Archive for September, 2008

People Are Weird

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

People always want what they can’t have. Have you ever noticed that? Or maybe it’s just me.

I finally bit the bullet and had the foot surgery, so all I can basically do for a few days is sit in the recliner with my foot propped up. Now, I know this sounds like heaven to most of you out there. It did to me too - at least at first. A day of sitting in a chair with my trusty pal at my side, either reading or watching television (preferably Bravo trash) is GRAND. Two days is nice. Day three starts to get a little tedious, and it declines from there.

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Now that I am ORDERED not to bend my foot, I suddenly can’t WAIT to be able to jump around. I’m already making plans for big time exercise routines - to get on the treadmill; to do Tai Chi; and to work on heeling with Micah. Even cutting the grass sounds good about now. You know, all those things I didn’t really want to do that much, when I COULD. What’s up with that?

I need to play a little mind game with myself the next time I don’t want to do something physical, and pretend I can’t. Yeah - maybe that’s the ticket!!

Ode to Dog Hair

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

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Dog hair here, dog hair there
Dog hair nearly everywhere

It doesn’t take long, it soon adds up
I most certainly could fill a small truck

Every day, the broom must pay
The hair it seems, is here to stay

I sweep each day, but it does no good
The very next day, it’s understood

The mound of hair, it will be back
It’s a little brown, and a little black

This task of mine, it never ends
Cleaning up after my furry friends

But I don’t mind too much, you see
Cause I like them and they like me

I’d have them around in any case
Even if they “hairy” up the place

They are the best, these guys and gals,
They are the very best of pals

So sweep I will, I won’t complain
Not even of hair of the huge Great Dane!

Or the wavy hair of the small wild one
That’s all I’ll say - my Ode is Done!

The Greatest American Dog

Monday, September 15th, 2008

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I’ve watched the whole series of this show, as I’m sure many of you have. I mainly watched because I know Bill (of Bill and Star). Well, not so much know him as know of him. I see Bill at agility trials and have spoken to him on occasion, but I’m sure if you mentioned my name, he wouldn’t know who I was. But that’s all beside the point. It’s still pretty exciting to have someone that you know even remotely, on a reality show.

I had an idea that Bill was just a big “mush” before the show even started. But Greatest American Dog has absolutely confirmed it. He’s just a sweet ‘ol country boy, who loves his family, and adores his dogs. Sounds like a winning combo to me.

After a couple of episodes, it became obvious that Bill and Star were two of the more “stable” participants on the show.

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And while entertaining, the longer the show went on, the more I started to question the rational and judgement of the folks running it.

I will admit that the only judge I was familiar with was Victoria Stilwell,

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and I’ve always enjoyed her show (It’s Me or the Dog), and agree with most of her training protocols. So I was even more surprised at some of the episodes.

While it was very cute to see the dogs tested on things like being able to leave a tasty treat alone, I thought the episode “My Dog Can Fly” went WAY TOO FAR!!!!

Let me start by saying that I”ve been a fan of elephants forever.

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I think they are extraordinary creatures, but when it comes to one charging within a few feet of my dog, I’d have to draw the line. I’m sorry, but elephants are not the most dependable animals on the planet. And even the possibility of a 9,000 pounder veering off the intended path, and having a dog in the way, (or a person, as was part of the challenge) gives me shivers up my spine. I would have had to pull my dog if I had been a contestant.

The other exercise that I had a major problem with was the zip line (airing on the same episode). They expected the dogs to jump off what seemed like a 2 story space, into sheer air. The dogs were fastened into a harness that would keep them airborne, but of course they didn’t know that. Why would you expect a dog with an ounce of common sense to jump off a virtual cliff? And why would the judges encourage that? Was it to show how well trained they were? To show that they would do ANYTHING for their masters? Sorry, but I think they were just way off base with that one. So the dogs that decided that it wasn’t a good idea were penalized. Okie - dokie.

While I was hoping that Bill and Star would take it all - you know - the BIG prize, I was privately thinking good for you guys that Star is smart enough not to jump into “nothingness”, and that her master was smart enough to realize that he was asking for something unreasonable, and unsafe.

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I had some other problems with the show too: like one of the contestants getting chided one week for his training methods, and praised the next. But whatever.

What I really wanted to say is just how proud I am of Bill and Star, and of how they conducted themselves throughout this experience. You were helpful and supportive to the other players, and your obvious love for Star is exemplary. You’ll always be winners to us, guys!!!! Good job!!!!

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We Remember

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

I guess pretty much everyone will stop and pause at least once today, to remember that terrible day when our world was forever changed. To remember where you were when you heard the news. To remember the way it felt. To remember the helplessness of it all. The struggling to understand what was going on.

