Greatest American Dog


August 1st, 2008

Summer is the time of craptacular television. But every once in a while they come up with something so stupid, it’s pretty fun to watch. Enter: Greatest American Dog. It’s a reality show and a dog show all in one. 10 people and their dogs move into a house. Every week they have to do some type of competition to see who ends up in the “Dog Bone” suite and who ends up sleeping in the “dog house” (and it’s actually a dog house in the back yard they make people sleep in. The competitions for the suite are all different but they are based on different dog sports – agility, obedience, etc. After that they all have to compete in something else to see who is expelled from Canine Academy. Those competitions are a little less exciting- photo shoots, appearance, some obedience, etc.

From a trainer’s persepective, I find this show facinating. I love watching the people work with their dogs and I love knowing why what they are doing is working or not working. There are two extremely annoying people on the show (okay, really there are about 8 but I’m only looking for annoying trainers). One is a lady with her border collie. It’s obvious how smart the dog is and how frustrated he is with his owner. She tries about 1 thing and if he doesn’t get it, she gives up, gets all frustrated and then he starts barking in frustration and she yells at him. And the cycle repeats, over and over. The other is a woman with a miniature schnauzer. She’s annoying because every time she talks it’s more of a shriek and she dresses herself and her dog in matching outfits. She’s only remained on the show for 2 reasons 1) luck 2) they are keeping her on as the person who “stirs up conflict” in the house.

There are some cool people to watch. The guy with the boxer pup does a great job with his dog. And his dog is wicked smart. There’s also an older guy with a brittney spaniel who is totally out of place because he treats his dog like a dog and not like a person. And they make a great team.

The judges are frustrating (as usual) but I feel for some of the trainers on the show. It’s obvious the judges are 100% pure positive training and there are several handlers on the show who are not. And unfortunately the judges pick on them every time.

Now, from an entertainment stand point, it’s like watching the real version of Best in Show.

Hello! It’s Me, Mazie!


March 18th, 2008

Dear Everyone,

It’s me, Mazie. For the last 3 years my birthday has been ignored and I have been left out of the gift opening at Christmas (the last 2 years I didn’t even get to go to the Christmas.) I’ve never complained about it, I’ve never even brought it up. Until now.

To make up for it, I want this for my birthday (or Christmas, which ever comes first). And we’ll never have to discuss the subject again.

Gotta go – squirrel.

Hail Storms, Graduation Parties and Ceasar Millan


June 2nd, 2007

This weekend has been busy. Friday was the first of 4 graduation parties. All of the parties are for seniors from our church so we’ve been hanging out with the same group of people all weekend. Lexi has been enjoying the festivities because she gets to wander around, cute it up with people, climb stairs, look at the cat and eat cake. We’ve been enjoying the parties because we get great food (so far there has been a pig roast, vietnamese food, and indian food and it’s rumored that tomorrow’s party will have chipotle.) Lexi’s entertained by everyone else which means we can sit and have full conversations with our friends.
There have also been thunderstorms and hail storms. You can always tell when graduation party season starts because it usually coinsides with summer storms.
Today I also stood in line from 11:45 – 2:15 to get a book autographed by Ceasar Millan (he’s the Dog Whisperer guy from the National Geographic Channel). There were a zillion people there – the line doubled back on itself about 5 times. Everyone had about 10-15 seconds to get an autograph and picture (I forgot my camera so all I got was a crappy pic on my cell phone) but I was amazed at the number of people who brought their out of control dogs probably hoping that Ceasar would be able to fix them in that 15 seconds. It was fun to see him and shake his hand. Oh and if you were wondering, yes, he is as short as he looks on t.v.

Today’s Highlights


March 1st, 2007

A few fun things that happened today…

1. Snow. Lots and lots of snow. Last week we got a pile of snow dumped on us. Today it started up again and didn’t let up until around 8 tonight. Kevin had to shovel various trenches and piles so the dogs couldn’t climb the snowdrifts and jump the fences.

2. Snow day. Due to all the snow, we sent the kids home by 11:45, so I was home by noon.

3. Speak’s Photoshoot. Speak had a photoshoot for Target today. Kevin took him since I was at work. While he was there he found out the when the Target photo ad people are discussing what dogs they need for upcoming ads they all talk about Speak by name. Apparently, he’s a big star around there. Also, they told Kevin that when Speak models something Target gets more calls asking about where they can get a dog like Speak and what type of dog he is than asking about the actual clothing he is wearing.

4. Lexi decided she can crawl – sort of. She has figured out how to sit up on her own so she has been lurching forward grabbing what she wants and then sitting back up. Today she was in her room and decided she wanted a book so she sort of crawled, dragged and walked on all fours to get there. It was pretty funny to see.

