27 July 2007

Train the dogs to be in the circus.

Here's what I look like at 42 years old!

Don't some people go to Hawaii or Deadwood, South Dakota for their birthdays? I had a plumber over, figured out how the electrical will go in, learned about the many expensive ways a roof vent could magically appear in the faux "crawl space" above the bathroom (each time a Guy comes over, they find more things about the "construction (HA!)" about my house that makes them either giggle or light up at the idea of being faced with a Challenge), and then tried to still get to work on time. It is not easy to freak me out in many ways but running a job site in my own home is getting me there. Thank god I did not try to remodel our whole house and stay on budget. If I had a real contractor and wasn't so worried about keeping the amounts on my spreadsheet low, it wouldn't be so bad. I am learning that you cannot be a Huge Control Freak when you are remodeling something, things are going to just happen and Guys (and Wacky Tile Ladies) are going to just do what they are going to do and you just try to go along and keep them all happy and keep getting a new one at Home Depot. Which is conveniently located exactly on the way to work.

We did go out to dinner. And I did get the dogs on a run.

*OK-Boring Dog Trainer Alert Here, just stop Reading Now if Dog Training to you is what Knitting Patterns and Baby Potty Training are to Me, this is a dog agility blog you know, Dog Agility is the New Black!*

I let Gustavo on and off the leash so he could practice running into me, boy oh boy is he fast. We were down at the beach near Seascape and he would run out with the other dogs to get the birds and I'd call them in and he was beating the other two. Then back on, run with me, back off, run out, run back in. He is learning to always come back into me before we even start teaching a genuine recall so it will stick. He is more like Ruby in his independence and not handler focused (ie, obsessed) like Otterpop.

Two of my customers are small animal vets, one a dog orthopedic surgeon and they gave him mini exams-the ortho surgeon vet is very happy I have finally gotten a dog without huge confirmation faults, that was one of the first things I noticed on him when I very first saw him was he had amazing confirmation for a little pipsqueak squirt. He has the huge bummer teeth though, that will likely be his own personal money pit. What's a dog without a money pit?

And I got in a couple puppy training sessions. We go out in the back yard right now and he works for some of his dog food, which is far more exciting than just eating it out of a bowl. The other dogs are hugely jealous of this and I have to start giving the turns too. They sit at the back door and whine when they see him out there practicing his sits and downs and targeting and remember those good old days. So I have to be more fair and teach them things.

Ruby had to learn a lot of tricks. She was so independent, and so prey driven. It was a lot of work to teach her to want to work with me and not chase people and eat small animals and attack other dogs. We used to have the old Ruby pushing Timmy on the skateboarding trick (until it turned into Ruby bashing her head into the skateboard in a manic attempt to make it go farther to get more treats in her frantic OCD way and Timmy would panic and jump off) in an effort to teach a good trick and also make her not want to kill all skateboards. Otterpop got exempt from all the stupid pet tricks because I was all hot to trot on getting her to agility and I could just wave the frisbee around and she was under my power. Although she spent an immense amount of time walking around parks and new places with Horrifying People learning to just leave it and not obsess on them. Boy would I cause a sight in Pinto Lake park and downtown Watsonville, walking around with Otterpop and a frisbee.

Gustavo (knock on wood) seems to not have any Dark Side so far. The worst thing he has done, probably under the influence of Otterpop, was sneak out of his dog bed last night. I found him and Otterpop both sleeping on Gary's pillow together with Gary's head. If that is the extent of his bad dogness, (I could see the recall thing rearing the head though if I push it before he's really ready to always come back) I will be one happy Dog Lady.

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