My idea of good poetry

Running saluki. Photo by Alyat on Deviantart.

“My idea of good poetry is any dog doing anything.”

J. Allen Boone

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Couldn’t agree more! Happy weekend, everyone.

Things we’ve learned about Pyrrha lately

This post may become a regular feature, as it seems like we’re learning new things about our shy girl every day.

Are you done with the photos yet?
You done with that camera yet?

Here are a few things we’ve learned about Pyrrha this past week:

  1. The girl is great at chasing moths! She enjoys this nighttime activity immensely. And she’s pretty successful at catching them, too.
  2. She may not have a great memory with house guests? She was immediately fond of our friend Ann-Marie who was staying with us this past weekend (a bit leery of Ann-Marie’s husband, Shaun, but warmed up). But the next morning, when Ann-Marie walked out of the bedroom, Pyrrha growled at her. This, obviously, was concerning. We were all pretty shocked and I corrected her with a sharp “no.” Ann-Marie, who is good with dogs, walked slowly up to her and let Pyrrha smell her, and then she was fine with Ann-Marie for the rest of the day. My only guess is that she was possibly scared by Ann-Marie’s big, baggy pajama pants, which made a lot of movement? It still seems strange, though. Definitely something to watch and be aware of.
  3. Pyrrha loves running in crazed circles by herself in the yard. She doesn’t do this terribly often, but sometimes, when the moon is full or whatever, we’ll look out the window and she’s just tearing around the yard in circles. Then she’ll suddenly stop and look around, as if she had surprised herself. The lady clearly needs more exercise than she lets on.
  4. She is really excellent company while dining out. For all of her anxieties about social interactions, she is so calm and comfortable–for whatever reason!–dining out with us. We took her to her third restaurant this weekend, and she was great. More on that later.
  5. She’s grown very confident on our neighborhood walks. For the first few weeks, she wanted to go on walks with me, but she was slinking around most of the time, startled by most novel sounds, and keeping her tail and ears low or tucked. Now, she knows what’s going to happen when I say, “You wanna go on a WALK?” and she runs up to the front door and sits patiently (as she’s learned) for me to leash her. She is not as nervous and even seems more confident when we walk down entirely new streets.
  6. We’ve found her very high-value reward: Liver jerky. (At least, I think that’s what it is.) Our sweet neighbor Pat, who has four dogs of her own and also fosters adoptable dogs, gave us some liver to share with Pyrrha and, wow, she goes crazy for it. We’ve decided that it’s going to only come from Guion, since it’s a really great way for her to associate him with GREAT things. She follows him around the house for a good while after he gives her a bit. It’s very cute. And, yes, it might be bribery, but it’s working.
  7. She’s decided that she likes digging. This is kind of a bummer, since we have lots of pretty plants in our backyard. I caught her last night digging up one of our pepper plants. Since I caught her in the act, I could give her a quick verbal reprimand–which quickly stopped the digging–but we’ve found numerous little holes all around the yard since.

More to come, I am sure!

Pup links!

A meditative mutt. Photo by Winnie Au.

Dog-related links from around the Web this week:

Your Complete Guide to the Diamond Pet Food Recalls. If you read any pet blogs at all, you’ve surely already heard about the big fiasco with Diamond Pet Food’s recall of a whole host of kibbles infected with salmonella. I was dismayed to read about it, because I had kind of decided to feed our future dog Taste of the Wild, which is one of the brands included in this voluntary recall. Were any of you affected by the recall? Will you be switching brands because of it? (Poisoned Pets)

Lure and Clicker Training to Teach Sit: Advantages and Disadvantages. Patricia McConnell discusses the pros and cons of using either a lure or a clicker to teach a dog how to sit. She also wonders if anyone is a combination trainer, perhaps using a mix of both techniques? (The Other End of the Leash)

Dogs Are Born to Run. Interesting citation of a study that claims that dogs, like people, can experience a “runner’s high.” (The Bark blog)

Four Easy Ways to Eliminate Tag Jingle. Some tips and tags to prevent the constant jingling of tags. (*Although I sometimes like noisy dog tags, in that they can always tell me where the dog is in the house…) (Unleashed Unlimited)

Ted Recommends Stagbars. Ted the long-haired chihuahua likes these particular stagbar chews and thoughtfully explains why. (Tinkerwolf)

Film: Badlands (1973). M.C. reviews Terrence Malick’s beautiful film Badlands and the dogs who play a role in it. I’m looking forward to seeing this myself, as it’s one of my husband’s all-time favorites. (The House of Two Bows)

The Long and the Short of it. I love these old-fashioned/woodblock-print-like key fobs and tags, all printed with a variety of classic breeds; would make a nice gift for a particular breed devotee. (Under the Blanket)

Rosie’s Bloopers. This is the goofiest pointer ever! These photos are hilarious. (Paws on the Run)

His Face Every Time I Catch a Fish. This is… so good. This man’s hound makes the exact same expression of curious bewilderment whenever there is a fish in the boat. (Full Pelt)

OK, and now, one of my new favorite animal Tumblrs is Animals Talking in All Caps. (It’s exactly what it sounds like.) Some of my favorites that include dogs:

WOULD YOU GUYS STOP ARGUING ABOUT POLITICS
AUGH! NO, NO! THIS IS GIN!
SEVEN YOUNG LADIES STAND BEFORE ME…

Pup links!

Actress Donna Drake and her cocker spaniel. Source: LIFE Magazine Archives.

