Archive for February, 2010

2 minute dog trainer blog is back

February 6, 2010

I’ve been away from blogging for awhile. It’s a huge task, frankly, to write every day.

I’m actually working on a couple of other projects. Therefore, I’ve been disconnected from the daily blog.

Last Friday the temperature dipped to 8 degrees overnight and, due to inattention, our propane tank went empty at the same time. It’s Murphy’s Law at its finest, frankly.

We were looking for an opportunity to change propane companies and, with a frigid weekend and an empty tank, we had lots of time to think about what we wanted to do.

On Monday Bud made some calls and arranged for a new company to deliver their tank and some propane on Wednesday. That meant we were without heat from Friday night to Wednesday noon.

Thank goodness we had the woodburner. I hate the woodburner because it’s messy, makes my sinuses and eyes dry and scratchy, gives me nosebleeds from drying the air overmuch, andmaintenance is basically a part-time job.

I got the fire going  by 4:30 a.m. Saturday.  By noon the temperature in the house had climbed from 49 degrees to 54 degrees. With a little help from mother nature bringing the outdoor temps up into the 20s, I managed to get the temperature in the house up to 62 degrees by Sunday noon.

I called it “feeding the baby,” and this baby had to be fed every 45-60 minutes.  All day, all night, all day, all night, etc., for over 4 days. I slept on the couch so I could monitor the stove all night.

Twice a day Bud brought a new load of firewood. Once a day I ran the sweeper to keep the debris off the hardwood floors. It was exhausting.

There are a couple of benefits to the new propane tank — 1) now all 3 propane tanks on the property are from the same provider so, when we need propane at the house, we can have all the cottage tanks checked as well,  and  2) they offer a monthly budget payment rather than a $1200 fill bill, all due at once.

Last night a bit of a winter storm hit our area, dumping 6-8 inches of snow on us, and creating difficulties for the old dogs in their efforts to leave the house and potty.

Banner, Bogie, and Birdie are all 14 years old in 2010. They have arthritis pain, vision problems, and are going deaf.  We watch constantly for signs of the end. Frankly, it’s depressing as hell.

Every lump and bump, every irregular bowel movement, every moment of disinterest in food makes the bell toll. Bad weather just makes their fragile lives more difficult and I hate that they have to struggle in snow drifts at this age.

My current project is to create an all-inclusive instructor’s manual for basic obedience.

Fifteen years ago I instructed for an obedience club, and their lessons involved heeling, automatic sits, down stays, recalls, and choke chains.

Ten years ago I created my own 8-week obedience lesson plan involving attention to name and recall, walking on a loose leash, stays, greeting strangers, etc.

Three years ago I created my own 4-week obedience lesson plan involving four simple lessons presented in 2-hour lessons. Attention to name and recall, greeting a friendly stranger, walking on a loose leash, calming behaviors at home / self-control training.

My goal now is to combine my two plans (the 8-week and the 4-week) into one instructor manual which includes my obedience protocols, detailed explanations of my methods, a description of class timing, homework handouts for 4-week or 8-week programs, and a troubleshooting section featuring frequently asked questions.

Since my obedience classes are homework driven an instructor need only familiarize herself with last week’s homework and this week’s homework to have her lesson plan established. She may teach from her own experience, use my exercise descriptions, or use a combination of the two.

As I read my old stuff I’m constantly changing language and editing. There aren’t many differences in my training philosophy but I sometimes change phrasing that seemed fine before but seems awkward now.

In other news, I was pleased to see that Bark magazine has added Victoria Stilwell (Of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or The Dog”) to their staff of writers. They’ve already got Patricia McConnell, PhD, and both of them are heroes of mine, so I’m looking forward to lots of new, terrific information.