Sunday, November 28, 2010

some days are just harder than others...

and today is one of them. If I finish the day semi-intact without major psychic meltdown and/or an empty box of donuts in front of me, it's a win.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday cooking

with dogs...

And the aftermath

One of these things is not like the others...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Zig's rainwear

I usually don't believe in clothes for dogs (except skinny hounds and old timers) but the little frog has been getting cold at social outings due to our crappy Oregon weather. I think he looks pretty spry in his coat.

Train that puppy!

I realize I need a more structured plan for Zig's ongoing education.

1. Ongoing socialization: trips to Starbucks, pet store, friends' houses, Home Depot.
2. Scheduled interaction time at HGL and puppy romps at OHS.
3. Sit/down verbal cues.
4. Sit in heel position, step and sit back in heel.
5. LLW-non heel
6. recalls with increased distraction
7. leave it/drop it
8. wait
9. shaping-this is hard for him!
10. Hand targeting
11. nose targeting a target on the ground
12. paw targeting/shake
13. tug toy training
14. retrieving

I taught Griffin, now a huge ball dog, how to retrieve using Jean Donaldson's approach of food rewards for interest and shaping a full retrieve. Zig is not responsive to Patricia McConnell's method , if I move away from him he drops the ball rather than bringing it with him when he comes to me. I'm wondering though if I use treat reinforcement if he'll detach from the ball altogether and be too focused on the treats (he loves them). I've been using a toy with a tail attached and tugging with him for bringing it back, but he doesn't do this yet as a true retrieve, just as an opportunity to get his toy. He has a tendency to want to run away with toys/stolen items. I've been working on exchanges but he doesn't yet have that "see what I have mom, isn't it cool" attitude. Potential resource guarding!!! Must work on this more. I really want him to like retrieving, so I'm torn about how to procede.

Jump grids-wonder if I can make puppy bumps from PVC pipe. Can't afford the premade ones!

Wish I had a bigger back yard. Would love to work tunnels with him but mine is so big it doesn't fit in the tiny matchbox yard I have.

Greeting people has been going so well. He is actively soliciting attention from many strangers. Still would prefer they didn't pat him on the head.

We did a play session last week at HGL with adult dogs. He was a typical puppy-tried to herd a few dogs, but took correction well, was polite to adults, played tug with a little chi/iggy mix and had fun, but dropped when he was told. I think it's good for him to interact with more socially savvy dogs rather than pups who can't tell him he's being too much.

Sometimes I feel like I've got poor training skills! It's been so long since I've had a completely untrained dog, I forget all the things he doesn't know.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things I need

With the approach of the ever-dubious holiday season, I have been pondering lately what it is in life I actually need. I feel the overwhelming pressure of giving people good stuff, and being given stuff in return happens, but it is often easy to be caught up in the idea that external stuff is necessary.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to try and keep a list of things in life I really need...and allow the other stuff to hopefully recede into the background, or the would be nice category.

So, ahem:

1. Exercise. Being laid up with crappy knees has really reminded me that I am much happier (read: saner) when I am exercising regularly. So, I will attempt to come up with more cross-training ideas while my knees heal and start taking better care of them (stretching, icing, etc.), because I forget to do these things.

2. Dogs. I definitely cannot survive without my dogs. So, more training, more outings, more dog one-on-one time.

3. Meaningful work. While the job right now is not as satisfying as I'd hoped, the profession is where I want to be. I need to focus on getting the most out of being there, learning on my own as much as I can, and honing my skill set.

4. A healthy relationship. Too often, I think J and I still take each other for granted, because we are not used, after four years of vet school, to being around each other day in and day out. I need to plan more one-on-one outings for us. As simple as getting coffee and reading a book, just so we are in each other's presence without tv, video games, chores, or even my fav dogs as distractors.

Some things I don't need
1. tchatckes
2. chocolate
3. impulse purchases
4. donuts

Here's a bonus pic of the blue dogs, having a wrestle. I've decided not to tape/glue Zig's ears. Ear set is just not that important to me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

IT bands can suck it.

Apparently, a half marathon is too much mileage for me, because my IT bands are very, very angry. Did a short 3 miler on Saturday and my left knee refused to go any further...meh. How frustrating is that? After all that training. Stupid knees. I guess I should have paid more attention to stretching.

I need to find a decent apple crisp recipe for the t-giving dinners. Tried one on Saturday that turned out well, but the crispity topping wasn't quite cohesive enough. Need another one to try today...don't mind eating the results.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Half marathon recap

Half marathon success!

I didn't know whether the half would be possible. The week before, we did a 10 mile distance run and both of my knees decided to be assholes. I think I had both runner's knee and IT band pain. The week before the half I didn't run at all, just tried to rest my knees, ice them as much as possible, and hope that they'd cooperate.

The morning of, we woke to the pouring rain. Jen had been checking the "fitness index", which in Oregon basically tells you how sucky exercising outside will be that day. Our half marathon day had an index of one, which is as low as it goes! I had to forego the costume because I didn't want to wreck my awesome Queen of Hearts outfit, sad.

The race started, and about mile 3 I could feel my knees. They were the worst at mile 4-6, when the rain was also at its worst, and we were pretty much drenched. I thought the rest stop near my house was at mile 7, so friends were waiting there to greet us a little earlier than they should have been (the stop was actually at about mile 9). My dad ran the last five or so miles with me, which really helped perk me up for the end. I felt strong until the last mile, when the road began to feel very very long. But once I saw the finish line, I did a little sprint to the end. We ran the sucker in about 2 hours and 28 minutes, which is very good for me. And we ran the whole way without walking!

It was definitely a good time, and if my knees shape up I would do another. Not sure I could actually survive a whole marathon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010