Posts filed under ‘School’

he’s so pretty!

Last night, we were back in action at doggy school. Barley again was the dunce of the class, and again had to stay outside the ring while learning tricks. This week, I made Jason train him while I sat and watched. It was nice. Especially the part where one of the other ladies that was watching started chatting with me. She looked over at Barley and goes, “He’s so pretty!” and he looks back and starts wagging his tail. He’s such a funny dog.

The boys. I am so so so tempted to make a real dunce cap for Barley to wear to class.

He’s also recently taken to laying in the dirt piles around our house. He’s going to be seriously mad when we fill those in with flowers and mulch. Each day after work, JT or I (whoever gets home first) lets him out to do his business, only lately, he’s been running outside and plopping himself down in the dirt, and he’s happy to just lay there for hours.

He has so many nicknames: Lazy Dog. Dirty Dog. Sun Dog. (picture glammed up using picnik).

Another super-awesome thing he does is that he barks at all the sketchy people that come near our house. For example, one of our neighbors’ kids looks like he’s up to no good, and when his friends come over, they all admire our handsome doggy. They try to stick their hands through the fence to pet him. And that’s when Barley barks and growls to let them know that they should stay. the heck. away.

And R. Favorite? Barley hates him. A little back story: R. Favorite is the neighbor’s fence man (and yes, that is seriously his name). He seems like a nice enough guy, but –how do I put this nicely?– perhaps missing some of the normal social graces we’ve come to expect from anyone who is remotely sane. For example, there was this dialog (keep in mind we’ve only talked to this guy like twice before this):

SCENE: Jen’s parents are visiting for the weekend. It is Sunday evening, and after a long weekend of fence-building, Jason and Jen are putting the final touches on the front section of the fence, Jen is holding a level while Jason screws in the fence plank. Enter R. Favorite.

R.: Hey, you guys are in the medical field, right?

Jen: [slightly puzzled] umm… yeah.

R.: Well, you might be interested to know that I hold the Guinness Book World Record for largest kidney stone passed.

Jason: [Crippled with shock and amazement]

Jen: [Trying to be polite] Oh, really.

R.: Yeah, I’ve got another one growing right now!

Seriously. I am not making this up.

Anyways, we can’t really figure out what this guy’s deal is since he never shows up until after 4:30pm to work on the neighbor’s fence. We originally had him give us a quote for our fence. He came in at $5100. We did the project ourselves for about $700. But! When he quoted us, he had a little schedule and is scheduled like months in advance and also referred to his “team” or “crew” which, unless it consists of multiple personalities, we have yet to meet.

So, we don’t mind that Barley barks his head off when R. Favorite shows up. In fact, we try to encourage it.

June 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm 5 comments

doggy school dunces

The adventure at doggy school continued tonight. The good news is that we didn’t get kicked out OR sent to the $100/hour behaviorist. Only minimal growling was involved. Phew. No urine or vomit was excreted from Barley dogg tonight. Yes! And, Barley PAID ATTENTION TO ME. I mean, at first he was all, “hey! there’s a dog over there. and another dog there! and wait! I see the teacher… oh hey teacher! I know you have treats – I want TREATS! oh, but look there, check out that dog. and hey. that dog is really cool looking.” And I was all, “hey doooggggggggyyyy! Pay attention to me! Look at me! I am as exciting as those dogs!” And he was not having it. Not interested at all.

But then, a miracle happened, and that miracle was chicken. The substitute teacher handed me a few pieces of chicken, and Barley was like, “YOU ARE THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN! I JUST WANT TO LOOK AT YOU! I WILL DO ANYTHING YOU ASK! I WILL TOUCH THAT METAL SPOON WITH MY NOSE! LAY DOWN? NO PROBLEM! JUMP THROUGH A RING OF FLAMES? ANYTHING FOR YOU AS LONG AS YOU’VE GOT CHICKEN IN YOUR DORK POUCH!” And then, I was playing it cool. I was all, “Yeah, I’m in charge, doggy. Whatever.” And it was amazing. Please send your chicken leftovers to us. They will be put to good use.

