How do you decide what the right thing is?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by elegy, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    Steve is six weeks into rehab for his second groin pull.

    He's not that happy.

    [​IMG]

    Neither am I.

    But it's going well, or as well as can be expected. Certainly much faster than the last time. But still, this is the whole summer lost again with him living in a box instead of swimming and frisbee-ing and hiking. And I freaking hate it.

    We will get through it, but then comes the question... what about the future? I don't want to do this again. I know there are things that we can do preventatively, but I was already doing many of those things. He is in fantastic shape, has core muscles like a boss (part of why he's recovering so much more quickly this time), I warm him up, cool him down, ask him to stretch... but still my favorite collie got hurt in a fairly non-dramatic spill off the dogwalk. (And he wasn't doing anything crazy... he just, for whatever reason, lost his footing.)

    This is typically an agility injury. It is typically *not* a flyball injury, where the turn is predictable and the same (or close) every time. I have no question about bringing him back to flyball. But I really don't know what to do about agility, and it's stressing me out.

    His rehab vet says he should be fine to go back to agility in time, but I don't think she sees a ton of performance dogs. Some, yes, and they have returned to sport, but I think she mostly sees pet dogs (post-op knees, back problems, weight loss, etc).

    His agility trainer is of course pushing hard for him to come back. She thinks he's amazing. His breeder is giving me the "all my dogs who get hurt get hurt playing flyball" business.

    I just want to do right by my dog. Problem is, I don't know what "right" is.

    I am trying to schedule him to see someone who is more of a performance/agility dog physical therapist (David Acciani, if anyone is familiar with him) next week because he'll be seeing appointments locally. I am looking less for evaluation of my dog at this present juncture, and more for advice for the future. Hopefully he'll be able to help me find my answers.

    In the meantime, I'm stressing :-/

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,963
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    I really don't know... I have the same hangups about Mia's knees all the time. For me, I came down to the fact that so far she's fine. She's also not a dog I'm going to keep from running and jumping. The vets okayed her, the trainers have okayed her. She loves it. I still worry I'm choosing wrong but there's not much you can do except do the best that you can with the information you have.

    I dunno, I'm of the mind that I can't keep her from being a dog or from living and having fun on the thought she MIGHT get hurt.

    Either way it sucks.
     
  3. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    It's not so much a matter of keeping him from running and jumping (AND SWIMMING!!), it's more a specific question of returning to agility. He's so fast and he jumps so big and I tend to be late because I'm a newb and he moves faster than I think. It's the sudden and unexpected changes of directions, mostly, that's the issue. If I were a better handler, maybe I'd be less concerned, but I'm new at this and while I am trying to improve, I am what I am.

    He'll certainly be able to return to being a normal dog.
     
  4. Kilter

    Kilter New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Could he do 'better' in a different organization for agility? I know the Nadac courses tend to be lower jumps and more on flat out speed - maybe he'd be safer in an AKC type venue where the jumps are higher and the courses are tighter and he can't go too fast.

    I know my old guy used to knock bars more and get more nutty in Nadac, but (and this ages me, I know) kicked butt on the tight 30 inch jump USDAA courses. He had to gather himself and be more collected to do them.

    Just food for thought.
     
  5. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Relax, and see what the specialist says.

    Your breeder knows the lines. You know your individual dog.

    If you are worried he is going to get hurt again playing agility, then don't. It's okay. Really. Do flyball or dock diving or silly tricks or whatever you both want to do. The important thing is that you have fun with your dog. And there's no shame in being a specialist...you really don't have to do it all! And if you just want to play around with him to get better at handling for when Bean gets big, you can do that while keeping the courses such that they are safe for Steve.

    Your responsibility is to keep your dog healthy and happy and safe. The rest is gravy.

    And as a fellow rehabber... *hugs*
     
  6. yoko

    yoko New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Messages:
    5,347
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I'm not to knowledgable but I have kept up with your posts and I'm glad the recovery is going faster this time!

    If this is your main issue is it possible for someone else who is experienced in it to help you guys one on one? Maybe someone who could help you with handling just while you are learning and maybe even if they don't ever run with him they might be able to give you some pointers after watching you to get to where you need to be a little quicker?

    If not I'm sorry I'm not really in the agility circuit so I don't even know if this is advice that is feasible.
     
  7. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    We don't even *have* an organization yet-- we've never trialed. I don't know if it's better to jump him higher (he'd jump 26" in USDAA) or lower (20" in CPE/AKC/NADAC). He jumps so ugly at a lower height, and tends to get more crazy.

