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.


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 🤓).

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. ☺
If not, message me. ❤❤❤

Love y’all,


Not My Dog(s) Update

**so many inappropriate words**
I’m feeling a little raw today, not because my life is bad because holy crap – *my* world is pretty great.
But please (PLEASE!?) spay and neuter your pets.

We’ll start with the deeply depressing, then do the stressful and enraging, and then end on a bit of happy, ‘kay?

Airport Road Dog/designated Snoopy at shelter: he is heartworm negative (wooo!), full of fleas (all dying right now!), and a handsome and happy boy who would make a wonderful pet. Fingers crossed someone will fall in love with him and take him home. He was not chipped and will be on a stray hold for the next few days. And given the full state of the shelter, if no-one claims him or falls in love with him soon, he will end up euthanized. But for now, he is no longer itchy, fed, and comfy. And that’s better then his world was two days ago.

Honey-Dog, still at the vet clinic with her as I type this. She is not healthy. Possibly cancer, possibly liver disease – pretty much every horrifying possibility still TBD. Oh, and that someone shot her with an airgun pellet?! Yeah….’cause that happened too. So, she is not a great surgical candidate; we are waiting on a few more tests and I will make the best decision I can.

And Mariposa, she is still hanging out with the babysitter and hopefully meeting people who will fall in love with her and adopt her. But she’s having fun! ❤❤❤

Another pickup….dammit.

So, here’s a little pickle of a problem I could use some help with, how to get this lost/abandoned/stray dog to the animal shelter tomorrow morning when I have to fly to STT in the morning? Help?
So, today I spent the day in STT (for work) and have to spend the entire day there again tomorrow. To make my life extra convenient, I’ve been flying out from the airport and returning on the seaplane. 😒
So, while husband was driving me to pick up the jeep from the airport there was a loose white dog on airport road. We stopped, but he ran from us. So, after I got the jeep and was headed west I saw him again so I pulled over. Did he run to me? Uh, no. This is not a Disney movie. I sat on the ground and told him in my happy voice all about how handsome he was and shook my fancy kibble container (aka empty sorbet container). Then we moved a little closer and eventually I had him (literally) eating out of my hand and then sneakily leashed his scrawny, filthy, and underfed butt. When we walked on leash towards the jeep he kind of trotted and waved his tail which is a great sign.
He is currently locked in my laundry room with squishy blankets, kibble, and water. He went for the kibble first.
Intact male, young, weighs about 25-30lbs (should weigh 50), and very handsome.
I’m tired.

Honey/Mariposa update

Honey/Mariposa update:

Honey: Something with Honey is still not quite right health-wise…so further testing is needed. I’m making an appointment to take her to the east end (hopefully Friday because I have to fly to STT tomorrow & Thursday). She is gaining weight (slowly), and has (re)learned to bark and, to an adorable extent, howl at passing ambulances. I’m worried.

Mariposa: I am not worried about this little monster at all; holy crap is she a bundle of happy energy. I mean, she’s *really* not pretty, but dang if she ain’t cute.

Adorably, she has figured out Dobby is a lot of fun to play with and they are joyfully tussling like crazy dogs. All the while Humphrey groans and grumbles in the way of a concerned nanny-dog.

Here she is playing with a dog bed about 8 times her size:

Next couple days are long days ofz q work and travel, I believe I have found a puppy-sitter for Mariposa and Honey will remain safe at the vets.

Love y’all,


Dogs are greedy jerks

FoodLady Chronicles – greedy a$$holes edition: they look innocent in the photo below, don’t they?

They. Are. Not.

Ziesa is a champ at snuggles! ❤❤❤

I, in an attempt to take an hour to write while enjoying some Ziesa and SamSam snuggles, had temporary foster puppy (Mariposa – flies stateside 03/27/18) settled in her crate with a lovely beef trachea to gnaw on while Humphrey and Dobby chilled in the living room.

Little miss stinky wrinkle face, aka Mariposa!

So, color me both impressed and seriously annoyed that somehow Humphrey & Dobby managed to quietly OPEN Mariposa’s crate, releasing the wee monster into the living room. Did they do it because of some deeply held belief that she needed FREEDOM! No. They treated it as the ultimate treat puzzle.

Note: in my brain, Dobby and Humphrey are the ultimate “Dude! Bro!” characters.

“bro!! There’s a trachea in there!”

“Dude, yeah…but we don’t eat puppies man!”

“Naw! Bro, like a BEEF trachea!”

“What?! No way! We gotta get that dude.”

So, while little miss stinky wrinkle face was embracing her unprecented freedom she left me a few little puddle surprises and apparently managed to pull the new package of toilet paper onto the floor and nibble a small corner [YAY! I can handle that level of damage!].

However, either Humphrey or Dobby, perhaps disapproving of the toilet paper nibbling or perhaps just in protest that there is a wee little stinky wrinkle face puppy here at all, decided pee on the (damn!) toilet paper package.

[It couldn’t of been the puppy because she is shorter than the toilet paper package.]

“Dude!? Do we have an indoor toilet now?”

“Bro, I guess man….I mean, the little nugget must know somethin’ we don’t bro. Should we mark somethin’?”

“Dude….. I don’t know man….”

“……oh! Uh, sorry! too late bro!”

“Dude, put a tennis ball by it, that’ll fix anything man!”

Not funny; but funny!

So, that’s the start of my morning; hope everything goes better for everyone for the rest of the day (including me!)!

Honey Dog Update

Holy. Crap. Busy.
While one part of me misses time for deep contemplation (naps), reading, tv, and writing, the more I do – the more I can get done; I have always been, and will always be, inertia’s bitch.
Honey Update – still gaining weight and getting better! So, I know every dog and every human out there is a unique little snowflake, blah blah blah – but let me tell you why this little lady is so freaking amazing: she is self-assured. She probably had quite a few f*cks to give at the beginning of her life, but she gave most of them away and is saving her last ones for truly important stuff like snacks and enjoying some sunbeams. She takes contented and chill to a whole new level. Well, that is until she has to face her true nemesis – the evil blow dryer.
Here she is during yesterday’s visit – gettin’ purty, huh?

Honey Dog Update 2

I visited with pretty little Honey yesterday and it is becoming more and more clear that she was someone’s dog who lived indoors and just really came into some hard times. Despite ongoing diarrhea (dog rescue = true glamour) the poor little peanut really tries to hold it to go outside. I gently cleaned her ears with q-tips and combed out all her floofy parts while she sat contentedly in my lap.