So I wandered by a vet clinic yesterday and they let me use their scale to track Cohen's weight. As of yesterday she's 17.0kgs. That's a weight-loss of 0.2kgs in 3.5 weeks, and a teensy bit more prior to me tracking it. I think she's just about perfect now.
She still has loads of muscle in her shoulder and thighs, and has great core strength. She's just slightly less soft in her mid section. Now when you pat her it's like patting a furry brick wall - all muscle... and fur. I think I could stand to condition her more, but I'm very content knowing that she's not carrying any unnecessary weight.
17.0 kgs as of yesterday, or 37.4 lbs. ~21" at the withers.
Please note her fancy new effeminate pink harness (mostly for car trips, but since she doesn't like anything around her midsection I'm having her wear it for fun romps in the woods) and her high butt (which she'll surely never grow out of now).
Not like "fat fat" but... with a bit more padding on her ribs than I liked. I think it was the result of the combination of using a lot of cheese and hotdogs as training rewards, having bones, kongs etc tossed at her to keep her busy when were were otherwise occupied, and a decrease in the quality and quantity of walks. Unfortunately when families are thrown into turmoil it's the dogs who get the shit end of the stick when it comes to proper attention.
Being active with Cohen is a key part of our relationship. Sports aren't easy on a dog's body, so I'm super mindful of any additional weight Cohen may be carrying unnecessarily.
So I decreased her food intake at meals, started using kibble for the bulk of her training treats, and increased her exercise. She was weighed at the vet recently, and came in at 17.2 kilos (38 pounds). I'll have to take her back soon to get another reading.
This is from early on in the stricter diet regimen. Not a lard-ass by any means.
I'm not being particularly careful about the regimen however. I'm just eyeballing slightly reduced food amounts for meals and periodically placing my hands on her sides to keep tabs on the padding on her ribs. She doesn't seem to notice/care about the reduced amount of food being tossed her way, so I think the difference is nominal.
But just this week after 2-4 weeks of keeping closer tabs on her I've noticed the rib padding has been noticeably reduced. I think in another 2-4 weeks she'll be exactly where I want her. The difference in actual weight will be nominal I'm sure, but in the long run it will have a positive affect on her health.
I get asked all the time what type of dog Cohen is, and people seem genuinely surprised when I respond that she's pure Aussie. I think partly it's because people think all Aussies are merle, and partly because 98% of Aussies are grossly obese (or at least chunky). I know the breed is more stout than the Border Collie, but I've not quite been able to wrap my head around why so many people think that Aussies should be shaped like ottomans. I also understand that it's tougher to take visual inventory of medium-furred dogs' body condition, but jeez.
I was walking Cohen down the street yesterday and saw her two nemeses at the corner a block ahead of us. These two dogs are normal, relatively inoffensive charcoal coloured standard poodles, and I don't think either of them have ever done anything terrible to Cohen -- they've just become the object of her ire due to them being two big black fluffy dogs that look vaguely like the big black fluffy dog who attacked her at the park when she was 4 months old. My dog holds grudges. Pointless ones.
So anyways, I had seen these two dogs up ahead, but they were too far ahead for Cohen to notice. So I slowed my pace to make sure they stayed far ahead of us as we made our way to the park. It surprised me that when we got within about 10 meters of the corner Cohen started to have a reactive episode and was particularly difficult to calm down. She'd apparently picked up their scent and found it offensive enough to kick up a fuss.
This pretty much ended up poisoning the rest of the walk. Cohen was on alert and stressed. Since I was unable to properly predict and preempt her reaction all those fun little stress hormones were making their way through her body and generally making her a pain in the butt.
It caught me off guard when Cohen reacted solely because of a scent. It left me a bit despondent when I realized that I could not sense the offending stimulus. How can I possibly preempt her reactivity when I was ignorant to what (or where) the problem is? We managed to fumble through it, and I've learned to give offending dogs an even wider berth than I do already. It was a good example of the importance of being able to correctly identify your dog's triggers when trying to manage and cure reactivity.
Dogs don't react at nothing, despite it sometimes feeling like they do. Clearly they're 100% capable of reacting to stimuli undetectable to us silly humans.