a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Random Things in February

Monday, February 02, 2009

Random Things in February

SUMMARY: new glasses, daylight, weave poles, deck training, rain vs. mud...

My last 2 pairs of glasses have become so badly scratched that I could barely see through them. I don't know how this happens. I'm very careful to follow the instructions--don't rub them when they're dry (always wet them first), try to blow any loose dust away first, dry them only with cotton or microfiber fabric. I wear them all day so they're not being set down anywhere, and I always set them down lenses up at night. How do they get scratched?

I got my brand-new pair last week and I've been bound and determined that this pair will NOT be scratched. I have been super-careful not to touch the lenses at all. I've cleaned them once with glasses-cleaning fluid and the supplied microfiber fabric, and once with water and hand soap and a cotton hand towel. And both lenses have 3 scratched on them. This is so frustrating. At this rate, they're not going to last 6 months even.

Daylight: Badda-bing, just like that, today it's light enough when the renter comes home for him to go out back and throw the ball for the dogs and tire them out some more. Hallelujah! Wasn't it just last week that it was too dark at 5:30? Love it when we've passed the winter solstice, that slow climb back to daylight.

Boost's weave poles: Today I've tried everything I can think of to get boost to pop out of the weaves early or to skip a pole on the entry, both of which she did repeatedly this weekend. Succeeded in the latter with only one ploy, and then she got it. Couldn't repeat the former at all. I hate smart-ass dogs.

Deck training: The back of my house has a raised deck with a staircase and a railing. Very early on, I taught Boost to "go up on the deck" and wait there while the other dogs and I worked on doing agility. It wasn't too hard--she was small enough to squeeze through the railing, and when she'd do so, I'd pick her up and make her squeeze back through it, which she really hated. Now she'll dash back and forth watching us, but she doesn't come down.

Tika's a different matter. Have always clipped her to a leash on a hook, where she proceeds to bark her head off. Sometimes I can tell her to just go away or go lie down, which apparently means go patrol the yard for squirrels and other terrorists, but often that ends with her appearing suddenly as Boost is blasting out of a tunnel and meeting Boost head-on (deliberately).

So I've been working on "go up on the deck" with her; figure that if she's 8 and can earn 25 masters gamblers Qs, she can learn to do that on command, too. She can't fit through the railing so I can't make the punishment for leaving seem quite as severe or appropriate. If I close the door to the stairs, she barks. We seem to be making some progress with treats for good behavior (the food-motivated dog). I feel like it's still a broken behavior, but last week the renter saw it in action and said, "Wow, I'm really impressed with Tika's 'go up on the deck'. I've never seen that before and she was so well behaved!" So apparently I'm making more progress than I had realized.

A good reminder to pay attention to one's successes and to not focus on the failures. I'm tryin'!

Rain vs. mud: We really desperately need rain. We're looking almost for sure at rationing this year if we don't get a lot more in the next couple of months (it doesn't usually rain much, if any, between March/April and late September/October). But my yard is just now dry enough from the last rain a week and a half ago that my dogs no longer automatically come in from the yard with muddy feet that I have to clean. I like them having clean(ish) feet. I don't want my yard to be muddy again.

Rain is supposed to reappear Wednesday or Thursday. Agh. Mud. Bleah.


  1. Glasses: Somehow I've managed to escape the scratch problem, but what I do have is the dogs-bonking-head/tail/limb-into-glasses which causes them to become squished and misshapen in short order. Anyway, I feel your glasses pain.

    Weave proofing: I recently watched Susan Garrett's 2x2 weave dvd. At one point she tries all kinds of things to get her dog to mess up her weaves. She was throwing oodles of toys at the weaves while the dog was weaving. If memory serves, it took waving a juicy bone right in the dog's face to get the dog to finally pop out.

  2. Haven't tried a juicy bone. Now all I need is... a juicy bone.