Stretch Pants

Stretch pants and an old Airedale’s sense of humor. A mouthy dog makes some owners look for ways to correct the behavior. Tookie’s tactile behavior is magnified through the use of her superior nose and her mouth to grasp on to something that is either getting a way or simply not close enough. A dog also detects scent through his/her mouth. Today, I was escaping Tookie; moving by too quickly towards the door to let them out. I had been out of the house and Tookie wanted to know where I had been so she latched on to my pants. Through the years, she has done this as well as has hooked a leg around mine to stop or slow me. I’ve never had this happen in stretch pants – it was like a taught rubber band needing to retract.

Autumn

Autumn

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Cold, Frozen Feet

Froze up feet – I was finishing breakfast dishes when I heard Tookie woof. She had decided to come in. She had been sitting outside and taking in the sun rise. By the time I had gotten to the door, she was limping and favoring her cold feet. This is simply a heads up, I was not expecting her to have been affected so quickly by these cold temperatures.

Frost Bite

Cold, Frozen Feet

Desensitization of a Situation

Anything can cause a dog to become fearful of a situation or a “thing” living or not. The trick to easing the situation for the dog is to either avoid the circumstances totally or gradually desensitize the dog to the precursors and the actual event or object. An acquaintance has such a situation and the goal is to have the dog become desensitized to the situation and therefore be able to be left off the leash and able to run freely.

Leaving the dog at home, she is going to go to the park and take a video of the object/situation that causes her dog to freak. We are going to examine the video and determine what could be causing the situation. I owned a dog that was afraid of man hole covers. I spent months trying to unriddle why this was an issue. She had her vision checked to insure it wasn’t a health issue and after that was ruled out, we incrementally proceeded and successfully over come the fear. These fears are real and as the owner of these dogs we must be our dog’s best advocate. I’m not a master trainer what ever that claim is. I am simply a person who has worked dogs in Search and Rescue, have done a fair share of reading about behaviors and training. As to do nothing, I chose to make the attempt to solve the problem.

The threshold, or change between calm and fearful has to be identified. When this is reached, simply turn the other direction, close the door, make a wide path around the object, and so on. Be careful what you reward – you do not want to reward for the fearful behavior, you want to reward the dog for its calm attentive behavior. As to have a fearful response, you can ask for an opposing behavior, a behavior that is not conducive to being fearful or in that state.

I spent a lot of free time having my dogs look at me, look me in the eyes as to pay attention to the problem. Dogs do not generalize. This means you will have to reintroduce a skill and build the foundation in many new places. Don’t assume the dog will act the same out of his comfort zone of the home. Everything is expected to fall apart and as to have this happen, organize your gear, treats/rewards, clicker into an apron and take your training “on the road.” Every place is an opportunity to train or reinforce skills.

This topic will be revisited.

The finish of our afternoon walk.

The finish of our afternoon walk.

Lest We Forget

IN FLANDERS FIELDS POEM
The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Lieutenant Colonel John McCraeIn Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915 during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

On May 2, 1915, John McCrae’s close friend and former student Alexis Helmer was killed by a German shell. That evening, in the absence of a Chaplain, John McCrae recited from memory a few passages from the Church of England’s “Order of the Burial of the Dead”. For security reasons Helmer’s burial in Essex Farm Cemetery was performed in complete darkness.

The next day, May 3, 1915, Sergeant-Major Cyril Allinson was delivering mail. McCrae was sitting at the back of an ambulance parked near the dressng station beside the Yser Canal, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, Belgium.

In Flanders Fields Poem
As John McCrae was writing his In Flanders Fields poem, Allinson silently watched and later recalled, “His face was very tired but calm as he wrote. He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer’s grave.”

Within moments, John McCrae had completed the “In Flanders Fields” poem and when he was done, without a word, McCrae took his mail and handed the poem to Allinson.

Allinson was deeply moved:

“The (Flanders Fields) poem was an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.”

Change of Plans

M&M’s – $85.00 for 5 pounds. What? I’m looking for a special way to celebrate Tookie’s up coming 15th birthday. To personalize your M&M’s was one way I may have considered if the price wasn’t so extreme. Tookie lounging close by walked over, nudged me and exhorted she simply wants a meaty beef bone. She continues to be the old sage.

Maple leaves enhancing Tookie's coat coloration

Happy to be part of my day.