Category Archives: Dog Training

Sometimes Love Really Is a Bitch

I could chase my own tail with excitement!

It is sometimes lovely to be completely unaware what is happening in the world. There come distinct moments of delight and surprise that could not occur otherwise.  I’m sitting here by the fire, googling this cozy Friday evening away, and I discovered that NOT ONLY was an animated feature-film length version of Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip released in early September, but it will be playing at Landmark E Street Cinemas on 11/5.  

Best literary animal work of all time coming soon to my favorite movie theater?  With Lynn Redgrave, Christopher Plummer, and Isabella Rossellini? Did I mention the clever log line, Sometimes Love Really Is a Bitch? And that the E Street theater serves wine?

Oh, this calls for some serious pre-game indeed. Consider getting your own copy and following along….


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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Dog Training, literature

Dogs Are Good: A Riveting Update From Procrastinationville

So right. Nothing from me since August. And I have no excuses worth sharing — same old working-mother-back-to-school-gotta-go-pumpkin-picking bullshit.

A lovely lady I met at a baby shower sent me a note today asking for the link to my blog. I winced with great shame and considered not responding, because then I could feel even more sorry for myself and pine away with professional embarrassment… as any proper, no-good-quitter would.  Then I thought, hells no. I’m going to write a blog entry like a big girl who knows she should be writing — not in spite of her self-loathing and procrastinating ways, but because of them.

Sadie and Dub? The dogs are all good. Dub continues to poop in my house from time to time, which I find annoying but oddly forgivable. Poor guy. I think he’s actually so hyper and excited to play he forgets to poop when we take him out. Then he loses it around 4am. He does this usually on the mudroom tile. A lovely package to find on a chilly fall morning, while padding about in my UGG slippers.

Hey, it’s fall! I didn’t even write about our summer vacation yet!  Wait for it.. wait for it…

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Filed under Dog Training, Humor, writing

First Check-This-Blogger Alert: My Puppy, My Self

I just discovered a blogger after my own heart and wanted to share with all 17 of you, my dear readers: My Puppy, My Self.

I somewhat question whether the blog title, “My Puppy, My Self,”  accurately reflects the content, catchy though it is.  The intentional separation of “my” and self” may lead a casual reader to believe that the author sees his puppy as one with his “self.”  But I don’t think this this is the simplistic case at all after reading a few of his articles.  For example, on July 16, 2010, blog author Lee Charles Kelley writes:

One of my main themes here is that, for most species (excluding cetaceans and some primates), animal consciousness should be described economically, through the laws of physics, not through higher-order intellectual thought processes. (This is why I think Freud — whose psychology was based on the conservation of energy — is more relevant to dog training than Pavlov and Skinner.) 

From post titled “Canine Communication, II: “Calming Signals & the Mel Gibson Tapes

It’s good stuff! This is the kind of guy who experences transendence reading books like My Dog Tulip.  Therefore, I respectfully suggest he rethink the blog title. Something more cerebral, perhaps? (If I come up with any brilliant notions, I shall of course suggest them to Mr. Kelley directly.)

I’m reminded of the translation issues over Chekov’s Lady With a Little Dog.  Since the Russian language doesn’t use articles, what meaning are we superimposing by chosing “a little dog” over “the little dog.” And what does it mean if we change it to “The Lady?” 

I digress.

Check it out. “My Puppy, My Self ” contains some good ideas about dogs and people… that is, of you’re into dog psychology, human psychology, and intersections of the two.

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Filed under Dog Training, literature

summer hiatus?

You could call it a hiatus. Or you could call it being really fucking busy with two kids and two dogs during the hottest days of Summer 2010.

Sorry readers, for being MIA for a week.  I have a few bits of breaking news.  Or perhaps I should say, as we do in the biz, “lessons learned.” (The “biz” to which I refer is, unfortunately for my spirit and my soul, IT consulting. Information Technology consulting. Makes me want to light my hair on fire, but it does pay the bills.) 

Lesson Learned #1: Do NOT Leave Treats in Pocket of Running Shorts (see Figure 1)

Figure 1. My (former) best running shorts

I walked into my closet and surveyed the clothes in a heap on the floor, pulled on a pair of shorts thinking I would go for a run, and discovered them to be… wet? Odd, right? I mean, the sweat from 2 days ago would have dried by now… so I look down and… am immediately reminded of my grey fleece. Samson (The original Brittany, if you haven’t been following) ate both pockets of my grey fleece when he was about 2 years old, probably going after the cheddar cheese we used to train him. So having the reaction only a dog-lover could understand, I smiled and laughed and had my daughter take this picture. Silly dogs.

