Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Confessions of a lazy blogger

I have been a bad blogger lately. Late winter lethargy is taking its toll. Working up one post a week has become a monumental task. I have great respect for bloggers who manage regular brilliant posts, complete with video and lengthy, analytic commentary.

Then there’s me. Rambling about buying luggage, calves in the basement and kitchen paint. Have I written about the kitchen paint yet? Ah, well, let me enlighten you since I’ve driven my co-workers to distraction with this project.

After six years, I’ve decided to paint our kitchen. That’s approximately how long it’s taken to choose a new color since the last paint job. The new color is “Bolt.” Descriptive, huh?

Let’s try again. Amana blue. For folks who live in or near the Amana Colonies in eastern Iowa, this will mean something. It’s pale blue. At one point, the interior of nearly every communal residence, kitchen, church and business in the Colonies was painted Amana blue.

Historians differ on their interpretation of this color choice. Some feel it was meant to represent God and heaven and remind the colonists of their religious foundations. Others just think they got a really, really good deal on cheap blue paint.

Either way, my kitchen will transform from light cappuccino to Amana blue next week. I’m taking a few days off as a stay-cation to paint.

Our kitchen is not big. It’s not small. Once you account for cabinets and appliances, when it comes to actual wall space, there’s not really a lot. And there are four doors. Yep - count ‘em, four: back porch door, basement door, bathroom door, dining room door.

It’s going to take me longer to tape off all the woodwork than it will to actually paint the walls.

In the meantime, back at the dog training building: I’ve been re-focussing on the foundation elements with Phoenix. Examples: quick grabs to pick up dumbbell and glove, quick set ups, maintaining heel position through turns and the $#@! return on the moving stand. Ohhhhh (moans dramatically), the moving stand.

Once again I’ve discovered that what I thought I taught my dog was not what he learned. Or actually, he probably learned exactly what I taught him. Therein lies the problem.

In brief: I taught Phoenix an “around” finish from the moving stand. I used a hand signal along with the verbal. The problem was my signal flipped him “out” as well as “around” and since I've conveniently ignored that, he has developed a huge arc on the return.

To be honest, fixing that has not been a high priority during our roller coaster Utility career and I let it go. Whatever. As long as he trotted in and didn’t give me the death march, I didn’t really care how he got there. To be honest, we didn't get marked for it but that didn't mean it was okay.

With many spring trials on the horizon, I’ve finally admitted this needs to be addressed. Yesterday at the building, I put up a broad jump board as a barrier, intending for it to block his arc and encourage him to come in straight. (I’ve had some luck using barriers in training — this was not a shining example.)

He arc’d even wider to go around the board.

Well crap. (I’ve noticed many of my training sessions include this expression lately.)

I’m sure he thought he was right. I set him up several more times, varying the placement of the board and darned if he didn’t push out to go around it every single time.

So we’ve gone back to fundamentals on teaching the return. It’s amazing how easy it is to let the little things slip when you’re focused only on the overall picture. Then they come back and bite you in the butt.

Somebody get the Band-aids.


  1. good thing band-aids come in all sizes. ;)

    ps. I love hearing about calves in the basement and all that other weird stuff. lol

  2. I love reading that anyone can 'miss the obvious' sometimes. And it is a reminder that it really isn't all that obvious at the time. I mean you wouldn't miss it if it was, right?

  3. Well, I suppose its better that the little things bite you in the butt than a maligator biting you in the butt! Which reminds me of the time I felt a wee little nip on my behind while making the pups their snack. It wasn't the cracker. It was Juno! Surprised, I asked her who taught her such a naughty behavior. She looked right over at the cracker who was laying across the kitchen watching us, looking smug and proud of his student. Sigh... so be glad it's not a maligator. Or a husky learning bad things from a cracker...

    PS. you and me both on the bad blogger. I've been sorely lacking inspiration lately. sorely... but for good reason. sounds like yours are good ones too!