Sunday, November 16, 2003

Don't Yell, I Ain't Deef!

OK, I think I have it figured out. Jake is definitely tuning me out.

See, he has this obsessive habit of licking his paws or biting at himself which makes this horrible sucky sound as he works up steam and starts panting. So picture this:
  • You're working at your desk, concentrating on whether the pages options file is the only one that allows the special category Pages to control the conversion of mixed JPEG and BMP files programmatically to PDF. The house is quiet. You're trying to focus. Lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick Augghhh! "Jake!" you say. The dog keeps licking. "Jake!" lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick "JAKE!" now it gets faster so you know he's trying to get in all his licks before you make him stop licklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklick "JAKE CUT IT OUT!" licklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklicklick Then you go over and give him a nudge and he looks up, indignant.
  • You're nestled all snug in your bed, while visions of agility courses dance through your head. You're warm. Your eyes are closed. The room is dark and silent. Bite bite bite bite bite snorffff bite bite bite bite bite bite snorffff bite bite bit bite bite snorffff bite bite bite bite snorffff bite bite bite bite snorffff bite bite bite bite bite bite bite snorffff "Jake!" you say. The dog keeps biting. "Jake!" bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite (the snorffs have stopped because now it's clear that there's limited time with no room for actual inhaling bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite bite "JAKE! CUT IT OUT!" bitebitebitebitebitebitebitebite and of course now the bed is jiggling furiously so you have to emerge from your cozy covers and give him a nudge, whereupon he looks up, heaves a huge sigh (from not having breathed for 30 seconds) and sets to panting, glaring at you in an indignant way.
  • Repeat ad infinitum.

Now picture this. You're somewhere else, anywhere, and you want the dog's attention. "Jake!" you say.

Huh. No response.

You're on an agility course and there's a jump straight in front of the dog but you want him to turn right but he has just blasted through a completely straight 20-foot tunnel (which is like a missile launcher for dogs) and if he takes that jump, you've just faulted out of that run that you want very much. While he's still in the tunnel, you yell "Jake!" (This used to work. Worked for Rem. Works for Tika.) As he emerges, you yell "Jake!" again. Then you yell "Jake! JAKE! ***JAKE***!!!" and he starts to hesitate and falters slightly, but he never ever looks at you, because he has locked onto that jump and after all you'll come over and nudge him when you really want something. Boom. You've faulted out.

That could very well be what's going on.

So today I've been walking around with a pocket of goodies and trying to get him in any manner at all to look at me the first time I say his name, and I'm TRYING to simply walk over and nudge him the first time rather than using his name in vain.

This requires actual work on my part, which just isn't fair (stomp feet, whine a bit).

But I think we're making progress.

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