The bad news? We had to go do our training activities in the corner. Jason was kind enough to take a picture.

(note the dunce caps.  and Barley’s attentiveness – I must have had chicken in my dork pouch.  Also, I thought I would mention that I made this using www.picnik.com – it’s a free site that lets you mess with photos and is a million times easier than photoshop.)

May 19, 2008 at 11:02 pm 1 comment

the terrible twos?

Last night was a HORRIBLE night at doggy school… the worst one yet. Usually, Barley just does things that are a little annoying – less than perfect behavior. But last night! Oh! He went above and beyond annoying…

At first, he was just uber-distractable. As in, paid attention to everything BUT me, was NOT interested in treats. AT ALL. What dog does not want treats!? Instead, he was interested in the weimerener directly to our right. He kept staring at the dog, and the dog would whine back, which would only intensify Barley’s staring. Then, we started moving around the room, and Barley lost control. He was all barking and trying to get the weimerener’s attention and just being generally obnoxious and disruptive. After the THIRD barking incident, the teacher came over and told me that she wanted me to keep him in the corner, sitting, and just give him a treat any time he looked at me. For 30 minutes.

After class, all the other dogs left and we stayed to talk to the teacher. She said she’d give him another week in the class, but if he’s disruptive again next week, he’s kicked out of the class! She’ll refer him to their behaviorist! Crap.

I was so stressed out and pissed off by the end of class that I was almost in tears. Freaking dog can do his homework perfectly at home, but freaks out in public!?! Uggh. Ridiculous. The whole thing was ridiculous. (And since I made fun of my neighbor for crying about his cat last week, I feel even worse for being hypocritical. Who cries about a pet anyways!?)

The teacher did suggest, though, that maybe this is because he’s two and reaching maturity, so he’s trying to push the limits. Is this true? Anyone witness changes in their dog’s personality at age 2? Because I’m not sure that I buy it. I’m more inclined to think that there is just something about this weimerener that Barley finds interesting… he doesn’t seem interested in any of the other dogs in the class.

So, the dog is grounded this week. I think he knew we were mad last night, because he was just slinking around here after school… And, today, he emailed Jason to ask him to pick up the new Death Cab for Cutie CD for me, since they are my favorite and the new CD came out today. He’s trying to show me that he’s sorry!

Jason must have felt bad about everything, too (he was there to witness my frustration last night), because he came home with flowers and swedish fish! And I LOVE flowers and swedish fish! So thoughtful!

May 13, 2008 at 8:47 pm 3 comments

support group needed

Last night, JT was feeling a bit tired from our weekend activities and mentioned that he’d like to stay home from doggy school for the evening. “Sure” I said, “no big deal.”

Look at the attention I command when I wear my training pouch! The pouch has 2 functions: it holds Barley’s training treats and makes me look like a complete dork. I didn’t want to get one, but Barley complained that he was embarrassed in front of the other kids in school when I walked around with his treats in a plastic baggy.

So I rounded up my dork pouch, treats for Barley, and Barley’s leash, and Barley and I headed to doggy school. We got there early and Barley was pretty good… he just sat and watched the other dogs while they finished up their lessons. One of last session’s instructors, Ken, was there with his dog and we let the dogs sniff each other. No problem.

At the beginning of class, Barley was a good boy – again sitting and watching the other dogs. We marched around in front of the other dogs again this week, and even that went better than last week (no tripping or puking). All was excellent. Until we started doing an exercise where we had to walk dogs in a circle around cones, posts, and chairs. Barley decided he needed to mark every. single. cone. and. post. we walked around. Uggh. I had to simultaneously hold the dog, mop up urine, and warn other dog owners to avoid the area. Three different times! In 3 minutes!

After we got over that, things were going smoothly. Barley was super-attentive last night, and was catching on to all of the commands really quickly. I was so impressed. We learned a new hand gesture for sit, and the first few times Barley thought I was telling him to lay down, because he plopped right down and looked up at me like, “I did it! Give me a treat!” He was all proud of himself. And it made me giggle. But, after a few tries, he even caught on to that. I was so proud!

