Good dog!

So I’m drying my hair this afternoon when the doorbell rings. Scout immediately launches into an uncontrollable barking frenzy, and Jason follows her into the living room to stare at the front door, both of them ready, willing and able to get medieval in the event that Something Wicked This Way Comes.

A young guy in a uniform the color of a mailman’s is on the doorstep, so I order Scout to get back as I pad out onto the porch in my bare feet, hoping that my visitor is here to deliver my new honey extractor.

No such luck. As it turns out, Uniform Guy is selling home security systems, or something like that. (I didn’t catch all of the details. It was hard to hear, what with my dog barking loudly enough to be heard in Sapulpa.)

I manage to keep from laughing openly as I point to Scout and say: “Well, as you can see, we already have a foolproof alarm system….”


6 thoughts on “Good dog!”

  1. Hi I have been reading your blog off and on and really enjoy it. I live on a small farm out in Sand Springs. We have horses and chickens and rabbits cats dog etc!!!! We have a garden too of course and I just built my greenhouse to sell veggies in the fall and stuff and also grow exotic plants that you cannot find in Tulsa. The reason I was contacting you is that I have started a new website for people in and around Tulsa to share experiences with their faults and successes with providing for themselves. I have some members only 2 days in and am excited. Just thought you would be a great addition. Check it out if you like would love to have your experience on there!!! Thanx, Courtney……

  2. Hey Emily, it’s your cousin John (Jean’s son) and I’ve been racking my brain trying to find out what I’m gonna do with my life & i realized i want to help dogs…my goal is to train abused & neglected dogs to be people & other dog friendly so they have a chance to go to a good home. I know you’re kinda the residential animal lover in the family so I wanted to ask you for some advice to help me get started. I’d really appreciate it 🙂

  3. Sure! This is probably more than you wanted, but this is one of my favorite subjects, and I am SO excited to hear that you’re interested in this, because the world desperately needs more responsible, competent trainers to give dogs a fair chance in life. Here’s my best advice:

    1. Find two obedience classes using two distinctly different training methods and observe (or better yet, participate in) both to learn the pros and cons of each method. Try to find somebody using something similar to the Woodhouse Way and somebody using the clicker-training method and familiarize yourself with each, because most training methods are just variations on those two.
    2. Read every dog training book you can find. Even if you don’t agree with every approach, it’s good to know what’s out there. You never know when you’re going to run into a screwy dog that requires you to dig into your bag of tricks and pull out something you never considered before. Some good titles/authors to look for: No Bad Dogs by Barbara Woodhouse and anything you can find by the Monks of New Skete. You might also read up on TTouch, which is supposedly useful for calming extremely agitated or aggressive animals.
    3. Train every dog you can put your hands on. Start with very small, very obnoxious or ill-tempered dogs, and work your way up to bigger dogs as you gain an understanding of pack behavior and learn to anticipate a dog’s actions based on its body language. Try to train as many different breeds as you can, because each one has a little bit different instincts. Volunteering at the local humane shelter is a good way to get access to a lot of different dogs so you can learn what works and what doesn’t.
    4. Be flexible. Understand the principles of pack instinct, but be aware that dogs — like humans — are individuals, and you may have to adjust your methods as you go. Every dog has personal preferences and weird hangups that require slight modifications.

    If you have time and feel like driving a bit, you might go up to Shiloh (near Belleville) and see if you can study with Chris Christensen, who is the most phenomenal trainer I have ever seen. Lori Weinberg, a behaviorist in Edwardsville, is also very good. I don’t have numbers for them any more, but you can probably Google them and find out how to get hold of them.

  4. thanks for the direction! I’m reading Cesar’s way right now & i really like his approach with the whole pack leader concept. I used it on mom’s dogs & had an almost immediate reaction outta both of them! I like your idea with the “bag of tricks” so I’ll hit up the library tomorrow. I’m also gonna look for a job working in a kennel of some kind to try & familiarize myself with general traits of different breeds. again thanks so much for your help 🙂

  5. Ron found a link you might like. It’s about the people who are rehabbing Michael Vick’s dogs. The Washington Post did a bunch of slideshows with cute sounds (dogs barking, playing, snoring, etc.) and people talking about how the dogs are doing. It’s very sweet. You can see it here.

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