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This Day in My History


My dog's not spoiled ... I'm just well trained !

~ Unknown

Yesterday's Entries

2000: A Perfect Day 
 You Can't Go Home Again
2002:  Busy?   Who Me?
2003:  Water, Water Everywhere


A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson


Whose Line is it Anyway (x2)

Buy my stuff at Lulu!



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Hmmm.  There's something new in the room.  I wonder what this is for.  Is that person of mine trying to put something over on me?

Check a Sheila Video
("See Sheila run--Run, Sheila, Run!")



23 July 2004

I swear, it’s like having a toddler again. Joan reminds me that "real freedom doesn’t come until the last kid leaves home and the dog dies," and she asks "whose idea was this anyway?"  (It was mine, I admit)

Someone pointed me to the Humane Society’s page on basic training techniques, or "nothing in life is free." The idea is that once the dog has learned some basic commands, you make her earn positive things. She must obey a command before she gets what she wants (food, a treat, a walk, a pat on the head, etc.)

Sounded like a good idea.

I’m quickly learning that Sheila is more than willing to sit for something she really wants, and she is as stubborn as a toddler when it comes to doing something she doesn’t want.

From day #1, she automatically sat before I asked her to when getting a treat. That must have come from her previous owner’s training. I don’t have to say a thing. When we get home from a walk (or, as I call it, my morning’s work-out on the treadmill, since I walk just as steadily and a bit faster than I do at the gym!), she immediately runs into the kitchen and sits in front of the refrigerator, since she knows the treats are stored on top and she will get two dog biscuits.

I’ve tried to start using this willingness to "sit" on command to have her earn things she wants.

She knows, for example, that when I put my shoes and socks on (these being triple-digit temperature days, I’m going barefoot most of the time) that we are probably going for a walk. I’ve made certain not to excitedly ask "do you want to go for a walk?" She’s hyper enough and smart enough to know darn good and well what’s coming.

But now that she’s made the connection between socks and walks, she gets herself hyper. She bounces up and down, races back and forth between the family room and the front door, and then tries to grab the socks and crawl around my feet. "Sit!" I say. I turn away and don’t make eye contact until she stops trying to grab my socks, steps back, and sits down.  It only takes a second for her to realize that I’m not going to continue putting on shoes until she sits and if I don’t put on my shoes, we don’t go for a walk.

She sits.  She wiggles all over while she waits, but she sits.

I’ve also started having her sit to have her collar/leash put on. She used to fight me about it, but now she sits quietly. As soon as the collar goes on, she’s leaping about again.

I won’t open the front door until she sits for a couple of seconds instead of jumping up and trying to turn the doorknob herself.  She’s finally figured that out too. Much as she wants to rush out the door, the door remains shut and I stand quietly, looking away,  until she sits.

She sits.

Ahhhh, but all bets are off once we get outside. I haven’t gotten her into the Halti yet, so we’re still on the choke collar, and it’s much better than it used to be. She’s figured out she can’t get out of it, so she doesn’t fight it any more, but I’ve decided that she will sit when we come to a curb before we’ll cross the street.

She has decided that she won't.

Though she readily sits at home whenever I ask her to, when we’re outside and stop at a curb and I give her the sit command, she stands there resolutely, butt up in the air, looking around. "Sit" I say again. She looks away, still standing. "Sheila? SIT," I say once more. She continues to look around (if she could whistle and roll her eyes, she would).

I’ve decided I’ll wait her out. I’m the boss. I’m bigger than she is. And I have the other end of the leash.

Besides, after sprinting half a block, it’s nice to stand and get my wind.

Every so often I’ll say "SIT" and she stands. She tries to step off the curb and I pull her back.

"SIT," I say.

"la-dee-dah," she thinks.

Finally she gets tired of the game, looks up at me and I swear you can hear her give a huge sigh.  "Owell...might as well give her what she wants."

She sits.

"GOOD GIRL!" I say, with as much excitement as I can muster, as if she had done it 5 minutes before when I first asked her. She gets lots of pets and lots of praise and we cross the street.

A block later, we go through the whole thing all over again.

It’s a start, but she has to learn who’s boss around here, and it’s time to shift that role from the four footed person to the two footed person.

Last night was too hot to sleep upstairs and so I slept downstairs. That meant Sheila didn’t have a bed to share with me, so she was up and down all night. At 4 a.m., she licked me awake. I got up, went to the bathroom and, since the air was cool by then, took a blanket off a nearby chair to cover myself with. An hour later, she was pulling the blanket off of me and nibbling on my toes.

When I got up, I discovered she’d chewed up the chair the blanket had been on. She’s now moving into the good furniture and I’m afraid that if I can’t get a handle on this, she is literally going to eat herself out of house and home.  If I can't get this chewing under control, much as I love her, I am going to have to seriously consider whether we can keep her.

I’m going to work harder on making sure she accepts me as "alpha dog." Today I bought some doggie repellant to spray liberally on all the remaining furniture. I also took the advice of several people who have written and bought a crate to put her in and will begin getting her accustomed to that. I have now spent roughly $14 gazillion on this solid gold dog.

Our obedience classes (if they aren’t canceled again) begin Saturday and I’m hoping to get some pointers at that time too.

I’m the boss. And I will make her understand that, if it kills the both of us.

Today's Suggested Web Site to Read

Marn, and then

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Another "before" and "after" picture for Digital Nuts

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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