Thursday, November 30, 2006

Roc's Rules of Obedience

For the Down on Recall:

  1. If you want him to sit straight - call him saying "front," not "come." If you say "come" he will, but his sit will be off to your right.
  2. If you want him to actually get up and come when called, do not leave him by saying "stay." Do not close your hand when you leave. Say "wait" and wave your hand in front of his face with the fingers separated.
  3. If you want him to down - don't say his name with the command. If you do, he will ignore you entirely.
  4. If you want him to wait for an actual command before he goes around you to heel, do not, under any circumstance, move a single finger - not even a twitch before giving the command. Don't even breathe too deeply.

For the Long, Out-Of-Sight Sits and Downs:

  1. Get his attention.
  2. Say "Sit" or "Down" firmly.
  3. Say "Stay" and wave your hand, fingers clenched tightly together, in front of his face.
  4. Stand up.
  5. Fold your arms firmly across your chest.
  6. Walk away.
  7. When you come back, be sure your arms are firmly folded across your chest, even if it's three or five minutes later - he remembers how you looked when you left. If anything is different - it's bad.

That's just two of the exercises. And I have to remember all of this, in sequence, in the lightening-fast total of eight minutes we're in the ring at an obedience trial. No wonder he doesn't qualify - I can't remember his rules!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

His very own lazy boy

Roc got a new bed. It's perfect for watching tv.
Roc may never move again. Except to get chips.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Popping up all over

The Thanksgiving weekend is when holiday decorations sprout all over our neighborhood. All of a sudden, the yards that were looking rather brown and desolate; leaves gone, grass brown, lawn furniture disappeared for the winter, are full of new and exciting things.

On our walk this morning Dax, who was rather astonished by the statues we saw last week, was completely flabbergasted by the kazillions of tiny, fake people, accompanied by small fake animals, that have magically appeared.

Just try explaining a Nativity scene to a French Bulldog.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday Blues

For the first time in a lot of years I ventured to the mall this morning, the day after Thanksgiving. I saw in one of the many advertising circulars included in the newspaper yesterday that the portable GPS unit that I'm interested in was hugely discounted at one of the huge "big box" stores nearby.

I'm incredibly directionally challenged - my sister always tells the story of one trip I took to the Florida Keys. There's one major road, Highway 1, going through the Keys and I manage to turn the wrong way. Not once, but multiple times. Hence the need for a portable GPS unit!

Anyway, I got to the store a little after 8:00 this morning. I didn't think that was too bad, even though it opened at 6. Apparently a lot of other people are directionally challenged too! The unit I wanted was long gone! Not that the store was deserted by any means. The parking lot was almost full - any space to be had was by luck or walking a long distance. People were finding lots of other things to buy, besides the GPS unit, because the line to check out wound almost all the way around the store! There were so many people looking at products in the store that it was practically impossible to walk.

I fought my way out of the store, on to the next destination. A craft store in the same mall. The crowd there wasn't quite as bad, but at 8:30 in the morning it was still densely populated! I met my sister there (on her day off) and we decided on the purchases to make. Hope was nice enough to stand in line there so that I could go to the hardware store before I went to work.

Even the hardware store was a popular destination for holiday shoppers this morning! I just needed some light bulbs and a timer, so was able to maneuver around there pretty quickly.

Whew! All this craziness before work! I need to hug my dogs! That always puts things in perspective.

Oh, Hope offered to go to another of the "big box" stores to see if they had the GPS. And they did! And she got it for me!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Spoiled rotten - and loving it!

There seems to be some discussion these days about whether pets are over-indulged. They may be. But what's the harm?

Years ago, when we had our bookstore and its resident cat, there were a couple of customers, one new and one a long-time friend, in the shop. Merlyn (the cat) was lying on the counter, on his faux-sheepskin rug, being petted by the friend and purring up a storm. The newcomer exclaimed "He's not too spoiled, is he!"

Which sparked an absolutely classic retort from our friend; "Well, why not? It's not like he has to grow up and be a responsible taxpayer!"

And the reason I bring this up? A very defensive post from a reader of the Poodle and Dog Blog. Evelyn has no reason to apologize for indulging her pets. We do. And none of us is the worse for it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dax, the art critic

Today is a very windy day in Chicago. Some people may say - "What do you expect? It's the Windy City." But those of us who live here know that it's not the weather that gave us the title, but hot air blowing from all the political conventions the city hosted in the last century.