But then… Enter Loverboy and Mrs. Loverboy. In previous weeks, Barley had taken an interest in Loverboy and tracked his every move. So I had been trying to avoid Loverboy and the Mrs. during class to keep Barley focused on me, and not the other dog. But, similar to other weeks, Mrs. Loverboy brings Loverboy over and positions herself and her dog right next to Barley and I. For a while, Barley successfully ignored the Loverboys. But then! Mrs. Loverboy leans over and sneaks Barley some treats, then asks him to smooch her. “Pitties are such sweethearts!” she mentions, and she should know since she has previously fostered several of them. THEN, SHE CURSES US: “Barley doesn’t seem at all interested in Loverboy tonight!” OH CRAP. “Yeah, he’s been really focused tonight, he’s really paying attention to me.” I reply. “But I shouldn’t say that, because I’m probably cursing myself.” Not even 2 minutes later, we’re standing and receiving instruction from the teacher when Barley looks over and starts barking at Loverboy. Suddenly, he wants to play with Loverboy more than anything else in the whole world. And I am trying with all my might to keep him from playing. The teacher even has to intervene at one point to get him to quiet down, which is a good thing, because at this point I look ridiculous struggling with my big old barking dog.

This is hugely embarrassing on several levels. First, at this obedience school, dogs DO NOT bark. Or make noise. Period. I haven’t figured out why that is… but when your dog starts barking, all eyes are on you. I could feel the stares. And it wasn’t great. Second, my dog is the only mutt in the class. He’s already like a second-class citizen. Because not only will my dog ever be entered in a dog show, he certainly did not come with papers describing his lineage. (We were informed when we adopted him, though, that he is a “status symbol” – so take that AKC-registered dog owners). And, third, he’s part pitbull. And we all know what a bad rap pitbulls have. So even though I know he’s playing (his tail was wagging!), I’m not sure everyone else did, and I can only imagine that their thoughts were, “oh look! another rowdy pitbull.” And Barley and I are very sensitive about sentiments like that. Poor doggy.

After that excitement, the rest of the class went smoothly, and his teacher even used him as an example. But I’m really starting to feel like between the vomit, urine, and barking, that it might be time for an obedience school support group. Either that or a stiff drink.

May 6, 2008 at 10:49 pm Leave a comment

that’s me – the idiot with the dog

As mentioned about a million times already, we’re trying to train the dog. One of the best things that we’re going to train him to do is to walk next to us, instead of in front of us. So far it’s been hit or miss. For example, last week he was so good that I took off the gentle leader and he did great. Today, not so much.

He still wants to sniff every single dog we pass, and the instructors at his school suggest that somehow, I need to be more enticing than other dogs. So I’m all <in an enthusiastic voice> “here boy! here! hey! hey you! puppy! big doggy! over here! hi! yo! look at me!” and really, the only looks I’m getting are from anyone – and everyone – in the immediate area. Other dog still beats out Jen in the what-is-more-enticing contest.

Finally, about 2/3 of the way through the walk, he gets tired and gives up. A little. But he’s still scanning the horizon for other doggies he can sniff, and I am dreading approaching dogs, because, really, that just means I make an idiot of myself all over again.

One fun part of his homework, though, is the part where we test his sit-stay abilities. It’s kind of awesome, because you get to dance in front of your sitting-staying dog. Until the neighbors walk by and see the crazies dancing while the dog watches. Then, it’s back to idiot-with-a-dog status.

April 29, 2008 at 10:41 pm 1 comment

the next level

Barley had his first level 2 obedience class tonight. In honor of this momentous occasion, he decided to mark his territory with urine and vomit. Fantastic! Bleach spray is my new best friend.

