Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Cotton Picker

September 24, 2011
Morgan County, GA

Evening Walk

September 23, 2011
Athens, GA

Captain Tess

September 17, 2011
Jersey, GA

My little water rat ...

This girl leaves a wake!

Photo Shoot!

September 17, 2011
Jersey, GA

Two photo shoots were embedded in today's training day.

I was trying to get a group photos featuring several German Shorthairs, but unfortunately, there were only a total of four that day - including Tessa and an 11-week old puppy. The puppy had left by the time we got around to it, but Greta and Tip graciously agreed to be photographed. I never realized how tough it is to get a good dog group photo - one in which they all look their best. As much as these dogs clown around, that's nearly impossible!

The second photo shoot involved getting some good photos of Bart, my friend's three-legged Vizsla, for a possible feature in a dog magazine. Bart lost his left front leg at age 2 to bone cancer, but it has not slowed him down one bit. As soon as he recovered from surgery and treatments, he finished his Senior Hunter title and went on to get his Master Hunter as well. He is now a 5-year survivor which is amazing in itself. An inspiring story for sure!

So today, we took a lot of photos of Bart at work, and as a token of his appreciation, he invited Tessa to join him in the field hunting up quail. He beat her to all but one of them, however, she was able to practice her honoring, which is going well, and at any rate, she benefitted from hunting alongside such an accomplished dog.


On Point

September 17, 2011
Jersey, GA

Another training day with the folks from NAVHDA. Today was a busy day, with lots of field work and two photo shoots.

Here, Tessa is on point with Greta running up. While Greta didn't back, thankfully, she didn't bust in either.

DDD Practice Lake Lanier

September 11, 2011
Lake Lanier, GA

Our last practice with Dixie Dock Dogs before the big event, Pet Fest September 30 - October 2, 2011. Unfortunately, I just realized today that we have been concentrating too much on her jumps (up and out) rather than her run down the dock. She still gives away two feet on the dock most of the time, so what I should have done was work out the paces she needs to jump off the edge of the dock. Oh well, too late for this year - next "practice" will be warm-up at Pet Fest.

Today, she got to wear the e-collar, as she was showing great interest in the ducks across the bay and I learned last time that her recall does not work well in the water.

She's in here somewhere, cruisin' Lake Lanier.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

September 11, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Face-Off

September 10, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

Friday, September 2, 2011

Of Hips, Knees, and Feet

September 2, 2011
Athens, GA

Tessa has been exhibiting some intermittent lameness in her right rear leg, mostly after strenuous exercise, starting last fall (hunting season), but it is a very subtle limp, more like a stiffness, nothing very persistent and she always recovered fast. Finally in April, when other people started noticing that she is favoring her right rear leg, I took her to the vet for evaluation. The physical exam was normal and there was no diagnosis, and the recommended treatment was at least 3 weeks of rest with leash walks only, and Dasuquin and/or Cosequin supplements.

All summer long Tessa has been on Dasuquin and Cosequin, and after about 4 weeks of rest we carefully added off-leash running back into the mix. The summer was extremely hot which kept physical activities at bay, and thankfully we had several opportunities to go swimming/dock diving, which is such great exercise. The leg seems much improved, however, there is still some occasional short-term stiffness.

Today I took her in for x-rays to see if anything is going on and rule out stress fractures, hip dysplasia and tumors. The results were as follows:

The hips are almost perfect. Almost, because her right hip, here seen on the left, seems to be slightly off - like a slight rotation - but the vet said he can't be 100% sure about this and if it is indeed so, it is very, very subtle. Since it has been noted on the right leg though, which is the leg that has been giving her trouble, mild dysplasia on that side is a possibility.

But basically, she checked out fine, and there is no further course of action. When I asked what I should do to keep this from getting worse and to support hip health, he said "This dog lives to run. Let her live." I could not agree more! Of course, I will continue to be vigilant about any changes, and Tessa will stay on her Dasuquin/Cosequin regimen, with added fish oil.

The knees checked out fine, both are totally identical with no signs of arthritis, which pretty much rules out a knee injury, which by now would show some joint degeneration. The drawer motion test was performed under sedation and was negative - both knees are solid.

Fine feet, too!

DDD Practice Lake Lucerne

August 28, 2011
Lake Lucerne, GA

Meanwhile Back In The City

August 21, 2011
Athens, GA

All cleaned up and out for a Sunday walk, Tessa spots a pair of urban doves on Baxter Street. She stops herself, and I use this to practice the stand still, flushing the birds by throwing a pebble their way.

Dock Work, Too

August 20, 2011
Jersey, GA


August 20, 2011
Jersey, GA

After the field work, a relaxing mud bath down at the duck pond.

Quail In The Haystack!

August 20, 2011
Jersey, GA

NAVHDA training day, and a quail escaped into or underneath this hay bale. Tessa and Rhys were hot on its trail though.

DDD Practice Lake Lanier

August 14, 2011
Lake Lanier, GA

We are now official members of Dixie Dock Dogs, a regional club affiliated with Dock Dogs (worldwide), and among other things, membership entitles us to practice at several practice docks in the area.

I was glad to see that Tessa got some her "pop" back that she lost at the end of the Cherokee event when she started jumping flat. It's important for the dog to jump up and out, rather than just down and out, in order to gain some distance. Tessa looked good that day, although it's tough to say how far she jumped or whether or not she really improved her distance - probably not by much. But our technique is starting to come together.

One Mile High

August 7, 2011
Mile High Overlook
Haywood County, NC

To escape the heat down in Cherokee we (Kim, Tom, Tessa and I) crammed into Kim's air-conditioned Pilot and drove what I assume is a full mile up to this overlook. It was still unmistakenly summer up here but with a much different heat, more pleasant. We hung out for a while enjoying the stunning view and eating peaches, before returning to the valley to report for the dock diving finals.

Girls Like Ribbons!

August 7, 2011
Cherokee, NC

This weekend, Tessa competed at the Carolina Dock Dogs event in Cherokee, NC - her second event so far. I entered her in two waves, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. She got first place Junior Division (10' - 14'11") for her wave on Saturday (14'6"), and again on Sunday (13'10"). So that's two blue first place ribbons and a spot in the Junior finals.

The drawback of these events is the long waits in-between waves, waiting to be called up, waiting for practice, results, ribbons - and this was a hot day with highs in the upper 90s. But since we had made it to the finals we stuck around. Tessa ended up regressing a bit, jumping flat and not as far as I know she can, so we didn't end up with any of the prizes or trophies, but she did get a nice 4th place ribbon (the white one).

With 6 official jumps in the Junior Division (two events combined), Tessa also earned her regional Junior Title that day (actually, she only needed 5 official jumps to earn it). We can now concentrate on the Senior Division (15' - 19'11").

The competition pool in the early morning on Sunday.