Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't Ever Stand Between a Canine and Her Fungi

Yesterday morning, pre-coffee, Roxy and I battled over a mushroom.  And I am ashamed to admit that she won.  Her and I were off on our first trip outside.  It was raining out, which was a surprise to me.  I realized that I had left the windows open in the truck when Roxy and I went to class on Monday afternoon.  I dashed back to the house for the keys, came back out and saw that she was eating a huge mushroom.

Now, she had gotten sick the night before.  Probably from a combination of too many treats at obedience training and from loosing a tooth.  The last thing I wanted was a sick dog high on a hallucinogenic mushroom.

This is not the mushroom, this is Roxy's tooth

Or to have to explain to Randy that I left the windows open in his truck.

Monday’s class was our second and final obedience class.  At this class, Amy showed us something called marker training.  I was quite confused when we left the class and really couldn’t see how to apply it to Roxy’s everyday life.  I read up on it afterwards online and I now understand a bit better on how it works.

In a nutshell, you are teaching a dog - or parrot, horse, husband perhaps - with positive reinforcement.  I have picked a positive word ‘yes’, and a negative word ‘stop’ and with treats I am slowly training Roxy as to what is right and wrong behavior with the positive and negative words, or markers.

It seems that what confused me at first was that I thought the treats were the markers. After Roxy gets more of a clue to the markers, I can start weaning her from a treat after I tell her ‘yes’.  Amy assured me that I would not be walking around 18 years from now still carrying treats in my pocket.

Today though, Randy and I decided against using the word 'yes' for the positive reinforcement.  I got nervous that if anyone came to the front door, they would think we were re-enacting a certain scene from 'When Harry Met Sally'.  It seemed best just to use pets, ear scratches and 'good girl' instead of 'yes'.

Note to Will and Sammy:

When Harry Met Sally is a movie that was made in the olden days (1989) and you will probably never be old enough to see that or any movie like it.  Love, Grandma.

Amy looks to be about six or seven months pregnant.  I refrained from asking her if she was going to use the marker method on the baby.  Mainly because Randy reminds me often that not everybody understands my sense of humor.  Another reason is that I had only seen her two times.  That didn’t seem like a personal enough connection to comment on her current state of child bearing.  I only felt comfortable enough to comment on her how nice her hair looked.

Anyway ~

I was instructed to bring Roxy’s treats to class.  Roxy very seldom gets an entire Milk Bone as a treat.  I have the tiny ones and I break those into three pieces.  I brought a small tupperware container full of pieces of treats.  Amy proceeded to break these little bits into smaller bits.

Small or not, Amy and Roxy went through all the treats.  Which was way more treats that Roxy has in a week’s time.

Back to the mushroom.  Pre-coffee, I was in a panic to get the windows closed in the truck and get Roxy away from the mushroom all while trying not to poke out my one good eye with the umbrella.

This is not the mushroom, either

Not only did I not stop Roxy from eating the mushroom, she had the audacity to snap and snarl at me.  I was so surprised that my sweet, lovable dog would do that, that I thought I was imagining it.  So I tried for the remains of the mushroom again.  Not only does she snap and snarl, she bites me.  Hard.

It hurt.  And it hurt my feelings.

My dog, whom I love.  I clean up her pooh, I gladly suffer through her noxious (gas) bubbles, I play with her.  I would even sleep in her kennel with her if there was enough room.  

She snarled at me and bit me.

I did the only thing I could do.

I ran screaming like a girl to the house to wake up Randy.

But I closed the truck windows first.

Have the BEST day ever!

~ Dorothy

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