29 December 2008

Holiday Dog Training Tips

I know. Some of you are out there shoveling trenches for your dogs in the snow so you don't interrupt your 2x2 weave pole training. De-icing your dogwalk with your blow dryer. Moved your jumps into the kitchen and burned the dining room table for heat to warm precious performance dog muscles.

Um. Agility? Hi, do I know you, my old friend? Not going to too many dog shows this month anyways because, ahem, no dog show monies due to no dog class teaching. And not big sales on the team small dog shwag for xmas shoppers. My economy, not stimulated enough. And it's been rainy or I've been sick or gone and so not even sure last time we did some agility. Santa Rosa dog show? Was that so long ago?

So for holiday traveling, we just worked on basic manners and general good dog training. Which is helpful, since I am the houseguest that shows up with 3 toothy, barky, and scratchy bundles of joy that may want to climb onto your counters and eat your Christmas Dinner then chase the UPS man off the front porch. Hypothetically speaking.

Holiday Training Tip No. 1:
The tennis ball is your friend. Every morning, we walked stealthily through abandoned suburbs, no other signs of life except for occassional ipodded and wicking fabric swaddled joggers padding by us on the most clean and sparkly streets. Past neutrally painted classic ranch style homes with stone facades and impeccable landscaping, to the deserted seaside elementary school. Where there is a giant grassy soccer field and baseball field and green grass as far as the eye can see. 2 tennis balls in hand. Which are thrown, over and over, and over again to the delight and frenzy of the small dogs until tongues sufficently hanging out and Otterpop laying on top of her ball, like a big fat goose sprawled over a lumpy golden egg.

Holiday Training Tip No. 2:
Playground equipment. Is sort of like agility but actually, sort of way insanely funner because it involves slides. Teach your dog to go down the slide. But be careful of the twisty tall one because maybe your dog will leap like an insane squirrel bat from the top. Luckily playgrounds are used to kids doing stuff like this all the time and have nice, cushy, manufactured surfaces for dogs to slam into. If your dog is Otterpop, can actually run up the slide the wrong way and down the ladder. No other small dogs mananged that feat. Everybody else, just holler "Climb!" and off they go, up the stairs, through the archway and flying down the big red slide. Hours of fun. Can be combined with Training Tip No. 1 tennis ball for even faster slide riding. Small children can use playground stuff at same time, it's ok. But small dogs totally kick their ass in fastness of sliding. Sorry kids. Take a tip from the team. Run!

Holiday Training Tip No. 3:
Wordless communication on the beach. Pretend you cannot utter a word because you have a wicked painful sore throat and maybe even a fever. Use a series of whistles and hand gestures to communicate things like Do Not Jump Off the Bluff or Get Out of the Cave or Step Away From the Picnic. Did you read the book Edgar Sawtelle? I did and I'll tell you how it ends if you want. Spoiler Alert right now! The dog dies. He cannot speak and Oprah bestowed all good things on this book and while I am reading it, I cannot speak due to laryngitis. Coincidence? I think not. I did not love this book but I did read it to the end and it was super long. I never read the real Hamlet but I saw the movie. I did like the part trekking through the forest. It's complicated. What was I talking about?

Holiday Training Tip No. 4:
Don't worry about the mud. A fine place to tire out dogs is the muddy trails above the baseball field. By the junior high. In the beautiful suburbs, no homeless people live under bushes. Bulemic cheerleaders may drink beer and scarf Arby's down by the drainage creek, under the palm tree, but they totally pack their trash out. Thanks Cheerleaders! You guys are rad! I take the dogs up to the trails and my shoes are within seconds enveloped in mud cocoons and the dogs run up and down and back and forth for an hour or so until tongues once again sufficiently hanging out. This is a fine place to go when it's raining outside. Carcass may be consumed here. Either the cheerleaders or natural death of suburban happiness kills small rodents up there and they are inserted here and there in the sticky mud. This training tip might cause dog barfing, fyi.

Holiday Training Tip No. 5:
Repeat training tips 1 through 4 frequently throughout your holiday visit. Because tired dogs are less likely to do stuff like climb onto the super high counter via the barstool and eat the plate of ham sandwiches. Attack the fragrant, juicy roast which is on the counter, resting. Did you know you need to rest roasts? I don't even eat roasts. But now I know you need to rest roasts and keep an eye on all dogs during the rest. Eating of these things, could also cause dog barfing. Or consumption of the mummified, used tampon one dog found on the smooth, manicured and weed free grass park strip one morning. The suburbs are just different.

Holiday Training Tip No. 6:
Every member of the miniature Christmas village that lives under the Christmas tree is a Leave It. Especially tiny ice skaters. And little bears in fuzzy costumes with hats. Contraband. Next dog that sneaks under there to gently select in their tiny little teeth any village members with intent of digesting village members gets Polar Express steam train turned on in their face which circles the village menacingly, over and over again, trapping dogs in the village forever until benevolent dog trainer turns train off. Ha, take THAT village rapers and pillagers.

Holiday Training Tip No. 7:
Squirrel tv. Do you have this channel? Just send a small child to dump loads of bird feeding seeds onto the bird feeder which also doubles as obese squirrel buffet. Everyone go inside for a second. Look out the window and here comes fast waddling bushy tails porking out on the buffet. You can leave this channel on a long time, and dogs will either be very, very quiet, or start making squeaky, whiney squirrel eating noises and quivering. This is a useful tv channel for teaching the words Ready-Steady-Go to your dogs. Just put on the channel. Put your hand on the door. Ready, Steady, and FLING open the door Go and see how fast those fat old squirrels can scurry with all the dogs chasing them every which a way.

Holiday Training Tip No. 8:
Sword proofing. Utilize short, tiny pirates for this. Not all dogs may be used to cutlasses, sabres, or swords being wielded in their faces at random intervals throughout the day. If you have small children who truly believe they are pirates, and have their own full pirate regalia including hook, skull and crossbones cloche, eye spyglass and whistle, then you are in luck. Because if they have all that stuff, you know they have a sword too. Is also useful for dog exercising if it happens to be raining out. Just have the shrimpy pirates chase them around with the sword ordering them to walk the plank a lot and rescue princess from the cage. Watch the dogs scatter under furniture! Run like scurvy varmits! Although when cornered, and threatened with a cutlass, not all dogs will react appropriately. Gustavo. Just saying. A good proofing exercise.

So that's 8 tips that should get you in tip top shape. For the next dog show. Oh wait. Or something. Are the holidays almost done yet?


Anonymous said...

Eight! excellent tips. Thanks!!! Novel, not so much? I'm thinking tear-off calendar of dog tips for putting in pocket to remember to do the training tip that day. Number 6 especially good one because of necessity of purchasing referenced paraphernalia (economy stimulus).

Pictures were great last post, but there's nothing like TSD prose to start the day right.

Elf said...

Glad I'm not the only one trying to figure out what to do with my dogs. Sounds like you have more options than I do. Nearby schools have signs NO DOGS. Only one park within walking distance and if I can sneak over when no one's there I'll play some frisbee, but it's not big enough that I want them off leash when other folks (with small children) are there. My dogs would be fine but people wouldn't know it. Maybe easier with Small Dogs; normal people maybe not intimidated as much.

elizabeth said...

I admire your smart, funny, crazy and not boring blog. Good for starting the morning off with some laughs.

There are too many not funny, brainless blogs out there.

Thank you! Thank you team small dog!

Anonymous said...

This a great read really! Keep them coming!

Patent Attorney said...

Totally agree, tennis balls are like gold dust when it comes to training your pet!

Maya said...

I love dogs and pet me, especially with dog training like this I love it more.
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