Back down to the final four! Wooo!

FoodLady Chronicles – Dobby is Rested; Ziesa Now Sad edition:

Things have been busy lately in the Lady’s House of Food – you can tell cause of the no “typey typey”. I’m fixin’ to have a bit of a lull (yay!) so let’s see if we can get back to chronicling my mundane life with dogs.

To sum up, my beloved Dobby is an asshole. I mean, he is kinda awesome and a great dog to do training work with new dogs, but he is the highest energy dog I have. He also “woo’s more than I would like, has no work ethic (“you threw the ball, it bounced over there, I looked, it was hard so I gave up.”), and tends to chew the collars off of Ziesa. However, we had a Bella puppy for over a week and her energy levels are still cranked up to high energy + puppy! She wore him OUT. It was awesome. Then we had a Snoopy until he flew to his new home yesterday. The shelter told me Snoopy was very full of energy and that it wouldn’t be possible to tire him out. Meanwhile, Dobby was behind me saying, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” and those two just ran and ran and played and played and then drank, slept, ate and repeated. Mr. Snoopy flew to his new home yesterday and Dobby slept for about 20 hours and this morning he woke up all bright-eyed and ready to rock. Poor Ziesa, she is back to being his only play buddy – she really enjoyed the vacation while it lasted.

Snoopy at the airport on his way to meet his new people!
Ziesa contemplating murder of a Dobby.
Dobby….being a Dobby.
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FoodLady Update

FoodLady Chronicles – house of hounds edition: Morning y’all, I am sorry I haven’t been writing much this last week, it is a freakin’ challenge to write and work and dog – especially when there are EXTRA dogs dogging.

This is a Bella, Bella-princess, Miss Bella Hoppy Pants, or, for no good reason, Piglet. She belongs to a friend who had a family emergency and had to fly off the island for a week or so, he comes back tomorrow. She looks all sleepy and cute (and OMG she is so cute), but she has broken a Dobby. He is *so* tired. I mean, he is so tired from constantly playing with a Bella that I put him in the bedroom to give him a break and he was *grateful* for the rest rather than wanting to come out and keep playing which is completely unprecedented.

And then there is a Snoopy:

Remember airport road dog that I took to the shelter? Yep, that’s a Snoopy. Snoopy is a perfect name for him because he looks like Snoopy and because he is just the NOSIEST dog EVER. Really trying to learn about EVERYTHING. I didn’t take a current picture because, well, I keep forgetting (I will post one later!) The lady that met him fell in love and is adopting him, but she is in New York. So he flies out on the 24th (or 26th) of this month to go meet up with his new humans. YAY! He is in his kennel (laundry room) right now after playing with a Bella and a Ziesa for a few hours and having THE BEST MORNING OF HIS LIFE! To be fair, Snoopy finds everything to BE THE BEST whatever OF HIS LIFE! He weighed in at 42lbs yesterday and I’m not saying he is a beefcake (’cause that is Dobby’s designation), but he is a muscular, athletic, well-built, zoomy little dude. Dobby is just happy to have a buddy he can tag in to play with Bella (random: I googled synonyms for beefcake and the word ladycake was there. I can’t decide if that word is perfect to describe Bella or if the word ladycake means something naughty. I’m torn.).

And just cause she’s snoring against my leg, here is the pretty little Ziesa who is, as always, a beloved fireplug. โ™กโ™กโ™ก

Canine Pickle

Alrighty, since y’all in here are smart n stuff, I’m going to tell you a story and then I will graciously accept any advice/encouragement/kick in the ass I receive.
I’m in a bit of a dog pickle. (I know, shocker, right?)

  1. So, airport road dog (aka Snoopy) is being adopted by the lady that saw me do a bit of a rage cry and growl at the animal shelter that I was, “fucking doing the best I can and I cannot have another fucking dog and if you are seriously trying to shame me (dude didn’t know me) by saying this dog will be put down then bring me the fucking pink euthanisia drug and I will inject it in him myself you heartless asshole”. I have never seen a group of people move so fast to separate me from the guy (who knows me now!) โ˜บ Anywhoodle, the dog is being flown to the lady at the end of April. He needs a foster home until then and I agreed to pick him up tomorrow. He needs to learn about being in a damn house. And that was the plan. Until…
  2. My one dog training client is a lineman that looks to be about 12 years old – his aunt died last night. He is flying home on the first flight out tomorrow. I scheduled to get the dog’s last set of shots and spayed tomorrow at the shelter. I told him the dog, Bella, can stay with me for his 7 to 10 day trip and he is going to pay me (woo!) She has to learn that she doesn’t own everything and that other dogs are awesome. In other words, she’s kind of a like a spoiled snowflake who never heard the word no and was home schooled so she doesn’t know how to talk to the other kids so says random things like, “I put jelly beans in my poop!” or just screams in response to any question.
  3. But then Snoopy loses out.
  4. But what, am I gonna try to wrangle a total of 6 dogs?!
  5. And ugh, that other dog Knuckles that really has potential is freaking back up for adoption. He’s just about 100lbs….but so much potential! *sad*

Anyway, tomorrow should be a busy and interesting day!

