Sunday, February 28, 2016

Thank you for your encouragement Roxana & Pam.
During my time as a Driver trainer, I learned that positive reinforcement beats negative - cos negative don't work! So when she told me he was a bad dog, I was somewhat stunned and failed in my crate stuffing test!
Leonburgers are described as "Highly intelligent" - not that any of them are gonna be running Google any time soon - but my guys quick to pick things up and if he doesn't, then its me that hasn't explained things well enough and I must consider breaking whatever task it is into smaller steps and teaching each step patiently until he gets it right, then to the next stage until finally we put it all together and we get the result we want - me, the desired action - Himself the disgusting salmon thing!

“Tails” from the Doghouse…
“It doesn’t fit, you shall not go to the ball!”
Yesterday 50 trillion tons of super-hot nuclear fusion popped up over the horizon and failed to warm our bit of the planet one iota, although it did at least let us see stuff. I ambled comfortably down stairs and was overtaken by a hurtling heap of fur known as Persephone` the cat, leisurely pursued by Barnaby. Opening the door, Barnaby disappeared for his ablutions and having abluted in record time, he was back. “Hmm”, thought I. “Must be chilly”, and checked the weather station, -31 c temp, -40 c with wind-chill (Actually our weather station doesn’t go below -40 c, why would it need to? We’re not going outside at -40 c let alone anything lower!)
A couple of hours later and rugged and booted, Management, I, and Barnaby set off for his morning constitutional, which lasted to the bottom of the lane, before his feet got cold and he lay down. We turned round and came back.
Later, we set off for the big city – Brandon – (Ginormous to us yokel types – who don’t get out much) Here we entered the Pet-Lovers store and I inquired of the assistants that as my puppy was having cold paws, might that have something to remedy this? A charming lady said yes and walked us to the display. She handed me something like a black rubber balloon, which at first I took to be some form of contraception device for the hard of thinking. Turned out to be a dog bootee – well who knew? We said it wasn’t big enough (Size does matter!) and she asked how big our puppy was – I went and fetched him out of the car.
Barnaby led the way through the door and I seated him on the mat, the two assistants looked overawed – when they noticed the size of his feet even their overawe was overawed! Management bent and attempted to insert size 9 paw into size 7 boot, to her credit she did manage to get the thing on, where it stuck and cover approx. 50% of what it should have, it was removed. Next was a wonderful contraption, the Muttluk, comprising of about a foot of stretch sock terminating in a leather; leatherette and Velcro contraption. This was duly fitted – kinda! It was too big! Turned out to be for a Great Dane, (which is a kinda skinny pony with a fondness for meat pies) Walked Barnaby in the thing but alas, twas too big.
Returned to the mat where it was removed, and during this process a little girl, along with her parents, entered the store. She took one look at the sitting Barnaby and her mouth dropped open (I’ve never actually seen anyone do that!) and her eyes widened to the size of saucers, Barnaby stood up – and looked down at her – “Wow” she said, her mother grabbed her (In case she was eaten) and I explained, ‘He’s friendly” – they moved in the general direction of away.
Today I shall call a different store and try again, if not then “Hello Amazon!”

