Friday, March 28, 2008

Dexter Gets Reprimanded

I knew it wasn't going to be a stellar class. I was at Luxottica until 5:15, the class is at 6:00, so we were rushing to get there and didn't get pre-class exercise time.

We started off OK, walking in the usual circle around the ring. We changed directions, as we had learned the week before. Dexter wasn't having it. Whether it was the unfamiliar dog butt he couldn't sniff, or the fact that the wall was now on the other side of him, he was upset and took it all out on the dog by him. I had a lot of yanking and yelling to do at him. The instructor, Vince (let's call him Big V), asked me if he ever has aggression towards other dogs. I said from time to time. We proceeded again around the ring. I'm pretty sure this loop was just for Big V to watch Dexter. Again I just couldn't get him under control. He was all over the place, trying to do his own thing. Big V asked me which dog it was Dexter seemed to not like. I pointed at Pooper, the one I had pointed out before when Jo Ann asked whose dog pooped on the floor (I was right behind the dog and the handler wasn't fessing up!!) So then Vince takes the leash and poor little Dex into the center of the ring... uh-oh.

Dexter freaked. Whatthehell... whoisthisguy... wheresmom... idon'twanttogothisway... He must have sensed the Vince wasn't about to let him rule. Big V casually took him by Pooper and, as if on cue, Dexter lashed out at him. Vince corrected him by snapping the pinch collar so hard that Dexter flew about 3 feet across the floor. This of course shocked the hell out of him. He looked around for his escape. Vince tried to walk with him, but Dexter then proceeded to throw a big fit in the middle of the ring, yowling and rolling all over the floor. It was the "Get this Collar Off of Me" dance performance of the century! Every time he settled, Vince tried to just walk with him a little bit, but he freaked out and had to be corrected. When the entire event was over, Dexter came back to me and hid behind my legs– scared, ego crushed.

I watched helplessly from the sideline. I'm sure the shock was all over my face. This is probably the closest feeling to parenting I can relate to... I knew Dexter was being dominant and bad, but it was so hard to see him confused and struggling. I wanted to pick him up after Vince brought him back to me and tell him it was OK– which is most likely why the dog is having these problems in the first place. Vince told me I wasn't snapping the leash correctly either, so I got that lesson and then we were all off around for another lap.

This time, Dexter walked low to the ground with his tail between his legs. A broken dog, no longer in charge of the room or me.

He eventually got his tail out again and wasn't low crawling. But for the remainder of the class, every command was cake. When we walked, he looked up at me every few steps and followed my lead- a first! His head was totally where it should be- wondering what I'm doing next, not what he's going to sniff next. It was marvelous.

So I think a big breakthrough has been made for Dexter. When we've gone on walks this week, he responds instantly to the pinch collar corrections. I don't feel that he and I have connected 100% yet, but at least he's learned the lesson that humans are alpha and determine what he does, not himself. We're both making progress.

Friday, March 21, 2008

My First Website of Which I Make No Claim In Actually Doing

I learned how complicated putting up a site can be...and this is a "simple" site.

Paul Schliesser gets all the credit for this one. It is basically a site that is extremely text-heavy versus graphic-heavy, so he had a template from a previous site he did that fit the one for CFS pretty well.

But I did change the logo from being a child's hand reaching out of the ground next to a stalk of corn growing out of the ground to a hand reaching for food (apple and grain...representative, yes?) Oh and I formatted some of the lovely excel charts into PDFs.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dexter In School

So I said I was going to write about Dexter going to school...I'm very behind.

The first class was what I would describe as complete chaos. Put 12 people who don't know how to control dogs in a room with 12 uncontrolled dogs and that is the recipe for loud chaos. Dexter pretty much sat in awe of the whole situation. Occasionally he would look up at me with this, "what the hell are we doing here" kind of look and try to get in my lap. After seeing how Vince, one of the trainers, responded to another dog and its owner, I wasn't about to let Dexter get in my lap for the fear of being smacked on the nose– me, not Dexter. (OK, slight exaggeration.)