Love, FoodLady

Humphrey, the (inept) chicken stalker.

FoodLady Chronicles – Dear Humphrey edition:
Dearest Humphrey, I can only imagine the frustration you’re experiencing because of the stray chicken sitting on the fence about 5 feet away making chicken noises and chicken faces at you. I know that deep down you believe you are a super stealthy chicken hunter, however I feel perhaps no-one has explained to you that barking repeatedly towards any chicken will never result in that chicken climbing into your mouth.
Love,
FoodLady

Not animal related in the slightest! Funny though.

Went to WAPA (water and power for those who don’t live on island) yesterday because our bills were weird and I needed to do a name change now that I have my license. Got everything sorted out with no issues, although the office employees appear to have developed a serious case of PTSD because everyone is stressed out over their bills and yelling at them.
But here’s where it got weird (y’all knew it would get weird, this is me – I always (inadvertently) bring the weird.): I went to WAPA PREPARED. Yes, I had the standard requirement of 57 different ways to prove my identity, but I also brought snacks, beverages, and my work with me ’cause I knew it would be a while. I signed in and because every seat in the place was filled, I plopped down on the floor. The dyspeptic-looking guard asked I not sit there because of traffic flow and offered me a chair in another corner. I smilingly replied I had no problem moving but perhaps some of the elderly folks that were standing would appreciate the chair more. Then I proceeded to plop my booty down in an out of the way spot and dove into confined space regulations (work). Little did I know, people sitting on the floor at WAPA makes them *very* unhappy. Seriously, I was completely oblivious, at least until I noticed a WAPA employee waving her arms at the guard frantically and realized a few other employees staring at me through the glass. I smiled and waved and they scattered, so I went back to figuring out what sorts of hazards could occur inside of an emptied cistern, and what kinds of chemical exposure monitoring would be needed depending on type of sealant used, etc. Next thing I notice is the poor beleaguered guard standing next to me with a folding chair saying I was no longer allowed to sit on the floor. I blinked (in my mind, I was in a cistern) and once the words registered I nodded and said, “alright, set me up wherever” and he put the chair right next to where I was and I climbed into it. About 35 seconds later my name was called, the (poor) guard helpfully bellowed, “she’s here, she’s right here! Hold on! She’s on her way!” when they called my name. Now, I can’t swear I got pushed ahead of the line just to get my (apparently troublemaking) butt off the floor, but I also can’t swear I didn’t. However, I can attest to the fact that if you sit on the floor at the WAPA office you will really upset them. Please use this knowledge responsibly. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Random Dog Training – Fear

So, in many dog behavior trainer courses you may come across a similar test question to this:

Question: 3. A friend of yours has a nervous dog. Your friend tries to reassure her dog whenever it demonstrates fearful behaviour by giving the dog affection and attention. Why might this be a bad idea and what terms within operant and classical conditioning might help explain your answer?

And there you have what can only be described as one of the many seriously divisive questions in dog training.

So, thought about this for a while over the past few days and I think (please remember I do not know everything, I learn more every day, and trends and methodologies in dog training advance and change daily) I finally have a better explanation of where the thought process behind this training maybe came from:

I remember that “don’t comfort the dog!” was one of the first things I was actively taught about dog behavior in the 90s and I remember being completely flummoxed by the theory then, but I think I (kinda sorta) understand the kinds of situations from which this training theory arose.

So, you may not know this, but Dr. Ian Dunbar in the ’80s was considered extremely radical with his (forgive the exteme oversimplification), “maybe we don’t need to literally choke and beat our dogs to train them, let’s try not doing that, shall we [with a solidly implied, “ya idiots?!” at the end there]”. Okay, so like all great ideas, the world of dog training began (for the most part) following that solid and sound teaching advice. Unfortunately, it rather stopped following and sort of caught up with and then ran right over Dr. Dunbar’s methodology and now some trainings have gone so far down the path of poor communication and too much food that it is now rather unrecognizable from good training.
So, here’s my mental example of where the original “don’t comfort the dog” mentality may have come from:

Picture an over-reactive human handler, completely freaking out that their dog is freaking out – to the point that they are on the floor with the dog, smelling of fear and stress and a little panic, because Mr. Fliffernoodle growled or barked at them while they were shaking out a new trash bag and now the undereducated-in-canine-behavior human is *sure* Mr. Fliffernoodle is becoming aggressive.

And Mr. Fliffernoodle is like, “holy crap, look at how upset human is because of that trash bag! That *IS* the scariest worstest most deadliestest thing in our house and we will defend against it TOGETHER! “Fluffinators!, mount up!”