    I really hope we can get an appointment with this sport guy. And I hope he can help me clear my head.

    We recently changed instructors and the new lady is infinitely better and very helpful, but it's just... I have to do it to learn it. Our teamwork is much improved over what it was, but it's *hard*. There is someone I could try privates with... she's very well thought of in the local agility community. I think it's just the plain old learning curve of the game.

    At least he's a thousand times SANER than he was when we trained at the old place. There he was crashing jumps left and right because he was so busy being a maniac to look what was in front of him. So there's that.
     
  8. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    It's so hard and frustrating. I think that I want to do agility with him, but I don't know if I can ever get past my fears of him getting hurt again. I think seeing this specialist will help me get a better handle on how realistic my fears are. If I can't get in with him or if he doesn't help me, I think I might take him back down to the sports medicine specialty practice where he was originally diagnosed. Sports medicine is what they *do*.
     
  9. Kilter

    Kilter New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I would suggest when he's better, training small sequences at a low hight - like 8 inches. Work on getting your handling down pat and him focusing on working in a calm manner. If he's the manic type, you need to be calm and quiet and focused. Do things where he has a choice (but won't kill himself either way) and then don't freak out or get worked up if he makes the wrong choice. If there's a whole course set up, go out and have him heel, sit, do the dogwalk, hold his contact, and release. Then go do a jump to a tunnel, and release back to you.

    Storee will get nutty if she thinks there's a ball on course for her and she's insane. But if she knows the ball is on me and I want her to work first, she's better. Actually she's much better with just food and no ball, because she's not as food motivated. And she does better the 101th time we do something because she's tired enough not to be goofy insane.
     
  10. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That sounds like a really good plan :)
     
  11. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    17,300
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    AL
    I do see why this would be a stress factor. However, Katie, could I be super honest? I think you might be letting the fear take a hold it shouldn't have. Coming from one young, male, BC owner to another. . .they do stupid stuff. Gosh, Blaze scrapped his leg up pretty nasty. Week later, it's looking great, fur is starting to grow back. Today, I see another scrap starting again. Right above the other. SERIOUSLY?! I just finish nursing one scrap back, and now he gets another one? It's just....yeah. As silly as it sounds, I've learned that owning a young, male, BC means cuts, bruises, dislocated toes, torn pads, etc. As *much* as you do to prevent these mishaps, they just happen sometimes. As aggravating as they are! A torn pad cost us some distance at the last Dock Diving event, but, well, it happens and we move on to the next competition.

    I hope the above makes sense. I really do feel your pain. (((hugs))) Boy BCs are sooo not cool sometimes.

    In the past if I've seen Blaze acting super stupid about something, what I've done is try to walk in through whatever "it" is sloooowly, show him how it's supposed to be done. Get him thinking about where and what he's doing. For instance, if it's jumping on something, I try to make it clear to him that when ya' jump, make sure allll legs are securely on what you're jumping to. Sort of like teaching the dogs a hand stand. They have to think about where their body is in order to succeed at the hand stand. Kind of the same thing I try to get through to Blaze when he's zooming through something really stupidly.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is don't let fear stop you. Maybe that means take a little extra time to practice some body awareness on agility equipment like the dog walk or A-frame. If you see he's just not getting it with being careful on equipment, then maybe agility it's the right sport for him. Flyball is still in, and maybe you could try something new? Either way, you know what's best for him, and if he's a flyball and hiking dog, then he'll still enjoy life and enjoy the sport he's already into with you. (((hugs)))
     
  12. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    But a torn pad doesn't put your dog in a crate for five months. My dog has *no life* right now. He's either in his crate or we're doing rehab. That's it. He can't do anything fun. For months.

    I don't want to do this to him again.
     
  13. Bailey08

    Bailey08 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,467
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For me, it's one of the hardest things about being responsible for the dogs you love.

    I don't have any particular advice, though I think your approach sounds like a good one (I'm always one to try to find experts to provide advice in any situation!) but do want to reiterate that, at the end of the day, you should consider the advice of experts and make a decision that you are comfortable with and can "live" with either way.

    I worry about my dogs and the situations I put them in constantly (in different contexts), but, as I keep trying to remind myself (as do others because I need reminding), I'm doing the best I can, even if I make mistakes along the way, and I can't stop doing things because I'm too afraid something will happen. Which isn't to say that your anxiety is unreasonable or baseless -- it's not -- but try to remind yourself, too, that you're doing the best you can based on how much you care about your dog.