5. Standing up. Since she has figured out how to sit up on her own, she has realized that she can pull herself to standing. Which means she spent the first part of nap time sitting up, standing up and playing around.

So those are the highlights of today. Hopefully tomorrow I won’t have to go to school. We have a staff development day planned, but it’s just working in our rooms, getting ready for conferences. I wouldn’t mind doing that work from home. It will only take me an hour or so to get things done – I don’t really need to stay at school for 6 hours.


April 28th, 2005

I’ve got my pajamas on, one dog asleep near my shoulder and one dog sleeping in my lap.

Sigh.

Life is good.

New Job


July 8th, 2004

I picked up a part time job last week. It’s great. I get paid to walk dogs. I feel like I am ten years old and in one of those after school specials – you know the one where the kid has a get-rich-quick scheme but something goes wrong? Okay, well nothing has gone wrong, but it’s probably the easiest money I have ever made. Once or twice on the weekends, and a couple nights a week, I go down to the boarding kennels and take the dogs out for a walk. I like getting to interact with all the different dogs. Last weekend, my favorite was a 120 pound Bermse Mountain Dog named Kala who insisted on leaping through the three foot high grass on the sides of the path instead of just walking on the mowed path. What I liked about her was that even though she was a total spaz in the grass (she spent about 10 minutes hunting a grasshopper) when she got to the end of her leash – she was on one of those 20 foot flexi-leads – she would stop and wait for me to catch up. She never tried to pull and she never ran fast enough to pull me off my feet, which she easily could have done.

It’s a pretty great job.

Free Tibetan Terriers?


May 7th, 2004

I did a search in google to find some dog info and I came across this site.
Apparently, these people believe that dogs are not meant to live with people and are creating islands where dogs can roam free and be pack animals again. Now, I am a dog person. I like dogs. I like training dogs. I think that people need to be responsible dog owners. But I think this is a idea is a little over the top. I can understand if someone has a dog that should not be a pet – my friend had a crazy chow/coyote mix – that is not a dog that should be kept caged – that dog could survive in the wild. But I can honestly say that my 6lb peke/poodle mix would probably not make the cut in the survival of the fittest.
The worst part is, they make you feel like a mean dog abuser for not sending them your dog. Why don’t they just go and take all the pound dogs and give them a home instead of making me feel guilty for taking care of my dog?

ETA: No such place exists – however my sentiments about people (yeah, PETA, I’m talking to you) trying to make me feel guilty about owning a pet remain the same.

Gonna Need More Chicken Wire


April 21st, 2004

I let Speak outside this afternoon and about 10 minutes later our neighbor lady came to the back door with Speak at her heals. She told me that she and her granddaughter were playing outside and when she looked up, Speak had joined them. Doh. This means he has found yet another small hole to escape through. Our backyard is fenced in by all the neighbor fences touching each other and surrounding our backyard so there are small holes between fence posts that the dog can fit through. When we first got him, we walked around the yard and put chicken wire in front of the holes and it kept him well contained. Then, about a month ago, he realized that he could fit under the gate that goes across our drive way. So we fixed that problem by laying a big board in front of the gate. Now he’s found a new spot to squeeze through. Tomorrow, Kevin is off to Home Depot to look for a solution.

ADHD


April 18th, 2004

Speak started beginner II yesterday. It was an interesting experience. I think my dog may have ADHD. The instructor would tell us to put our dogs in a down-stay, so I would put Speak in a down-stay and he would stay there. Then she would tell us to release the dogs and get ready for the next exercise. So, I would do that. Then, while the instructor is giving us instructions for the next command, Speak would start spinning in circles and chasing his tail at 90mph. Or try and chase the tail of the dog next to us, or start rolling over. All the other dogs in the class are calmly laying or sitting next to their owner, except mine. Spaz.

Work without the work


April 7th, 2004

The place I take my dog for obedience classes has the great deal where if you volunteer for a class session, then you get your classes free. Gotta love it. Anyway, I’ve been helping out on Saturday mornings with the Beginner I class and it’s been great. I get to do the fun stuff – work with the dogs, help the owners, give demos, etc. – but I don’t have to do any of the not so fun stuff, like tell people they’ve been training their dog wrong, or do paper work or any of that stuff.

I actually look forward to Saturday mornings. In my experience, when I’ve had to volunteer for stuff that I didn’t have much experience in I spent most the time trying to look like I know what I am talking about. Not with this. It comes pretty naturally to me. People ask me a question, or are having trouble getting their dog to do something, and by the end of the class period, I’ve usually worked their dog through the problem. Or they will come back the next week and tell me they tried my suggestions and that it worked. Now if I could only get my dog to stay for longer than 30 seconds everything would be all good.