The trainers clearly know what they are doing and how dangerous a room full of uncontrolled dogs can be. Every person that came through the door with their dog charging into the facility was screamed at to get their dog on a short lead. The dog next to Rick was smacked hard on the nose and then jerked up by his leash, to which he yelped both times (because it was a big, overgrown, misbehaving baby), all of which shocked its owner (her face was priceless). The little ankle biters down a few seats from me wouldn't stop barking so they got allum powder in their noses. It was a room full of love!

After everyone settled down, we listened to a long talk about dogs, breeds (where I learned Dexter, a beagle, is just a "cute nose with fur"), behaviors, personalities, how dogs communicate etc etc. All very very helpful and interesting. Greg and I have been doing nearly everything completely wrong. Then we started with walking in circles around the room. We had the dog sit next to us, lining up their shoulder to our leg, said "Dexter, heal" and then proceeded around in a chaotic circle. This is where we learned "get up, get back, get in, get out" with coinciding jerks on the training collar. Dex didn't care for it after a while and kept jumping up on me. Overall, it was exhausting but positive!

The next class we walked in circles again, and this time we changed directions while walking! Who knew that dogs don't like to change directions! Utter chaos once again. Dexter freaked out at one point, doing the "get this damn collar off of me!!!!" dance. He decided to try to take it out on the dogs around him, giving me an excuse to exercise my best deep NO DOG! correction. Once he understood, it got better. We also did sit-stays and down-stays. During the stays, Jo Ann, the instructor, would come by bouncing a ball. Hilarious! I was laughing at Dexter pretty hard at this part because he was so completely tired and sat there with his hind legs all floppy and huge wide eyes looking around at everything, completely overwhelmed. He gets lots of complements from the instructors for his behavior, but I think he's pulling one over on them. Again, an exhausting class, but I can tell progress is being made for sure!!

There is motivation to work outside of class– not only so that Dex remembers, but also so I don't have the worst dog in class. I need to work with him at home (haven't yet this week) and teach Greg some more commands. I really think we'll have a good beagle...and then it's on to the hairy barking Schnauz!

Raging River

I went for a run from the studio tonight and got to take a look at the raging Little Miami. You could see where some of the side road that runs parallel to the bike trail was covered, but I don't think it ever made it up to the bike trail.

It was nice to see the sun today. I think tomorrow I will take my bike out after work for a first ride of the season. I gotta get going on the bike– the Dooby Du Duathlon is in one month!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Been awhile...

Updates to come in no particular order:
• Dexter Goes to School! Class #1 and How People Need Pinch Collars Too
• My First Website Of Which I Can Make No Claim To Really Doing
• To Pig or Not To Pig: A Motivational Question
• Dogs in the Blizzard ... (It Wasn't A Blizzard)
• Home Projects, IKEA, and Where Our Money Will Be Going for the Next Few Years

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spring in 13 days... Pig in 58 days

We're supposed to get more white death this Friday p.m. and Saturday morning. It is hard to believe it was 70º Monday. I am trying not to let stupid winter regain its grasp on my mood.

Monday, when it was so warm out, Greg took the day off and I took a half-ish day. We ended up going for a run in Symmes Park, which is hilly and mostly trail- very fun. He got new shoes and wanted to run before his newly established running club started on Wednesday. My legs were dead from having run the 6.5 miles the day before, so hills really weren't the best idea. It was only about 20 minutes though, so I don't think any damage was done.

Wednesday after work, Greg had about 3 or 4 people join him for the first FRCH Running Club run. They did a loop about a mile long. There was one walker, and she went the opposite direction so they would pass while out there. There seems to be an interest, even from those who couldn't make it this week, so that is great! I also ran Wednesday after work for 30 minutes. I dare say I was running a decent pace after I warmed up- I felt so strong! I think I may have grown some muscles from the 6.5 mile + hills!

IKEA opens March 12th, and this Saturday we are going for a preview before it opens! Our neighbor works at a flooring company and has a vehicle pass. I think this trip will end my disbelief that IKEA is actually in Cincinnati and I don't have to drive 4+ hours to get to one.

In business news, I just did my first "firing" of a client. It's a story not for publishing on a public blog, but I will just say that I am now very relieved!!!

So spring is, by calendar standards, in 13 days. The Pig is in 58, a number that sounds like it should be a tad bit higher. Might try to bike after work if it's a warm 47º the newsman forecasted.