Thursday, February 17, 2011

Little of this, a little of that

Vegas went to the allergist this week and, as a follow-up to my last post, I had asked Dr. Randall about birch. She immediately went and told her staff to add to the custom-made serum for Vegas some additional birch related components to better protect her against it. How cool is that!

We also got additional feedback about what we can do to adjust as need be her serum doses based upon her allergies. For instance, when she was itchy this last Fall, I could have upped what I gave her a bit as well as giving the injections more frequently. Nothing like a little more ammo in my pocket against these darn allergies! It was a good visit and she was happy with how well everything had worked for Vegas.

Last night we had our second nose work class working on detecting birch odor. We were down one student in class and got started a bit quicker, so we managed to squeeze in three searches instead of just two. The first one was held in the wide open space of the armory. Three elements were hidden - one in between two metal lockers on a small edge where they were slightly offset, anther on the floor between two basketballs, and the third on the upright, round pole of a portable basketball hoop.

And here are a few pictures of Vegas searching:

 Once she discovered the treasure there, she kicked the ball promptly out of the way. :-)
After this search we went into a hallway area. The hallway really doubled as another work area and display area. There were a couple of cases with storage, an open shelf with supplies and a large printer on top, and a couple of desk. Nonetheless, it was a smaller space with more nooks and crannies, plus was open on both ends at doorways. We had four finds in here. One was on the floor in a small doorway where the odor was fairly contained; all the dogs had a pretty easy time of that one. The next was under a table attached to a table leg. Another was in the leg space of a metal desk and the last was flat on the shelf under the printer. Interestingly enough, the last one was a bit more difficult for some as the scent was able to drift through the shelf and up the back wall, making its location more difficult to distinguish.


Blogger is being cranky tonight and turning my pictures sideways. After restarting and trying everything including linking from Flickr, I give up and will post more pictures later. I had some great ones of the dog others in class but here you can see a few of Vegas, courtesy of Andrea. She was really "on" last night. She seemed to get that we were there to work and she wasn't nearly as prone to being social. 

The last search of the night included our first unpaired birch. It was simply a row of four flat, white boxes and the last one had a few q-tips with birch odor on them. The goal was to walk the dogs down the line and reward instantaneously when they showed more attention to the last box. We've done so much box work at home I can only figure that's why Vegas "got" that she was to move down the line of boxes and didn't stick her nose in the air to search the room. She did this really well and we moved on to our final search looking for another paired item in the weight room. 

All in all a great night and fun to take pictures and see the dogs get into working. You can really tell when their nose knows and how they engage their minds to figure out the puzzle of "where it is." 

On the agenda for the next fews we have some really fun things. Saturday is an all-day herding clinic at the Three Rivers Working Australian Shepherd facility in Yamhill, OR. The day will start at an unGodly hour since we have to be there by 8am, but it will definitely be a worthwhile experience. The clinician is Brian Abingdon of Abingdon Border Collies and I can't wait. Although I can say I had a moment or three of pause over the last few weeks about being outside all day in February in Oregon. And then I got wise and emailed Sherry for some details and found out what the game plan of the day is. 
We start with the beginner dogs in a section of the indoor arena (when the weather is nicer the beginner dogs are in the round pen), then intermediate dogs (or ones that are ok in a bigger space :-) in the whole indoor arena, then the more advanced dogs that want to run in the outdoor trial arena. (I think the only one outside will be my dog with the cows). Once everyone has one run, we start back with the beginner dogs. Everyone gets at least two runs and three if they stay late enough.
From the clinic, if I get out of there in time, we will be going to our drill team practice. Then, on Sunday we'll be going to Champoeg State Park with our friend, Beth, and her Lab, Orra, to play at tracking! It's a fun-filled, dog-filled, friend-filled weekend and now I just need to kick this stupid cold to the curb so I can fully enjoy it! Pictures - and possibly - video to come of our adventures this weekend. 


  1. It sounds like you have a super busy, but super fun weekend!

    I'm interested about the allergist, especially since Casey the Lab seems to have allergies that just won't go away. The vet didn't think that an allergy panel was worth the effort, because nothing at home had changed (no new food, cleaners, etc). Basically, Casey acts as if he has a flea infestation without the fleas; constantly rolling on his back and so forth to scratch it. Do you think seeing an allergist would help him out?

  2. Amy, allergies usually develop over time - not necessarily on response to change. Only you can decide to go through it. In our case. It was right. Nothing else helped and we had tried every OTC antihistamine; none worked. And I didnt want her drugged all the time either. I hope something works out for poor Casey!

  3. I'll probably go ahead and look into it. My allergies are annoying enough, so I can't imagine how bad he's feeling about it. The OTC medicine doesn't work either, and I don't want him on Prednisolone for long-term therapy either. Not only is it bad for his overall immune system, I don't want it to negatively affect his bladder by having to urinate so frequently. Thanks!

  4. Best of luck to you guys. While being allergic to something isn't what anyone wants, knowing what you are allergic to AND being able to treat it in an essentially homeopathic way is better than suffering.