Because of the weather and because Dax really, really didn't want to go outside when she woke up today, I was prepared to go it alone on my walk. But she let me know that she wasn't having any part of that! Dax ran to the door and was jumping to reach the knob. So we suited up and set off on our jaunt.

I've been trying to take different routes - it's not like we have any wilderness around here, but one of the objectives has been to get the dogs used to all kinds of situations. We walked along a commercial street with a fair amount of traffic. She was doing great - until she saw a statue outside a building. The statue is of two people sitting on a park bench - almost life-size. Have you heard the expression brought up short? She stopped dead and couldn't figure it out. I let her take it at her own pace; one step forward, sniff, another step, sniff. It took her a couple of minutes to finally walk right up. Then the look on her face was priceless. "Mom, what's with the fake people?"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Which of these is not like the others?

In the evening, while we relax, the dogs nap. Above is Ceilidh, sleeping. Below is Golly, sleeping.

Above is Roc, not sleeping. If I move, Roc's awake. At times, he's a very tiring dog. Below is Dax, sleeping.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sanity is an acquired taste

I've taken up walking as my attempt at fitness. I did this for a few reasons: I hate, hate, hate exercise and it seems a least of evils (at least the scenery changes); and I need to get my dogs, Dax and Roc, used to going out and about. Dax (French Bulldog) is particularly unsure in new situations - so I thought I'd fry her little brain on a semi-daily basis.

So far, so good. Dax loves, loves, loves it! She forgets anything she ever learned about walking nicely on lead when we start out. She dashes off to see what's around the corner, on the next block - what new and exciting things can she discover? Roc does it because I ask him to. He doesn't get it, but he's a good companion.

The ridiculousness of the situation has not, however escaped me. I take up walking in Chicago in November. And for companionship during my road work, I choose a French Bulldog and a Brussels Griffon. To paraphrase some recent campaign ads, (gone and unlamented) What was I thinking?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Golly on the Mean Streets

No, don't worry - Golly's not on her own. But, doesn't she look ready for anything in the Spiked Leather Harness? And isn't the incongruousness (is that a word?) just irresistible? Here's a tiny little dog (Golly weighs about 11 pounds) in pink spiked leather! Spikes and studs on Golly! Gotta love it.

For that matter, that might be why we love it. Don't they say that opposites attract? I like sweet and salty together. Creamy and crunchy. Antiques and contemporary.

Golly demanded equal time with Roc, our frustrated Chicago sports fan. Plus she looks so cute in this picture I had to share!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Plight of the Chicago sports fan

Roc loves sports. We'll be in the middle of a game of fetch and he'll stop dead, toy in his mouth, to watch a play on tv. Unfortunately, we're devout Chicago team fans. We love our Cubs, despite everything (although the jokes from a certain unnamed Cardinals fan are getting old). And we adore our Bears. Roc's very favorite sport is football, although he'll watch anything on tv. We thought that this season we might have something to cheer about, although the last game has tempered our optimism. (Above) This is Roc after the game. (Below) This is Roc getting ready for the game.

This is Roc during the game. Don't even try to distract him. We blame his Grandpa Greg for his fanatical devotion to sports. But we have our revenge. He's a Detroit fan.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Better Than Chicken Soup

I was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday - nothing major, just not up to doing anything. Somewhere between OK and semi-crappy. So I stayed home and snoozed all day. I guess I felt worse than I thought - I never nap! I started out in bed, then was joined by Golly and Roc (Brussels Griffons) at the foot of the bed. Then Dax (French Bulldog) climbed under the covers with me. Then Ceilidh (Boston Terrier) curled up behind my knees. So snuggly and warm.

That lasted until Roc heard the postal carrier. Almost as much of a nemesis as the UPS man. We all got up to see what holiday catalogs were in the box. (Nothing great yesterday.)

Then we all piled on the couch in the office. That's where the good TV is. I thought I'd leave some mindless daytime shows on while I snoozed. Worked really well, too. I stretched out on my side, Dax curled up in front of me, and Ceilidh behind my legs. The Griffs had enough of such close togetherness. They were in their beds on the floor.

The puppy therapy worked - I'm feeling all better today!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Obedient even through humiliation

Even Obedience dogs get silly for Halloween - this was the crew at last night's training session: (left to right): Roc (Beedog - Brussels Griffon), Dax (Butterfly - French Bulldog), Reggie (Devil - Saluki), Brandy (Devil - Golden Retriever), Emma (Skeleton - Weimeraner), Hannah (Angel - Dachshund), Beau (Angel - Golden Retriever), MacDuff (Superdog - Border Terrier), Robbie (Skunk - Border Terrier)