Monday, January 30, 2012

This and That

On my way home from church Sunday afternoon, I passed a car going my direction that had a Great Pyrenees dog in it.
The car was a Honda Civic, about the same year as mine, but a 4-door version.
The dog was standing in/on the back seat and he took up the whole car.
His shoulders nearly touched the roof.
His tail dusted the right side window and his big black nose bumped against the left side window.
The lady driver had installed some wire bars behind the front seats so a big snoot could not intrude and distract the driver.
That dog was really big.

I do not believe that Sally will get that big, but I have already been pondering how to transport her when she becomes full-grown.

Sally

Sunday was a bad day for Sally the Dog.
While she was generally well behaved regarding biting and jumping around, she failed her potty training - TWICE.

Each time, she was let out of the house not to be allowed in until the next meal.
I do not know what got into her to fail so badly, but she did.

As a result, I go through mental cycles of loving my dog and wanting to get rid of her.
It is tiring to try to train her ALL THE TIME.
I want to love her and spoil her in some ways and have her lying around to just observe me (like she did when I was working on her dog house) like Woof did when he was alive and we lived together.
But Sally is still too much a puppy.
Needing to chew something almost constantly and wanting to play biting games.
It is clear that she still is testing me to see who is the alpha/leader.
I have news for her - I control the food.
Everything else is secondary.

I have basically given her the yard to guard.
Right now it is the back yard, mainly.
But I have wondered if, after she matures in a year or two, to allow her to spend time with me in the front yard off her leash.
Technically that is illegal in the city, but once she gets settled down and trained on what/where is her territory (which I think she understands already), she will likely not roam too far from me.
I base this on how she behaves in the dog park.
While she runs around and chases the other dogs, she rarely goes farther than about 50 feet from me.

I noticed my sister's dog do a similar thing when she let her loose in a fenced school yard.
The dog ran about 100 feet away from us, stopped and looked at us and then charged back to where we were.
From then on she circled around us never farther than about 30 feet or so.

Sally takes spells of being bratty from one moment to the next.
While walking in the neighborhood on the leash, she will ignore my gentle tugs on the lease to move on from sniffing some disgusting morsel she has discovered.
But I can whisper her name and she will respond, with no tugging on the tether required.

My concern is that Sally has no fear of cars yet.
She occasionally tries to chase them, but I restrain her from this.
I am also trying to teach her to wait before crossing any street.
She sort of gets this, but is not consistently good at it yet.
And sometimes her trainer forgets to enforce the "wait" ritual before giving the "okay".
Come back in a year to see how we are doing.

Dinner tonight was steamed chicken breast and pork and beans, of which Sally the Dog received small portions and some of the flavored juices mingled with her kibble dog food.
She seemed pleased.
.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A BUSY SATURDAY

The Run

It has been a busy week at work and I was looking forward to a good detox session Saturday morning.
Rain or shine or snow or whatever, I was going to run.
My outside meter said that it was 37 degrees this morning at about 5:30 so the weatherperson got it about right.
I set out with two layers on legs and top, wool mittens and my trusty fleece ear cover.
From the first step, my right foot/ankle served notice that things would go its way or not at all.
A pain somewhere on the top of my right foot just in front of where my leg attachments connect was loud and insistent.
After a few steps, I found that if I came down on my heel a bit more and allowed my leg to rotate forward a bit more, foot pain went away.
Not sure why the problem was there but it was a my-way-or no-highway kind of deal.
So I went along with the requirement.
And after a quarter of a mile or so, we made our peace for the rest of the journey.

It was a good session.
Although I felt just a bit weak, I encountered no need to stop.
I spent most of the time daydreaming – a good sign.
Other than the lady runner I saw just before I parked my car, and a guy coming down Bankhead Parkway with his dog as I was going up, I had the road to myself.

That is, until I started down Bankhead during that last part.
As many as 50 cars came up Bankhead in groups of three or six.
At first I was perplexed at the unusual amount of traffic at this time of day, then I remembered: today must be the day of the Mountain Mist 50 mile trail race.
That pretty much kept me from running on the road for the rest of the party.
But all in all, it was a great run.

On the drive home, Jesus lit up the deck of clouds above the city and painted the eastern half of them in various shades of red and purple and everything in between.
I arrived home at 6:45.

