Bits & Pieces
Flyball is a fun sport for any dog, any age, any size, if your dog is fit enough it can play Flyball.
Flyball is a team sport, a team of four dogs race over four hurdles, retrieve a ball from the box, return over the four hurdles, each dog going after the previous dog returns. In competition two teams compete against each other in adjacent lanes, the winners being the first team to finish without any faults.
Uninhibited, noisy, great fun! Dogs have to be 12 months old to ‘play’ and 18 months old to compete in BFA (British Flyball Association) sanctioned competitions.
Flyball is the fastest growing dog sport in this country, anyone interested in having a go can come along to one of our training sessions.
BO, The unwanted, hyperactive Staffie Cross rejected by so many people is now a PAT dog!!!!
We arrived early for his assessment and wandered round town, ooops I was in a hoodie but don't think anyone thought I was a teenage thug, went into a few shops and in one of them were some very smartly dressed ladies who spoke very nicely.
They thought he was gorgeous, so pretty, loved stroking him and how friendly he is to let us do this, "what is he" - to say they were gobsmacked when I said "Oh, he is the type of dog demonised in the press, he is a Staffie Cross" would be a bit of an understatement!
Hopefully they have now had their preconceived ideas turned on their heads.
PET RULES Author unknown.
To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.
Dear Dogs and Cats,
The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.
The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.
I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.
For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required.
The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!
To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:
To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:
1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.
Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3 Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need "gazillion" pounds for college/university.
11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.
Urgent Notice: Potential Danger of Dog Hair.....
In a press release today, the National Institute of Health has announced the discovery of a potentially dangerous substance in the hair of dogs. This substance, called "amobacter caninii" has been linked with the following symptoms in females: Reluctance to cook, clean or do housework, a reluctance to wear make-up, good clothes or high heels. Reluctance to spend money on home or car repairs until after 'Baby' has new collars, leashes, beds, treats, food, blankets or toys.
"Amobacter caninii" usually results in long hours away from home and exhaustion which may lead to a loss of physical contact with other humans (especially husbands and boyfriends). "Amobacter caninii" is thought to be addictive, driving the need for additional sources - this may lead to a "pack mentality" or like the potato chip commercial, "you can't have just one". Beware! If you come in contact with a female human infected by this substance, be prepared to talk about dogs for hours.
Surgeon General's Warning: Dogs are expensive, addictive, and may impair the ability to use common sense
Hey! My name is Briscoe, at 8 weeks old I came to live with my new Mum, June. Bit of a shock I can tell you, there I was in a pen with my 3 brothers and 1 sister, one minute I’m leaping up for my share of attention, next I’m scooped up “first one I can catch hold of, you’re it” On the way home she took a proper look at me and said “Aren’t you ugly” Offensive or what? I think the ‘piggy’ pink nostrils give me character.
My reception was a bit traumatic; let’s just say I made number 9! Hit it off straight away with Pretzel the Pomeranian though, she’s great only 4 months older than me so we have lot’s of fun. Uncle Rusty doesn’t like me but Mum says not to take it personally, he doesn’t like any other dogs.
Tell you how I got my name shall I? Mum kept calling me ‘Ugly’ sounded ok to me but all her friends were horrified, said she couldn’t call me that. Anyway, she had just finished reading a book, autobiography by some one called Constance Briscoe it was entitled ‘Ugly’ and as Mum says she became beautiful and famous, she’s a High Court Judge must be clever too. Great expectations has my Mum.
Had my first ‘jab’ at the Vet’s Mum told him how I got my name, he said I was lovely? But now every time he sees me he will think ‘Ugly’ Doesn’t matter much to me, I hope I don’t see much more of him anyway, especially if he’s going to keep sticking needles into me!!
Another day Auntie Fionna stuck an even bigger needle in me, I didn’t cry this time either. They said this means I am ‘chipped’ I’ve got a special number so if I get lost people will know to bring me back to Mum. She says she’s not sure she’ll want me if I don’t stop being naughty!! Don’t think she means it though. Perhaps I should lay off her shoelaces just in case?
Learned the dog flap in 24 hours, easy peasy, I was holding onto Pretzel’s tail when she went through (She gets her own back pulls my ears something awful) Means I can find my own way out to the toilet for ‘pees and poos’ as Mum says, I do remember most of the time and Mum doesn’t make too much fuss when I have the odd lapse and wet in the house. Got the sleeping through the night thing, took 3 or 4 nights, I sleep in a crate, near Mum’s bed just so I know I’m not abandoned.