Dog-related links from around the Web this past week:

The Furry Ties That Bind. A beautiful post that reflects on what it is that makes us dog people, tracing the deep connection that children often feel with dogs. (City Dog/Country Dog)

You Don’t Have To… This post by trainer Tena is a great reminder that there are multiple alternatives to any given technique or method. It’s relieving to read. I’ve had lots of people tell me that I HAVE to use a prong/choke collar if I get a German shepherd, that I have to use physical punishments, etc. As Tena would say, “You don’t have to.” There are other alternatives. Don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy when it comes to training your dog. (Success Just Clicks)

Hierarchy: These Are a Few of Her Favorite Things. A ranked list of Elli’s favorite toys! This was fun to read, and a nice place to start for good ideas among the overwhelming cornucopia of dog toys. (Identity: V+E)

Conflicting Gestures of Affection. Why declaring a “National Hug Your Dog Day” might not be the best idea. (The Bark blog)

DIY: Liver and Potato Grain-Free Dog Treats. This sounds like a (fairly) easy recipe to make homemade treats. (The Hydrant)

AKC’s Top 11 Dog Breeds by City. This is an interesting report: Do certain cities prefer different breeds? It seems so! What breeds do you think are most popular in your city? And what does that say about your city? I think Charlottesville probably has a higher proportion of setters and spaniels than most cities; they seem to complement the landed gentry image that is somewhat prevalent around here. Here’s the more complete 2011 AKC breed report by city. (Woof Report)

Run, Doggy, Run. Laura Benn shares some great pointers on how to prepare yourself and your dog to run together. (iRun)

Poem: The Dog Has Run Off Again

Go, dog, go! Click for source.

A sweet, simple poem by Mary Oliver about when the dog runs off…

The Dog Has Run Off Again
Mary Oliver

and I should start shouting his name
and clapping my hands,
but it has been raining all night
and the narrow creek has risen
is a tawny turbulence is rushing along
over the mossy stones
is surging forward
with a sweet loopy music
and therefore I don’t want to entangle it
with my own voice
calling summoning
my little dog to hurry back
look the sunlight and the shadows are chasing each other
listen how the wind swirls and leaps and dives up and down
who am I to summon his hard and happy body
his four white feet that love to wheel and pedal
through the dark leaves
to come back to walk by my side, obedient.

Happy Friday, all!

Dog jobs I daydream about

Me in my daydream day job... Click for source.

When I’m sitting in my gray cubicle, staring at a computer screen, I can’t help but daydream about what I’d rather be doing instead. Those daydreams usually involve me frolicking in a field with my future dog, or a whole pack of my future dogs. These are some quasi “jobs” that I often daydream about having, even though I’m sure they’re all far less glamorous than they are in my imagination:

  • Reinforcement trainer, a la Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller, or Karen Pryor. I daydream about this a lot. I’ve even sporadically browse the CCPDT website to read about their testing requirements, recommended reading, and timeline for becoming a certified trainer. I love watching dogs learn and teaching them–and especially their humans–how to shape appropriate or desirable behavior. I still have so much to learn in this area, but I’m looking forward to the trial-by-fire that will be coming our way this summer.
  • Full-time dog walker/runner, a la Lindsey Stordahl. That is one fit and adventurous woman! I say I want this job now, but in reality, I’m not sure how long I would love it, since it calls for being outside regardless of the weather (I can’t believe she does it in Fargo). Mostly, though, I’m up for it, because hardly anything brings me as much joy as walking dogs.
  • Agility trainer/co-competitor. (What do people who do agility with their dogs call themselves?) I am probably not as competitive as most of these people are, but everyone looks like they are having such a darn good time! I love watching agility trials and it’s a nice daydream to entertain, raising up an agility champion…
  • Shepherd. Or a farmer with lots of dogs, I guess. But having a team of dedicated herders at my disposal is also a nice dream.
  • Volunteer in some dog-based therapy program. Dog-assisted therapy is so moving and meaningful to me. I am especially fond of the programs in elementary schools, whether teaching kids how to behave around dogs or being reading partners. I also love the idea of visiting nursing homes. I wonder if I’ll ever have a dog calm enough to do either of those things…
  • Writing the daily blog from the perspective of Martha Stewart’s French bulldogs. OK, maybe not really, but whatever intern has that job has it made! Just hanging out around her estate, photographing the dogs doing silly things, and then writing about it? Yes, please. I’ll take that job.

Do you entertain any dog job daydreams? Or do you actually HAVE one of these jobs? If so, I envy you… in my imagination…

Lovely leashes

Let it be known that I hold strong leash biases. I LOVE a soft, non-nylon leash, especially a rope leash or a leather leash. I DETEST retractable leashes in almost all walk circumstances. And I hate a nylon burn on my hand, which has happened many times at the SPCA.

Now that that’s out there, here are some great leashes that I like the look of from around the Web:

(Click on the pictures to shop!)

Mendota leash, $12.19 at DogSupplies.com.

This is the leash I’m pretty sure I want. After having used a Mendota leash with Dublin before, I was sold. After a few uses, it becomes very soft, and the braided rope is very strong. The leash is also quite affordable. I think it could probably qualify as a rope leash, too? They’re also sold in a slip-collar version, which is also appealing.

Zoey's reflective leash, $7 at DogSupplies.com.

I bought this leash in orange already, because sometimes I like to go running with Bo at night. I feel like both of us are so much safer with this leash, since we tend to run around a lot of busy streets when it gets dark. I do wish the tape was on both sides of the leash, but for $7, I really can’t complain!

Latigo leather twist leash, $18.29 at DogSupplies.com.

A nice, classic burgundy leather leash, which is also 6 feet long. It seems like a nice 6-foot leather lead is somewhat hard to find. And you can’t beat that price.

Hands-free runner dog leash, $35 at Olive Green Dog.

Look, ma! No hands! This could be a great option for those who like to run with their dogs.

Do you have a particular leash that you’re loyal to? Any that you’d recommend?