Blue’s advanced teacup tire work

Well, 2 days ago I wondered how long it would take for Blue to figure out she was eating for a performance of the tire with no touching, ticking, clanging, swinging — and that she was NOT eating for all those negative tire performances.

This morning she got it. It’s been 2 days of a simple rule, if she touches the tire I re-present it and we do it again. It really only took her 2 meals to get the idea, but she was so excited that the lesson didn’t lead to consistent performance until this morning.

After just a couple of days she walked nicely with me from the feeding frenzy (8 other dogs) to the training area. While I placed the food bowl on a rack she started to run to the tire to perform it but, noticing I wasn’t presenting the obstacle, she stopped mid-way and ran back to me.

We did dog-on-right post turn at the tire, circled around and did dog-on-right back cross at the tire, circled around and did dog-on-left post turn (which she missed) so we circled back around for another attempt. At this point she had not touched the tire at all and had not eaten at all.

I re-presented the dog-on-left post turn at the tire, which she watched and took, then circled around for dog-on-left back cross at the tire. An entire warm-up set without ticking the tire at all. She got her entire meal for that bit of wonderful work !!  Two days, four meals, has to be a record of some sort, in case anybody records stuff like this. Of course, this is a life-time training protocol and she will not, ever, get rewarded for ticking tires or jumps.

Today the weather is supposed to break a little, with constant warming through the weekend. It will be interesting to see how many of our enthusiastic Thursday night fun-runners show up with temps in the teens. This weekend it’s supposed to be in the mid-to-upper 40s so I’m hoping to get all the dogs out for several family walks, where they’re able to rip-n-tear and eat deer and rabbit poop to their hearts’ content.

All this poop-eating has a price, of course. I have no doubt that we’ll have to do a complete pack de-worming this spring, and that’s about $150 for 9 dogs. No way around it, I guess. In our former homes we didn’t have the deer and rabbit visitors we have here. Our dogs were worm free for 10 years. I can’t describe my horror the first time I saw tapeworms in stool here in our cabin-in-the-woods. Yuck, enough of that.

Tomorrow I meet with several students from Marietta College. There’s a public relations writing class where they’ve formed teams to do PR projects for area organizations and the shelter has drawn the interest of one of these teams.

Memories of my own college days come flooding in when I think of these students. I attended a university where advisers didn’t really do anything but make sure you had enough credits to graduate, where professors took no real interest in the horde of kids passing through. Where the responsibility for doing well was totally on the shoulders of the student. I don’t remember ever having to correspond with area organizations.

I want this experience with the college students to be meaningful for them, as well as being purposeful for the shelter. I’d like the project to feel as much like a real job as possible. I want to treat them with the respect I’d give a PR firm the shelter hired. Should be interesting.

We had an exciting event this week — after years of auto-pay for Bud’s Suburban, we received a notice that we had one more payment and then the truck is ours! And the payment wasn’t the full amount, of course, so such a nice surprise for our budget! It was like winning the lottery without having to actually play.

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