The Dog Frolic

[Some background – we had a two-day rain here that soaked everything (duh) including Sally the Dog.
Since she still thinks she can slither under my utility shed, she was pretty well white and brown Thursday evening when I arrived home from work.
So I gave her her second bath.
This session included her new tub mat so there was no slipping and sliding around like the first time.
She did better this time, though she did try to escape the tub once.
But she was happy to be finished, I could tell, as I dried her off with her towels.
End of background.]

As I came in from my run, I decided to take Sally to the dog park after I went shopping.
And thus, it was so.
Sally, in just her fourth or fifth car trip, sat up in the shotgun seat and watched the excitement with me.
There was very little gnawing and bothersomeness while we drove.

When we arrived at the dog park, the recent rains and turned much of it into a mud pit.
But there were a few brave humans and their furry friends romping around and so I turned Sally loose for the festivities.

We went to the Big Dog section first and there soon arrived a couple of older dominant dogs that literally ran over Sally multiple times.
And while she tried to run and play with them, the older dogs ruled the area.
And in the process, Sally lost her just-bathed look.
So after 15 or 20 minutes of the rough and dirty stuff, I took Sally to the Small Dog area, that was mostly grass.

There was just one young dog in the Small Dog area and they made quick introductions and then proceeded to play.
Finally, Sally found someone she could play bite with.
And they went at it for, perhaps, 15 minutes while I chatted with the nice folks who owned the other dog.
While we chatted, other dogs and people arrived, but they all went to the Big Dog area.
There will be a lot of dog baths today.
Sally and Cathy – the other puppy – ran and rolled and jumped with wild abandon, all within about 20 feet of we people.

Finally, I could tell Sally was pooped, though she would not admit it.
I leashed her, bid farewell to the nice people and we headed to our car.
But Sally, in her intense playing, had neglected some biological imperitives.
So she was reluctant to enter the car (which she would normally do, now, without hesitation).
We walked and sniffed (well, she sniffed...) for a minute or two until a suitable spot was located.

Finally, with all the biology tended to, we got in the car and drove home.
My estimation of Sally's energy level proved accurate.
She could not even sit up on the car seat.
Instead, she lay on the floor with her nose between the front of the seat and the center console.
One dog pancake, coming right up.



When we got home, I let her loose in the back yard while I prepared the bathroom for another doggy bath.
I let her in and put her in the tub and we did it all again.
Sally did well and allowed me to wash her legs and chest.
Finally, I lifted her out of the wetness and we dried off.
Interestingly, Sally does not shake herself right away, as some dogs do.
She lets me dry her with a towel for a minute or two before she gives herself a finishing fluff.

Her fur is very thick and dense and holds a LOT of water.
(It takes a gallon or two of water just to get her completely wet to the skin)
So, I can dry her with two large towels, getting them rather wet, and Sally will still be damp.
So her final drying will be an air dry where I rub and fluff her fur.
Of course, then she is ready to play.
But today, she was trashed.
She was ready to lay down and sleep.

Dog House 1.1

An Engineering Change Order had been issued for Sally Manor.
It seems that the tall door-way allowed too much blowing rain to enter the cozy interior of the dog box, so changes were planned.
This being winter, opportunities for outside dog house modifications are rare.
But today was/is a beautiful day for this area, for this time of year (last year at this time it had already snowed 5 times.).
It is clear (the morning clouds have drifted off) with a 10 MPH breeze and about 53 degrees.


The Design change involves adding 10-inch vertical extensions to each side of her door-way, and a new 12 inch roof addition over the door.
The expectation is that the vertical extensions will disrupt the air flow around the door-way to limit the intrusion of blowing rain into the house from the sides, and the roof addition will stop falling rain from entering the house through the 32-inch tall door-way.

Hopefully, these changes will help keep the interior dryer for the pooch.
This has become more important because her days of fitting under the utility building are numbered.
In another month she may not fit under there at all.
Thus, the dog house will really become her only place of protection from the rain/wind.

All in all, it has become a rather successful day.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

SALLY THE BRILLIANT WONDERFUL INTELLIGENT DOG

The space aliens must have performed a brain transplant on my pitifully incontinent dog over night.
Today is Saturday.
Normally I run before dawn on Saturdays but today a lovely thunderstorm arrived exactly at the time that I would be out doing my run.
Since lightening is sometimes fatal, I stayed snuggled in the Royal Bed until 6:30.
I will run tomorrow morning.
The temperature will be half of what it was today but there will be no chance for any electric zaps.

