15 weeks, and 4 days

Ticket is 15 weeks out from TPLO surgery today.  Hard to believe that her first trial back is in just 4 days.  That is an amazingly quick recovery from knee surgery, and I’m “lucky” that young dogs tend to heal more quickly, and that we had no setbacks during her recovery.  I have no doubt that she is not 100% back to where she was prior to surgery, but I also think that I need to get her back into her “normal” routine of training and trialing to really get her there.  So, we’re heading to San Antonio this weekend.  The weather looks to be PERFECT — 70s/40s, so not too cold too tighten up her muscles.  The facility and surface are always wonderful, so I’m happy to not have to worry about that on top of my girl.  We even get to run FAST as her first run back, so hopefully we’ll be able to get the “yahoos” out.  I have definitely noticed that if anything, Ticket is higher now then before surgery.  I’m sure she’s making up for all those weeks of crate rest, but it’s a little scary at times.

I would say the most frustrating thing with Ticket so far is bars.  She was never the best at keeping bars up, but it feels like we’re struggling more now.  I accept that there is a physical component that will just take time, but I don’t think that’s all it is.  She will keep bars up on straight lines with no problems–she even generally does a wrap with a clear decel cue fine.  The bars that come down are turns, like pinwheels.  Esteban feels like it’s perpetually late cues, and when she tries to adjust in the air, the bar comes down.  I also accept I need to work on my timing, and do better at giving appropriate cues (decel, turns), at the right moment, no matter how far behind her I am.  Because I’m ALWAYS behind, and I tend to try to make the correct position, which means my cue is LATE.  BUT, I also feel like no matter how crappy my handling is, it is HER job to keep the bar up.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to work her through Linda Mecklenburg’s Developing Jumping Skills. I’ve done Salo grids with Ticket, but I like the concept of the repeated reinforcement (C/T) for successfully clearing the bar.  I doubt I will go the entire way through it–I know Linda says it’s not a “handling” book, but the fact is that there are many, many things that involve cuing the dog to jump from a certain position/arm that I do not do within my handling, nor am I going to start.  But I can definitely make modifications so that it does work within the Derrett system.  For example, I can use a serp arm when asking my dog to jump into me, instead of the way Linda does it.  But I’m not sure I have the fortitude to try to figure out how to do that with the entire book–we’ll see as I progress through it.  Besides the high rate of reinforcement, I like the how calm and relaxed Ticket is when working with the jump.  She really jumps great under those conditions–it’s when you add speed and handling that it all goes to hell.  But I’m hopeful that this will give her the skills to handle that better.

Trip is finishing up crate rest today, so while she’ll be there in San Antonio, she’s not competing.  So, for a novelty, I will only be running one dog.  It may be a blessing in disguise since it will let me focus on Ticket, make sure she has a good warmup and cool down, and not have to rush.  We’re competing the next 4 weekends, and I hope to have Trip back at #4, USDAA in College Station.  Fingers crossed that she’s well and truly BACK.  I’m not overly happy with her progress so far, but I’m trying to be patient.  Two more acupuncture sessions in the next 2 weeks, and we’ll see where she’s at.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Comment