Or something like that (forgive me, I live a rich internal life ๐Ÿค“).

So, I don’t think the original intent of “don’t comfort the dog” was meant to encourage dogs to be freaked out and force them to deal with what scared them while the human just ignores the dog (at least I freaking hope not!), but it probably should have been phrased more towards encouraging the human in the equation to keep it together and provide a calming and comforting presence for anything that requires a calm and comforting presence.

That way, you save the mounting up of said Fluffinators for appropriate things, such as axe murderers breaking in.

So, what do you do if Mr. Fliffernoodle is reacting in fear and horror to something like a garbage bag?

  1. Finish putting the bag in the bin while talking happily to the dog.
  2. Take out a new bag, all the while talking happily to Mr. Fliffernoodle, do not shake it open but grab yourself some treats. Sit on the floor and feed teeny tiny pieces of treats whenever the dog shows interest in the bag. Keep with the happy verbal encouragement and keep going until you determine the dog is either relaxed around the non moving bag or that he has been pushed as far as he can go for that session. Then you get to do it again a few hours later, and at least daily over the next few days and weeks, slowly taking them to the edge of their comfort zone and eventually getting them all the way to being completely confident and comfy while you shake out those garbage bags.

Um, but wait, FoodLady?! you *just* said too much food is bad, right? These days dog treats *are* being overused during normal activities and fun dog training. But in this case you are using classical conditioning to reduce an emotional (fear) reaction, and when doing that with a dog you will *always* use extra value rewards.


I sincerely hope that was was in my head managed to translate into words that other people can understand. โ˜บ
If not, message me. โคโคโค

Love y’all,

FoodLady.

FoodLady Chronicles – training problems.

So, so many people ask me questions like, “how do I get my dog to stop going to the bathroom in the house?” Or, “how do I stop my dog from chewing on shoes?”

Because of what I know, those are easy (to me); you know what kinda shit *I’m* trying to fix these days?

“How do I keep my problem-solving jerk dogs from testing each fence quadrant and climbing over any vulnerable areas and then running to where they have apparently found, and revel in rolling in, a very smelly decomposing corpse of what I now know to be a dog because SamSam dog brought. me. a. leg. yesterday. Ya know, just in case I wanted to roll on it too.” Yep. I have apparently been officially and completely creeped the hell out. I can handle A LOT of gross with no issues, but this one threw me off my stride. It is now a tie as to which was worse, waking up to a surprise chicken head on my pillow with intestines still attached (thank you Herbert), or the decomposing and slightly mummified but still horrifyingly stinky dog leg (thank you SamSam).

So, limited access to fenced in yard today (supervised only) and have to extend the electrified “hot wire” fencing further after work and long term correction of this problem is that I need to increase their exercise and activities – I have spent too much time working with other dogs and not enough with my own. โค

For some great information about what to do with escape artist monsters that *have* to be secured, I found this post to be super helpful!

http://www.teediddlydee.com/how-to-put-up-electric-fencehot-wire-for-dogs-horses-animals-part-1-2/

Loss Hurts

I forgot this part.
I forgot how much grief physically HURTS.

I lost my soul-dog, my diabetic alert service dog named Herbert on February 10, 2016 and I started therapy in 2017 which has helped me a lot. I’m doing okay.

But I live on an island that has a serious pet overpopulation problem and I when I find an abused/neglected/abandoned dog I do my best to catch them and get them vet care and then find them a home.
I found Honey Dog on February 23rd. Despite food, antibiotics, etc. she wasn’t improving.
We did exploratory surgery yesterday and she was riddled with cancer, obviously, I let her go.
But when I got home, my body was aching; and this morning I woke up sore all over. And then I remembered I’ve felt like this before, after Herbert passed. Grief hurts, emotionally AND physically. This poor dog was sick, starved, abandoned, shot with a pellet gun (x-ray showed us), and I found her rooting through trash on the side of the road while people drove by and walked by her like it was nothing. Like she was nothing – and she was amazing. I fell in love with this dog and didn’t know her very long. Everyone who met her fell in love with her.
At this point I don’t know if I am grieving for the loss of her, or the loss of faith in humanity? But it’s probably both.

I will keep on doing what I do, because for the many who just don’t care, or choose not to see, there are just as many people who care deeply and give of themselves to make the world around them a better place for everyone.

Try to do something good today in the memory of this dog that had every right to be nasty and bitey and hateful, but never was. Learn something new about dog behavior and then pass it on and think of a little blonde dog; or buy someone a snack to help them not be hungry because hunger sucks; or just go to PayPal and send a dollar or two to the STX animal shelter (administration@stcroixawc.org) and make sure to reference Honey in a message, something like “because of Honey” or “RIP Honey,” because that would help too.

Love y’all,

FoodLady.