Monday, February 24, 2014

Ginger, Super-Dog (at least comparatively)

In week two of dog training class I found out that Ginger really is a rock star.

I used to think that she seemed smart only because Molly (aka, the big dog (RIP)) was so incredibly not-smart, but it turns out that Ginger not only has the Einstein hair, but the Einstein brain as well. Or possibly she's so motivated by little bits of food that she overcomes any inherent deficiencies.

In any case Ginger was the only dog in class that would actually sit on command (more or less) in week two. The puppy was so excited about the food that he was vibrating off the ground, and the terrier continued flipping off her owner and generally acting like a juvenile delinquent. (I think I saw her smoking in the corner with a bottle of beer.)

So Ginger is making both of us look good, which is great because I realized after class that we were supposed to be practicing four times a day, which is about three more times than we have been. I'm trying to make a case that stopping once per block during our daily walks to practice sit/down/stand/wait/etc. counts as more than one session, but I think that might be wishful thinking. But really, we wouldn't want to get too far ahead, would we? That would be rude.

While I'd like to think that it's all due to my impressive dog training skills, I think I may be more on the Molly end of the scale. Fun story of the day:

Back when I was an employee, I met my boss' boss (who lives and works in a different state) a few times and on the rare occasions when she came to our office I could never recognize her, despite the fact that I spent twenty minutes in a one-on-one interview with her. Finally Rvan pointed out that she always wore button-down sweaters, and from then on I was able to figure out who she was as long as I knew she was in town.

Today I was talking to Jeff during lunch, and I knew this person was in the building, and she came into the break room and I still didn't recognize her because she wasn't wearing a button-down sweater.

I'm beginning to feel bad for making fun of Molly because she didn't recognize me when I picked her up from boarding after Christmas one year...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Best Dog!

As I mentioned before, Ginger and I started the basic dog training class last week, and I can safely say that she is the best-behaved dog in the class. (No, technically it's not supposed to be a competition.)

There are only two other dogs: a four month old bulldog (super-excited and completely out of control, which is appropriate for the age) and a one year old terrier (smart and a little calmer, but totally uninterested in pleasing her owner). While the other two dogs were busy pulling their owners around and generally acting like dogs that needed to go to class, Ginger was sitting nicely.

So we looked really good for the first half hour or so, mostly because Ginger can sit on command. Actually she will sit even when I don't ask her to. She will sit when she wants food. Or when it's time to put her leash on. Or when it's time to come back inside. Or pretty much any time I look at her. In fact, sitting is pretty much the only thing she does.

"Down" is a whole different game. She didn't come to me with that knowledge. Here's how you teach a dog to lie down:
1) Have her sit. 
2) Lure her head down to the ground with a treat until she settles her body down.

Two steps, and she already knew the first one really, really well. So it was a little disheartening that I pretty much spent the rest of class watching my dog imitate a see-saw; either her butt could be on the ground, or her front end could be on the ground, but never both at the same time. She just kept rotating her body around her center of gravity.

In the meantime the bulldog puppy was slobbering over everyone who got close, and the terrier peed on the floor.

We also practiced "Come" which would have worked better if I could have ever gotten Ginger to move more than six inches away from me in the first place. (The terrier had no problem leaving her owner, but I don't think she ever even glanced back at her once. The bulldog gleefully ran from person to person. That whole corner of the room was covered in drool.)

Anyhow, a fun time was had by all (except maybe the terrier's owner).

And we still have two days for Ginger to learn how to lie down...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Good Dog!

The little dog and I start the basic dog training class this week. It should prove to be an interesting experience.

This is what the flyer says I'm supposed to bring for the first one hour class:
- a hungry dog on a 6 ft leash with a soft collar
- food rewards, "3 times the amount you think you might need"
- an assortment of food
- 6 ft leash
- dog bed
- water bowl and water
- hardy chew toys to keep the dog occupied while I am listening to the instructor
- other optional random stuff in case I haven't yet injured my back while carrying the mandatory supplies

From the items that were repeated I think that she may have a problem with people showing up without 6 ft leashes and without treats, but that's just a guess.

Anyhow I bought three different kinds of dog treats that can be cut up into small sizes, so I think we're good on that point. And I already walk her on a leash that's close to 6 feet.

But let's be honest here. The main problem is not going to be Ginger, it's going to be me (and the other owners who are in the class).

So I bought myself some treats, too:


I think I've got the right idea...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Excuses, excuses...

So I got out of bed this morning (with the five cats and one dog leaping around me) thinking "Hey, you know what sounds good? Waffles with crushed pineapple on top."

In my head this was a completely doable plan -- a little bit of flapjack mix (which only requires water), a can of crushed pineapple (which I always have), and the waffle iron that I bought at the Goodwill for $5 a decade ago.

After digging around for a bit I finally found the waffle iron in the back of the cabinet and I plugged it in to heat up while I mixed up the batter.

So... no flapjack mix to be found. Apparently I finished it off the last time I made pancakes. But that wasn't really a problem because for once I actually had all of the ingredients to make pancakes. I even had milk. A quick internet search and I was on my way. The only bad thing was that now I had four times as much batter as I needed, but it usually takes me a few waffles to figure out what the light on the top of the waffle iron means, so that wasn't really a problem. (My waffle iron has one of those orange crystal lights on the top of it that turns on when it is at a certain temperature. The only problem is that depending on what your viewing angle is, it can look like it is always on. Technology really has improved over the last twenty years.)

I finished stirring the batter and was halfway through spraying the almost-hot waffle iron when I realized that at some point since I had last used it (> 5 years ago), pantry moths had hatched in the crumbs of flour left in the crevices, and there were empty moth chrysalises attached to the a couple of the iron spikes.

So... no waffle iron. Apparently it was going to be a pancake morning instead. I got out the skillet, melted butter, and poured in some of the rather-thick batter. While it was cooking, I opened the cupboard to get the pineapples.

So... no pineapples. I always have crushed pineapple in my cupboard. I'm not sure what happened. Luckily I had syrup in the refrigerator, even though eating pancakes with syrup always makes me feel ill.

Anyhow, I ate my pancakes with syrup and then I felt ill and went back to bed.

 (Crow the cat is judging you.)

And that's why I got nothing done today.