Archive for May, 2014

A Man and his Dog

May 22, 2014

When Bailey joined us, we had been just two for 42 years. We have have had cats during that time, but Bailey, well she was something different. A dog. She has upended the rhythms of that long union. We go outside as a family unit now, the three of us, hanging out in our back yard, laughing, running, chasing balls and sticks. We walk the dog together, and we also interact with Bailey separately. Kurt took the dog out yesterday while I was in NYC seeing two plays. They went to the Ken Lochwood Gorge. He brought the long leash and only one of his cameras and one tripod. He knew it would be a chore to do both, watch Bailey and take photos. At one point he touched poison ivy and with Bailey went down to the river’s edge to rinse off the poison. At the same time Bailey interacted with the water’s edge. The only water she has ever seen has been her water bowl. At just 7 months her world has been narrow. Seeing this large body of water excited and interested her. She slapped at the water’s edge getting both Kurt and her wet. Then in a blink of Kurt’s eye, Bailey backed up and took a running leap and jumped into the river, sinking, the water over her head. She bobbed up, and doggy paddled back to the edge, Kurt and safety. Kurt sent me this text “Bailey can swim!”Image

Obedience School

May 12, 2014

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Bailey and I went to Obedience School on Saturday. What a disaster or as I like to call it, a hot mess. Bailey loves people and other dogs, so I was expecting her to be over excited and jumping up and down. She was very good, and while she did sniff other dogs and let them sniff her, she wasn’t a problem AT all. What the problem was is that this class is in a pet store. The pet store has a designated area in a separate SMALL room without any ventilation. The instructors for this class are starting a new curriculum and are essentially trying to meld their previous way of teaching with one from the new manual, so they are a bit timid about the whole process. Picture a small room, with 5 dogs and 10 people. One German Shepherd, one Chihuahua, one Pit Bull puppy, one large Bulldog with the head like a cow, and Bailey the Wheaten Terrier. The Bulldog (must be mixed because he is big and tall), barked loudly the entire time, and slobbered everywhere, while hyperventilating. No one could get the dog to stop barking, so the instructor had to teach about the loud booming voice of the dog. Keep in mind that whenever a person entered the store with their dog and they heard barking bulldog, they also chimed in which set the other dogs off. Bailey isn’t a barker. Bailey was channeling the hyperventilating and was breathing quick and heavily because of course you know WE were next to the barking bulldog. When I tried to train Bailey to do what I was learning she immediately rejected the treats we always use, because she was an example for the trainer at one point and the trainer gave her liver treats, which, let’s face it, beats what I had. So now I have a hyperventilating dog who is not paying attention to me, because she is watching the other dogs, because the Chihuahua at this  point is trying to take everyone out. The pit bull puppy was splayed on the ground, trying to get cool from the tiles, and the German Shepherd was barking every time a new dog entered the store. At this point I have decided that Bailey will not be attending the classes anymore. I paid for 5 classes and will go, because we all know obedience classes are for the handlers anyway. I practiced what I learned from the one course, and will continue to do it on my own with  my new liver treats.

 

In the picture above, Bailey is out on the porch. She is either on the porch, or out back on a 50′ leash that I have so that she can run, or we have her tethered to a cable run. Her ‘home’ is in the large kitchen, because we are packing our house up to sell it eventually, and she does not have full reign of the house to chew on the “curbside”, “donate”, “recycle” or “keep” piles.