I am 10 weeks old now, eating like a horse, she says. Burns food of course. Of course because the Flyball team is sponsored by Burns.
Went along to watch the Flyball training last Sunday, lots of noise and running about, I like that, can’t wait ‘til I can join in. Mum says after my second jab, I’m not too happy about the jab but it will be worth it if I can run around and bark like the big dogs.
Mum has a Flyball box in the house, she says it gets us puppies used to it ready for when we can ‘play’ Flyball I found it was great fun to bounce off when racing Pretzel ‘round the room. Mum let me play with a thing called a Tennis ball, lovely, if she doesn’t take it away you can pull all its fur off!! Then she put it in the Flyball box, supposed to be for Pretzel, but I wasn’t having that I got there first. Made a very satisfying noise and spat the ball at me. Mum says “No problem with the box then”?
BRISCOE’S DIARY. Cont….
Second jab went well, except for Mum staggering through the door with me in her arms, complaining that she was ‘glad she didn’t go for a Great Dane’ Put me on the Vet’s scales and I weighed in at 8.1 Kilos whatever that is, it seemed to please everyone. Pretzel was only 4.5, she doesn’t win at Tuggy now except by cheating. She let’s go suddenly and while I’m regaining my balance grabs an ear so I yelp and let go! Unfair or what? It wasn’t the same Vet so I didn’t get called ‘Ugly’; anyway Mum says I have ‘a certain appeal’ now. I just don’t care!
The weigh in was so I could have another worm tablet, ugh! Still it was in a piece of sausage which went down a treat. Pretzel spat the tablet out, clever clogs! Then, would you believe she just ate the tablet? Mum thought that was funny for some reason, I thought it was pretty stupid, she could have held out for another bit of sausage.
Been with the big dogs for a walk a couple of times now, I don’t understand why Mum gets so het up really I don’t. I can almost do everything they can, when they disappear into the woods I am right behind them, I do have trouble keeping up though so usually end up homing in on Mum’s frantic whistles. She says she wishes I’d learn to come back an easy way but can’t see the problem myself, she’s just a worry guts! If I can see or hear her I just go for it, if the brambles are too high I leap into the middle then burrow the rest of the way. What’s wrong with that?
Life is great fun here, ‘though I must say I wonder what it is with ‘her’ and the word ‘NO’! ‘No you don’t chew that’ ‘No you don’t take that outside’ ‘No you can’t get behind that/go in there/dig there’ ‘No you don’t bark at the Dachshunds’ They are a funny lot the Dachshunds, Mum calls them the ‘oldies’ couch potatoes the three of them, miniatures they are and they make the most satisfying growling noises when I bark in their faces! You wouldn’t believe the sort of language they use, very badly bought up if you ask me.
Found out how to stop her being cross, I just start chewing my ear; yes I can get the end of my ear into my mouth, makes her laugh, she says when they get food on them I can get it off myself.
Rusty still doesn’t like me, and I try so hard, wriggling around in front of him, he’s got an amazing set of teeth, shows me the lot!
Went to Flyball again, they played ‘pass the puppy’ with me, good for my socialisation Mum says, I just wished they’d let me down to join in. Now I’ve had that ‘jab’ Mum says I will be ok to play chase with them.
We are going to something called Agility next week, can’t wait to see what that is, Mum says I can watch Auntie Annie and Rusty, he’s supposed to be very good at it. Then Pretzel is going to get a try. I apparently, am too young! Hmmmmm…. Will just have to practice jumping over the brambles on walks ‘til she sees I can do it won’t I?
Briscoe’s diary. Cont….. April 28th
Well I’m still here. Mum says I must have a guardian angel, whatever that is, as I haven’t improved at all. Cheek! Thing is I have grown quite a bit and now, I can almost keep up with the others when we go for walks in the forestry, but it doesn’t bother me when I loose them, I just do my own thing. Rabbits have the most wonderful smell and a couple of times I have ‘flushed’ (that’s what Mum calls it) one, you should see the others give chase, they never catch though. Auntie Rosie the lurcher gets nearest, but she is so excited that when she is within grabbing distance, she starts to bark and looses momentum. Plus it makes the poor rabbit run faster! Mum’s glad we enjoy the chase but doesn’t know what she would do if we caught one. At least she doesn’t panic when we are all missing now; she knows we won’t loose her! Mum says when we finish the walk I look as if I am wearing black fisherman’s waders, what are they? A great stream and lots of mud to plough through, so I get a bit muddy? It dries off in the van on the way home. Uncle Rusty and Auntie Annie get away with it. Just because I ‘m mostly white! Pretzel looks really funny though, like a ginger, muddy, spiked Pom Pom on thin sticks!