Two big events took place that past week since my last post.
1 While throwing away a can in my recycle bin, which I keep outside next to my back porch, Sally escaped through the slightly open door and hopped out onto the drive way, as if ready for her morning walk.
I was nowhere near ready for a walk (no leash, nothing).
I have lived in dread of Sally getting out and running off, ignoring my calls and ultimately getting smushed under a big car.
Terrified, I watched as she jumped from the porch to the driveway.
But instead of heading off down the driveway to the street, she stopped, turned around and looked at me.
I invited her back into the house, and to my great relief and surprise, she jumped up on the porch and came the house again.
I almost passed out.

2 Then one evening as Sally and I were eating/cleaning up, Sally went into the back room.
Lately, she goes in there for two reasons – 1, to play with her toys in there, or, 2, to tend to biological needs.
I have no problem with her playing with her toys back there, it is the other activity that bothers me.
So, being suspicious when I heard no playing-with-toys noise, I went to investigate.
Lo and behold I caught Sally starting to poop in the house.
I hollered “no” and opened the near-by door for her to go out in the back yard.
She did and after a minute or so, I let her back into the house.
We had an uneventful rest of the morning after that.

Which brings us to today.....

After my morning ablutions, I let Sally the Dog in from the still-drizzling back yard.
She was damp but not soaked.
Thus, our usual rubby-snuzzly greeting ritual was augmented by a large towel to remove most of the wetness from her heavy coat.
This she sees as a game and – what else? - tries to bite the towel.

Anyway, we get greeted and I set about making our special Saturday morning breakfast.
Since we are out of oatmeal, I planned to make her an egg to go with her kibble food.
And since I was planning on having a cheese omelet, I planned to give Sally 1/3 of my cooked treat.
Thus it was when I gave Sally her bowl of kibbled corn powder to get her started before I added the egg (still cooking), she ate a little then disappeared into the back room.
After a moment of silence, I suspected that some sort of potty need might be brewing (if she goes out there to play with her many toys, there is usually noise)
So I go out there to see what is happening and low and behold Sally is STANDING at the back door waiting to be let out.

I open the door, Sally goes out (in the light rain!), does her little squat in the grass and comes back to the door.
Naturally I praise her to the maximum degree for her brilliance, self-control and all-around fuzzy sweetness.
Then I continue fixing breakfast.
She continues nibbling at her kibble breakfast while taking side trips to the stove because she smells other good things in process.

After about five minutes, she disappears again into the back room.
And after a few seconds of silence, I go in to investigate.
Sally is again STANDING at the back door, waiting to be let out.
I open the door, Fur Flump goes out into the drizzly back yard, sniffs around a bit and does a fresh fertilization of the grass.
As she trots back to the back door, I can hardly get the praise out for being overwhelmed by the shear sudden brilliance of my pet dog.
I let her in and we sit down to eat our respective eggs/breakfasts.
She remains on the floor under the table, her nose nano meters from my knee, to let me know she is nearby and available.
She did not put any paws on my leg or sniff my food (like she did yesterday....)

While I am doing the dishes, Sally quietly played with her toys.
Then she disappears into the back room again.
And again, silence for a few seconds.
I go to the door way to investigate.
And lo and behold, Sally is once again STANDING at the back door waiting for me to let her out.

I let her out and she, again, goes out onto the soggy grass and makes another deposit.
I am nearly speechless, but praise her again, hoping she will somehow remain humble in spite of all the effusive adulation I have heaped upon her in the last 20 minutes or so.

We played gloved hands for about 10 minutes and then it was time for me to leave for my usual Saturday morning shopping trip.
I let her outside and drove to my planned rounds.

Frankly, I am astounded at the sudden change in my wonderful, big (17 inches), fuzzy dog.
We have done NO training as to where she is to stand to announce her need to exit for biological necessities.
But somehow she has connected some dots.

I wish she would bark at such times, to ensure that I do not miss a silent cue.
Maybe we can work on that part later.
For now, Sally is (suddenly) doing great on her potty training.
I know we are not completely finished with “accidents” but this is a really big step in the right direction.
.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

WHAT HAPPENED TO SALLY?


Evidently space aliens came and stole my dog overnight and replaced her with another animal.
She looks the same (except maybe just a tad bigger than the dog I had yesterday), but she acts very differently.