My shining moment in tonight’s class: We were asked to introduce ourselves and our dogs and our dogs’ breed. So I’m all, “I’m Jen, this is Barley, he’s ummm… well… we think he might be some sort of Mastiff/Pit bull mix, but we don’t really know.” Sweet intro, Jen. But it’s even better when paired with the little walk I had to do, parading Barley around a circle of dogs and owners. Not only did I trip over Barley during this walk, but he decided it was time for vomit #1 of the evening. Awesome. He vomited right in front of Mrs. Loverboy, an overly friendly woman that we had met before at the training club. She had all sorts of… umm… helpful? comments about Barley and his behavior. I kind of wanted to tell her to shove it.

Anyways, Barley did pretty well tonight, if you ignore the bleach-requiring components of the evening. And I managed to convince Jason that he should come watch the class, even though he was sleepy and wanted to be lazy tonight. And here’s what we talked about on the way home:

Jen: Have you ever noticed that people really DO look like their dogs?

JT: Yeah, well, Loverboy’s mom definitely does.

Jen: And that weimaraner’s mom kind of does, too…

JT: Sweet! Does that mean we’re all muscular and stuff?

Jen: No. That’s why our dog is overweight.

April 28, 2008 at 10:30 pm 1 comment

Code Red, Purple Building

… a post in which I am a little cynical about work, but provide rationale for overall happiness.

2-3 times each work day, I hear the building’s alert system. It’s always “code (insert color here), (insert another color here) building”. Easy enough to ignore, right?

But the other day, I heard, “Code Red, Purple Building” and thought: red = fire. Oh crap. What building am I in? I don’t think it was the purple building. At least, I didn’t see or smell a fire, and no one fled. Mystery… I still am not sure what building I’m in, so I hope that someone will come get me if there really is a fire. I mean, I was told at new employee training that I am to consult my supervisor before using a fire extinguisher, so my only hope is that someone will let me know what’s going on.

Another thing about work that I think is quite silly is this notice: St Patrick’s Day Fun. I suspect work is trying to boost morale by allowing us to wear “green and jeans” on Monday (provided I have my supervisor’s permission, of course). Now I am certain that my employer is not the only one to support such activities, but it’s just a little too reminiscent of high school spirit days. What’s next? Clash day? Having said that, I do appreciate the effort to make work a more ‘fun’ experience, and I probably would appreciate it even more if I wasn’t already wearing jeans to work every day. But really, if you want to make work more ‘fun’ for me, I would suggest the following: a couple extra $$ on the paycheck, a few hours off, less confusing fire codes, someone to finish all the papers I’ve got left from grad school and UK.

Anyways, despite that cynical rant on fire alarms and spirit days, we really do have a lot to be happy about today.

First, Jason’s family welcomed a new addition yesterday. Congrats Marty (Jason’s cousin) and Cailin! We’re excited to meet the little guy (and his mom… we haven’t even gotten to meet her yet!).

Second, Barley was so so so well behaved at school last night. He was attentive, adorable, and did everything I asked him to. The teachers even used him as an example. With any luck, Barley will pass level 1 and get to wear a cute little hat like his cousin, Comet, did at his doggy school graduation.

Congrats to Trevor and Comet!  Barley hopes to follow in Comet’s footsteps someday soon.

Barley gets cuddles for his excellent doggy school performance. 

To reward him for his efforts, Jason took him for a long walk this afternoon and we made doggy treats together.

Barley helps me make doggy treats.

A third reason to be happy? It was in the 40s today and sunny. It’s my third-favorite part of winter – the warm up. (my first favorite is the first snow, and my second favorite is anytime it snows a lot after that). Having purchased new shoes, a knee brace, and official wick-away-your-sweat running clothes, I hit the trails in full force today. Jason took Barley on a 2-mile walk, and B-dog came home sooo tired. There were tons of people and dogs walking and running around the lake near our house, so I am certain our doggy enjoyed not only the walk, but also the people- and doggy-watching.

And fourth! Jason gave a stunning presentation at work today, and even wore dress clothes! I can’t actually verify the above statement about the presentation, but I hope it’s true.

Check out Jason in his “I-have-a-real-grown-up-job” outfit.

March 11, 2008 at 1:42 pm 3 comments

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