Friday, April 9, 2010

Dog Daze

It's been an interesting dog related week.

We did some broad jumping, finally. Our first workout of the year. The Gator Girl cleared the six foot practice jump just fine and then seemed to forget what the hell we were doing out there. The Gator Girl often times like to celebrate a jump with a victory lap around the yard. If we're ever in competition, this will be a problem. But until then, it's kind of cute. Even Big wanted to jump. I didn't let him do the broad jump but I let him go over the regular jump. Not too high, but high enough that he actually had to work. He loves agility. Somewhere I have a video of him working. If I can find it, I'll post it.

We also had some thunderstorms roll through. Our first thunderstorms of the season. They came through at about one in the morning. We were still downstairs as it is my habit to write until about two in the morning. The dogs snore while I do so. The thunder woke them up and they went running for the door, thinking someone or something was in the driveway. When they realized what was really happening, Big went back to sleep. The Gator Girl shook. A lot. She's not a big fan of the thunderstorm. But at least she's not destructive during them like a lot of dogs are.

Speaking of the Gator Girl, my criminally genius Malinois kicked off the week in fine style when she stole a can of cat food out of the cupboard when I was in the shower. This would be the cupboard, by the way, that is protected by a trap. The trap is a muffin tin, precariously resting against the door so that it comes tumbling out onto the kitchen floor, making a lot of noise, when one opens the door. It keeps catching me off guard so I had to write myself a note saying TRAP!! on a post it note and stick it to the door. Just so you know, I still keep springing the damn thing.

The Gator Girl, however, does not. Criminal genius, I tell you.

I don't really know how she gets past that one either. My best guess (formulated after an examination of the cookie cupboard after one of her more successful cookie raids) is that she opens the door just enough to get her nose or paw inside so she can nudge the muffin tin over far enough to have it rest against the cupboard's lip so that it doesn't fall when one opens the door.

I really need to set up a hidden camera in the kitchen.

Anyway, so yeah, I was in the shower, thinking deep thoughts and possibly singing some broadway tunes at the top of my lungs, when the Gator Girl made her latest foray into the cookie cupboard. Unfortunately for her, the cookies had been removed from the cupboard. Which is probably why she went for the cat food. She didn't touch the dry stuff. No, she went straight for the canned goodness. Salmon and trout flavor. Yum.

Again, I don't know how she managed to get the can open. I still haven't found the lid. What I did find was the can, licked clean, in the middle of the living room and the Big Brave German Shepherd sitting outside the bathroom door looking at me as if to say "Don't look at me. I didn't want her in the first place."

There is something seriously disturbing about that dog some times.

We (meaning me and the dogs) went down to visit my mother this week. It was the Big Brave German Shepherd's birthday this week (seven years old...my baby boy is growing up) and, in addition to his birthday cheeseburger (an entire BK cheeseburger to himself...normally he has to share with his brat of a sister), he got a trip down to my mother's to visit his Mimi.

I've mentioned before how very much Big loves my mother. In general, he's a reserved German Shepherd. When people ask me if he's friendly, I usually say no, he isn't, but then add that while he's not friendly, he's not aggressive either (unless you're a dog's ass, anyway). Mostly, he doesn't care about people.

But he loves my mother.

When he arrives at the house, he bursts through the door and runs straight for the living room where he expects to find her sitting on the couch. If she is not there, he runs from room to room searching for her. On one occasion, she happened to be not home when we came calling. Big couldn't quite figure out why he couldn't find her. Another time, she left in the middle of our visit to pick up Jupiter from school. Big didn't see her leave (I think he was drinking an entire bowlful of water when she made her exit) and then, when he went back for more love, she was missing. He was confused.

My mother has made the joke that if she became lost and in need of a search and rescue dog to track her down, she didn't know if she would want either of my dogs looking for her. The Gator Girl would track her down, sure, but then give her a cursory glance before moving on to something else (Mrs. King, I believe, calls it 'shiny ball syndrome'). Big, she thought, would quit before reaching her. There is precedent as Big does not like to track in weather that is either too hot or too cold. Sometimes, in training, he quits half way through a track and just lays down in the middle of the field and whines and looks at me as though he expects me to run and get the car and drive it out to the field so he doesn't have to be bothered with walking all the way back to the parking lot.

I've assured my mother this isn't true. The part about Big anyway. The Gator Girl is a great tracker. She just doesn't care if she finds people at the end of her track. She's only interested in more tracking. Or tennis balls. But Big? I think if I put him on her track, he wouldn't stop until he found her.

This became very apparent on Tuesday when we arrived at the house. I was outside with Big and my niece, Jupiter, who was showing off her jump roping skills. Big was passing the time peeing on trees when he looked up and saw my mother standing in the living room window. All interest in peeing disappeared and he pulled me straight to the house.

This is a very Big Deal because Big loves to pee on trees.

But he loves my mother more.

Later, when it was time for us to go back home, he actually hid behind my mother because he didn't want to get into the car with the Gator Girl.

When I told this to Joe, he responded, "Can you blame him? Some days I don't want to get into the car with her."

This turned into a discussion about how I need to train my dog more. Yes, the Gator Girl is my dog. Particularly when she misbehaves. Which is often. Big, Joe claims, is his dog. At least when he's asleep. When he's trying to tear apart the couch cushions (yes, mom, he has tried that) or getting into the trash or pulling the tablecloth off the table, Big is miraculously my dog.

"Yeah. Train your dog," Joe said. "Are you familiar with that?"

As the person who has taken the Gator Girl to obedience, tracking, agility and ring sport classes nearly every Saturday (and Wednesday and Sunday and Fridays...whatever the schedule is) for the last four and a half years, I am familiar with that.

"Here's my foot up your ass," I nicely replied to the person who spends most of weekend days on the couch. "Get familiar with that."

I think it's important to note here that I do not begrudge him the weekend couch time. He works hard during the week and needs to decompress. But as someone who is not actively involved in the Gator Girl's training, he should probably back off. You know, for the sake of peace and harmony and not having to remove my foot from his ass. If you don't like what I'm doing, do it yourself. No one likes a backseat dog trainer.

Hmmm...this blog seems to have gone to a different place than from where it started. The dogs, I am pleased to report, are both snoring. So naturally, I am going to have to wake them up so we can all go upstairs to bed.

Enjoy your weekend.

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