I can get up the really steep banks now if I take a run at them, and coming down is just easy, I stretch my front legs out and slide. Can’t understand why Mum shakes her head and laughs, says I look like I’m diving! I use the same method to come downstairs in the mornings; Mum can’t carry me any more.
Pretzel the Pomeranian is still a right bossy boots; mind you give the girl credit. We had a new Jack Russell come to Flyball nice little thing but so gobby! Marmite her name is, she raced ‘round barking at everyone, all the big dogs, except Auntie Annie who shouted back ‘til Mum told her to stop, looked the other way, Pretzel? Well she isn’t a girl to take that, she charged back shouting and showing her impressive set of teeth, Marmite backed down. Don’t blame her I wouldn’t cross Pretzel either.
I am doing restrained recalls now, just a couple Mum says I am too young to do much, but I am raring to go, I can also jump the very low agility jumps, it’s good fun, I get a treat and lots of praise, show off Pretzel has to join in, she goes backwards and forwards like as if she’s got springs, she is so treat mad Mum says it is difficult to get her doing Flyball training, she doesn’t want the ball if she thinks Mum has treats. I love balls, the treats are a bonus but the ball is the fun thing.
The word ‘NO’ still figures largely but not quite so bad now, I leave the shoes and things alone, isn’t worth the hassle. But ‘she’ isn’t keen on us bringing in lumps of rotting wood and dried grass (complete with loads of lovely dirt) in to play tug with. Says we should stick to the raggies, but they just don’t pull apart the same do they?
Another good game is ‘jump the chickens!’ We have a few hens, they are kept in a great big run but, stupid things like to sunbath alongside the fence, if we rush up and bark you should see them scatter. When we go to Auntie Lynda’s for Flyball, she has chickens and ducks that are loose! But once the Drake had stretched his neck and hissed at me I decided they weren’t up for playing the same game. Mum says she is glad they are stroppy Muscovies; teach me to leave them alone. Really…. All she has to do is shout ‘NO’!! And I stop anyway.
Mum is getting the rest of our Agility equipment out this week; she says I can do ‘bits’ I think I could do the lot show that Pretzel a thing or two.
Briscoe’s diary cont. July 2007
Apparently I am starting to look more like a ‘proper’ dog now! As against what? Well it seems until now, I am 7 months old now, I have been ‘funny looking’ gangly with a big head. Knows how to boost a chap’s confidence doesn’t she?
Found this wonderful smelly stuff out on the walk, I have been threatened with a bath, just ‘cos I rubbed it behind my ears, and under my chin, at the moment I have something called Tomato Ketchup on it, very frustrating as I can’t reach and it smells edible! Mind you Mum says to me everything is edible. Did you know snails are lovely and crunchy?!!
I do ‘babies’ Flyball training now, I can do recalls over all four jumps very low, no netting or wings, Mum is very pleased with that, I love the box but am only allowed a couple of goes, not good for me yet apparently? Next bit is going to be getting me to go up over a jump and bringing the Tennis ball back over it to Mum. Tennis balls…. I do love Tennis balls, what is Tennis? Mum got a pack of 27!!!! From Tesco but she hasn’t let me have them, says she prefers to keep the ‘fur’ on them for a while! We are going up to Anglesey soon, entered two starter teams; Mum got us a 2 man ‘pop up’ tent. She popped it up in the garden it was great, she had to keep throwing me out while she tried to put the inner bit in. She says “one woman and her dog then?” Took her an hour to put the thing (yes it had become ‘that thing’ by then!) away again, says she thinks it will have to be another day trip *** this camping lark! Such language!
Went to Chris’s, she does the agility training, Pretzel, clever clogs, show off, is doing really well, I had a go at some very low jumps, oh and the tyre, liked that but best thing was the wonderful smells in the field where the equipment is, Mum kept apologising, says my recall leaves much to be desired!
