Thursday, March 6, 2014

Out Of Office

Just dropping by to tell you that I'm not exactly playing hooky from the blog (for once)! I'm currently up north in my old home town - you know, that ridiculously backwards place where the Internet is a rare animal to find - to visit my parents. My father has once again acted under the delusion that he's just the same as he was in his twenties, and consequently got his foot caught in the snow chains as he was climbing around on his... logger? harvester? big-tractor-thingy-you-cut-down-trees-with? yeah, let's go with the last one. Anyway, he fell backwards, landed on his head/shoulder/back, broke a bunch of bones, whacked his skull, and smashed an eye. So here we are, dad's injured and Monster and I are hanging out in the sticks for a while. I don't know when we'll be getting back to civilization, but you'll have to manage - somehow! - for a while without us...

Did Grampa cut these down before he fell?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Weekend(+), And Today

So. Skipped the blog again. There's a surprise! And I really don't feel like blogging right now (my bed is singing a siren song), but let's just get something written down - that way I'm more likely to return tomorrow, I suspect.

This weekend Tilly came to stay with us again. She's still injured and needs to stay calm, but she's not in much pain so she doesn't want to stay calm. Her presence this time unfortunately led to a lot of stress and a lot of inactivity. Not great, and there were some tense moments when she wanted to take her general annoyance out on Monster. And Monster became quite frustrated after a while and started a lot of bad behaviors, like charging the fence when people walked by and barking his head off at the neighbors. Bad behaviors, and unfortunately they didn't go away when Tilly did...

Anyway, not a lot done on the list of things that should be done (can't remember it right now): very little walking, no training. That kind of thing.

Today was slightly better, although not great... We started off better than we finished, you could say. We've walked about two and a half hours today, and we've also done some training. I tried the "do as I do" on our walk too (so typical me, to rush things), it's really proving to be a lot of fun! I can't say it's working well yet, but at least it's interesting. Monster seems to have grasped that there's two parts to it, first the "watch me" and then the "repeat". He'll watch (usually), but as for repeat that's not so sure... Some things seem to be a lot easier, things I do with my hands or when I get up on things work most of the time. But for instance when I tried to head butt a chair back, he ran up to the chair and started pawing and biting the rug under the chair. That was weird, and it took me a couple of tries to realize that he's not watching what I do with my head: he's watching where I look! So when I bent to put my head against the chair, I was looking at the floor... Interesting... He also (and this may be related) has shown no tendency to map his body against mine and repeat things like lying down or spinning around, rather he's focused on the parts of my body he's used to taking cues from: face and hands... We'll see how it goes!

And tomorrow is Baking Tuesday, so I'm not sure I'll have anything to tell you then either. Fingers crossed...

Oh sure! Who needs to make an effort when we can just hope for luck...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday Again

Yeah, I can't with the dramaqueen headers anymore... Anyway, I'm exhausted, let's get through this (I'm such a cheerful and optimistic person...)

  • Walks:   2h 30min. Comme ci comme ca... All things considered, not so bad for this day at least.
  • Exercise:   ~20min. Walking through deep snow can take quite an effort. Monster was having so much fun I don't think he really felt it then and there, but he's actually been a little tired tonight and he's never tired!
  • Training:   0 I think. Coulda woulda shoulda... Some simple obedience and similar on our walk, but nothing more.
  • Planning/preparation:   Nothing.
  • Other:   No

Today was the day I confirmed my car is magical! First of all, the driving conditions were awful this morning, so after checking which roads were open and not I wound up leaving home an hour earlier than I'd planned since there were accidents and drifting snow closing a lot of the roads I'd meant to take! But in spite of the conditions, Tin Can just plowed through (literally, in some places!) and we got to the garage half an hour early. And he sailed through the check! I mean, sure I got a list of things to fix but rust and a broken tail light is nothing compared to what I was expecting. Not only do we now have a car for at least one more year (barring accidents), I won't have to sell my teeth to pay for repairs! This may not seem terribly important on a dog blog, but having to go for the car inspection meant Monster losing time plus us not having a car would severely impact Monster's life too. So, a dog blog can be about a car and still be a dog blog. Because I say so.