When I let Sally (I shall call this new dog the same name as my previous dog for the sake of simplicity) in this morning for our breakfast, she was appropriately excited and we did our ritual fur-rub-nose-snuggle greeting.
At one point she flopped down on her side as we rubbed and snuzzled, allowing my to rub her chest and tummy.
Then we went into the kitchen where she watched me fix her breakfast, as is our usual routine.
Except instead of her biting my slippers and pants legs in her anticipatory excitement, she either sat and watched or played with several of her chew toys that I allow to remain in the kitchen for this purpose, while I fixed her oatmeal and milk and dog food.

When the food was ready, I set her bowl in the usual place and she began eating.
Not gulping.
Meanwhile, I began preparing my breakfast of oatmeal and eggs.
As my other dog, Sally, used to do, this new dog stopped eating her food and came over to see what I was doing.
But unlike what Sally did yesterday, this new dog did not jump on my legs, bite my pants legs or shoes.
This new dog just sat and watched me.

When I had my food fixed and took it to my dining room (such as it is...) table, this new dog, went back to her bowl of food and continued to eat, as I ate my food.
As I ate, this new dog came over and sat under the table and put her chin/nose very gently against my knee – no doubt to let me know that she was there and available for crumbs from the masters table.
Not once did she put her paws on my leg.
Not once.
She did not even come close to doing it.

After the meal I let her lick my plate and bowl, as usual, then I set about washing the dishes.
While I washed, this new dog, alternated between finishing her food and playing with her toys.
Again, she did not try to bite my pants cuffs or slippers.

AND, when I sensed that she needed to go out for something (ahem...) this new dog, went outside with me, walked a few steps off and tended to her business.
Then we were ready to go back in for more quiet fellowship.

The next time I let her out a few minutes later, when asked if she wanted to come back in, she just stood and looked at me.
The Great Pyrenees indicator of “no”.
So she is outside in the cold now.
Except that “cold” is not a bad thing to a GP.

I am seeing a trend with Sally the Dog.
A bad day of misbehavior is often followed by a good day.
Seemingly all lessons taught (and failed) on one day, are learned overnight and performed appropriately the next day.

I like this new dog....
.

Friday, January 13, 2012

SALLY THE BRAT

First the good news -

The afternoon walk yesterday (between rain and snow storms) went pretty good.
I give Sally the Dog a B.
We went to the neighborhood church our usual way, but came back a new route.
All things went reasonably well, with some give and take of how far one of us can wander from the other, and how long one of us can linger at any certain item of interest.
We went about a mile or so.

Now, the Bad News....

Last night was another trying session with the new Resident Fur-Ball.
I let her in from the back yard just as I was to begin preparing my dinner.
I do this because I like to spice up her kibble food with some real food flavoring – leftover soup, or meat grease.
I know that it is not good to give too much of this stuff to dogs, but this amounts to a spoonful or so to her meal.

She was happy to see me and we did our usual tail wag - body rub greeting.
I fixed her food and set the bowl on the floor then finished fixing mine.
She began eating while keeping an eye on my doings.
Things went okay until I went into the living room with my food to watch the local evening news.
Then the contest began.

She began to put her paws up on my leg, as if to look at my food.
I kindly, but firmly, pushed her back down, saying, “no, down”.
After about six or eight times of this in 30 seconds, I stood up and walked back into the kitchen.
Sally followed and went straight to her food bowl and resumed eating.
Seeing this, I went back to my couch to continue my eating.
She followed.

Then we resumed the climb-up-push-down game.
At some level she understood my desire because she became frustrated – laying on the floor growling, wagging her tail, standing and biting the cushions on my couch, my pants legs, my hands, or my shoes.
We both understand that her biting is the only way she knows how to play at this point in life.
She never snaps out of anger.
It is clear to me that she is trying to bite “gently” with her hypodermic teeth.
No changes there.
And she does not try to bite when she is up on my leg, she just seems to be sniffing and looking.
But I cannot let her develop this habit.
In a year or two, she will not need my leg to see/smell my food.

I got up, and went back into the kitchen to let her out, thinking she might be trying to tell me she needed to go potty.
When I opened the back door, she just sat down and looked at me.
After a few seconds, I closed the door and went back to eating my food.
And Sally came back to me and started the jumping up/push down game again.
When I stood up and went into the kitchen, she would, again, go to her bowl and resume eating her food.