Uncle Rusty still doesn’t like me, who would believe that dog could resist me for so long? I grovel and squirm, take him presents and all I get is a view of his impressive set of teeth. Mum says it’s my own fault, I’m too pushy. Auntie Annie has it right she gets fed up and I know it, she flattens me and holds me down by the throat!! She’s good for a play of chase though, more than you can say about ‘Rusty Man’, as Mum calls him.
Ouch!! Mum fell over at Flyball training last Sunday, smashed into the concrete in the pouring rain. Spent over four hours in casualty whilst we amused ourselves barking at ambulance drivers and Paramedics! She has a broken wrist, lots of nasty bruises too but the wrist is the main killer. She can’t drive! We are going stir crazy, lucky for us Anna, is coming over in the early hours Monday to drive up to Anglesey, Mum won’t hear of missing that. The camping overnight has had to be forgotten, I was really looking forward to the tent too. I will have to travel with Auntie Annie, Pretzel and Uncle Rusty! Says that should keep me quiet, cheek. Anna’s two Labs Pip and Honey will be in ‘our’ half of the van. (Me and Pretzel’s) Auntie Rosie won’t be happy, means she will have to stay home with Tessa and ‘The Dachshunds’!
Good news or bad news? The good news is that we had a good day at the competition on Anglesey, both teams in the rosettes. A third with the Chasers and a fourth with the Chargers, Mom says that’s a great result. It was the very first time for three of the dogs running, and Pip was only at her second race.
The bad news? Mum is in agony waiting to go into hospital. The tendon in her thumb snapped in the hand with the broken wrist! OUCH!!! Says she needs a season ticket for the hospital, spends so much time there. Twice now ‘her’ bed has been taken by an emergency and she’s come home again. Not a happy bunny! Trying again Monday. On the plus side she has learned to order from Tesco on line so she won’t starve, just go mad with boredom.
Thankfully Mum had collected some food for us so we have been ok, she says she will have to arrange a delivery in a couple of week’s time when it’s due to run out. We all miss the walks, miss the rabbits, don’t suppose they miss us though!
Briscoe’s Diary (5)
Haven’t written for a while so have quite a bit to tell, where shall I start?
Mum’s driving again, we’re walking, chasing rabbits and all that stuff again, I am soooo…….. Happy. We went back to Flyball Sunday, it was great, I was allowed to join in, doing alright they said, even though I thought the last jump was one too many and ‘ran out’ a few times, I had a go at the box too, I do love the box, making it spit the tennis ball out, and I even get rewarded for doing it, Mum gives me a bit of chicken when I take the ball to her, how cool is that?
Pretzel’s got a bad leg, she has to have an operation for a luxating Patella, meanwhile she can’t come walks with us, you should hear her howls of protest when we leave her behind, I hope they hurry up and fix her, I miss the little pest. Talking about little pests……….
After Flyball Sunday Mum picked up a Shih Tzu called Benni, it seems that Mum rescued Benni 3 years ago, would you believe someone had kept him shut in a shed or tied to a kennel for all his life? Anyway after nearly a year with us (I wasn’t here then but you know what I mean) a friend of Mum’s had him. Now the friend is very poorly and can’t keep him so Benni has come back to us. Well talk about attitude? For a dog with such stupid looks and a really bad haircut he does take the biscuit. When we got home he was first in through the dog flap, before the door was open he was in. Went ‘round as if he owned the place. Mum says if he’d been a child he would have been waving his arms shouting “I’m home”! Bedtime he charged up the stairs and took pole position for the night and this morning he hopped into the van and came for an hours walk in the woods with us. He’s a busy little chap, eight years old and Mum says he will stay this time ‘cos he was so pleased to be here, even though she could have done without her dog numbers going up to 10!
Pretzel is a bit put out, I think she is jealous of him being able to go walks when she can’t, she blocks the dog flap and barks at him, Benni just waits until Mum shouts at Pretzel then charges past her without a second glance. She is not amused.
Uncle Rusty doesn’t mind him! Now that just isn’t fair is it? The trouble I’ve had getting even half way accepted by him. Mum says when Uncle Rusty was a puppy he played with Benni so he must remember.
