Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moo goes to class

Well, today Moo and I had our first 'obedience' class. We have already worked on sits, down, stay, attention, touch, and heel at home, and have been proofing in all sorts of situations like dark wet parking lots, busy streets, stores, and the such. The one problem we have been avoiding has been other dogs, so I thought it was time to bite the bullet and take a class.

The trainer I found that was reasonably priced and close is one of those "positive only" teachers. Well, they say positive only but what they mean is no harsh physical corrections. In the behavioral world the word 'positive' does not mean 'nice' or 'rewarding', it means 'adding to the environment.'  In fact you can have positive punishment, and negative rewards. Sounds odd but that is just the lingo.    (So when I squirted Moo with water it was truly positive....I added something to his environment....but more on that in a sec) 

She tried to fit Moo to a nose loop, or halti, or whatever it was called. These contraptions work by pushing down the dog's nose when they pull forward. Bull terriers noses are already down all the time, so a halti just slides off the end of their nose. Which it did. Three times. I let her come back and fix it each time. After a while she just took it off.  That poor woman, she had no clue what she was getting herself into!

The other student there when I came in was a very excited, barky 7 mo old lab puppy.  I was trying to work with cookies but with Moo, as with most dogs, cookies only mean something when there isn't something else more rewarding to do. Obviously teaching this unruly lab a lesson was more important to Moo than a mere cookie, so off he went into barky rage mode. I had the squirt bottle hooked in my belt and just like out of an old western I drew and fired before the positive trainer could even react. Bam, right in the eye. And no, not the trainers eye I should add. Moo instantly shrank back and hustled away from the other dog, tail tucked.  I needed him to know that it was not ok for him to lunge and growl at everyone.

After I got a frantic lecture from the trainer (during which I was clicking and treating my dog for now paying attention)  I had a very good, very attentive bull terrier.  So good, in fact, he was the star of the class!  Aside from the lab puppy there was a coon hound (who was very handsome). OK, so out of three isn't so impressive but I was very proud. While the other two yowled, barked and carried on Moo was quiet and attentive, and he sat, did hand touches, stays and heel position all while the trainer lectured and the other two dogs continued to be silly. He would look at them sometimes when they got really barking and eyeballing him, but I smooched at him and he turned right away and looked at me every time!  He is such a good boy!

The one good thing the trainer did do was introduce me to a new treat system. It is a lickety stick, and it basically looks like a deoderant container with a roller on top...with gravy inside! So the dog just licks it and gets a little taste of cool is that!  Kitty Amazing loves it too, and she has been sitting at the door yowling at me to get more.

Speaking of Kitty Amazing, she has a new friend over for a while. She picked him up in the garage and invited him in to share her bounty. Once he came in the studio I shut the door on him so he is stuck with us for a while. We named him Sleepy Joe:

 Joe isn't real friendly, in fact he pretty much runs away if you get too close to him. He always looks in need of a nap, and is scruffy and skinny. He will let me sit near him now, and I can walk right next to him as long as I don't look at him. Don't tell him but my plan is to tame him up and take him in for a neuter and shots. Shhhh.   I don't really need another cat, but he was living in the garage and in my opinion if you are housing an animal it is your responsibility to take care of it.

My friend Madaline Murphy said on her blog that her husband was wise....and a wise a$$. I guess that goes for me too. Poor Dave asked me why Joe was in the studio and without missing a beat I replied  "Because you said you didn't want him in the garage!"  He replied "Ask a stupid question....." My husband, he really should get a medal for putting up with me.

Anyways, I have been doing production work lately.  I like making bracelets, and want to do more in ivory, metallic black, silver and turquoise. Part of that is making all the small spacer beads which make up the finished pieces. So this is what I have done so far....

You know those look pretty good there heaped in a pile!   I have not cleaned or annealed them yet, so you can still see some clay bead release in some of them. These actually are pretty fun to make as you can pop out a lot in a small amount of time. I will post more of the larger beads as I make them. I am hoping to start selling at the Glass Market at the Corning Museum of Glass, so I will need lots of stock.

So before I go, another lesson from Moo:

A tired dog is a good dog.


  1. Aww Moo is so cute! I definitely need to check into a licky stick for Lucille. She's SUCH a brat when it comes to treats, which makes training harder.

    Sleepy Joe looks like he deserves a nice place to stay for a little while :) Poor guy.

  2. Yeah, all the dogs and both cats love em. I got Sleepy Joe to lick off of it for a while, which is the closest I have gotten to him yet!

  3. So where does one get a Licky Stick? I am about to start dog obedience with Terra for the socialization aspect--trying to get her to socialize a little less--and this sounds perfect.