    If I were you, I would listen to the experts with an open mind and, if they tell you that agility is no more likely to cause injury than, for example, hiking, or that the increased risk is negligible, *and* you think you would still enjoy playing agility, then go for it and don't second guess yourself. If you're not comfortable with the potential risks, then stop, and don't beat yourself up for making that choice.

    Lol, that was probably a lot of unhelpful babbling. Sending good vibes to you both.
     
  14. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,963
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    See the specialist. It will help put your mind at ease either way. It's been good to get some opinions for me about her issues from vets and then people who have the condition themselves and people who have run dogs with it too.

    I STILL worry a lot with Mia though knowing she's not as sound as she could be. But it's better. I still worry that if she gets hurt I'll feel like it was my fault. But I've been told over and over again that agility is not any more likely to hurt her than what she already does (and I can't stop her from doing).

    I don't think there's a right answer. If agility isn't fun because you're stressing, then stop and do what is fun for BOTH of you.
     
  15. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    14,011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Illinois
    Home Page:
    Speaking as somebody with a special dog...
    I think seeing a specialist is a great idea; I definitely think there's a difference between a vet and a sports vet who sees sports dogs routinely, and knows a lot about what they do, what they go through, and basically what they do to their bodies. I think that perspective is going to help you. I obviously have no idea what he will say, continue or stop, but I believe that will be very helpful to you to hear one way or another.


    People keep telling me "oh you can keep running Auggie, he can get a PAX! They have those new masters titles now! He's only 6, he has plenty of time to get speed points, he can get a PACH!" Bless their hearts for their support and faith in my dog. But it's not about support or faith. I just know that his time is done. It makes me really, really sad to think that our times of running at agility trials together are about to be wrapped up in one last weekend, one last hurrah. I love my dog and I love working with him. I am going to miss the sport (until Payton is ready), I'm going to miss my agility friends.

    But I just know in my heart that he is done. And I'm not struggling with it. I just know.

    Is that where you are at right now? Are you still struggling with the decision? Because if you are, then the time isn't right. Or at the very least isn't right right now. But make sure the answer is coming from YOUR heart rather than the influence of people around you. Because it's you and your dog and nobody else really has any business in the decision. If you really, truly want to stop doing agility with him and would rather he do something else instead, even if it's "just being a dog," then don't let anybody else sway you.

    See the specialist and hear him out... think it over... and you'll either know, or you won't know, and if you don't know, IMO you're not ready to call it quits just yet.


    ETA: PS, even if you quit agility with him, he IS amazing and still will be.
    http://susangarrettdogagility.com/2010/04/there-are-no-ordinary-dogs/
    This post might help you.
     
  16. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    Messages:
    30,963
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    a lot
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Home Page:
    Beanie quit making me cry!
     
  17. Bailey08

    Bailey08 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,467
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    ^^ Me too. That Susan Garrett post was wonderful and I'm going to save the link.
     
  18. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    15,572
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    Ohio
    Honestly? And this is purely me and purely putting myself in your shoes... If a recurring injury from agility meant 5 months of shitty crate rest for my energetic BC, I would be hanging up the towel in agility and looking for a different hobby.

    I think the specialist will give you a lot to think about and as always, I'm hoping for the best for you and Steven.
     
  19. elegy

    elegy overdogged

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Messages:
    7,720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Home Page:
    Well, we have an appointment for 7 pm on Friday. Hopefully he'll be able to help me figure out what I need to do.

    And that's the thing RD- he burns his feet in flyball almost every tournament. 2-3 days and they're fine. And I don't *know* he'll ever get hurt again. I certainly will do as much as I can to prevent another injury, and it's not like I'm *completely* powerless over it... but when he does get hurt, it's MONTHS of complete restriction. It's not like oh, we just can't play ball or he just can't play sports. He is living in a box. And that's just not fair to him.
     
  20. Grab

    Grab Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,374
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Keeping in mind that I don't do agility (though I've done other dog sports in the past) I would stop doing agility with him. Since he's had two of the same injury, and both require months of crate rest, that's a LONG time for an active dog. I can't remember how old he is, but when both crate rests are combined, that's a significant portion of his life spent in a crate due to injury. If he only did the one activity, that might make it more difficult, but since he does have flyball, he's still out there doing active sports.
     

Share This Page