We had a great walk the day before Benni came, went to the Country Park with Chris, a friend of Mum’s, walked for nearly three hours through woods then ended up along the beach, I’d never seen the sea or sand before, it was exciting, the water didn’t taste good I, it smelled as if it should but didn’t. I ended in literally up to my neck, we were chasing Seagulls and they swam out over the water, even Auntie Rosie got more than her feet wet, unheard of Mum says, but I wasn’t going to follow them any further, the sea goes forever doesn’t it? Next time we go we’ll see how smarty pants Benni likes it.
We lost Benni! Well what a palaver, we were 20 miles from home walking in the Brecfa forest when he just disappeared, Mum was sooooooooooo upset, we spent a couple of hours with her calling and calling but eventually she decided it would be best to just come home and wait. Like the rest of us Benni was wearing a collar with two telephone numbers on and he is micro chipped. Anyway, it was pouring with rain and dreadfully windy so we came home. Hours later the telephone rang and a farmer said he had Benni on his tractor; Mum had to drive for an hour in that awful weather to pick him up. Result? Benni now has what Mum calls an umbilical cord, he isn’t allowed loose he is on a 15ft extension lead which Mum ties to her waist. Hands free she says!
The oldest Dachshund had been very ill for a bit and we lost her just before Christmas, Mum was very tearful, she had a real salty face for a few days, I tried my best to comfort her, we all did. We haven’t got a new tree to put in the garden for Purdy; we have the house up for sale so Mum says she will plant a tree in memory when we move. It’s an exciting thought, moving, but Mum says not to hold our breath as with the housing market being as it is now we could still be here in a year’s time! As long as I’m still fed and can chase the rabbits on walks, I can wait for the adventure of moving.
Christmas came and went, lots of very exciting smells around and we got Chicken with our meals for a couple of days.
Pretzel has had the operation now, poor girl; she is confined to a crate, only allowed out for ten minutes three times a day for eight weeks! And then only on a lead. Not impressed. She does look funny, a bald back leg which until they were taken out, had a row of bright blue stitches! She perfected a three legged walk right from the start and hates the fact that she gets left behind when we go out, throws right tantrums, screaming and yelling even though Mum gives her all the best treats, a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and treats, and big bones full of marrow - I drool. Mum says she is going to have to learn to use that leg and after the eight weeks may be taken swimming. They call it Hydrotherapy. I want to go! Wonder if they’ll let me try it?
This awful weather is such a pain, not that it bothers me one bit (mud and all that) and Mum still forces herself out most days but Flyball gets called off!! Now that is bad, even if I have started being a bit naughty and decided hunting is more interesting at times ‘cos I do enjoy having a go after I’ve done the entire field and hedges, well, fields actually (Hedges and fencing may keep stupid sheep in but you can’t stop a good Springer) for rabbits!!
Mum says she isn’t giving me enough to do? 1 ½ hours walk a day and about an hour Flyball once a week, I’m still ‘pinging’ off the walls! Apparently I need a ‘proper’ job. Way she tells it I think I could enjoy ‘working’.
With this in mind Mum sent my CV to the Police Force, says as I spend my life with my nose on the ground they might have an opening for me. Along came this very large Policeman, he had to bend his knees to get into the house, but he was nice not frightening, he took me out into the field with a tennis ball, took the lead off and…………..well it wasn’t my fault really it wasn’t, I smelled rabbits, flushed one and took off after it, well I ask you, Tennis ball? Rabbit? No contest is there? He said a funny thing to Mum, said I’d “basically, shot myself in the foot” my feet are all ok thank you.
Now it seems a man that works with Anna, Pip and Honey’s Mum, is looking for a young dog to train up for hunting, I like the sound of that, rabbits! He is coming to see me Sunday. Mum says if that doesn’t work out I’m stuck with her and maybe eventually I will learn to calm down, some hopes, life is for living isn’t it? And I like the fast lane.
Late March by Pretzel
Briscoe’s gone to Boot Camp! This very nice man came, took him up the track on a lead and came back saying he would ‘give him a go’ seems that Briscoe may become a ‘Gundog’. He’s on trial for a month and if it doesn’t work out Mum says he will come back. The man said he is going to have to do some intensive obedience training with Briscoe first and laughed when he said that at least if Briscoe comes back he will be better behaved!