Tails from the Doghouse …
Puppy School … (act 2)
Awoke on a drear day with dread and foreboding, this is because I had to fast in order to have a blood test, God knows why, it’s simple, I’ve got some.
So coffee-less I was forced to interact with people who have had their coffee. I sat in a chair, she stuck a damn bar across the front to prevent me escaping and sticking a needle in me, drained off most of an armful. I got a band aid and no biscuit …
Arrived come and growled at the dog, till I’d had me coffee anyway. (Addict, who’s an addict?) Bundled meself into me coat and Barnaby into the car and set off for puppy school, accompanied by Barnaby’s close harmony whining.
Arrived and decanted whining critter onto floor and with a display of synchronised dragging, got him to the pee park – he obligingly abluted. More dragging and I got him into the building, was promptly told to go sit in the corner with him. Walked over and sat, he sit and the whining increased, interrupted by sporadic barking (both from Barnaby you understand)
First up was demonstrate how well your dog now does last week’s stuff, the homework you were all given. So I stood up and Barnaby took this as the cue to head off, drag back. Seat dog and hold treat at arm’s length and wait for him to look at me before ramming disgusting sliced chicken wiener into ravenous maw. This trick he does perfectly fine at home, here however, well I’d still be there – sit down again.
Second was the “Come here” challenge, seat self on chair, call dog to you and when he pays attention to you, feed treat – basically, it’s feeding the dog treats while he’s in your face – simply enough and he managed it – mostly.
Third, call dog to you, encourage sit, soon as butt hits floor, treat. So I stand up, Barnaby looks at me, I say “come”, because he’s already sitting, and Barnaby hears, “Leap into air, set legs to gallop, land and take off running!” Haul dog back and try again, this time, instead of “Come” he heard, “Investigate under door – the one 14ft away – by jamming snozzle under door and inhaling deeply” Haul dog back and sit, both of us.
Fourth - “How long can your dog sit?” – answer? Gets restive after an hour, or 5 seconds, or 10 minutes, depending on what the distraction is. Other dog? 0.002 seconds – passing cloud, slightly longer. So take Barnaby out onto floor, carefully seat dog facing away from other dogs – inform dog of required “sit” – Himself sits – I fall over in shock – pick self-up and look at dog, who looks at me. Instructor looks at each dog & handler, being in the corner, I’m last – so B has sat there for whole 5 mins. Feed dog handful of chicken wieners and tell him he’s a good boy – He hears, “Go kill the Corgi!” drag dog back and sit.
One by one we must needs go to the far end, behind a fence or barricade that wouldn’t have stopped a sleeping puppy, and see if the dog will follow you? “Oh dear God” I thought. B looks up at me with a grin that sez “Fat chance!” I’m last to go – again.
Stand up, shorten lead, take deep breath and set buttocks to clench. Set off, B wants to see the Corgi, haul dog back and insert knee into dog’s fore-shoulder in an attempt to walk something like normal. Dog uses impetus of energy to ricochet off knee towards German shepherd! Haul back (I shall have arms like a Russian gymnast if we go on like this) Instructor opens fence, we enter and fence is closed. I drop leash and walk away without looking back – I’m know if I do I shall instantly turn into a pillar of shit – I keep walking, I’m passed by a hurtling bundle of fur, ears flapping in the wake, as he heads for the German shepherd, the Instructor intercedes herself and B, stops and looks for me _ “That’s good” she says, as B banks into the back corner and heads off across the floor. “ He’s looking for you” she screams excitedly, as B goes up one wall, across the ceiling and back down the other wall, finally skidding to a stop 10 feet from me, head tilted, tongue lolling out and grinning. I tempt him with a treat and say “Come” – he sits and looks at me – I repeat the command – and add two more treats, this apparently is what he’s been waiting for, and goes to the Instructor.
Despite all this, he was better, slightly – which is the only time I can think of that I shall ever use that word in connection with the big galoot …