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On this day, we reflect upon our country and what it means to us.

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We remember the unspeakable horror that was inflicted upon us, and we remember the countless number of people who were killed, and maimed, and who had family and friends ripped from them.

With gratitude we also remember the countless others, who helped, and served. We will be forever in their debt.

On this day. . . we remember.

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Kids & Dogs

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

What is it about kids and dogs? They just seem to go together: like peaches and cream, or peanut butter and jelly.

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Maybe it’s because they are both so innocent.

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Dogs and kids pretty much live in the moment. They don’t worry too much about what happened yesterday, or what’s going to happen tomorrow. They just care about the here and the now. You know, where’s my ice cream?

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And where’s my bone?

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Nothing tickles me more than to see a young kid playing “tag” with his dog, or a small child that can barely reach around her big dogs neck, trying to give him a hug. (Even though I’m pretty sure most dogs HATE that, most kids LOVE it!)

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A kid growing up without a dog, is just not right. That wagging tail when you come home from school - that slurpy tongue on your face in the morning - the endless games of chase, and tug, and fetch the stick.

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Kids are good at loving their dogs, and the dogs are good at loving them back. Yup. Dogs and kids just go together like ham and cheese.

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If you weren’t fortunate enough to have a dog when you were growing up, it’s not too late. You can still know the unconditional love of a four-legged furry friend. There are more than enough to go around: trust me - I’ve seen the local shelters.

I can’t IMAGINE my life without dogs. How about you?

USDAA Regionals

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

This weekend was the USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) Regionals held at Will Rogers in Fort Worth. It’s a great arena to watch dog agility. Nice stadium seating, and plenty of cool air (burrrrr).

We went to watch for a little while this weekend, along with many others. I’ve never done USDAA agility, and I must admit, I’m a little intimidated by it. It’s the venue I know the least about, and I’ve heard that it’s pretty much the hard core venue of agility, but I think that may be prejudiced. I do believe though, that their jump heights are a bit higher than the others.
IF Micah and I ever get to the point where we can actually enter agility trials, we will certainly be doing USDAA - they accept mutts you know.

I thought you might like to see a few random pics from the trial today. Enjoy!

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Dog Friends Are the Best Friends

Friday, September 5th, 2008

I’m a dog person. Have I mentioned that?

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The other day I met a friend for lunch at Cozymel’s Restaurant. She is a recently acquired friend, and fellow dog trainer. We had a great time yammering on about everything under the sun - that is everything DOG related.

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When I think about it, we talked about many different things, but nothing that didn’t have SOMETHING to do with dogs. It’s so wonderful to network with folks that have the same passion that I do. We shared stories of recent experiences, and bounced ideas off each other. We went on for about 3 hours with scarcely a breath in between. I’m sure we could have gone longer, but you know, places to go, people to see.

She is my newest “dog friend”, but actually most of my friends are dog friends. In fact, my BEST friends are dog friends.

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I’m guessing that we will remain friends until we are old and gray(er) and can’t do much but sit in our chair and mumble! (about our dogs).

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Most of my activities in life have something to do with dogs, either mine or someone else’s. I remember many years ago watching an Oprah show about people who were obsessed with their pets. I actually thought they all sounded pretty normal. What in the world was all the fuss about?

I do have friends who don’t share my affection for the canine species. But not many. And honestly, I have to say that I sometimes wonder about them. Anyone who doesn’t absolutely melt at the sight of a puppy just has to be missing something in life. At least in my humble opinion.

How did I get to this point where my life pretty much revolves around these four-legged fuzzy creatures? I really can’t say, but I’m ok with it.

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I guess it doesn’t matter what your passion in life is - as long as you have one.

Did I mention? I’m a dog person.

Stanley

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Most of you don’t know that I have a pet spider. Well, not so much a pet, as a visitor. His name is Stanley. He lives by the window, over my kitchen sink.

He’s not just an ordinary spider. I don’t know what kind he is, but he looks like he’s half spider, half crab. I just thought he was kind of interesting, so I let him hang around.
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We have an understanding. As long as he remains in his space, he can stay. He has only breached our agreement once, and I caught him on the kitchen counter. I moved him back to the windowsill and told him that if he blows it again, he will be gone - permanently.

As a trainer, I would love to be able to do something with Stanley. Susan Garrett www.clickerdogs.com told us in a lecture once that Bob Bailey had come to her house and trained a spider in her basement. How does one train a spider? I wish I knew.

I guess that’s what separates the men from the boys. After all, anyone can train a dog. But a spider? That takes a special kind of talent. Bob Bailey - how did you do it?????? I sent him an e-mail asking him. I’ll let you know if I hear back.

Stay tuned!