Never mind that this set me back at least one week of running — which I have to say, worked out in everyone’s favor. Kids went to the pool after work more frequently, and I wasn’t dragging one of the poor dogs down the Arlington bike path in 90+degree heat. (A week? A whole week? You don’t have any other shorts? Those of you asking these questions must not have children and may God bless you for taking time away from your quiet weeknight to try and understand, but I just don’t have the energy to explain it right now.)

Lesson learned, Sadie and Dub.  Lesson learned. 

I now have my eye on a new pair of lululemons.

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Filed under Brittanys, Dog Training, Humor

Special Treat

someecards.com - Sorry I used my calmly assertive Dog Whisperer voice in bed

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Selecting a Proper Leash for Your Dog: Or How to Avoid Clotheslining Bikers, Spare Rabbits’ Lives, and Avoid the Wrath of Mothers with Small Children

 

First Rule of Using a Retractable Leash: Don't

Retractable leashes. WTF? These things should be outlawed, or at the very least, sold under federal restriction only to owners of dogs that can be tucked into a Versace clutch. 

Retractable leashes are the way our brilliant, ever problem-solving species gets around leash laws. Fido pulls on his leash and it’s a pain in the ass! It ruins our walks and our rotator cuffs!  So we give him… more leash?? In most cases, certainly in any populous area, retractable leashes are a menace to society. We all know how they work; momentum equals mass times velocity.  Fido roams quasi-freely, while dragging his hopeless human along behind. Presumably the human can stop the line from extending by pushing the button, but if you have a real dog, a dog who likes to sniff and run and jump and kill small land mammals, by the time you hit that button (which doesn’t always work that well) the dog has so much momentum going that the whole kit and caboodle becomes an oncoming runaway train. 

Do you realize that bikers can’t even see that fishing-line thin cord as they come zooming down a path? I think it’s fair to say that any biker who nearly gets killed because (s)he gets tripped up in your stupid retractable leash has a right to go ape-shit, whenever and wherever it happens. And that goes double for mothers of children under the age of 4 who feel their offspring have in any way been wronged by your (no doubt harmless and loveable, but still) dog.

So dog-owning readers, repeat after me:

I will use nothing longer than a 6 foot, old-fashioned leash. I will take my dog to safe areas where he can run off-leash. And from this day further, I will not try to fool myself or my dog, into feeling he’s “off-leash” when “on-leash” because everyone gets confused, it simply doesn’t work, and I look like a moron.

What to do? PAY ATTENTION TO AND ENJOY THE WALK WITH YOUR DOG.

I’m only 5’3” and usually holding a kid with one hand, so I prefer a 4 foot leash. I also use a martingale collar, which allows me to correct Sadie and Dub for pulling (like a traditional choke collar) without hurting them. See more about the martingale here:

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Filed under Brittanys, Dog Training

Dogs and Family, Home Alone

Life’s timing isn’t always convenient for those who like to keep it neat and tidy. I personally don’t care so much about neat and tidy, but am indulging in this self-conscious preamble because I know some people would consider my activities of the last week to be poorly planned at best, irresponsible at worst. (Ok, fine; some people is pretty much just my mom.)

To the point, the point, the point. Right. The point is that we decided to get the dogs last weekend lest risk them going to another family. Within 48 hours, I was on a business trip, leaving DH, Pebbles and Bam-Bam to fend for themselves with our new jumping, licking, wagging, barking, 100-pound-combined-weight bundle of joy.

DH knew what to do. He got one of these:

Handy Dandy Leash Coupler

And these:

Four-Foot Leash (more on this topic later)

 

And lots of these:

Nothing says "I love dogs" more than a pocket full of liver snacks

All while I was here, working very hard:

Crate Lake, The Maroon Bells, Colorado

He kept them all alive! I enjoyed three, count ‘em, nights of gloriously uninterrupted sleep, and got some work done. And, um, hiked to Crater Lake.

Seriously, though. Three cheers for DH.  His survival is an accomplishment worth noting. Please do so now, in honor of mostly-modern, contributing husbands and fathers everywhere.

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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Dog Training, Kids, Travel