On the third cycle of this routine, I figured out that she was just playing an I-want-attention/domination game with me.
For whatever reason, she did not like me watching TV in the living room while she was eating in the kitchen.

On the fourth cycle of me PATIENTLY but firmly telling her “no” and pushing her back off of my leg for eight or ten times, I lost all patience with her.
I walked to the back door, invited her out and closed the door.
Once again Sally was banished to her back yard.
And once again, I was frustrated, angry, and upset.
Again, I am disillusioned with this whole experience.

I have found, from doing some reading, that her baby teeth will begin to fall out in March – two months from now. That is also the time I can have her tubes tied. I look forward to some changes.

In addition to all of this, I am having stress issues with my job.
They are pushing us to do things that I am not comfortable with.
These are no illegal things, just tasks that I know I do not do well – like calling people I do not know to invite them to come and do business with the company I work for.
Basically, selling.
I HATE selling.

….....

This morning, Sally was nearly a model dog.
And she seems to have grown 2 inches taller over night.....
She sat and waited while I fixed her food with barely a whimper.
She did not jump on me a single time. (although I was seated at the dining room table, not in the living room while eating)
When I took her outside after the eating, she did her business (both kinds) with little delay.
We played for about 20 minutes with my gloved hands, which is always relaxed, flop around play.
She seems to really enjoy this type of play.
When I put her out back for the day, she seemed to accept it easily (thought it was clear she would have preferred to stay inside (it is 25 degrees with a breeze and cloudy this morning).
.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TOTALLY DISCOURAGED

Today was a horrible day for Sally the Dog and her care-giver.
What started off nice and quiet for StD turned into a major transgression of the Tradition of the Elders.
She has learned that raising up and pushing with her front paws on the two-foot plywood barrier between the kitchen and the living room will knock it down so she can jump over it into the living room.
I was busy washing dishes and could not get to her fast enough to stop the project.
When she refused to go back into the kitchen, I picked her up and carried her to the back door and set her down outside and closed the door.
Banished.

We did go for a 25 minute walk a few minutes later, on which she behaved reasonably well.
Then I went to work and ended up working and hour and a half later than I had planned.
So when I got home at 6 PM, Sally the Dog was hungry and agitated.

I fixed her a special dinner of dry dog food and some chopped up stew beef.
She put all that away in short order and began hunting for more.
And in the last week or so, she has developed a habit of whining during and after her eating.
And she trots around restlessly as if looking for something.

I have learned that what she is hunting is a place to piddle or poop.
So when I hear her begin to whine, I take her to the back door.
If I stay in the house, she will not go out.
If I go out and invite her out, she will come out and go do her business on the grass.
But she seldom does both jobs in the same trip.
SO, tonight I took her out the piddle – which she did - and we went back into the house.

A few minutes later (very few) she began whining again.
I postponed taking her out because I was not sure she needed to do another potty break so soon.
BIG mistake.

She went in to the back room for a few seconds and by the time I got in there Sally the Dog had relieved herself on the carpet.
The Tootsie Roll kind.
I was so mad.
Mostly at myself.
I told her she was a bad dog, but she was already on her way to the back door waiting for me to let her out.
Which I did.

Smart dog – sort of.
She gets about half of the program on potty training.
And – mostly due to my diligent efforts to let her out often - we have had a good several days in this area of education.
Today restarted the clock.

And she persists in putting her front paws up on my lap while I am eating.
We had another confrontation this evening about this (before the potty event).
I am not sure if she just wants to see my food or to eat it.
I suspect the latter. (she is a dog, after all....)
But she does not seem eager to get her nose near my dishes – just like she is curious.
But I cannot allow this, so I am trying to teach her to not do it.
Just what I need – more classes for dog and man.

I am very discouraged about the dog again.
She is no fun to be with.
Every encounter is a test of wills that ultimately results in me sending her out into the back yard to be ignored.

As I may have said here, I do not want or need an animal in my back yard.
I have squirrels for that.
For free.
If I cannot have a peaceful relationship with this animal, I need to send her to someone who has the interest, need or time to deal with her.
She needs a big farm with some animals where she can stay outside and guard/herd them.
.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Evolution of Sally

It seems that in addition to learning how to bark, Sally the Dog has learned how to jump.
While she still jumps straight up in the air and spins around when she is excited, now she has begun to jump up on things – like the coffee table, the couch, my leg, when sitting.
Mind you, I do not mean that she puts all four large paws on these things, just her front two paws.

