Thursday, September 3, 2009

We need energy!

This was our last training session before the trial Monday, and it left me wondering. Wondering what's going to happen Monday. I'm not sure why, but Jackson seems to be very lathargic lately. I'm having trouble getting him 'up' for training. This is not usually a problem in training - just in trials - but lately it seems he has no energy.

We had an appointment yesterday with our holistic vet for an adjustment and acupuncture treatment. I thought maybe that would get the energy flowing : ) He's not limping or anything like that, he's just going down very slowly and he's not getting up speed for the jumps. And even when I throw his favorite treat across the ring, instead of racing after it like usual, he just slowly trots - or even just walks to it. Now, that is really out of character for him.

I've also decided to switch to another brand of dog food. I'm going to try a higher-end brand that does not have grain in it. Well, it does have rice, but it doesn't have corn, wheat, soy or any of the other grains. This switch is partly due to the urinary tract infection he had recently as well as his lack of energy. I'm hoping that a higher quality of food will make him healthier and happier. At least help with his 'gassy' issues. Maybe that's why he doesn't feel good - could it be the gas???


Jennifer H. said...

Awww big hugs for you and handsome Jackson. Hope it's just a temporary blip and he's back to feeling like himself soon. And your welcome to borrow some of Falkor's energy in the meantime. ;)

Kathie R said...

Hey thanks Jennifer!
btw, congrats - you got voted in at the DMOTC meeting tonight :)
And, good luck with your Rally trial tomorrow!

Honey the Great Dane said...

Oh poor Jackson! Honey has days like that too sometimes - just "blah" days when she can't be bothered with anything and doesn't seem to show enthusiasm for anything. Hope this is something similar - maybe he's abit bored and fed up with the training? Maybe it would be good to take a complete break from this type of training and do somethign totally different for a week? That's what was suggested to me when we were training really intensively for our dance competition and Honey sort of "burnt out" - I definitely notice her being much more enthusiastic and keen to work after we had a break. We still had training sessions but just did other totally different things - like new tricks I was trying to teach her or even some exercises from your UD that I was trying out (eg. teaching the sendaway) which are all completely different to her dancing. So maybe you could try the reverse? Do some clicker shaping & tricks that are nothing like his Obedience/UD exercises?

The other thing I thought of was have you tried Agility with him? I wouldn't normally mention Agility but I took Honey to her 1st class last week and was astounded at her enthusiasm for it! We didn't do particularly well (and she can't anyway, given how small a lot of the equipment is) but it was just so nice to see her really letting loose and having fun. I think your "chosen" dog sport (whether Freestyle or UD) can get a bit "serious" and the dog feels that - so maybe it might be nice to try another activity where you're still doing stuff together and handling him - but it's in a much more relaxed, fun atmosphere so he sort of "rediscovers the joy of working with you" kind of thing. Just a thought.

Of course, as you say, it can be a physical thing so perhaps changing his food is a good idea. You know Honey is on a raw diet and certainly when I was doing the research for that, there are a lot of vets who feel that dogs, although scavengers and can eat veg/fruit, etc - are still primarily carnivores and therefore their digestive systems are not really designed to digest the high amounts of grain that is usually as "fillers" in processed pet foods (biscuits/kibble) to make them cheaper to produce and so a lot of them are suffering from a form of grain intolerance which leads to all sorts of issues from "gas-iness" to sloppy poos to itchy skin to other auto-immune problems. We definitely noticed a huge difference in Honey when we switched to raw - instead of horrible, smelly, sloppy poos several times a day, she now just poos once or twice a day and they're tiny, firm pellets (one quarter the amount she used to) with hardly any odour. If you believe that what comes out is the stuff they can't get nutrients out of - well, it's interesting that so much more comes out from a grain-based diet.

Anyway, I realise the raw diet isn't for everybody but if you're already seeing a holistic vet for alternative treatments, maybe this is something you could discuss with him/her? At any rate, I think swapping to a diet with less grain is a good idea. They say you should check the ingredients list carefully (even from famous big reputable vet-recommended brands) and note the first ingredient as that is the largest percentage in the food - it should be some kind of animal protein source (and NOT meat "by-products") and not a grain.

Anyway, good luck and hope he perks up soon!

Kathie R said...

Thanks so much for the comments Hsin-Yi. I'm going to take your suggestion about taking a break from it for awhile. I've tried to make things fun lately, but it was hard not to slip in a utility exercise now and then with the trial coming up. Now, that the trial is over, I'll try harder to stop the drilling!

As for trying agility, most dogs love agility - the running and jumping, etc. is fun for them. However - Jackson gets so stressed when he sees the agility equipment, he starts looking for the exit. I'm not sure at his age that I have time enough to try to get him comfortable with it :)

I'm anxious to see if the higher-quality diet will have an affect on his energy level and overall well-being. I have been looking at the raw diet as a possible change in the future. I know a lot of people that feed raw and really like it - but, gosh it looks like a lot of work and planning, and then I'd need to buy a freezer! :)