What you're really saying is that you're tired and can't keep your mind straight, right?

 That too...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Of Shame

I'm really upset over something entirely unrelated, so let's just get this over with (at least I'm posting, that's something, right).

  • Walks:   1h 45min. About the same as yesterday. Yeah, the weather is quite bad (two minutes after leaving for our morning walk I had a rare white Corso at the end of the leash, and another couple of minutes after that he'd given up trying to shake the snow off and just rolled with it) and I have a couple of other things on my mind, but I mean just look at the statistics for this past week! It's not pretty...
  • Exercise:   5-10min maybe. I've tried to use the snowfall to have Monster walk on leash through deep snow, forcing him to lift his legs high for each step. But not as much as I meant to. (I get tired from walking through deep snow too, plus Monster just loves to run like crazy through the snowdrifts and I didn't have the heart to force him to walk calmly when he just wanted to go nuts...)
  • Training:   Let's just not even talk about it, OK?
  • Planning/preparation:   No.
  • Other:   Since I'm feeling desperate to find something to write about, I guess I can mention he's spent a couple hours out in the yard today while I was working on the car. The fact that I list "spent time outside" as something worth mentioning is sufficiently pathetic to also serve the purpose of shaming.
In other, but unfortunately related, news, tomorrow Tin Can has to go in for the annual safety inspection tomorrow (all cars must get looked over once a year by a specialized garage here, in order to ensure road safety), and he will not pass. I've been trying to fix what I can today, but I'm really not a car person so what I can do isn't much. And some things may have become worse after I fiddled with them... The problem is that I can't afford a new car, but I'm worried the repair costs for some of Tin Can's issues may exceed the cost of a new car! But where we live we need a car (there's one bus in the morning & one in the evening, that's it). Unless the car fairy drops by for a visit we really need Tin Can to pull a(nother) miracle tomorrow. We'll see. Monster will have to stay home tomorrow, though - if nothing else he'd make it a lot more difficult to catch a ride home if worse comes to worst, nothing like hitchhiking with a reactive Corso next to you...

What?! Everyone would stop for me!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Of Shame

OK, these post headers are starting to feel ridiculous... But, whatever, more to be ashamed of! Obviously that must be a good thing, then?

I think you're starting to lose the plot...

  • Walks:   ... I don't know! I've been pretty good at remembering to keep a record of at least our walks since I started these posts, but today I couldn't even manage that. Tuesdays are a bit special though (more on that later), so I think it's just because of that. I'd say somewhere between 1h and 2h, closer to 2h but no more than. Something like that.
  • Exercise:   0. Again, Tuesdays are a little "special rules apply", but since I've been slacking so much all the other days that's not such a good excuse!
  • Training:   Well... We did try out the new "do as I do"-thingy with The Kid as an interested audience, but that's about it. Five minutes, probably...
  • Planning/preparation:   0. Again.
  • Other:   And this is where we get to why Tuesdays are special. Every Tuesday belongs to The Kid. I pick him up right after school, he eats a snack in the car while we talk about our plans, and then we go home and bake, bake, bake! We spend all afternoon and most of the evening baking, always something new and usually something a little advanced. Whenever something is resting, proofing, baking, cooling, etc, we focus on homework. Monster has to take a back seat, this is The Kid's day. Ideally I make sure Monster's had a full morning, but lately this hasn't been going so well... Now, Monster loooooooooves The Kid. Just seeing him sends Monster into raptures of joy, so it's not like he suffers and sulks on our baking Tuesdays. Plus The Kid likes Monster too, so usually he gets a few minutes of attention here and there (would probably be more if I didn't insist that hands have to be rewashed whenever they've been in a dog's mouth!) and we often get to have a little "show" where we show off any new tricks Monster may have learned lately, or something old but with The Kid as handler, and the like. But still, they're a back seat day for Monster. Not today, though. The Kid had a bad headache and was really tired. After less than an hour baking he was crawling around on the floor wrestling and playing tug with an ecstatic Monster. So while I did the baking The Kid and Monster played (and no one did the homework). It's maybe not the most impressive activity, very little learning and no organization what so ever, but on the happiness scale it's a bullseye! And while I think it's good for Monster (in general he needs to be physical with people other than me, plus he's pretty careful around The Kid - who's twelve, so no one panic about fragile children, OK - and he develops his "play nice" skills), it's also good for The Kid. A couple hours of relaxing Monster therapy and his headache was gone.