Suddenly, this weekend, she has discovered that if she puts her front paws up on me, she can better smell my food – and see it. (!)
Thus, a new command has entered our vocabulary, “down”.
We are working on this new dimension to our education.
Of course, I know the day will come when Sally the Dog will not need to put her paws up on anything but the floor to see/smell my food on table or TV tray.

During the rainy drizzly weather of the last three days, STD has spent some time under the utility building in the back yard – much to my distress.
It is dirty under there – if dry.
But it is increasingly clear to me that her days under there are numbered.
She is getting so big that she barely can scrunch herself under there.
In another month, she may not fit under there at all.
So, she is spending more time in her palatial dog house when the weather is not ideal.
(my preference since I built it for her – and it is clean and dry)

I find myself getting weary of this relationship at times.
The more there is for her to learn means the more there is for me to teach.
And she, in all fairness, does not speak or understand English.
So I must choose my phrases carefully and repeat them endlessly and firmly and consistently apply my desired behavior on her time after time after time.

The only good news is all of this is that Sally is not human.
She is not rebellious or knowingly disobedient.
She does not hold a grudge and seek revenge – even if it seems like it sometimes.
And she is smart.
Sometimes too smart.
And while some of her behavior can be attributed to her puppyness, I am not sure what she will “grow out of” and what will remain a part of her personality that will require yet further training and discipline.

It is time to feed the bouncing, spinning, excited, not-so-little puppy.
.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

SOME SMALL MILESTONES

The predawn run today was delightful.
I daydreamed most of the way, a sure sign of blissful relaxation.

The weather person had predicted rain for this morning, but with unusually mild temperatures.
So when I woke up, I was interested in two things – 1) how hard was it raining,, 2) what was the temperature?
Both would affect how I should dress for the party.

I also took a peek at the weather radar picture on my computer, and saw spotty green blobs on the map – scattered showers.
My thermometer on my back porch read 58 degrees – warm enough for bare legs and a light single layer long-sleeved top – even if it rained.
There was a light breeze and it was not raining, but the slightly damp streets indicated that it had rained recently (as the radar also indicated.

So I brought some rain stuff with me – cap and jacket, JIC.
And off to the mountain course I drove.
It was cloudy (and dark) but not raining at my usual parking spot, so I left the rain gear in the car.
I was mid-way into mile one when the rain started.
I could hear the whisper of the light rain on the trees all around me as it moved over me.
I thought to myself, this could be an interesting morning.
Just as I was adjusting myself to be soaked to the skin for the next 30 minutes or so, the rain decreased its flow gradually to zero.
End of rain.

So I can say I ran in the rain this morning.
Never mind that it only lasted about two minutes.
As I said, I paid little attention to things around me today.
Nothing was hurting or felt wrong – except the tingly numbness that intermittently tickles my left foot.
With no personal issues and no environmental issues, my mind wandered.
I noted that Tollgate Road is a gentle up hill climb from Mountainwood to Dill, my new turn-off.
For me, daydreaming while running is the next thing to falling asleep while running.
For you non-runners that may sound impossible, and prior to such a thing happening to me, I would have agreed with you.
But on more than one occasion I have had such a relaxing, pleasant time running that I have closed my eyes and could have drifted off to fairy land.
That is one advantage of running on nice, smooth paved roads.

I owned the roads this morning.
I was the only runner out at 6 AM.
While doing my distance check in my car afterward, I did spy a very capable female runner on Tollgate and later on Owens Drive.

Sally the Dog

Sally and I continue to adapt to each other.
There were no Transgressions of the Tradition of the Elders after her sleeping indoors ended.
Now, when I see her acting kind of restless and sniffing around the house, I take this as a signal that things need to be taken care of.
I invite her to come outside, she comes out.
I say “go pee” and she usually takes a few steps away and does her business.
End of the drama.
I tell her what a good girl she is and she acts like it was her idea.

We are doing pretty good on the leash.
She is doing better at staying with me as we walk, but I have mixed feelings about this issue.
As I have said, I am not sure if walking like a robot next to me, like the dogs that Cesar Milan trains, would be any fun for my dog.
The walk is not for me, it is for her.
If she wants to stop and sniff a mailbox post, no problem.
I will stop and let her sniff.

