Monday Morning Memo

So this weekend was definitely not long enough. I was so exhausted this morning–for no apparent reason–and had to peel myself out of bed. Lots to do at work, so naturally, I am procrastinating.

(I also have both dogs at work with me this morning. They are currently having a silent—and well-natured—battle over the one bone I have in the office. Just caught Diego laying and holding it between his “hands” eyeballing Forest to say “What’re you gonna do punk?” Tried to grab my camera/phone but had to root in the purse so they both jumped up.)

Nothing momentous over the past few days, just lots of tidbits.

– Went to dog beach in Huntington yesterday with a girlfriend. There in the parking lot was a couple with a truck, a crate, a very lactating mom dog, and a handwritten sign that said “FOR SALE: American Bulldogs”. Awesome. It pissed both me and my GF off, so I called Animal Control. You have to have a permit in HB to breed and/or sell dogs. Not that they’ll do anything to these morons, but at very least they said they’d send a cop out. Its asshats like these that are the reason we SHOULD have mandatory spay and neuter laws. I am not against breeding “purebred” dogs. But breeders should be serious; i.e. knowledgeable about their breed(s), willing to test for genetic issues, willing to take the time to place their puppies in appropriate homes, and willing to pay licensing/permit fees to do what they supposedly are doing for the “love of the breed.” If you “can’t afford” it, then you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. I was reading a lot of blogs this weekend and heard someone refer to themselves as a “hobby breeder”. That term makes me want to vomit—those two words should not be allowed in the same breath.

– Speaking of lots of blog reading this weekend, found a few new blogs I very much enjoyed. In my quest to learn more and more and even more about training and behavior, I am enjoying the wide range of opinions and knowledge. I like the theories/ramblings of trainer Sassie Joiris from the East Coast. She has some good recent posts about toy vs. food motivation, and how much we should, or shouldn’t, worry about getting our dogs more toy-drivey. She also runs a Whippet which automatically ups her a few notches in my world. I think I’m becoming a sighthound addict.

– Also, love love love this woman’s commentary/opinions/vast knowledge on dog and animal training in general: Raised by Wolves. She has a few great posts on the Sea World Orca disaster.

– And, thanks Dogster (whose Behavior & Training Forum is driving me nuts. Some people on there are just not very open minded…) for the Most Horrible Dog Invention Yet. Just truly, truly awful in so many ways.

We worked on some short weave sessions this weekend that went well. Definitely finding that our weaknesses are sending him in from the left side, and him learning to decelerate before he hits them so he doesn’t miss that first pole… learning learning. Agility class tonight!!!

“Its Okay, My Dog is Friendly!!”

So, I think everyone who has a dog has dealt with this, but for those of us with dogs that are so-called “reactive”, this is the nightmare scenario that we seem to be unable to escape. Case in point:

I am walking up from the beach with the monsters a few mornings ago. As we walk towards the stairs that lead up to the street, I see a big Aussie come down with some guys running up and down said stairs.

(SIDE NOTE aka Complete Tangent: we have like 5 sets of fairly steep stairs right near where we live. The OC housewives and man types are all out there every morning, frantically stair-ing it up in an effort to be more… something. Nine times out of ten there is also a “Boot Camp Instructor” somewhere in the vicinity. Instructor always has a SUV with their name and their witty business name emblazoned on the side; ie. “Boot Camp Babes by Bonnie!” We find it endlessly amusing.)

So, the Aussie sees them first and starts laser-tractor-beaming them into his scope from at least 100 yards away. We keep walking towards them, and I’m thinking to myself, “This guy HAS to notice his dog fixating on us. He’ll surely call him off, or maybe even PUT HIM ON A LEASH.”

But alas, not the case. Dude is so enamored with himself and his workout buddy, he does not notice. Aussie is tractor-beaming like a mad man and finally Forest and Diego notice. They are not happy. I am trying hard not to freak them out, but finally I yell at workout man, “Is this your dog?!?!” WOM glances over his shoulder, “Uh yeah, but he’s friendly!” and darts back up the stairs. I think he calls Tractor Beam a few times,  which is mostly ignored. I instantly start to grate my teeth at his statement. Maybe he is, but his “I am going to herd these little mofos like nobody’s business” stare is not helping me to believe.

So we forge on, and I am wishing I was a good enough trainer to deal with my two leashes and clickers and treats and growling dogs and Tractor Beam, but I am not. I make a silent prayer that Tractor Beam actually is friendly, and march towards the stairs. He has bounded up after WOM out of sight, but then pops back around towards us towards the top. Forest and Diego go nuts, they are trying to go up the stairs and TB–all 100 pounds of him–has inserted himself in between their two snarling snapping 15lb bodies. Effing awesome. Meanwhile WOM is yelling, “Its okay, he’s friendly!”

I finally lost my shit and yelled back at him, “Well in case you havent noticed, MINE AREN’T!!!” I dragged F & D off of Tractor, fuming, and stomped off up the street.

Thank god my dogs only posture and snap, they have yet to make any actual contact. But still. WTF. Put your freaking dog on a leash, and have some respect for other people. I am sure he’s the kind of guy who would say I shouldn’t have my dogs out in public if they “aren’t friendly!”, but…. Gah.

Maybe my dogs should wear little scarlett letter “R”s around their necks so “friendly dogs” off leash know to keep their distance… Sheesh.