Of Dry Heat and Dog Bites

We were planning on holing up and hunkering down at our place for the long weekend. We knew the family would be invading (which is what happens when you squat in a communally owned house) and that it would be chaotic with the dogs and children and fireworks and general mayhem that goes on here this time of year. My side-biz partner mentioned last week that his wife had got a place out in Palm Springs that was big and a total steal and asked if we wanted to come along, dogs and all. Pete is less-than-a-fan of Palm Springs for the most part, but he quickly jumped on board and we were on, back out to the desert!

That was one of the better decisions we’ve made in a while. Not only did we miss out on fire crackers, potato guns and D-bag boyfriends at our place, but we enjoyed a big, fully-fenced yard, a salt water pool, and the vintage Palm Springs cool factor that makes my heart flutter. Plus, I knew we’d be less likely to be subjected to mass fireworks drama—Diego HATES fireworks. We just layed around in the pool, played with dogs, drank cocktails and made food at home, watched fireworks from the driveway (with Diego melatonined-up, securely crated and adult contemporary blasting along with the AC). We walked around the neighborhoods and lusted over all the ranch houses, napped, read a bit. My biz partner is like my second husband/annoying brother, which is good in that its almost like hanging out with a family member. Minimal obligations or drama. Except for Maddie.

Maddie is a small mixed breed, she looks like a black beagle. She gets along fine with our dogs, she really is of their ilk. Shelter dog, various issues, but leaves them alone. However, she absolutely runs the show in her house. As in, jumps on the dinner table, sleeps on the pillow, gets cookies for every little thing. (In contrast, we are “mean” for crating our dogs.) She will snarl or snap while sitting in her people’s lap. I’ve never really been afraid of her, I dont think she knows what to do with me. However, after a few mimosas I for some reason felt the need to push her buttons. I started roughhousing with her like I do with my dogs—she turned around a nailed me three times within one second on my right arm and hand. No breaking of the skin (miraculously), but I have a wicked bruise on my arm. Nasty. She is a little bitch but I also learned my lesson. There was no reason for me to harass her, the devil made me do it. In some ways I think it was good for them to actually see her do that, maybe it will motivate them to action. Or not. They’ve made a few half-hearted attempts to get her into training, but they never stick with it. Hopefully chomping me is as far as she gets down that road…

Then, strangely, as Forest and I were growly-facing and playing together this morning on the carpet (shag!) Diego came over and inserted himself into the fray, playing with us. Just like we always do. Then next thing I know, he’s bitten Forest in the face—and this was nasty, not a play bite. Again, no blood or wounds, but that one actually shocked me way more than getting bit by Maddie. Diego was swiftly and quietly removed to his crate, and Forest was no worse for the wear other than being a bit of a baby about it (he cant help it, he’s the baby of the family).

So, not sure if I am completely clueless when it comes to dog signals, or if there was bad ju ju at that house or what. Diego is a little weird—he has gotten way more growly over the last year or so. We kind of provoke him and usually the second we stop tickling or touching him he stops. And again today, he came into our space, seemingly with the intent to play, then unleashed on Forest. I have never seen him do that before, it was really weird. So, no more tolerance for growling, and no more provoking. Dog psychiatry anyone?

That aside though, we had a very relaxing weekend. No class this week, and I actually get/have to turn around and head back out to Palm Springs again for a bachelorette party obligation next week. Joy, oh joy. And I mean “obligation”… That one can wait until next week for an explanation.

Happy back to work…


Trial Desert

We made it through this weekend’s trial, which was our second AKC event. And somehow, somehow, even though none of our runs were especially pretty, we got four Qs. Four. Out of four. I am still shocked. We had wrong courses in both Standard runs and some judge distraction in JWW, yet it still worked out. I guess that means we are in the right place, training-wise, for the level we are at. We are now titled in Standard (I think) and just need one more JWW to move up to Open there. Crazy talk.

I tried really hard not to get him out too early before classes—though being by myself, having to park far away, and there not being a lot of dogs in the smaller height classes definitely pushed my time management and coordination skills. Also on Sunday I went to the store beforehand to get some new novel treats—string cheese, pre-cooked bacon—and that seemed to help too. Maybe those will be my trial-only treats as he seemed pretty ga ga over them. (Plus I wouldn’t eat pre-cooked bacon myself so don’t really want him having too much anyways).

So now we are out in Joshua Tree. The cabin is perfect, a decor mix of mid-century meets vintage western. Too cute. We are out on the porch now, watching birds, drinking coffee, and laying in the sun. Diego is having grand time ambling around the flora and fauna. Forest unfortunately is contained to his long lead but still seems happy enough.

Here all day today and tomorrow with a goal of doing not a whole lot. Maybe a few hikes, but that’s the extent of it.

Yay desert. Yay Forest. Yay Diego for being the easiest dog ever.