It is so quite ‘round here without him, Uncle Rusty is, Mum says, a different dog, Relaxed and hasn’t growled once since Briscoe went. The rest of us miss Briscoe, he was such a laugh, I hope he is enjoying himself, Chris (man who took him) is going to keep Anna informed how he is getting on. He won’t be lonely, Chris has two Springer bitches who ‘work’ but the one is getting old and has something wrong with her feet so can’t do much now.
April still Pretzel
Anna has been giving Mum reports about how Briscoe is getting on, seems he is doing all right so far but Chris says although he is the best dog for stamina and enthusiasm he has ever had he is too intelligent! WHAT? Surely he is joking? I think the problem is the same as Mum was having, Briscoe doesn’t want to recall when his nose is in top gear, just doesn’t want to hear, doesn’t stop and come back. Anyway seems Chris was still not prepared to give up yet but…………Like Mum said before, don’t hold your breath!
Just in case, is anyone out there wanting an over enthusiastic, lunatic Springer, fantastic nature, part trained gundog and Flyball? That earned me a clip from Mum (not really) She says if Briscoe comes back he stays!
I am back training again and do it all ‘cept the box, not sure about that it made such a noise when Briscoe played with it. Anyway Mum has a board with some Velcro, sticky stuff that the ball goes on, I can do it with that for now, so………………. See you at Flyball,
(A very kissy dog, tongue like a wash rag!)
Footnote from June.
Realising that Briscoe needed more than I could give was very hard as he is such a lovely, lovely, boy and I love him to bits. But, he is happy, has an excellent home and is doing what he was bred for. ‘Rabbits, tennis balls? No contest’ as he would say!!
Rusty is his old self again, he just never did learn to even tolerate, let alone like Briscoe.
Pretzel has taken over as the live wire of the pack and having learned from the Master………..ploughs through undergrowth, brambles etc. And, occasionally, even flushes an unsuspecting rabbit!
There is no denying that our dogs enjoy flyball but have you considered what effect this type of exercise can exert on their muscles and joints?
The picture below illustrates one of the ways a flyball dog may suffer an injury (feet shouldn’t bend like that!). Slamming into the box at a speed of up to 25 mph will affect the whole skeleton including the spine which will suddenly be shortened when they make contact. The force of hitting the box will result in pressure on the joints and will particularly affect the shoulders and carpal joint (wrist). Soft tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments) can also be damaged when the wrist is subjected to hyperextension (where the joint is extended beyond its normal range) leading to the dog walking flat-footed. Eventually arthritis and other joint or muscle related problems may occur. It’s also worth noting that the force exerted on landing after a jump can be as much as a double decker bus!
This highlights the importance of ensuring dogs can perform a swimmers turn on the box and draws attention to the possible benefits of wrist and pad protectors.
Photo courtesy of Patty Thurner, Dog Services Unlimited (www.dogservicesunlimited.com/flyball.htm)
So how can massage help a flyball dog?
Canine massage is a non-invasive, holistic therapy involving gentle manipulation of the soft tissues. Amongst other benefits massage can improve flexibility, reduce muscular tension and pain and enhance blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. Massage can help improve performance resulting in a fitter, faster flyball dog.
Massage can be used as a preventative therapy performed before and after flyball (pre and post event massage) or it can be used to treat existing problems. If you notice any of the following signs then your dog may benefit from massage:
• Hesitating/slowing down before jumps or the box
• Knocking the hind legs on jumps
• Double jumping between jumps
• Slow rounds
• Running out
• Stiffness after flyball training or competitions
• Difficulty getting in/out of the car, climbing stairs and getting up from a lying position
• Changes in gait e.g. bunny hopping (when the back legs move together)
• Reluctance to let you touch his/her paws
• Reluctance to go for a walk
• Changes in behaviour e.g. aggression, depression or a loss of confidence (e.g. at a competition)
Please note that it is against the law for a massage therapist (or anyone other than yourself) to treat your dog without getting full veterinary consent prior to treatment.
Before rushing off to practice massage you should also be aware that there are many situations when it is not safe to massage your dog and these are referred to as contraindications. The first and most important contraindication is that you should never massage your dog if he/she does not want to be massaged. Other contraindications include: fever, dehydration, cancer, open cuts or wounds, skin infections, lumps or areas of inflammation, clinical shock, immediately after an incident or if your dog is in persistent pain which has not been diagnosed.
