Thursday, December 8, 2011

Balls -- Not just for chasing!

If I weren't such a dreadfully lazy excuse for a human being, I would utilize our theraball/peanut do-hicky thing year round because of all of the wonderful benefits it offers to the dogs. Better core strength, limb awareness, overall strength & balance... But alas, it remains something I turn to only when we are stuck inside and unable to do "fun" stuff.

That's a really stupid viewpoint, however, because we always do seem to have fun when we do ball work! The dogs actually seem to enjoy it and it provides a surprisingly good workout for them that tends to make everyone happy for the remainder of the evening. Just check out the photographic evidence!

In case you couldn't tell, last night was the start of "basement season" for us, which mean working with the theraball! There is absolutely nothing wrong with the yard at the moment, but the dogs saw the chiropractor on Tuesday and as such there is a moratorium on crazy outdoor activities that could lead to their adjustment being completely for naught.

The dogs have always thought the matted basement is great fun! It was a crazy huge investment to make last winter and I'll admit that there were several times this summer (as I made payments to my credit card...) that I thought it was one of the stupidest ideas ever. But now that cold weather has returned, I once again see the value in having a safe indoor play area, so it was worth it!

Having not used the peanut for quite some time, I figured it might need a bit of air -- so I let the dogs come down to run around and be idiots while I inflated it a bit more (by hand, oh joy, but thankfully it really hadn't deflated much at all!). The plan was to do that and then do the usual routine of working with them individually, with treats (which I still had to cut up for Kaiser), but they surprised me and made my life super easy by offering to play on the peanut without treats! Crazy. Guess they really do like that thing.

Luke clambered up first and was happy to do his "bouncy, bouncy" routine. The ball work is hard for the big guy, so he doesn't do too much more than bouncing and weight shifting, especially after having such a long hiatus from the work. Last year he did progress to being able to sit and I was happy to get two brief sits from him in this session.

Secret found a tennis ball in the basement and I was able to incorporate this into her ball session. I did bouncing, weight shifting, sit/down/stand exercises, etc. with her and had her catch her tennis ball while on the peanut -- which was actually quite an exercise for her that required a good deal of core strength!

Even Kaiser managed to get a session in without treats, which is pretty huge for him. I more or less gave him a massage on the ball to make him happy. The little guy was able to keep the ball stable without me holding on to it even while he moved around, so he's got some pretty awesome balance. :o)

One of these days I suppose I'll start to haul some equipment down to the basement to keep working the foundation stuff and to keep us busy. First, though, I should probably make a point to clean the room -- there is dog hair EVERYWHERE. How did that accumulate over the summer? lol

Our appointment with Dr. Engel went well on Tuesday. Secret was super friendly and social when we first got there, but went through the usual, "OMG, I can't believe you are going to touch me!!" phase when Marta first started to work on her. Thankfully she gets over it fairly quickly and settles in. I find it interesting how she makes little smacking noises with her lips/mouth as Marta works on her -- She acts like it must feel good.

Not surprisingly, Secret was a mess, but not in the usual areas. Normally it is her lower lumbar area that has so many problems, but this time Dr. Engel was finding the most issues with the area of her spine over her ribs. She was also out on the left side of her neck, but that was an easy fix.

So this is why we are on restricted activity for the rest of the week. The last thing I need is for her to jump wonky at a frisbee and knock everything out of alignment before the trial this weekend, so we are taking it easy. My guess would be that we'll visit the basement again tonight when I get home from the shelter.

Tomorrow will be interesting..... Because, well.... I'm getting a foster puppy!! Border Collie Rescue of MN (where Secret came from) posted last week that they were in need of foster homes for a couple of puppies that were coming into rescue. I have had puppy fever like nobody's business for ages now, so I figured fostering might be the best way to cure it (since lord knows I can NOT have a fourth dog right now!).

So tomorrow I'm driving to Rochester to pick up Joe. He's about 15/16 weeks old and is from an unwanted litter that was born on a farm. I think I'll take Secret along for the ride so that she can get used to him a bit before we get home. She loves puppies, so I hope she takes to him and protects him from Kaiser (who sometimes loves puppies, sometimes doesn't). He's getting neutered earlier in the day tomorrow, though, so we'll have to take it easy for a few days while he recovers and settles in.

I don't expect him to be with us a terribly long time, as BCRMN seems to have pretty good luck in placing puppies -- But with the holidays, one never knows. Don't worry, I'll share pictures! :o)


  1. So glad I'm not the only one that caved in on fostering! We've got Chance heading our way next weekend. I'm hoping we don't just fall in love with him and become failed fosters because three young dogs eventually become three old dogs with expensive vet bills. That being said Freya is only 3 and god knows how much we've put into that accident prone, steak loving, wild child! Enjoy the new house guest ;)