Tails from the Doghouse
Learning how to fly …
Greetings to all those on Dog-Watch, been a while eh? In truth not much has happened, at least anything noteworthy. So, let’s get up to date.
Removed Barnaby from Puppy School – basically because he wasn’t learning anything, other than how to exhaust himself physically and emotionally. Also I was getting tired, of being stuck in a corner, watching other dogs be put through their paces while wrestling with a growling pack of damp fur.
Lesson four was all about how to put your dog in a cage – stop here, for cage, read jail – so he feels safe. This dog is 121lbs of claws and teeth, is he safe? Of course he’s safe – it’s everything else that’s at risk for God’s sake!
Wrote an email to the owner of the enterprise, who apparently is still on the 5 year mission to boldly go and isn’t answering via subspace email…
Since January 14th, I’ve been walking Barnaby about 2 miles per day, this has improved his fitness no end, I’ve also changed his food from diminutive little kibble rounds to bigger kibble ovals, which I’m reliably informed are chicken & rice flavour – if you sniff them I can tell you this, you’ll never eat Chinese ever again. The change in food and fitness level has worked as far as Barnaby’s energy level is concerned, and trust me, it’s caused some concern.
Take last Monday – please – Wandered round the cemetery woodland stroll, thinking nothing but calm pleasant thoughts about the whichness of why. Moments later I was looking up and a dog was looking down at me. Rewinding the reality tape showed me tripping over the log strewn across the woodland wander, right where some muffin was bound to trip over it … I landed on my right side, and the fall was cushioned by several inches of snow and layers of winter coats and stuff – I don’t know what the stuff is but I do know it’s the one thing you can’t get off a decent winter coat.
In the afternoon, I tried again, this time I spotted a friend’s car parked on the side of the road on the way to the cemetery. Figuring she’d have her dog with her I attempted to track her so I could follow and avoid the manic barking/whining head on confrontation that Barnaby calls “Hello” – and correctly guessed wrong – we met head on. Barnaby adopted a defensive posture, standing on his hind legs, suspended by the collar and leash and still able to perform synchronized barking and whining – think it’s easy, you try it!
My friend gathered her dog and at my urging, walked past us while I attempted to restrain manic fur ball. She’d just made it past me when I found myself learning to fly. Flying isn’t difficult, simply a matter of learning how to throw yourself at the planet and miss (As Mr. Adams told us!) I failed to miss and landed on my left side, for a change, cushioned by the layers etc. etc.
Rolling off my side onto my knee’s turned out to be a bad idea, because just as I was on all fours, Barnaby, backed into my face, tail raised!
The quicker among you will already have realized this was not for me the delight that dogs seem to enjoy. I’d have given a lot to have missed the experience actually, still. Barnaby apparently wasn’t expecting this sneaky rear attack either and whirled round knocking me down again, “This is getting to be a habit”, I thought as I picked myself up again, from yet another prone position.
Does anyone know where I can get a set of dog-hobbles from?...

Fun at the Hospital ...
Yesterday I had the experience of a lifetime, at least, it was the first experience of such in my life so far, so that counts, doesn't it?
A man in a frock pushed this thing in my mouth and told me to swallow.
Now, before we get too far into the gutter, I should clarify.
Having suffered an "episode" last July, it was determined by those who know better that I should have an internal examination of the tube leading to the stomach. This would be in the form of a camera passed over the tongue and then south.
We arrived in good time, appeared at the appointed place for the appointment (how apt) the an attractive young lady appeared and offered me a list of options. 1. Spray back of throat to freeze - gag -stuff camera in - withdraw - leave. 2. As above but with mild sedative to still panic. 3. As one & 2 but with serious drugs and the feeling your a rabbit.
Option one for me! It only takes three minutes! I was escorted to the operating bed and made to wear a frock (I looked ghastly - pale green doesn't do me justice at all) over my clothes and lay on the bed. Nurse draped a warm blanket over me, saves time later if they have to cover your face I expect.
Minutes passed - then some more, but they were different ones. After 30 or so of all these different minutes had passed, and you'll have to take my word for it as I was alone during all this passing (where do dead minutes go I wonder?) A Doctor appeared, I know he was a Dr as he had a badge with his name on, Doctors are busy people and can't be expected to remember every little detail. He was attended by a phalanx of green people one of whom grabbed me and said "Open wide!" I scarce had time to notice what looked like a can of WD 40 complete with straw attached when he sprayed the back of my throat with it. I've tasted WD 40, this stuff was far worse. Next moment me head was uplifted and someone draped a thing round me neck, this turned out to be a part of the gag upon which I was forced to bite - the idea of option 3 now seemed like a good one - but I couldn't speak to ask them if we might change! I rolled onto me side, me head was tilted and lowered to 'drain" and something was inserted through the hole in the gag, which then hit the back of me throat. I still have no idea how they managed to get something the size of a fire hose in my mouth, but they did. Then get you to aid and abet, "big swallow" they say, you have no choice in this. I did and something shot down me throat while I was restrained by some muffin kneeling on me head.
So there I was, lying on me left side too terrified to move, a surplus nurse keeping me still and all the time strange clicks, scrapes and wire sawing noises coming from me, yet not part of me, if you see what I mean. After just three minutes, or an eternity depending on whether your the stuffed or the stuffee, it was all over. Withdrawal took place, gag removed and assisted upright - "here's a bit of paper, do what it says - get out - Next!"
The very next time someone says they're a bit down in the mouth, I shall tell them - "You know nothing!"

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