Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's My Blog, I'll Do What I Want To

I have successfully maintained a wide separation between my blog and my animal rights stand. Until today. Those who know me well know that I have a bleeding heart for animals and will fight for their rights until my last breath.

So why have I decided to blur the line of separation today and bring it up on my blog? Because people just aren't getting it.

The recent outbreak of swine flu...heard of it??? Read what CEO of the Humane Society of the United States has to say on the subject.

When you're done reading that, tell you me you don't feel just a tiny bit guilty for the damage we gluttonous humans cause.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Wasn't it just 40 degrees a week ago? Where did this heat wave come from? My clothes are sticking to me and I'm having trouble concentrating. The upside of the muggy weather? B tires out much quicker! Hooray! I know that her stunning athleticism will mean that she will acclimate quickly...boo. For now, however, I'm thankful that she has her tongue hanging out after an evening run. The extreme downside of summer? I know that I will come across many a dog owner that doesn't understand just how fatal this heat can be.

Last year, I got in to a verbal altercation with an individual who had his dog sitting outside in the sweltering heat while he was inside grocery shopping. All the windows were up. His defense: he was only going to be a minute (the conversation between us took 5 minutes...that's already too long) and he just had the AC running on extra cold before they arrived at the store about 15 minutes ago. Most accidents happen when we don't expect them. If we expected them, they wouldn't necessarily qualify as an accident, would they? I'm not now, nor was I then, suggesting that this gentleman meant ill-will towards his precious Bichon Frise. What outrages me is his lack of concern, which then turned in to extreme defensiveness, when I brought his dog's potential fate to his attention.

People, let's be careful this summer. We brought our animals in to our lives, the very least we can do is protect them from these kinds of circumstances.

The Humane Society provides some great tips for the summer.

(oh! for a little background on the saying Dog Days of Summer, wikipedia answers all.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Would YOU Live to Please?

I've heard this so many times:

Spot is such a good dog - he just lives to please me!

This idea kind of irks me. Why would a dog live to please us? That's the sole purpose of a dog's life - to please humans? What an egotistical thing to imagine. How's about we imagine for a moment an animal who's discovered just how beneficial it is to their survival to hang out with us humans. We feed them, we vaccinate them, we provide them shelter and companionship...the works. It is in their best interest to please us, but that doesn't make it their life's purpose.

This little hang-up can truly slow training progress. It's only when we stop expecting our dogs to perform behaviors "just because" and start showing them why it's beneficial that we reap the benefits of training.

You don't go to work every day just to hear your boss say "good job, Bill!" If that was the only thing you got, I'm pretty sure you'd find another job. It's the paycheck that keeps us coming back because we have bills to pay and someone to support (whether that's a family or just yourself!). when it comes to training, don't expect your dog see life much differently than you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Underestimated

While S is recovering from her surgery, I found it only fair to occupy B. After all, she's a bratty dog as it is...I can't have her acting out. LOL. Dogs need mental stimulation. Period. If this is news to you, I feel sorry for your dog. Blunt, yes, but I'm just being honest. While at Clicker Con 2009, I got a Dog Twister game for the girls. It has these sliding triangles that block the food you place in a little cutout hole in the wood. The object is for the dog to learn to slide those triangles (actually, I don't think they're technically triangles but I failed geometry. Twice. So lay off) in order to get the food. We've been feeding the dogs their dinner this way - it gives them one last piece of homework in order to earn their meal before the day is done. o make the game even more advanced, there are little wooden pegs that actually block the "triangles" from sliding. Again, it's up to the dog to figure out they must first remove that peg and then slide the "triangle".

When I read the instructions, I scoffed at that part. Remove the pegs???? How is a dog, my dog has no fingers I might add, going to remove something? Not to mention, how does such a simple creature like a dog understand that it's the peg (a human tool) blocking her access to food??

Ah, behold, the power of the brain. The first time I saw B remove the peg, I thought it was a fluke. So I replaced it. She looked at me like I was the biggest a-hole in the world and took it out again. We played this little "it's a fluke" game for a couple seconds before I realized she is truly understanding the consequences of her actions. "If I move this out of the way, the thingie slides and I get the food underneath." She learned how to manipulate a HUMAN TOOL! That's the part I can't get my simple brain around! Here's B, understanding the concept of something I can buy in the lumber aisle of Home Depot. I've started clicking her when she lifts it up, so in the first video, you'll notice her pause for a second after she picks it up. You'll also see she gets a little frustrated when she can't get to the food right away. I'm not the best videographer -please excuse my shaky filming. B is also a little out of focus in the end of the longer vid. Sue me. And for those non believers, I've made this as difficult as I can imagine. I put all five pegs in, not allowing a single "thingie" to slide and everytime, perfect performance.
video
video

Post-Op


Big S is back today and back to life, after a hellacious evening. Her vet, Dr. Morse Davis of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital removed her tumor and left about a 12" incision. Poor girl will be resting for quite some time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Gentle Giant


The big girl goes in for surgery today - the doc will be removing one mast cell tumor and another bump on her leg. Poor girl has been through so much in her life - she's such a fighter that she makes me proud. Cross your fingers for a speedy recovery...I know she'll fight me the whole way! Even though she's a pretty lazy dog, when S wants something, she gets it. If you tell her she can't go upstairs to lie down in her parents' bed, she will sneak away like a ninja. My big, stinky-eared ninja.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Quote of the Day


Alright, yes, you caught me. I'm blog-bombing. You'll have to forgive me. And when you're done forgiving, enjoy a little quote from my Dog Fancy calendar:

"I used to look at [my dog] Smokey and think, "If you were a little smarter, you could tell me what you were thinking,' and he'd look at me like he was saying, 'If you were a little smarter, I wouldn't have to.'" -- Fred Junglaus

Aw, how true.

Dogs aren't stupid...humans are for thinking they are.

I don't know Karate...




but I know Kah-razy!!

That's it folks - B's crazy-eye (more formally known amongst veterinarian professionals as cherry eye)is gone!! Thanks to Germantown Vet Clinic, her little red bump that we've grown to love is gone. Now I can see her big beautiful liquid eyes. **sigh** She's still bat-sh*t nuts, though. Baby steps.