If I decide that I want her accompany me on my morning exercise walk, that is a different deal.
Then I need her to say with me within a leash length.
We may work up to that.
Being completely selfish about it, I would like for her to walk like a robot Cesar Milan dog.
But being realistic about it, Sally is a dog.
Her walks are for her, not me.
If she wants to sniff, I'll let her sniff.

So I don't know where we will land on this issue.
My biggest concern is that she stay near me for safety reasons.

And this week (ta da) Sally learned that she could bark.
She did it twice yesterday and four times this morning.
Her barks at this point are from frustration waiting for me to fix her morning food.
Up until yesterday, the would growl and bounce around in excitement anticipating the food she could already smell.
Yesterday morning she added a bark or two to express her excitement.
This morning was the same.

Even though this breed has a reputation for barking, especially at night, I have heard nothing out of her while outside.
That may change now.....

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

SALLY IN FROM THE COLD

The promised temperature for last night was around 20 degrees above zero.
There was also a wind promised to go with it, yielding wind chills in the low teens.
Although Sally the Dog is equipped with a substantial fur coat, I am not sure if she is properly equipped at her still-tender age of 9 weeks or so to be comfortable in that degree of cold.
She has a dog house to allow her to get out of the wind, and she uses it from time to time.
But her doting Alpha worries about her betimes.

So, I allowed her to spend the night in the house with me (she is barking in her sleep as I write this).
I knew that keeping her inside entailed some potty still-in-training risks.
But (sorry) I have become less stressed about her transgressions.
(Beep) happens, as the saying goes, and I have resigned myself to deal with the residue of her semi-incontinence.

She and I are making progress in this area.
I try to let her out at least once per hour.
And I tell her “go pee”, to which she almost immediately walks off a few steps and squats.
I tell her what a good dog she is and we go back into the house.
In the past week we have had only two Transgressions of the Tradition of the Elders and both of those incidents took place in the same evening when I was just a bit too casual with my invitations to go outside.
In both cases, I missed taking her out in time by just a few seconds.

Monday evening also brought a capitulation on my part, of a sort.
This involved Sally's incessant biting of my hands (and nearly everything in reach) while playing.
I put on a pair of leather gloves and played with her for a while.
This was not rough play.
I generally allow her to determine the level of aggression in our playing.
On my part, the play involved just petting and rubbing her fur on her back, sides, head, ears, neck, chest and tummy.
And with the gloves on, I did not have to say “no” nearly as much.

At the risk of “teaching” her that biting hands is “okay”, I was able to let her chew on my hands with no injury. (my hope is she will simply grow out of the biting phase in a few months)
Interestingly, even though she could gnaw on me with near-impunity, I could feel that she still was biting me with restrained pressure.
And we played this game much longer than would have been possible if my hands had been unprotected. (nearly an hour...?)
And her play was mostly non-aggressive.
Most of the time, while I was sitting on the floor, she was play-biting and flopping around, rolling onto her back, climbing over my legs only to flop over on her back again.
Very submissive play.

A little after 4 AM, I heard Sally stir from under my bed (where she slept most of the night), and I got up to allow her to go outside.
She went out - while I stayed inside and watched her through the window – and did her business, then I invited her back inside.

I had about another hour of sleep before it was time to get up and begin the day's activities, so I went back to bed and dozed.
She, too, laid down again and slept.

But somehow she slipped out of the bedroom and tended to her biological needs as best she could.
When I got up “officially” at five, I discovered the evidence of her activities.
There on the kitchen floor was the biggest pile of poo I have ever seen produced by Sally the Dog.
No doubt an indicator of things to come.
There was a second gift out in the storage room of less impressive proportions.
I picked them each up with a blue bag and cleaned the affected areas.

In the interest of science, I weighed the two blue-bagged piles.
Her normal droppings weigh about 34 grams.
The Yetti pile in the kitchen weighed 128 grams.
That is almost four times as large. (3.75 actually)


I let Sally out, then I went for my usual Tuesday morning pre-sunrise walk.
I dressed appropriately for the cold, windy environment and my choices proved sufficient for the task.
The only area that got cold was my nose/eyebrows, which were unprotected from the wind.

I have to work today so my time with Sally the Dog will be limited.
But the weather is much less accommodating than it was yesterday.
We will have to adapt to the new imperitives.
.