Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beach Trip 2016

Vince and I took our annual trip to the beach earlier this week.   Last year, Perri was freshly placed on restriction due to her medial shoulder instability injury.   She could not run on the beach, she could not take walks longer than ten minutes, and she had to do her regime of exercises twice a day - and I had no intention of breaking any of those rules.   Truly, I would have loved to cancel our trip last year but that would have been unfair to V.   I remember having to bring a crate, and chewies, and listening to Perri scream in our camper while we left without her to run the other two dogs on the beach.  I remember that Perri refused to do any of her exercises, refused to eat a thing - until I threw a fit and demanded that Vince got and buy the holy grail ham for Perri.   Only then would she do her exercises.   I refused to make exceptions - we did those exercises every day.

A year later, so much gratitude to have three sound dogs.   We arrived, set up our camper and headed off to the bay.   I really wanted to leave Molly at home this year, but V would not hear of it.   Molly is a challenge on the beach.   If we have the opportunity to let all three dogs off lead, Molly does not entertain herself with personal pursuits.   She either wants to play with the ball, or body slam and/or bite at the necks of the other two.   Obviously, I can't let this happen!    And if Molly is playing ball, Perri orbits Molly - biting and shrieking.   So, if Molly is playing ball...Perri has to be leashed.   It took me a while to sort out this balance and figure out what works best. (other than separate beach trips, that is.)  This is also my second year taking my day-hiking pack on the beach with me and that's working well.  Freshwater, two dog bowls, but most importantly - a place to store the balls "out of sight, out of mind."

Molly and I have worked so hard on an "all done" cue.   She understands alldone with training, but the concept also applies for ball play.   If the ball and chuckit are in sight, Molly is out of control - biting snapping and body slamming me - it is not acceptable but it has been such a difficult behavior to progress away from. (Molly will sit or down when it is time for the ball to be thrown, but duration has been extremely challenging to increase.   She loses patience quickly.)   When I have the other two dogs to watch and play with (possibly attached to a leash!), it is not a good situation for training Molly to stop abusing me.   Putting the ball away is the best solution, and so that is what we do.  I say, "all done" and put the entire chuckit into the backpack.   Molly comes back to earth immediately these days (she used to snap at the bag and take out some frustration on me, but she has really grasped the concept now.)  And truly, I'm content with this.   Sometimes you just want to run your dogs on the beach and not be constantly in training mode.

One down side is that nobody can play ball while Molly is on the leash.   She just cannot deal with that.   But I do long ball throws for Molly and then shorter throws for Ein and Perri (unless Perri is leashed for excessive Molly-biting.)  I just loved seeing Ein rocking it on the beach, chasing the ball....peeing on All The Things.  Ein stayed quite sound for our entire trip.   He had some leg shaking at rest but that is to be expected.   I brought his Rimadyl and gave him one per day, though it was mostly as a preventative and not because he seemed terribly stiff or lame.   Old man has still got it goin' on.

One sacrifice I had to make was the SLR camera with the zoom lens on.  This is sad since one of my favorite things is taking a ton of photos.   On our second day I opted for taking the SLR with my shortest lens (the "Nifty Fifty", my cheapie 50mm prime lens.) and I decided to get what I could get with it.

Somebody was brave enough to stay in the water and ignore waves to get her ball.   Big step!


One thing that was new, that I did not love, was that after these two beach runs...the next morning, Molly was sore.   That's new.  Molly is never sore, merely lazy.   Or perhaps she has disguised her soreness in her laziness.   Regardless, when she got up to go outside and get her breakfast, she drug her hips up with some effort.   Just one of those little knife twist reminders that my girl is getting older.   No matter, I'm not freaking out.  I gave Molly half a tramadol and let her rest for our last day there.   All was good after that, she is moving nicely.

We also enjoyed a new type of fun.   V and I went for a beach walk after dark since it was a full moon - and there were plentiful crabs!   We think they were ghost crabs.  We were so wishing we had brought Perri the Pouncer Poodle and decided that we would bring her along on the second night and see how she would react to the crabs.   Perri did not disappoint, and for the entire mile round trip of our walk she never relented on chasing, pouncing, barking, shrieking, digging and air snapping at the crabs.   Our final evening we brought her out again, and this time I included Ein.   I did not think that Ein would care at all about the crabs - but he was antsy after a day of resting with Molly so I wanted to let him run the beach.   Well, Ein just joined right in with Perri!   Digging and dodging in and out and dancing all around the crabs - he was all for it!  It was really fun to see Ein enjoy a new "game", and I rejoice seeing how youthful he acted.   

We finished our trip with some shopping and we always make time to stop at "the dog store", as I call it, and buy the dogs ridiculously expensive baked treats.   We waited until tonight to hand them out.   Molly has a great down stay but you just can't get that tail to stay still!

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