Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bad Weather, Tuna Putty, Tug Leash

Last night was rough.  Rumbling thunder, whole sky flickering with lightning, for hours, rain on the roof.  My dogs were extremely restless, FoohFooh pawing and pawing at me, Willow panting so heavily she finally threw up on my bed at 2 a.m. and we had to change the sheets and padding, Maxie hiding under the covers trembling.  Lucky alone was sleeping calmly in her crate.  All of this very untypical, except for Fooh Fooh who has always hated storms.  I didn't get to sleep until 4 a.m.  So today I woke up at 10:30 a.m. feeling tired and disoriented, dogs were starving.

Today is supposed to be my first teaching class.  One student emailed me and said she drives 2 hours to get to class and needs to know before 6 if class is cancelled! I wrote Nedra asking her if she could start letting us know by 4 p.m.  Now it's just piddle around and try to rest up while waiting for an answer. Bummer!  I was all psyched up for class tonight.  Like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, waiting is a skill that requires peace of mind.

Time to fiddle. Tracey sent me a recipe for a dog treat she calls Tuna Brownies so I made it.  I changed the name to Tuna Putty because it's the color of putty and feels like putty in my hands. You can roll it in a ball, tear off little pieces, it doesn't stick to your fingers and doesn't crumble either. Great for storing unwrapped in your pockets. My dogs all love it, and it's acceptable human food as well (especially if you add the cheese -- which I did not). It's such a pain to have to find the opening to a zip lock bag stuffed inside your pocket, or unzip a treat pouch, every time you need a treat.  Easier to reach for the ball.

I've added the recipe to my Dog Treats and Recipes page. Try it out.  It's easy to make, and inexpensive.

Yesterday on the field working with Max and Lucky, and afterwards at Joy's, working with Puddin' and Lucky indoors, I did some more practice with clicker training. Once you get your D conditioned to respond to the clicker as if it were a treat (salivating pleasure response), you can train on the run and from a distance, click good down contacts and great weave exits from 10 feet away, etc. Boy that sure comes in handy! My clicker is going to be a great training partner. I've started hanging mine around my neck with a long enough cord so the clicker fits in my scrubs pocket when not in use.  One more thing to remember to bring.

Sheryl and I think someone should invent a finger clicker that you wear like a ring on your thumb, or like castinettes on 2 fingers.

Lucky hands the end of her
new leash to Puddin'
 At Joys, my objective was to get Lucky, Puddin' and Maxie acquainted so I can start taking Puddin' with us out to the field now and then, see if he'll fetch, run him, train him a bit, and maybe bring him to my house sometimes.  I walked the 2 big dogs around the block so they would form a pack (Dog Whisperer style), then sat them both in the back seat of my car with me and Maxie in front, engine running.  So far, so good.  I've never handled a 75 lb dog, a huge vibrant hunk of Boxer puppy, and still don't know his behavior like I do my own dogs.  Very gentle, but strong as an ox and could knock me over in a second.

Joy gave Lucky a brand new tug leash (never had one of those before, a short felt braid intertwined with strong rope she had ordered from a vendor, and just Lucky's purple color). We put it on Lucky, and within seconds Lucky handed the other end to Puddin, and Puddin started tugging her all around the house. This went on for 20 minutes. It was so adorable. Such beautiful, intelligent, caring, loving animals. Yes, I think they've bonded!

Puddin leads Lucky around
the house.

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