Gel is doing better. He’s been around other dogs, including bitches, and he’s essentially ignored them. It took me a while to remember, but last weekend while at my lesson, there was a bitch out on the field while he was there. Gel was more interested in the stock than he was in the bitch. That’s great improvement. He has been sound in the front end since I last gave the remedy. His appetite is good.
I should note that I can count the number of times Gel has been lame on one hand. I don’t think occasional lameness is anything to be too concerned about. I don’t think Gel uses his hind quarters as well as he should while working stock, although when doing agility, he does. I am not sure if it is a structural abnormality or if he is simply so focused on what’s in front of him (the stock) that he forgets he has a hind end. He’s not quite so focused on the equipment in agility, he splits his focus between me and the equipment. If the beast comes down too much more in the front end while on stock and keeps his big ol’ tongue hanging out like he usually does, he’s going to start stepping on it.
Yesterday I noticed Fern was limping on her right front leg. Great, I thought, like father, like daughter. I did not run her Wednesday night. This morning she’s perfectly sound. She had her nails taken down quite short on Saturday and she did get a good amount of exercise Saturday, Sunday and Monday and that coupled with shorter than normal nails could have attributed to the lameness I saw.
I pulled Gel from the agility trial the beginning of March. I expect we’ll drive down to Georgia again for a second ASCA stock trial the middle of March. My pocket book is not bottomless and the ASCA stock trials are expensive. Given that ASCA stock trials that I can get to within a reasonable driving distance are few and far between, I figure I’ll focus on them now, then come back to agility.
At some point I’ll likely decide between AKC and USDAA agility and my feeling is that I’ll start to focus solely on USDAA, at least with Gel. Given that he’s such a big jumping and striding dog, he’s going to have trouble with the tight Excellent-level courses in AKC. I like that USDAA is an agility-only organization. I really, really don’t care for AKC on any level. Eventually I’ll enter an AKC herding trial, but not until he’s ready to run at the highest level. I’m not going to waste my money and time with the lower levels. I wish you could do that in ASCA: start at the Advanced level, but you can’t. I’m looking at my time at these arena trials as foundation work, mileage for Gel and me. Arena or not, every time we are on stock, we have the chance to learn something new.