have taken with all the puppies since.
Comfort first, then engagement, and then finally work.
Py loves offering focus and "heeling" for any possible chance I could be willing to train and hand out cookies! With Vito I have a million deleted pictures of his butt or maybe of his body but with his head swiveled in another direction.
Miss Py turns 16wks old tomorrow and weighs 20.8lbs. I'm easing back down on my guess for her final weight, maybe 37lbs now? But then again she still is up to where Gracie and Fiona were at the same age!
We had a few more fun days exploring the park and a new little neighborhood "nature trail" as well.
Sadly with the lovely invention of daylight savings time we won't be able to go after work anymore on the few nights I'm not teaching classes.