I haven’t managed to blog much this week, but Barnum and I have done a fair amount of training, and I have also been working on a couple of flash fiction pieces, which feels really, really good. It’s been so long since I have been able to do “commercial” creative writing.
There’s also a lot going on on the home front that I don’t feel at liberty to talk about at the moment. I probably will soon.
My parents picked up my outdoor pchair in my van today and took it to be repaired. (The guy who built it lives closer to them than to me.)
Even though it was 87 degrees out today (Yikes! In May?), I still have had Barnum do just a tiny bit of training in the heat, just so he gets used to the idea that he can still be called upon for work, even if he just wants to lie around panting.
Though mostly I do let him lie around, panting.
The tick season continues to rage out of control. Between days of wet weather and then heat, it is ideal tick conditions. Today, the number of ticks found on Betsy, our home, and Barnum equaled twenty. Yes, twenty. In one day. It’s disgusting.
I have several Lyme- and tick-myth busting posts in the works. Scary times.
You may recall that in an earlier post, I mentioned Barnum’s zen (“Leave it”) going downhill as a good sign, and then my training guru, Sue Eh? said that was the best possible sign. I’ve had to go back to kindergarten with zen, but we have worked our way back up pretty rapidly, as this picture shows. It also shows that one of my PCAs makes very tempting-looking liver biscuits.
I’ve also been collecting and disseminating a lot of grief-related information, because suddenly there are several people in my life dealing with the death of assistance dogs or pets, or having anticipatory grief over sick animals. That, along with my own grappling with my “frozen grief,” is compelling me to try to get the grief resources together here soon. Meanwhile, I’m putting them up haphazardly on the FaceBook page.
Also on the FaceBook page is my “Tips for Tired Trainers.” I try to post one a day on the After Gadget FB page. The consensus seems to be that you all prefer to be able to access those tips here, in addition to on FaceBook.
I’m not up to posting them as a blog every day, so here’s what I’ve done: I’ve made a permanent page here, with that title, “Tips for Tired Trainers,” that I will add to every week or so after I’ve collected a new bunch of tips. I will also try to remember, when I have updated the page, to include a link to it in my latest post. However, I advise bookmarking the page, because my memory isn’t stellar.
I wholeheartedly welcome feedback about the tips: Which ones you find most useful; elaborations, improvements, or your own suggestions; and questions about how to deal with specific dog training or management issues when facing your own particular pain or fatigue issue. Go ahead! Try to stump me! I bet you can!
I’ve also been trying to keep a very simple training lot going on the FB page, although it didn’t occur to me until today that I should probably also put them in status updates, otherwise nobody knows I’ve updated the document. It’s usually very perfunctory notes, though.
Here’s what we’ve been working on this week:
Shutting cupboard doors & drawers in general, and the difficult corner cupboard in particular (which he figured out on his own, which is spectacular because I don’t know how to do it without the knobs and opposable thumbs); go to mat (duration in one session, and “making sure every part of your body is on the mat as I shrink it” in another), sit/down/stand/stay (often), clik-stik, relax for tick check (every night), notice pull cord on cabinet door (have graduated to mouthing it), elimination on cue (going very well), dumbbell take training (at least once a day, sometimes twice); zen (almost every day); using nail board; alerts (has learned to escalate to pawing or nosing me if I continue to “sleep” after he’s jumped on the bed); working through weirdness about sitting in certain locations and strange fear about getting in the tub (GREAT progress on the latter — now back to sitting and lying in the tub, after eagerly jumping in); paw targeting (introduced a slightly smaller new target); play retrieve (“fetch”); coming and staying within sight for off-leash runs at pond; being calm while separated from me; crate cue; polite greeting (a bit overenthusiastic with my parents).
Lastly, I’ve been wanting to do a post, or maybe a few, on what I see through my window, because I spend a lot of time in bed, and sometimes I see some lovely things. A couple of days ago, I saw an Eastern Cottontail rabbit hop across our driveway. Last week, a red fox slunk through our backyard.
Mostly what I enjoy looking at, however, are birds. I am a birder. Yes, I am, and I have been all my life, thanks to my parents. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t, but I have discovered either you think birds are cool, or you make fun of people who excitedly tell you the names and identifying features of the birds you see. Ahem.
I used to keep a “life list” of birds. It was pretty amazing, but I lost it when I moved to my current home. So, I decided to start a new list, beginning with this month, May 2011. I’ll post that sometime, soon, I hope. Well, with me, who knows.
Anynoodle, periodically, I’ll be showing pictures of the birds I see outside my window.
I’m not the only one who likes to watch the birds:
– Sharon, unabashed bird geek, the muse of Gadget (who didn’t care about any bird unless it was a grouse or a wild turkey), and Barnum, bird-dog and SDiT?