Monday, March 26, 2012

Catching up, looking ahead

Fear not, gentle readers, I am still here. It’s been one of those weeks/weekends that has spawned a great deal to blog about and absolutely no time to do it.

Recap of the last four days:

Thursday: Got food poisoning. Trust me, this was NOT on my to-do list. List of suspects has been narrowed to salad from the deli at the local grocery store. Regretfully, spring salad has lost its allure. Actually, anything that contains mayonnaise is pretty much off the grid for me.

Developed a deep and meaningful relationship with our toilet. When not communing with said toilet, I crashed in bed and slept the day away. Both Belgians took advantage of my weakened state to sleep on the bed with me. I didn’t argue. Phoenix actually seemed genuinely concerned about me - probably worried about where his next meal was coming from.

Friday: Condition much improved. Able to attend the first day of the Bridget Carlsen seminar, held locally. Zero appetite. Water and saltines were about as daring as I got. Felt like I’d been hit by a bus - didn’t know throwing up was such an ab workout. Not one I'd recommend, either. Lived on the edge and had chicken noodle soup for supper.

Saturday/Sunday: Back in top form and able to enjoy both the seminar and the great food that went with it. Got some new ideas to explore. Without going into the minute details, Bridget’s “deal” (everyone needs a “deal”) is training your dog to work “in drive” versus just going through the technically correct motions of teaching the exercises (guilty!).

While this is not a new concept, it was new to me - at least from the perspective that while I’d been exposed to it before, I didn’t get it. Connor worked in drive through most of his career and I never recognized it - honestly, I took it for granted. Now I realize Jamie switched in and out but I didn’t show him long enough past his OTCh. for that to become an issue.

Then along came Phoenix, who has made me realize that although all the previous methods I’d used to achieve a happy working dog who earned titles and high scores were certainly not worthless, they did not address all the needs this dog brought to training.

While I don’t plan to abandon everything we’ve been doing, there are a couple of new techniques I’d like to work into our training. And since we’ve got obedience trials the next three weekends in a row I’m not about to do anything reckless (i.e., stupid) and turn everything upside down in our training.

Meanwhile, back on the farm: last Wednesday evening, before the attack of the Evil Spring Salad from Hell, I started cleaning winter trash off some flower beds and discovered that once again, my snapdragons have overwintered.

This freaks me out a little bit. I’ve had them do this in previous years, too, and it’s more than a little weird. These are annual plants that die in the fall. Or should have died. Or were supposed to die. Only they didn’t. Granted, our winter was pretty mild but we still had some days with below zero temps. This tends to kill tender vegetation. Only it didn’t.

These snaps are in a flower bed up next to the house so they are in something fancy gardeners like to call a micro-climate. I just call it the flower bed up next to the house. But trust me, it was below zero there, too. They’re not coming up from seed, either, it’s new growth off the mother plant that I didn't get around to pulling out last fall.

I love my snapdragons.


  1. Food poisoning is the worse. I'm glad you got better in time to enjoy your seminar.

  2. Sounds busy. And food poisoning sounds like a really bad thing to be busy with. At least you started feeling better pretty quickly and were able to enjoy the weekend.

  3. I learned that from Susan Garrett and it has made a world of difference in my training. It's the D (desire) in her D.A.S.H. and you can't start any training without it, ever. Never train a dog that's not in the proper arousal state (either over or under-aroused).