That's just how awesome I am!

So, not a great day (obviously, we're not really having any of those lately) but all things considered not a disaster either. I guess.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monday Of Shame

... and then some. I'm tired and cranky, let's just get this done:

Yeah, that's the spirit...

  • Walks:   1h 40min. And barely that.
  • Exercise:   Nope.
  • Training:   No clue... We have been doing something, but I have no idea how long we've spent on it. At a guess... Maybe half an hour? I got a recommendation to check something out called "do as I do" training, it's really interesting and quite fun to do too! You really, really need better organization put into it than I managed to scrounge up though. But google/youtube it! The science behind it is fascinating, and I think the practical effects on a reactive dog could be very rewarding (in general, it's not reactivity training). Put simply, you teach your dog to copy what you do. And I won't try to put it not simply, since I don't have much of a clue myself. But check it out from better sources than me!
  • Planning/preparation:   10min. However long it took to read a little about the above training method and watch a couple of videos... Maybe ten minutes? Yeah, let's go with that.
  • Other:   0. I don't even remember what I'm supposed to put under "other"?
In my defense - and I realize trying to defend myself severely undercuts the purpose of showing off my shortcomings, but when did I ever manage to stop myself when I knew I was doing something wrong and/or stupid - Tilly's stomach didn't like her new medicine, and we wound up having to run outside repeatedly all night. Not a lot of sleep, you could say... But then again, I chose to have a dog knowing full well that I'm responsible for his well being every day. Not just days when I feel great. Still. I'm going to bed now.

Me too. You're not the only one who was up all night, you know!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Of Shame

Today started off sort of slow, but then it picked up and I was really optimistic half way through. Now I have a headache and a surprise visit from Tilly (neighbor's dog who stays with us from time to time) put us completely off course again.

  • Walks:   1h 45min. I won't try to claim it would have been a lot more, but having Tilly come stay with us meant we can't go for more than very short walks. She has an issue with her shoulder and isn't to be exercised. 
  • Exercise:   0. I meant to do the ball (etc) exercises this evening, but with Tilly here it's not possible. (She's a resource guarder with a very low stress threshold, I can't train anything high energy and I can't reward with food or play, so...)
  • Training:   25min. This was what made me feel so happy today! We put about 15min into a partial obedience program (heel through a course, stay under march, stay, recall to heel, send, distance control). Not the most impressive stuff nor the most precise performance, but we had fun! Monster was so involved in the training, he sort of made me wake up... While competition obedience has never really been my thing, today it was so much fun. As wind down/reward (I managed to end the training in time this time, rather than drag it out until it became boring!) we did a nosework session outside as well, where Monster had to search for a piece of plastic in the garden (I hid it up a tree) and got a bully stick for finding and retrieving it. It took ten minutes. I meant to do some more obedience training indoors this evening, focusing more on precision, but, you know, Tilly.
  • Planning/preparation:   0. I'd like to say I've spent this quiet evening with Tilly planning to make up time tomorrow. But I haven't. And I won't.
  • Other:   0. I realized today that I can't remember the last time I just played with Monster. Just for no other reason than it's fun, just got down on the floor and wrestled him or something. Can't do it with Tilly here of course, but she's not here all the time and like I said I think it's been quite some time since I did it. Must be remedied. But hasn't been today. I also haven't read any of the stuff I meant to read about precision obedience before I messed it up any more...
Is blaming Tilly really the way to do this...?

No, it's not. I just... It feels like climbing up a steep, sandy slope. You fight like mad to get anywhere at all, and the smallest thing will knock you back again. But it isn't Tilly's fault, I'm just looking for a scapegoat. Again. That's ugly behavior.