If you are interested in learning more then you can contact Galen Therapy Centre for details of their massage workshops and how to order a copy of their DVD on canine massage www.caninetherapy.co.uk
For interested owners in South Wales please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dip. Canine Massage Therapy (OCN)
(Carmarthenshire Flyball Club)
Update August 2010
Ishka, Brenda’s Great Dane, made her debut and was a star, causing much hilarity at the Pods July Anglesey tournament running in Starters. To see her teamed with our prospective height dog Pip (who gives us seven inches!) was a sight to be seen. Despite her size Ishka is a sensitive soul and a bit of a Mummies girl so we weren’t anticipating great (pardon the pun) things from our Great Dane. But she loved it, and everyone loved her, even the Judge kept having a crafty cuddle! Seven inch jumps were difficult for Ishka, she almost tripped over them! Prior to racing she found the perimeter netting much easier to leap over! Well she is used to clearing five barred gates with room to spare
I can’t find any data for Great Danes on the web site, is Ishka going to be a first? We hope next year to have her in Merlin’s Sorcerers in division.
So, watch this space….
Winners of the British Flyball Champs Division one were the Bassett Hotdogs with a fastest time of 16.80
A warning note concerning lungworm.
The parasite, Angiostrongylus Vasorum, is increasingly causing canine fatalities countrywide. Dogs are dying from problems ranging from acute respiratory distress to spinal heamorrhage, the culprit being confirmed as this
deadly Lungworm, on feacal analysis. In 2009 around 20% of veterinary practices across the UK reported suspected cases, the South, South-West, Wales and parts of London remaining hotsports, but with cases as far flung as central Scotland. Vets appear confused about what to call Angiostrongylus Vasorum named the French Heartworm and the French Lungworm, it's also
called the Small Heartworm (to distinguish it from the large heartworm, Dirofilaria Immitis,) or Angio (to distinguish it from other
Lungworms.)This is not helpful to us mere mortals, so for the purpose of this
article, I'm referring to it as Angio.
Typically, Angio causes cardiopulmonary disease, but there are problems with initial diagnosis, as not all dogs actually present coughing .
30% of cases present with sudden,unexplained bleeding, from spontaneous haemorrhage, e.g., heamatoma; bleeding in the eye or muscosal bleeding; internal haemorrhage, including bleeding into the central nervous system,
which causes acute spinal pain; or from trauma or after surgery, which can be misdiagnosed as anticoagulant poisoning. Some authors suggest that Angio itself produces substances which interfere with normal coagulation.
Some dogs present with shortness of breath, (Dyspnoea,) rapid breathing,(Tachypnoea,) and exercise intolerance without a history of coughing. Acute reactions similar to anaphylaxis may occur when heavily infected dogs are
treated with anthelmintics, (wormers.) There is a wide variety of non-specific symptoms that can include depression, anorexia, weight loss, gagging, vomiting, diarrhoea and stunted growth. So a minefield for clear diagnosis.
Foxes are natural hosts for lungworm and are also responsible for spread of the disease and frogs can be part of the Angio life cycle. Some slug species that carry the larvae are extremely small and ingested by dogs accidentally, with grass, so owners may not see them do it. There is an excellent pamphlet,published by Bayer HealthCare, entitled Lungworm - Is Your Dog At Risk,
which explains the life cycle of Angio with diagrams. Ask at your vets for a copy.
1) Larvae from infected dogs are coughed up and swallowed, passing out in the dog's faeces.
2) Slugs and snails graze on the faeces, swallow the larvae, and these are ingested by the dog.
3) The larvae develop into adult worms, which can be found in the heart and pulmonary arteries.
4) The worms lay eggs, which hatch into larvae and pass into the airways of the lungs, from where they are coughed up and swallowed, and so on.
For now, drugs licensed in the UK for treatment include:
a) Advocate - monthly spot-on application;
Note: Advocate contains Ivermectin, but it has been proven safe to use at 5 times the usual dose in Rough Collies and Old English Sheepdogs, but the owners should make VERY sure that the dog doesn't lick the application site, as this
may result in toxicity.
b) Milbemax - monthly or more frequent treament.
Not licenced, but of published efficacy:
c) Febendazole daily dosing, varying from 5-21 days.
There is ongoing research into prevention of course, but as yet there are no products licensed in the UK for preventing infestation. For now, remember to check around your outdoor water bowls to see if there are any shiny slug or snail trails around them and if so, take them up at night, when slugs and snails visit them.
Courtesy of V.Tiller