Chick update

The chicks have figured out the water bottle I attached to their cage yesterday and have become quite adept at using it. This is a very good thing, as they kept knocking over their water dispenser and fouling the water by kicking litter into it. When we switched to a trough, the water really got nasty. The hamster bottle mounted to the outside of the cage solves both problems. I highly recommend it for anyone trying to figure out how to supply clean water to young chickens.

Emily

Bee pops

Occasionally, I have to buy something just because it’s adorable. Here is a prime example:

beepops

Is there any legitimate reason why I would need two lollipops shaped like bees? Of course not. But that does not mean I did not have to have them the minute I found them at a little grocery store in Beggs while we were on our way to Nuyaka to check on a hive.

Emily

Major achievement

I am SO proud of Songdog tonight. We took Song and Riggy for a walk this afternoon when I got home from school. Song had been a handful at the start of his walk yesterday, so I nipped the problem in the bud today by putting his pinch collar on him. It intimidated him just enough to keep him in check without a lot of leash corrections.

In fact, he behaved so well that I took a calculated risk and dropped his leash while he was in a sit-stay. He stayed put while I walked all the way around him. I picked up the leash again, walked about half a block with him at heel, and then dropped the leash and asked him to heel, sit, and then stay. He was a perfect gentleman. We walked several blocks like that, with Song keeping a close eye on my movements and sitting every time I stopped, the way I’ve trained him to do on-leash. He even sat and stayed without flinching when a truck passed within three or four feet of us on the road.

Song was hit by a car shortly before he came to us. Because of that experience, he has always been scared of cars, trucks, bicycles, and anything else with wheels (even fast-moving rollerbladers unnerve him sometimes), but we’ve been working to overcome that fear, and his obedience without leash control this evening really illustrated how far he’s come.

It was maybe the most glorious dog-training moment I’ve had since Scout learned to breakdance.

In other pet news, the chicks have had an exciting night. First I gave them a nightcrawler we bought at a bait shop in Okemah this evening, and then I installed a hamster-type water bottle on the side of their cage. Their reactions to both were absolutely priceless. I’ll try to get video of them playing “Who’s Got the Worm?” next time we give them a nightcrawler, because it’s absolutely hilarious.

Hope your evening was full of laughter and accomplishments, too.

Emily

Trainees

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
— Isaiah 55:8

This evening, we took the dogs for a walk. The original plan was for Ron to walk Song and Jason while I gave Riggy an obedience lesson, but Songdog apparently forgot that he knew how to heel, because he kept jumping around and pulling at the lead. Three blocks from the house, he got so insufferable that Ron and I traded dogs.

To get Song’s attention, I insisted that he heel, then added demands and distractions meant to throw him off his game: Walk through this puddle. Walk through this pile of snow. Stop on a dime. Change directions. Sit on wet pavement. Walk at heel while I splash through this puddle.

It sounds mean, but you don’t do it as punishment. You do it to build trust and respect. You know that it isn’t going to hurt the dog to get wet, but he isn’t so sure. He has to trust you enough to believe that you aren’t going to lead him into danger, and he has to respect you enough to be willing to do what you ask, even if he isn’t wild about your requests.

Fifteen minutes with She Who Must Be Obeyed settled Song right down, so Ron and I traded back, and I gave Riggy a similar lesson on the way back home. He did very well. A few hours after we got home, I realized that while I was giving Song and Riggy a lesson in obedience, they were giving me a lesson in metaphysics.

How many times in the past year and a half has the Father tugged my leash in a direction I didn’t want to go? How many times has he asked me to walk through snow, sit on wet pavement, or go with him into an intimidating situation? How many times have I balked, whined, snapped at the leash, or growled in protest before finally giving in? And how much trouble could I have saved myself if I’d learned to obey as quickly as my dogs do?

Emily

Things I could do with my afternoon

Ron took my car to work because his car is too low-slung to get through deep snow, so unless I can coax Gretchen into starting on a cold afternoon (not likely), I’m stuck in the house. Here are some of the things I could do this afternoon:

1. Clean the chicks’ cage
2. Plan next week’s lessons
(Rest of list below the fold)
Continue reading Things I could do with my afternoon